A couple of years ago I attended an executive development leadership program. An interesting component of the training was a psychological profile intended to highlight each of our individual strengths and weaknesses, specifically pertaining to leadership. Of course every person has a combination of both strengths and weaknesses. That is true today and has been true throughout the history of mankind. There is one exception.
Jesus Christ, who did nothing but what He saw His Father do, and said nothing but what He heard His Father say, is the lone perfect man. Jesus is the personification of God’s glory and therefore the complete embodiment of every positive trait available to humanity with none of the typical negatives.
Thinking back to the results of my leadership profile, there were several areas where my natural personality was lacking. Obviously the intent of such an exercise is to recognize both strengths to accentuate, as well as weaknesses to improve upon. In dealing with our weaknesses, one of the awesome things about a life in Christ is the opportunity to do what the Apostle Paul calls “put on Christ”.
I like the way the NASB translation puts it in Galatians 3:26-27.
For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.
Clothed with Christ. The image here is to be enveloped within Christ like you would be enveloped within a large robe. The concept of “being clothed” is more than just a Pauline analogy for being in Christ. Paul uses the same word in Colossians 3:10, encouraging us to “put on the new self who is being renewed to a true knowledge according to the image of the One who created him“. Putting on Christ entails taking on His character. Paul illustrates this further a few verses later in Colossians 3:12-14.
So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience; bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you. Beyond all these things [put on] love, which is the perfect bond of unity.
A heart of compassion, kindness, humility and the rest of the list are all characteristics of Christ and we can put them on only to the extent we put on Christ. The strengths of Christ are not limited to those listed here by Paul, nor are we limited by this list. When surveying the results of my leadership profile, I can take comfort in knowing that I don’t have to be limited by the things I am not. When the need for a trait I naturally lack arises, I am able to put on Christ.