What Are You Wearing Today? 

My husband wakes up every morning and makes a decision. “What class clothing is this day?”

What he does during the day determines what he wears. When he used to go into an office, the decision was simple. First class clothes came out of the closet. Now the projects he’s planned for the day require the right attire too. He’s devised a system only understood by himself, of first second, and third class clothes. 

Trust me, third class ain’t pretty.

A few years ago when a big box store closed its doors, my husband called me to a rack of men’s work clothes.  

“I think I’ll get some of these,” he said.

I had something more fashionable in mind for myself. I looked for a close-out price on something in which I wanted to be seen. The thick duck cloth uniform shirts would never have caught my eye, nor figured into the clothes budget I held tight in my little fists. 

“Why? Don’t you have plenty of work clothes?”

Work clothes to me were those worn out, frayed, or stained second rounds, somewhere between rag and Goodwill. Spending money on purpose for work clothes to get dirty seemed a little redundant in my opinion.

But, he was remodeling our house, knee deep in ceiling, flooring and duct work.   

“I go through so many sets of shirts in a day,” he said, “these will hold up through oil, painting, and mudding.” 

I knew pretty much the truth of this as I washed piles of smelly dirty clothes for him to make into piles smelly and dirty again. 

“If you think they would be helpful,” I responded absent-mindedly. My eyes had taken in a sale sign in the women’s section. I headed toward them.

It’s ten years later. Ten years. My husband grabbed one of those thick black shirts from our closet this morning, shoved his arms in and buttoned up. The work shirt is as tough and black as it ever was, except for the splotches of white paint against its background. It’s been washed 1,000 times. I haven’t actually counted, but I’m pretty sure. 

He’ll wear it a couple of hours, then he will throw it in the hamper, much too wet with sweat, and put on a different shirt. 

But I suspect that black shirt’s rough feel early in the morning speaks of freedom to rip, pound and drip. It brings an urge to get to work, a certain allowance to merge expectations of what he is wearing with what he’s doing.  

A bit like our walk with the Lord. 

In the third chapter of Colossians, Paul lists things to take off, (Colossians 3:5-11) like those dirty work clothes that land in our bathroom hamper. Paul’s checklist strips off filth and impurity. He talks about actions not fitting those clothed with Christ’s righteousness. And once rid of those, he provides a clean new set to put on, ones that don’t come naturally.  

Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.” Col. 3:12 NIV

Compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience contrast with the most popular threads of society which redefines them in support of other ideologies. Many would frame these five character qualities through grids other than the truth of God’s Word. 

The Apostle Paul, writing to the believers in Colassae, reminds them how God sees His chosen people. He sees us holy and dearly loved, making compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience an outpouring of His spirit within us. He stripped away the splotched decay of sin we once wore. He sees His children clothed in His righteousness.  

“…as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves…”

  • Compassion
  • Kindness
  • Humility
  • Gentleness
  • Patience

Which one leaves the biggest hole in your covering? 

Paul never minced words. He didn’t excuse sin, but defined transformed character. He named what no longer belongs within us, those third class emotions and actions, and beseeches us to wear the clothing of righteousness. Only salvation in Jesus cleans us from the inside out. 

Phil and grandson Jeremy painting the house

This early morning I look out my window and see my husband coming from what he terms his “prayer stump.” It’s a hewn log where he sits to pray for his family. We’ve fruitfully multiplied, so he’s there often and long enough for the wildlife to know him by name. 

He walks toward the house. Blotches of white and black paint contrast against the denim and duck cloth of his third class clothes. Ah yes, today is a painting day. Third class clothes on a first class guy. Not bad. I think it’s gonna be a great day. 


I will greatly rejoice in the Lord,
My soul shall be joyful in my God;
For He has clothed me with the garments of salvation,
He has covered me with the robe of righteousness,

As a bridegroom decks himself with ornaments,
And as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.”
Isaiah 61:10 NKJV



*photos by Sylvia Schroeder

16 Replies

  1. Lois S. Reply

    An excellent picture, both of Phil and of how we can put on compassion, humility, kindness, gentleness and patience. We put on the character of Christ by “putting on” Christ Himself. “Put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh…” Romans 13:14. “As many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ.” Galatians 3:27 That is how we are “dressed in His righteousness alone, faultless to stand before the throne”! (From “Solid Rock”). Thanks for sharing!

    • Sylvia Schroeder Reply

      Thanks Lois for those great verses. “Putting on Christ Himself,” is a wonderful thought. We are so amazingly blessed by Him. I appreciate you sharing!

  2. J.D. Wininger Reply

    Good word Ms. Sylvia. As someone who goes through about four shirts a day, for much the same reason as Mr. Phil, I can appreciate the analogy. Knowing that God continues His restoration work upon me is what gives me hope for the future. One day, He’ll dress me in His finest.

    • Sylvia Schroeder Reply

      “One day, He’ll dress me in His finest.” I love that thought. Thank you for reading and I appreciate your insight. What a hope we have in Christ!

  3. Katherine Pasour Reply

    Loved this, Sylvia. Brought back good memories of my working man. As a farm girl, I have those third class clothes, too (and maybe some fourth class for haymaking days). I’m thankful that God “clothes” us in those Fruit of the Spirit traits when we seek His guidance in our lives. I look forward to those days when we’re all with Him and it won’t matter how we’re clothed. We’ll be in our Father’s house and Jesus has cleansed us in readiness. Thank you for the smile and for your inspiring message.

    • Sylvia Schroeder Reply

      I love the way you said that, Katherine, “Jesus has cleansed us in readiness.” Thank you and I’m grateful it brought good memories.

  4. Brenda Griswold Reply

    Don’t stop writing! This was a great message for me as I finished up my day and walked back to my car. I now reflect on what my clothing was for the day. I might have been a quick change artist in a couple of situations. I think my biggest struggle is humility, but honestly, it can be any of the attributes at any given moment that I need. I wish once you put it on, it was like super glue that you couldn’t get off; however, I find it more like a Band-Aid that loses its stickiness or has gotten wet. These Godly attributes seem to slide off way too easily. Then those attributes I want to get rid of seem to stick like a modern day tattoo. Lol. One reason I’ve never been a fan of tattoos. They are pretty permanent. Thank goodness for the sanctification of Christ!

    • Sylvia Schroeder Reply

      Made me smile, Brenda! Yes, thank goodness for the sanctification of Christ! I loved your descriptions from super glue to Band-Aid! I relate, Godly attributes slide off way too easily. Not big on tattoos either! Thanks for writing, I appreciate you taking the time to read and loved your comment!

  5. Barbara Latta Reply

    I just finished reading Colossians so these Scriptures are fresh in my mind. Your word pictures vividly describe what we are required to do by casting off the old. Blessings Sylvia!

    • Sylvia Schroeder Reply

      Thanks so much Barbara. I love that you were in Colossians. There is sooooo much there isn’t there! Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

  6. Nancy E. Head Reply

    I love the way you wove these ideas together. My husband and I haven’t classified his clothes. We just have the work clothes in one place and the better ones in another. May God help us “wear” what honors Him. Thanks, Sylvia. God bless!

    • Sylvia Schroeder Reply

      Nancy, that is my way of categorizing too, but apparently it is much more complicated from my workman’s point of view! I concur with your heart’s request, may God help us “wear” what honors Him. Thanks Nancy!

  7. Annie Yorty Reply

    Your comparison here is spot-on, Sylvia (pun intended). You remind me I need to choose what to wear each day. Thank you.

    • Sylvia Schroeder Reply

      Love the pun! Thanks Annie for reading and your spot-on comment!

  8. Sharon Reply

    I liked that reminder, Sylvia!