A Spiritual Wardrobe Made Just for You
A devotional by Chaplain Paul Anderson
“So, chosen by God for this new life of love, dress in the wardrobe God picked out for you: compassion, kindness, humility, quiet strength, discipline. Be even-tempered, content with second place, quick to forgive an offense. Forgive as quickly and completely as the Master forgave you. And regardless of what else you put on, wear love. It’s your basic, all-purpose garment. Never be without it.”
–Colossians 3:12-14 (MSG)
In my youth, I resonated with the Bible story about Joseph because of his nice wardrobe, mainly his treasured “coat of many colors” as described in Genesis 37:3. Because I envied people who had nice wardrobes, my spirit was divinely warned when I read the Bible story of Gehazi and his sin of greed (covetousness and materialism). During a time of reflection, I also imagined what the new robe of the Prodigal Son (Luke 15:11-32) looked like.
As a middle child—the fourth of five—I have three older brothers and a younger sister. The thing that irritated me most, for years, about my position in the family was that I rarely got anything new. People called me “Hand Me Down Rose”. Toys, bicycles, suits, sweaters and shoes that I received were hand-me-downs. When I was a student in school, my peers would tease me about my new hand-me-downs. When I went to church on the weekends, the adults would compliment me by saying, “You finally grew into your older brother’s suit!”
I hated to see my brothers go away to school, but while they were gone, I grew! I received some new clothes and my first pair of Converse Chuck Taylors for school. My father even bought me a pair of Florsheim shoes for church.
While serving in the military, I visited Korea. A friend took me to a tailor shop and convinced me to have some suits custom made. When I received these suits, I felt that there was something marvelous about wearing a “bespoke” wardrobe.
As my biblical literacy grew, so did my faith and lifestyle. I embraced 2 Corinthians 5:17 that assured me that anyone who accepts Jesus Christ is transformed into a new being. Colossians 3:12-14 prescribes the essence of character that may have been the covering that Adam and Eve were surrounded with.
Like the tailors who have sewn elements of my wardrobe through the years, God has woven and crafted a spiritual wardrobe uniquely for you. It fits the contours of your character, background, experiences, and aspirations. Like the shoes and clothing that the Israelites wore in the wilderness, it won’t wear out or become threadbare, as long as it is worn daily, with faith, optimism and enthusiasm.
The elements of your spiritual wardrobe that God wants to give you are:
· Compassion: It is the ability to care about and for other people.
· Kindness: It is the capacity and desire to tangibly demonstrate unconditional positive regard to all people, especially those most in need.
· Humility: Putting others first is truly the mindset that Christ has exhibited in every stage of His existence.
· Quiet strength: It reflects influence over power. It does not require pompous command. It is the power of an anointed presence.
· Discipline: It is found in the art of knowing oneself and controlling one’s appetites, emotions and desires.
· Even-tempered: It is to be self-possessed, poised and composed, even and especially when under pressure.
· Contentment: It is satisfaction, appreciation and gratitude for the things that we have and the fact that the circumstances we experience are all transitory.
· Forgiveness: Because we are all fallible, we will occasionally falter and fail. That is why a forgiving spirit is an essential to spiritual growth. Forgiveness is the key to the shackles of pain that bind us to the faults and failures of others in our lives.
· Love: I worked with a lady who graduated from Vanderbilt University. She almost always wore pearls. This lady told me that part of the ethos at Vanderbilt is that pearls are essential to a Vanderbilt woman’s wardrobe. Similarly, love is essential to the character of every believer. Let it shine privately and publicly as evidence of your pedigree as a Christian. John 13:35 (ESV) says, ”By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”
A few years ago I met man who was wearing a really high quality suit. It was blue with a very subtle lavender stripe. I complemented the suit. In his appreciative reply, he said “I can make one just like it for you, if you want.” He is a tailor. This man was on the way to meet a client, but he took the time to show me samples and precisely measure me.
God is ready and willing to measure us and prepare a new, unique and powerful wardrobe for our character. Your tailor-fit wardrobe has already been paid in full. All you have to do is open your heart and mind for a precise fitting.
Join me in the prayer below and the Divine Tailor (God) will begin making your new wardrobe.
Let’s Pray: Dear God, would you please do for me what is promised in Colossians 3:10-14? Design my character and life. Guide me into new truths for my life and work. Display your craft in me to the world. Let love shine out of my life toward others so that all may know that I am your disciple today, tomorrow and forever. In Jesus’s Name I pray. Amen.
Chaplain Anderson served for 20 years as a U.S. Navy Chaplain. Over 26 years of active duty, he was promoted through the ranks from Seaman Apprentice (E2) to his final rank as Commander (O5) in the Chaplain’s Corps.
Prior to his Naval career, Chaplain Anderson pastored in the Allegheny East and Potomac Conferences of Seventh-day Adventists. His undergraduate preparation for ministry was completed at Washington Adventist University in Takoma Park, Md.
He has subsequently earned four graduate degrees: a Master of Divinity from Andrews University in Michigan, a Master of Education in Counseling and Personnel Services from the University of Maryland in College Park, Maryland and a Masters of Sacred Theology in Religion and Culture from Boston University. His Doctor of Ministry degree was conferred by Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington, D.C.
Chaplain Anderson also completed four units of Clinical Pastoral Education at Walter Reed Army Medical Center. He also holds certifications in Suicide Awareness and Prevention, Civil Mediation, Alternative Workplace Dispute Resolution, Temperament Analysis, Marriage Enrichment, Workforce Diversity, and is a certified Life Coach.
You may connect with Chaplain Anderson via email at this address, firstname.lastname@example.org.