We would never think to leave the house in the morning without putting on our clothes. I suppose in very warm climates one might venture out in very little clothing, but not completely naked. And yet we often venture out without something much more important.
Paul counseled the church in Colossus, “Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.” How often do we leave the house without these things? Our answer should be “never!” Putting on these character traits should be as habitual as putting on our clothes.
I think that is the key – to make putting on these traits a habit. I had a teacher in high school who taught that humans are 90% habit. Being a teenager at the time, I rolled my eyes and thought how stupid he was. I had more control over my actions than that, I thought. I was sure that very little of what I did was really habit. As I’ve grown older I’ve come to realize he was right and may even have underestimated the percentage.
Whether our habits be good or bad, they are what drive the bulk of our actions throughout each day. I’ve heard that it takes 30 days to create a new habit or to replace an old habit with a new one. It takes effort in the beginning, but once a behavior or characteristic becomes habit it’s easy. Sometimes it is impossible on our own to get rid of an old bad habit or foster a new good one. But praise be to God that we do not have to try to do it alone.
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.” Galatians 5:22-23. Those same characteristics that Paul told us we should clothe ourselves in are fruit of the Holy Spirit living in us. We struggle to exhibit these characteristics on our own, but “with God all things are possible.” Matthew 19:26