Good business people aren’t successful just because they wear an expensive suit… but the truth is that many of them do look the part. You don’t see many people on Wall Street brokering deals over lunch while wearing grass-stained jeans and faded sweatshirts. Or imagine an Olympic swimmer with a beer belly, chest hair and wearing surfing trunks and a snorkel. Fast swimmers aren’t fast because they wear speedos… but the truth is that fast swimmers do wear speedos… and have lean muscles, shaved bodies and no fat. Or imagine a clown wearing regular sized shoes, kakki’s and a nice button down shirt with no make-up, sporting a nice haircut and a normal looking nose. For a clown I suppose, the clothes (and make-up) do make the man… er… clown.
Appearance often reflects ability and action. Ability + action = appearance. Usually. A successful business person won’t usually look disheveled. An Olympic swimmer won’t usually look out-of-shape and wearing loose fitting swim shorts. A clown won’t usually look like a regular old dude. No, each of these usually looks the part because that’s what they are… and usually are what they are because they also look the part.
This is Paul’s point in Colossians. A follower of Jesus, Paul says, should wear clothes that reflect who they are. And they will be who they are also because they wear those certain clothes. Paul says: "You have clothed yourselves with a brand-new nature that is continually being renewed as your learn more and more about Christ, who created this new nature within you… so you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. You must make allowance for each other’s faults and forgive the person who offends you… And the most important piece of clothing you must wear is love… Let the words of Christ in all their richness, live in your hearts. (Col.3:10-16)
Being followers of Jesus makes people wear certain clothes. And wearing those certain clothes also makes them followers of Jesus. Period.
Followers of Jesus will wear tenderhearted mercy.
And over it all, wear love.
The inside and the outside reflect one another. Paul says that a person who claims to follow Jesus but who acts with greed, impurity, lust, anger, malice, rage, slander, foul language, has not been remade on the inside by Jesus. The outside must reflect the inside. Integrity.
So I suppose that Jesus Followers are actually supposed to wear their clothes inside-out. What’s on the outside is to be what’s on the inside and vice versa. As Christ lives in us, and precisely because he lives in us, we are given the ability to act a certain way… and as a result, we outwardly should appear that way too. And because we outwardly appear that way, we should inwardly be that way too. Paul says we are to live in these certain clothes because Christ lives in us. Christ wears us… and so we must wear Christ. Christ lives in us… so we must live in Christ.