Attention to Attire

By Karen Polich

How do we “bear with each other”? (Colossians 3:13) Are we cloaked in our old ways are wearing our new wardrobe? Pastor Cook’s message, Attention to Attire, from the Fragile Growth series, looked at how we interact with those around us. (Listen to the podcast here.)

A church family provides connection, comfort and passion. It can also bring irritation, frustration and unmet expectations. How we choose to deal with the others in our life sets us apart. This push and pull with people happens not only in a church family, but in all areas of our existence.

We’ve been given the gift of a new wardrobe. Through Christ we are given what we need to handle the challenges that come while experiencing life with others.

Colossians 3:11-16 has five characteristics of our new wardrobe.

Compassion. We should feel compassion for others. Do we have a mercy zone?

Kindness. This is the “doing”. Demonstrating our compassion with action shows kindness. What creative ways can we truly meet a need for someone else?

Humility. Jesus made himself nothing for us. Humility isn’t the absence of strength. It’s using our strength to help others.

Gentleness. Are we able to set ourselves aside and help others, demonstrating a gentle spirit?

Patience. This is the virtue of dealing with a difficult person over an extended period of time without writing them off or losing our cool.

We’ve all got choices. We can put on the new and seek to forgive when wronged, show patience for the difficult person and be kind. It may cost us something in return. We may have to let go of anger or disappointment. We may have to let go of ourselves and simply seek Him.

John 13:34-35 says, “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”

Christ is all and is in all. When we dress in these five characteristics, bound in love, Christ is reflected.


Be Humble and Kind

By Karen Polich

“Humility is not thinking less of yourself. It’s thinking of yourself less.” – C.S. Lewis

God chooses to use humble people. Those with humility are nothing more than servants for the cause of Christ. His purpose becomes our purpose. With humble hearts, we seek gentleness, want to serve and have compassion for others. Though we may step on ourselves with our actions and words, true humility shines through. The most humble to walk the earth was Jesus Christ.

“Pride and fruitfulness are incompatible.” – Michael M. Cook

Teaching from 1 Corinthians 4:6-13 Pastor Michael M. Cook continued the sermon series, Forming the Church We’re Called to Be, with Be Humble and Kind. (Listen to the podcast here.) Paul was speaking to the church in Corinth. With no word in the Roman and Grecian language for humility, the concept couldn’t have been an easy thing to teach. How can we be humble and kind? Avoid conceit and embrace humility. The passage distinguishes the characteristics we should avoid and those to embrace.

Characteristics to avoid, as demonstrated in the Corinthians’ conceit.:
1. Puffed up. The danger comes in feeling so good about what’s going on in our lives and who we are following (Christ) that it causes a critical attitude leading to judgement and self-righteousness.
2. Boastful. It doesn’t make spiritual sense to boast. For who makes you different from anyone else? What do you have that you did not receive? And if you did receive it, why do you boast as though you did not? 1 Corinthians 4:7
3. Full. Are we actually satisfied with where we are and think we have it all figured out? We are called to press on toward the goal… Philippians 3:4a

Characteristics to embrace, as Paul described of the apostles.:
1. Spectacle. In contrast, Paul described the apostles as servants placed on display for others to learn from. The crown only comes after the cross.
2. Fools. When we are focused more on Christ than ourselves, it doesn’t matter if we are thought of as fools. Our focus is simply on Him. There is not concern for what others think.
3. Filth. At times we will be seen as the scum of the earth. Speak the truth and watch how satan will try to make you feel. ‘You’re intolerant…’ No. The truth is the truth, but we may not be regarded well.
Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. Philippians 2:3-4

Humility is the great unifier. We are not deserving of what Christ has done for us. If our focus is on others and squarely on the love of Jesus, we will have the ability to be humble and kind.

“Talent is God given. Be humble. Fame is man given. Be thankful. Conceit is self given. Be careful.” – John Wooden