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What to Wear

by Catherine Parks

In the early days of the pandemic in 2020, my children and I found ourselves sitting at home with a good deal of extra time on our hands. As the world came to a sudden halt, routines went out the window and we had to decide how to use our unexpectedly empty days. We read books, hiked to waterfalls, put together puzzles and admittedly watched a lot of movies. But we also spent time studying Colossians 3 together.

I sat at the table with my kids, who were then twelve and nine, and we read and talked about the list of things Paul instructed the church at Colossae to “take off” in verse eight—anger, malice, slander, wrath, etc. I had them draw a picture of a person with ugly clothes, writing one of those “take off” words on each article of clothing. We laughed about the ridiculous people they drew, but those images made a lasting impression on each of us. If we are in Christ, then our identity is in Him and the way we live should reflect that. Being together 24/7 gave us plenty of time to practice taking off the things that didn’t fit with our identity as followers of Jesus.

But it’s not enough just to take off the old things—we also need to “put on” the new. So we spent several days looking at the list of things we’re called to put on—compassion, kindness, gentleness, humility, patience, forgiveness and forbearance, and love. As we studied these qualities, we discovered that Jesus had either exemplified or taught on each one. We learned that He showed compassion to crowds even when He was weary and sad. He showed forbearance and forgiveness when He was betrayed by Peter. And of course, He showed the greatest love by sacrificing His life for ours.

I look back on those days with gratefulness that we were able to turn a sad and difficult time into an opportunity for growth—both in our knowledge of God and His Word and in our love for each other. And that is my prayer for all those who use this Bible study, which came out of that time with my kids. I pray that kids and families who go through this study of Colossians 3 would grow in their love for God and His Word and that they would grow in their love for each other. I pray they would find their identity in Christ and would take joy in putting on the “clothes” that fit with that new identity. And I pray they will allow the light of Christ to shine through them in a hurting and confused world.

Catherine Parks is the author of several books, including two middle grade biography collections, Strong and Empowered. She also serves as an acquisitions editor for Moody Publishers. Catherine and her husband, Erik, live in the Nashville, TN area with their children, Sophie and Micah. In her free time, she loves hiking, playing volleyball and serving on her church's worship team.


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