Throughout our first year of marriage, I've had this verse on our bathroom mirror and I've written it out several times to memorize it. Each time I read this passage, something new stands out to me, and today as I change out my wardrobes, preparing for Fall and Winter, I'm reflecting on what it means to "put on love" every day.
Put on. Life has seasons, and often when these seasons change you need to put on different "clothes." Depending on whether I feel stuck or accomplished or anxious or joyful, I need to be reminded to put on the appropriate "outfit." Am I frustrated? Clothe myself with compassion. Have I accomplished something? Put on humility. Am I waiting for something to happen? Patience.
Chosen ones. We're not meant to put on these attributes to be comfortable but because we are chosen. We shouldn't cloth ourselves because "it's what I am supposed to do" but because it's a joy to live this way. We are sons and daughters in God's kingdom. We have been given a beautiful inheritance. We are made in the image of God and because of this we are told to "be imitators of God, as beloved children" (Ephesians 5:1).
Above all love. All of the traits listed in the passage fall under the category of "love." In marriage, you must wake up every day choosing to love. Before you get dressed, put on love. If you consciously choose to love every day, you will be more compassionate, kind, humble, meek, and patient.
Forgive and be forgiven. Some days we wear a shirt with a hole in it. We put on mismatched shoes. We forget to clothe ourselves in love. On these days, it's easy to say unkind words, act selfishly, and be impatient with your spouse. John has taught me how to "teach and admonish" each other with humility and love. Part of loving each other is helping each other to live out what we are called to do. Over this first year of marriage, I'm starting to learn how to humbly address things for John's growth. The harder part: Accepting his forgiveness when I'm the one being taught and counseled. We need to reminded to accept grace.
Be thankful. A lot of attributes are listed in this passage, but thankfulness is mentioned the most. Although love encompasses all, we love because we are thankful that we're first loved by God. In whatever we do, we must do it with a thankful heart. Our love will be shallow if we love out of obligation. But if I see loving John as a wonderful gift, then I'll express my thanksgiving through my actions.
As you put on Fall clothes, wear the first scarves of the season, or hunt for long sleeves at the back of your closet, remember to walk in love (Ephesians 5:2).