Fashion and faith

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‘Father in heaven, your Son has made it possible for me to approach you boldly, free from fear, and so I come to pour out my heart to you.’

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Bible passage Colossians 3:12–17

 12Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. 13Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. 14And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.

 15Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. 16Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God. 17And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

New International Version (NIV) Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society

Tags: Love, Peace, Unity

Audio Bible passage

The audio version of the passage is taken from the Contemporary English Version (CEV).

Tags: Love, Peace, Unity

Explore the Bible

Clothing identities
Every day we make big fashion decisions. What we wear, how we wear it, even the way we arrange our hair all reflect the way we want to be perceived by others. Concealed within our clothing are issues of identity, self-esteem, introversion or extroversion, and a general sense of where we fit in our environment.

Clothes are loaded with meaning! And Paul uses this everyday life choice as a metaphor for Christian identity. In verses 12 and 14 he urges his readers to clothe themselves in a top drawer of premium virtues, particularly love. In fact, Paul says love is like a jacket (v 14) which keeps everything else in place and in order.

Faith as fashion
This is one of Paul’s favourite metaphors used to paint a picture of Christian identity. We put off the old self that was dying and we clothe ourselves with Jesus’ values and identity. You’ll find this idea earlier in Colossians (2:11) and also in Ephesians 4:22–24.

Paul particularly links it with baptism, where we identify with Jesus in his sacrificial death and then in his new life. What these Colossians need is not a new set of beliefs but a fresh ‘wardrobe’.


So, today, will you put on compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, patience and love? A fractured and broken world is in need of stunning fashion such as this.

Gethin Russell-Jones

Deeper Bible study

‘Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly.’ (Colossians 3:16)

We are frequently reminded that, alongside the integrating influence of globalisation, there has been an accompanying and more troubling trend – the rise of nationalism and tribalism. Fracture lines are seen everywhere, across nations, communities and ethnicities. As Christian believers we joyfully affirm the countercultural unity that the gospel has brought about – although too often we do not see this working in our churches as it should.

Paul reminds us of Christ’s example (vs 12–14). A basic rule for our behaviour towards others is to act towards them as God has acted towards us. If we have experienced God’s forgiveness, then we are to demonstrate forgiveness to others. In our relationships we are to show mercy and compassion; in our estimates of ourselves, we are to show humility; and in our responses to how others treat us, we are to behave with gentleness and patience. These are all qualities which Christ exemplified and, since our lives are lived in union with him, these same qualities are to be ours. Paul then reminds us of Christ’s peace (v 15). In our family and in our church, the rule of Christ is the rule of peace. This wholeness, harmony and unity is to be the umpire in Christian community. Third, there is Christ’s Word (v 16). The truth of the gospel is the decisive influence in shaping us, guiding our lives and determining our priorities. We need to become biblically minded, thoroughly soaked in God’s Word, allowing that to dwell within and among us richly (v 16).

If our local church was shaped by Christ’s example, Christ’s peace and Christ’s Word, it would truly be countercultural, expressing the reality of the new humanity which the gospel brings about. Our fractured world desperately needs to see that new community with Christ at the centre.

Jonathan Lamb

Church life in the first century

The world of the New Testament was different from ours. Consider the following attitudes that shaped their ideas of how a person ought to live:

In the Mediterranean world, honour was determined by right and wrong behaviour. For a man, honour depended partly on his social standing – his family, town or village and religion – and partly on virtues such as courage and piety. For women, honour depended on virtues such as modesty and chastity.

A person’s self-worth hung on their contribution to the stability of society. It depended on the recognition of other people. The worst thing you could do was to act in a way that brought dishonour on the group to which you belonged.

Naturally, how honour was defined depended on the values of the group. A Christian, living with a different allegiance and different values from the pagan world, faced the accusation of deviance, and would have felt the sting of disgrace. It was therefore supremely important for a believer to feel the affirmation of the Christian community.

Society and individual
Western society is used to thinking of people as individuals. Not so in the ancient Mediterranean. People thought of themselves as part of a group, whether that group was family, place of origin, craft, trade or association (such as Pharisee or Sadducee, Stoic or Epicurean etc). Right and wrong behaviour was more concerned with preserving the integrity of the group than individual actions.

The distinct social categories in modern-day society tend to follow age groups – children, teenagers, young adults, adults and senior citizens. If Paul were writing for Western society today, would he say that in Christ there are no teenagers or senior citizens?

For the Greeks, religion was a civic duty and consisted of participation in festivals and sacrifices. It also included observing family rituals. It was very much associated with the city, and most cities had their own patron gods.

The Christian Church is a singing Church. From Old Testament times worship has been an expression of joy, expressed in song and with musical instruments.

As the Roman governor Pliny observed, Christians met to sing a song to Christ, as to a god. God is the audience of our music. When music becomes entertainment, it is not worship.

The Bible describes worship as ‘… psalms, hymns and songs from the Spirit… ’ (v 16). There is no need to try and make distinctions between them. Notice that music was an expression of unity (vs 15–17)! Can we find common ground in music?

Annabel Robinson

Bible in a year

Read the Bible in a year.

Ezekiel 26,27

1 Peter 4

God’s outrageous kingdom

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Reflect on the very different, very gracious values of God’s kingdom compared to the world we see around us, as you watch this video.


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God in my living (Everything)
Tim Hughes
Copyright © 2005 Thankyou Music
Buy this and other great worship songs at

Because of your love
Brenton Brown/Paul Baloche Copyright © 2006 Thankyou Music & Integrity's Hosanna! Music/Sovereign Music UK
Buy this and other great worship songs at

  • Rachael Hampton | Sunday, 12 November 2017

    A short passage, but power-packed! Stunning fashion indeed Gethin. How do we stay humble and meek while remaining steadfast and unashamed of our differentness. Jesus has given us His peace. Letting it rule our hearts, or control our thoughts, as CEV puts it - is another matter. When others 'push our buttons', annoy or hurt us it takes a conscious effort to let that peace reign by turning the feelings over to Him to deal with. 'And whatever you do - in word or deed - do everything in the Name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father. Everything. Word or deed. That's all! Thank You Father for clothing us with Your glorious robe of righteousness through Jesus. Please help us live our lives so that we display these beautiful qualities Paul talks about, and You are honoured. Amen. Thank you all for the great comments on happiness yesterday. Blessings and prayers for this new week, whatever it may bring.

  • Gilvin Crisifeca | Monday, 13 November 2017

    I mentioned last week re v1 'set your hearts - 'set concrete is immovable' and now v 14 'put on love which binds them all together....' Just as individual bricks must be bound together with mortar, likewise, love is the mortar that pulls all Christian virtues together. Walking in love will cause believers to be kind, compassionate, and so forth.

  • Angela Munday | Monday, 13 November 2017

    Christians can enjoy 'wearing' the new clothes that have been provided for us; they are of the finest quality. We have a new true self that is love and it will live forever. Our Saviour is happy to live in this love as He is truly at home there. We honour our God by living as His Son did while here on earth. ......"whatever you do or say, do it as a representative of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through him to God the Father." ( verse 17 )

  • Jack Russell | Monday, 13 November 2017

    "Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts" - interesting to consider that in the light of fear of God discussed recently. Angela - you make a good point with "hen others 'push our buttons', annoy or hurt us it takes a conscious effort to let that peace reign by turning the feelings over to Him". This is not about ignoring the reality of human existence fear and belligerence can and do manifest in Christians and Christian communities. If this were not so, there would be no need for the instructions being given. Christ talks of not letting anything make you feel afraid and of giving peace not as the world gives. The fear of God is needed as in the natural one is inclined to think feel and act as if being the centre of the world. Surrender to the love of God is not a natural act - it comes with the gift if faith from God. But paradoxically this surrender rather than invoking fear, enabled the love of God to enter. And this love is not weak, it is powerful, sound and true. Your true self is good as God saw when he created humanity.

  • Peter Oliver | Monday, 13 November 2017

    By letting peace rule our hearts,love will rule our actions.I am experiencing delays in getting treatment for my angina which means I'm still getting untreated chest pains please pray that the cardiology dept will get a move on.

  • Rebecca Huie | Monday, 13 November 2017

    Praying for you, Peter, that the Lord will remove the roadblocks and get you the treatment you need right away. And praying for all who await treatment or results of tests- that the Lord will work mightily. God bless.

  • Eileen Smith | Monday, 13 November 2017

    Just prayed PETER & will keep doing so.

  • Barbara Sabin | Tuesday, 14 November 2017

    They shall come from the east, they shall come from the west, And sit down in the Kingdom of God; Both the rich and the poor, the despised, the distressed, They'll sit down in the Kingdom of God. And none will ask what they have been Provided that their robes are clean; They shall come from the east, they shall come from the west, And sit down in the Kingdom of God. . They shall come from the east, they shall come from the west, And sit down in the Kingdom of God; To be met by their Father and welcomed and blessed, And sit down in the Kingdom of God. The black, the white, the dark, the fair, Your color will not matter there; They shall come from the east, they shall come from the west, And sit down in the Kingdom of God. . They shall come from the east, they shall come from the west, And sit down in the Kingdom of God; Out of great tribulation to triumph and rest They'll sit down in the Kingdom of God. From every tribe and every race, All men as brothers shall embrace; They shall come from the east,they shall come from the west. And sit down in the Kingdom of God.

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