Art Journal Note:
For these pages I used watercolour pencils for the background, and just softened and blended the colours slightly with a damp brush. Inspired by this verse, I used a clothes catalogue to cut out an image of the woman, and also some outfits (from photos where the model is in a similar position). I left little ‘tabs’ around the edges to create this ‘paper doll’ effect (AKA Bunty comic circa 1979!). I wrote out most of the verse in black pen, and also used alphabet stamps for the ‘Clothe Yourselves’ part. I love the hat, to represent ‘love’ – which kind of completes the outfit!
Colossians 3:12-14 The Message
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.
Just as every morning we choose what to wear for the day ahead, we also get to choose how to live our lives as a Christian. It’s important to make the right choices every day. It helps us to ‘be prepared’.
Living in the UK, I think I’ve finally understood the best clothes to wear, all year round, are LAYERS. Lots of layers. And the top layer should ideally be waterproof! Then I’m ready for whatever the day brings, hot or cold, rain or shine and everything in between.
These verses from the book of Colossians give us a practical, visual illustration of how we should live our lives. How to live out our faith. It’s what a ‘Christian’ looks like. This is not just skin deep, superficial, or airbrushed, it’s not a mask or an act we put on. These are instructions on how we are to be from the inside out – how we should think, what we should say, how we should act.
Here is a reminder that God has chosen us all to be His people, and we are ‘holy and dearly loved’. God shows each of us unsurpassing compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, patience, and above all – love. We are all reminded in this verse that we are to forgive others as we ourselves have been forgiven.
It is important how we act and react with other people. Jesus commanded us to ‘love your neighbour as yourself’ and to ‘love one another as I have loved you’.
I’m sure it’s no secret that not everyone is easy to love. Or even get along with. (If we are honest we know we are not easy to love or get along with all the time either). And it often takes conscious effort – an act of the will – to decide to hold your tongue, to forgive, to let go, to turn away, or turn towards, to act kindly, to bless, to do helpful things for someone, even when they have upset us, to think of their needs and their burdens, and to support others practically, emotionally and spiritually.
Heavenly Father, thank you that you love me, and you have chosen and forgiven me. You have shown me such mercy and grace, thank you for being gentle, kind and patient with me. Help me to forgive others as you have forgiven me. I pray that you would help me to show your love to others in all I think, say and do, every day.
In Jesus’ name, Amen.