"In Colossians 3:12, Jesus says 3 things define us: we are 'chosen (not choice), holy (set apart), and dearly loved.' Then He lists 5 garments of grace He gives us and wants us to wear: 'compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.' Being this loved, let's get/stay dressed." (Scotty Smith)
Last week, we discussed how in the first half of Colossians 3:12 there are three things which should define us as His daughters in the workplace - that we are chosen, holy, and dearly loved by God. (You can read it here: https://www.christianwomenatwork.com/post/how-to-be-defined-when-at-work)
"Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience." (Colossians 3:12)
This week, let's take a closer look at the five pieces of 'clothing' we are meant to wear at work as listed in the second half of Colossians 3:12:
COMPASSION - This characteristic of God was clearly visible in how Jesus ministered on earth. He offered compassion to those who were outcasts, part of the 'in' crowd, the poor, the rich, the mentally unwell, the physically ill alike. For in Jesus' eyes, each one has equal value to Him as one of His creations.
How can we wear compassion at work?
We can show compassion by asking God to help us see the real person through His eyes, and offer them the same care and respect we would want if we were in their shoes.
KINDNESS - When compassion is our motivation, kindness is the corresponding action. Jesus was exceptionally kind to all, males and females, Jews and Gentiles, children and adults alike.
How can we wear kindness at work?
We can choose to speak kind words and offer kindness whenever and wherever possible, as we deliberately show grace towards a staff or client who is clearly having a rough day or is facing a tough situation.
HUMILITY - Even though Jesus was fully God, He didn't walk around loudly self proclaiming His kingship. He chose to be fully human, and lived a humble life as a traveling rabbi with a varied group of followers. His focus was on making life better for everyone else around Him as He taught about the kingdom of Heaven, and healed their hurts. He first came to serve.
How can we wear humility at work?
We can make others our primary focus, and think less of ourselves in our workplaces. We can try to make their day better as we minister to them as Jesus would, out of a servant's heart.
GENTLENESS - Jesus could have spoken harshly to people as they approached Him, especially the religious leaders in His day. Instead, He asked open-ended questions, and taught through parables. He deliberately touched those who had not been touched for years (lepers, the blind, the mentally unwell).
How can we wear gentleness at work?
We can try watching our words and tone, and asking for wisdom before we respond or approach our staff and clients. By doing so, we can hopefully 'touch' their hearts and help them see we are on their side, willing to help where we can.
PATIENCE - The Bible shows over and over again that God has been, does and continues to be patient with humanity. He sent the prophets to remind His people to remain faithful. He sent Jesus to deal with sin once and for all, instead of unleashing His anger over our failures. His Word is filled with examples of His patience in action.
How can we wear patience at work?
We can begin by holding our tongue when we face a stressful situation or a belligerent customer. We can choose to listen calmly when there is a project delay, and be respectful in our responses.
Author and Pastor Scotty Smith suggests that all these 'what to wear to work' clothes could be referred to as 'garments of grace.'
I have noticed that when love is our main motivation as His daughters, we can express ourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience - which combined together are a wonderful expression of grace.
Whatever we are facing, God reminds us that not only does He define us, He gives us the 'clothing' to wear to express His character through us. Just as we could be wearing job specific clothing (i.e. hard hat, dress shirt, suit jacket, tool belt), we can look to God and ask Him what garment we need to be wearing the most in each situation in which we find ourselves at work.
May we live out being deeply loved and choose to stay dressed in this wardrobe He has prepared for us as His daughters everywhere we are, but especially at work.
Karla Lees, Christian Women at Work