“Clothe yourselves with the new personality.”—COLOSSIANS 3:10.
1, 2. (a) How do we know that it is possible for us to put on the new personality? (b) What qualities of the new personality do we learn about at Colossians 3:10-14?
IN THE New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures, we find the expression “the new personality” two times. (Ephesians 4:24; Colossians 3:10) This refers to a personality that is “created according to God’s will.” Is it possible for us to put on this new personality? Yes. Jehovah created humans in his image, so we are able to imitate his beautiful qualities.—Genesis 1:26, 27; Ephesians 5:1.
2 It is true that because we inherited imperfection, we all have wrong desires at times. We are also affected by our environment. But with Jehovah’s merciful help, we can become the kind of people he wants us to be. To help us be determined to do this, let us discuss several qualities that are part of the new personality. (Read Colossians 3:10-14.) Then we will see how we can show these qualities in our ministry.
“YOU ARE ALL ONE”
3. What is one quality of the new personality?
3 Paul explained that impartiality is an important part of the new personality. He stated: “There is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, foreigner, Scythian, slave, or freeman.” * (See footnote.) In the congregation, no one should feel that he is better than others because of his race, nationality, or position in the community. Why? Because as Christ’s followers, we “are all one.”—Colossians 3:11; Galatians 3:28.
We do not treat anyone differently because of his race or background
4. (a) How do servants of Jehovah need to treat others? (b) What situation can challenge Christian unity?
4 When we clothe ourselves with the new personality, we treat all people with respect and honor, no matter what their race or background is. (Romans 2:11) In some parts of the world, this can be especially difficult. For example, in the past in South Africa, the government set aside places for people of different races to live. Most people in that country, including Witnesses, still live in those areas. The Governing Body wanted to encourage our brothers to “widen out.” So in October 2013, they approved a special arrangement that would help brothers of different races to get to know one another better.—2 Corinthians 6:13, footnote.
5, 6. (a) What arrangements were made in one country to help God’s people to be more unified? (See opening picture.) (b) What have been the results?
5 The brothers made arrangements so that on some weekends, Witnesses from two congregations of a different language or race could spend time together. Brothers and sisters from both congregations shared in preaching, went to meetings together, and visited one another’s homes. Hundreds of congregations participated in this arrangement, and the branch office received many good reports. It even impressed some who were not Witnesses. For example, one religious minister said: “I am not a Witness, but I will say that you have an outstandingly organized preaching work, and you have racial unity.” How did the brothers and sisters feel about this arrangement?
6 At first, a Xhosa-speaking sister named Noma felt too nervous to invite Witnesses from the English-language congregation to her modest home. But after she preached with white Witnesses and visited them in their homes, she felt more comfortable. She said: “They are normal people just like us!” So when brothers and sisters from the English-language congregation came to preach with the Xhosa-language congregation, Noma invited some of them to her house for a meal. She was impressed when she noticed that one of her guests, an elder who was white, was happy to sit on a low plastic crate. Thanks to this ongoing program, many brothers and sisters made new friends and continue to get to know those from different backgrounds.
CLOTHE YOURSELVES WITH COMPASSION AND KINDNESS
7. Why do we always need to show compassion?
7 Until Satan’s world comes to an end, Jehovah’s people will have trials. Unemployment, serious illnesses, persecution, natural disasters, loss of possessions because of crime, or other hardships may affect all of us. To help one another during trials, we need to have real compassion. Tender compassion will move us to treat others with kindness. (Ephesians 4:32) These qualities are part of the new personality. They will help us imitate God and comfort others.—2 Corinthians 1:3, 4.
8. What good things can happen when we are compassionate and kind to all in the congregation? Give an example.
8 How can we show more kindness to those in our congregation who have moved from another country or who are disadvantaged? We want to welcome them, become their friends, and help them to see that we need them in the congregation. (1 Corinthians 12:22, 25) For example, Dannykarl moved to Japan from the Philippines. Because he was a foreigner, he was not treated as well as the other workers at his job. Then he attended a meeting of Jehovah’s Witnesses. Dannykarl said: “Almost all in attendance were Japanese, yet they gave me a warm welcome, as if they were my old acquaintances.” The kindness of the brothers continued to help him draw close to Jehovah. In time Dannykarl got baptized, and today he serves as an elder. His fellow elders are happy that he and his wife, Jennifer, are part of the congregation and say: “They lead a very simple life as pioneers and set a fine example of seeking the Kingdom first.”—Luke 12:31.
9, 10. Give examples of the good results that come when we show compassion in the ministry.
9 We have an opportunity to do “good toward all” when we preach the good news of the Kingdom. (Galatians 6:10) Many Witnesses feel compassion for immigrants and try to learn their language. (1 Corinthians 9:23) Their efforts have brought good results. For example, a pioneer sister in Australia named Tiffany learned Swahili in order to help a Swahili-language congregation in the city of Brisbane. Even though learning the language was a struggle, her life has become more meaningful. Tiffany says: “If you want an exciting ministry, serving in a foreign-language congregation is for you. It’s like traveling without leaving your city. You get to experience our worldwide brotherhood and see its miraculous unity firsthand.”
10 A family in Japan did something similar. Sakiko, the daughter, says: “We often met Brazilian immigrants when we were in the field ministry. When we showed them scriptures from their Portuguese Bible, such as Revelation 21:3, 4 or Psalm 37:10, 11, 29, they paid attention and sometimes even shed tears.” The family felt compassion for these immigrants and wanted to help them learn the truth, so they began to study Portuguese as a family. Later, the family helped to start a Portuguese-language congregation. Over the years, they have helped many immigrants to become servants of Jehovah. Sakiko says: “It took a lot of work to learn Portuguese, but the blessings far outweigh the efforts. We are so thankful to Jehovah.”—Read Acts 10:34, 35.
CLOTHE YOURSELVES WITH HUMILITY
11, 12. (a) Why do we need to have the right motive for putting on the new personality? (b) What will help us to stay humble?
11 Our motive for putting on the new personality must be to honor Jehovah, not to receive praise from others. Remember that even a perfect angel became proud and sinned. (Compare Ezekiel 28:17.) We are imperfect, so it is much more difficult for us to avoid pride. Still, we can clothe ourselves with humility. What will help us to do this?
12 One thing that will help us to be humble is to read God’s Word every day and meditate on what we read. (Deuteronomy 17:18-20) We especially need to meditate on what Jesus taught us and on his wonderful example of humility. (Matthew 20:28) Jesus was so humble that he washed the feet of his apostles. (John 13:12-17) Another thing we can do is pray to Jehovah for his spirit. His spirit can help us fight any tendency to feel that we are better than others.—Galatians 6:3, 4; Philippians 2:3.
When we are humble, the congregation will become more peaceful and united
13. What are the rewards of being humble?
13 Read Proverbs 22:4. Jehovah requires us to be humble. Humility brings many rewards. When we are humble, the congregation will become more peaceful and united. Also, Jehovah will give us his undeserved kindness. The apostle Peter said: “All of you clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because God opposes the haughty ones, but he gives undeserved kindness to the humble ones.”—1 Peter 5:5.
CLOTHE YOURSELVES WITH MILDNESS AND PATIENCE
14. Who is the best example of being mild and patient?
14 In today’s world, if a person is mild and patient, others often think that he is weak. But this is not true. These beautiful qualities come from Jehovah, the most powerful Person in the universe. He is the best example of being mild and patient. (2 Peter 3:9) For example, think about how patient Jehovah was when he answered Abraham and Lot by means of His angels. (Genesis 18:22-33; 19:18-21) And think about how patient Jehovah was with the disobedient nation of Israel for more than 1,500 years.—Ezekiel 33:11.
15. What example did Jesus set in showing mildness and patience?
15 Jesus was “mild-tempered.” (Matthew 11:29) He was very patient with the weaknesses of his disciples. During his ministry on earth, Jesus was often unfairly criticized and accused. But he was mild and patient right up to his death. When Jesus was in extreme pain on the torture stake, he asked his Father to forgive the men who put him to death. He said: “They do not know what they are doing.” (Luke 23:34) Even when Jesus was under stress or in pain, he remained mild and patient.—Read 1 Peter 2:21-23.
16. How can we show mildness and patience?
16 Paul mentioned one way that we can show mildness and patience when he wrote: “Continue putting up with one another and forgiving one another freely even if anyone has a cause for complaint against another. Just as Jehovah freely forgave you, you must also do the same.” (Colossians 3:13) In order to forgive others, we need to be mild and patient. This will promote and preserve the unity in the congregation.
17. Why are mildness and patience important?
17 Jehovah requires us to be mild and patient with others. These qualities are essential if we want to live in his new world. (Matthew 5:5; James 1:21) When we are mild and patient, we honor Jehovah and help others to do the same.—Galatians 6:1; 2 Timothy 2:24, 25.
CLOTHE YOURSELVES WITH LOVE
18. How are love and impartiality connected?
18 The qualities we have discussed are all connected with love. For example, the disciple James had to counsel his brothers because they treated rich people better than poor ones. He explained that this was against God’s commandment to “love your neighbor as yourself.” Then he added: “If you continue showing favoritism, you are committing sin.” (James 2:8, 9) If we love people, we will not be prejudiced against anyone because of his education, race, or social status. We cannot simply act as if we are impartial. Impartiality needs to be a genuine part of who we are.
19. Why is it important that we clothe ourselves with love?
19 Love is also “patient and kind” and “does not get puffed up.” (1 Corinthians 13:4) We need to be patient, kind, and humble in order to continue sharing the good news with our neighbors. (Matthew 28:19) These qualities also make it easier to get along with all our brothers and sisters in the congregation. When we all show such love, our congregations will be united and will bring honor to Jehovah. Others will see this unity and will be drawn to the truth. It is appropriate that the Bible’s description of the new personality concludes: “Besides all these things, clothe yourselves with love, for it is a perfect bond of union.”—Colossians 3:14.
“CONTINUE TO BE MADE NEW”
20. (a) What questions should we ask ourselves? Why? (b) What wonderful future can we look forward to?
20 We should all ask ourselves, ‘What changes do I still need to make in order to strip off and keep off the old personality?’ We must pray to Jehovah and beg him to help us. We need to work hard to change wrong thoughts or actions so that we can “inherit God’s Kingdom.” (Galatians 5:19-21) We also need to ask, ‘Do I continue to adjust my way of thinking so as to please Jehovah?’ (Ephesians 4:23, 24) We are imperfect, so we need to keep working hard to put on and keep on the new personality. This is an ongoing process. How wonderful life will be when everyone alive will have put on the new personality and will imitate Jehovah’s beautiful qualities perfectly!
^ par. 3 In Bible times, people thought that the Scythians were not civilized, so they despised them.