“Clothe yourselves with the new personality.”—COL. 3:10.
SONGS: 43, 27
1, 2. (a) Why is putting on the new personality within our reach? (b) What aspects of the new personality are recorded at Colossians 3:10-14?
“THE new personality.” That expression occurs twice in the New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures. (Eph. 4:24; Col. 3:10) It refers to a personality that is “created according to God’s will.” Developing such a new personality is within our reach. Why? Because Jehovah created humans in his image and thus made it possible for us to reflect his beautiful qualities.—Gen. 1:26, 27; Eph. 5:1.
2 True, because of the imperfection we inherited from our first parents, we are affected by wrong desires. We may also have been deeply influenced by our environment. Yet, with Jehovah’s merciful help, we can succeed in becoming the sort of person he wants us to be. To strengthen our desire to reach that goal, we will consider several aspects of the new personality that the apostle Paul was inspired to write about. (Read Colossians 3:10-14.) We will also consider how we can demonstrate these aspects in our ministry.
“YOU ARE ALL ONE”
3. What is one characteristic of the new personality?
3 After exhorting us to put on the new personality, Paul goes on to describe impartiality as one striking characteristic of the new personality. He stated: “There is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, foreigner, Scythian, slave, or freeman.” * In the congregation, why should there be no distinction based on race, nationality, or social status? Because true followers of Christ “are all one.”—Col. 3:11; Gal. 3:28.
4. (a) How do servants of Jehovah need to treat others? (b) What situation can pose a challenge to Christian unity?
4 Those clothed with the new personality treat fellow believers and outsiders with dignity, regardless of their social or racial background. (Rom. 2:11) This can be a challenge in some parts of the world. For example, in South Africa most Witnesses still live in areas that were set apart for their race—be it affluent suburbs, black townships, or areas where people of mixed race once had to live. Hence, to encourage our brothers to “widen out,” in October 2013 the Governing Body approved a special arrangement to help the brothers to get to know one another better. (2 Cor. 6:13, ftn.) What did it involve?
5, 6. (a) To strengthen the unity among God’s people in one country, what arrangements were made? (See opening picture.) (b) What have been the results?
5 Arrangements were made for two congregations of different language or race to be together on some weekends. Brothers and sisters from both congregations shared in the preaching work, attended meetings together, and enjoyed hospitality at the homes of one another. Hundreds of congregations took part, and the branch office received many good reports about this arrangement, even from outsiders. For example, one religious minister was moved to say, “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 arrangement affect the Witnesses?
6 At first, a Xhosa-speaking sister named Noma had reservations about inviting white brothers from an English-language congregation to her modest home. But after sharing in the preaching work with the white Witnesses and enjoying hospitality in their homes, she exclaimed, “They are normal people just like us!” So when it was the turn of her Xhosa-language congregation to extend hospitality to the English-language congregation, she prepared a meal and invited some visitors. Among her guests was a white elder. Noma said, “I was impressed that he was willing to sit close to the floor on a plastic crate.” As a result of this ongoing arrangement, many brothers and sisters made new friends and are determined to continue to widen out in their associations.
“TENDER AFFECTIONS OF COMPASSION, KINDNESS”
7. Why is there an ongoing need to show compassion?
7 Until Satan’s world comes to an end, we will continue to experience trials. We deal with unemployment, serious illnesses, persecution, natural disasters, loss of possessions because of crime, or other hardships. To support one another in our suffering or adversity, we need to have genuine compassion. Feeling tender compassion will move us to acts of kindness. (Eph. 4:32) These aspects of the new personality will help us to imitate God and be of comfort to others.—2 Cor. 1:3, 4.
8. Our showing compassion and kindness to all in the congregation may lead to what good results? Give an example.
8 How can we show even greater consideration toward foreigners or disadvantaged ones in our congregation? We need to befriend such individuals and help them to see that they are a valuable part of the congregation. (1 Cor. 12:22, 25) Consider what happened to Dannykarl who moved from the Philippines to Japan. At his workplace, he was not treated as well as the local employees. Then he attended a meeting of Jehovah’s Witnesses. “Almost all in attendance were Japanese,” says Dannykarl, “yet they gave me a warm welcome, as if they were my old acquaintances.” He continued to experience expressions of kindness, which helped him to make spiritual progress. He was baptized, and today he serves as an elder. His fellow elders view Dannykarl and his wife, Jennifer, as a blessing to the congregation. The elders say about them, “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 rewards that come from showing compassion in the ministry.
9 When we share the Kingdom message with others, we have a fine opportunity to do “good toward all.” (Gal. 6:10) Out of compassion for immigrants, many Witnesses endeavor to learn a new language. (1 Cor. 9:23) This has led to rich blessings. For example, a pioneer sister in Australia named Tiffany learned Swahili in order to be of help to a Swahili-language congregation in the city of Brisbane. Though learning the language was a struggle for Tiffany, her life has been enriched. She 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 Consider also the example of a family in Japan. Sakiko, the daughter, relates: “In the 1990’s, 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.” But the family’s compassion did not stop there. “When we saw their spiritual hunger,” says Sakiko, “we began to study Portuguese as a family.” Later, the family helped to establish a Portuguese-language congregation. Through the years, the family helped many immigrants to become servants of Jehovah. “It took a lot of work to learn Portuguese,” adds Sakiko, “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 is having the right motive for putting on the new personality so important? (b) What will help us to remain humble?
11 Our motive for clothing ourselves with the new personality must be to honor Jehovah, not to win praise from men. Remember that even a once perfect spirit creature sinned because he allowed himself to become filled with pride. (Compare Ezekiel 28:17.) How much more difficult it is for sinful humans to avoid improper pride and haughtiness! Still, it is possible to clothe ourselves with humility. What will help us to do so?
12 To remain humble, we need to set aside time to meditate daily on what we read in God’s Word. (Deut. 17:18-20) In particular, we do well to reflect on Jesus’ teachings and his wonderful example of humble service. (Matt. 20:28) Jesus even washed the feet of his apostles. (John 13:12-17) We also need to pray frequently for God’s spirit to help us fight any tendency of feeling superior to others.—Gal. 6:3, 4; Phil. 2:3.
13. What are the rewards for being humble?
13 Prov. 22:4. Humility is required of all true worshippers and brings great rewards. Being humble will help us to promote peace and unity in the congregation. Developing and strengthening humility will also make us recipients of God’s undeserved kindness. The apostle Peter stated: “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.”—Read 1 Peter 5:5.
“CLOTHE YOURSELVES WITH . . . MILDNESS . . . AND PATIENCE”
14. Who is the best example in showing mildness and patience?
14 In today’s world, people who are mild and patient are often considered weak. How far such reasoning is from the truth! These beautiful qualities originate from the most powerful Person in the universe. Jehovah God is the best example of showing mildness and patience. (2 Pet. 3:9) Consider how he responded through his angelic representatives when Abraham and Lot questioned him. (Gen. 18:22-33; 19:18-21) Also, for over 1,500 years, Jehovah put up with the wayward nation of Israel.—Ezek. 33:11.
15. What example did Jesus set in showing mildness and patience?
15 Jesus was “mild-tempered.” (Matt. 11:29) He showed great patience in putting up with the weaknesses of his followers. Throughout his earthly ministry, Jesus endured unjust criticism from religious opposers. Yet, he was mild and patient right up to his wrongful execution. While suffering agonizing pain on the torture stake, Jesus prayed that his Father forgive his executioners because, as he said, “they do not know what they are doing.” (Luke 23:34) What an outstanding example of mildness and patience under painful and stressful circumstances!—Read 1 Peter 2:21-23.
16. In what practical way can we show mildness and patience?
16 How can we show mildness and patience? Paul mentioned one way when he wrote to fellow believers: “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.” (Col. 3:13) Indeed, it takes mildness and patience on our part to obey this command. But by being forgiving, we promote and preserve the unity in the congregation.
17. Why are mildness and patience important?
17 Being clothed with mildness and patience is not optional for a Christian. It is an essential requirement for our salvation. (Matt. 5:5; Jas. 1:21) More important, by means of these qualities, we honor Jehovah and help others to heed the Bible’s counsel.—Gal. 6:1; 2 Tim. 2:24, 25.
“CLOTHE YOURSELVES WITH LOVE”
18. What connection is there between love and impartiality?
18 All the qualities considered thus far are closely connected with love. For example, the disciple James had to counsel his brothers for favoring the rich over the poor. He showed that such conduct violated the royal law: “You must love your neighbor as yourself.” Then he added: “If you continue showing favoritism, you are committing sin.” (Jas. 2:8, 9) In contrast, love will move us to avoid any discrimination based on education, race, or social status. Indeed, impartiality needs to be more than a veneer. It must be a genuine part of our personality.
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 Cor. 13:4) It truly takes patience, kindness, and humility to continue sharing the Kingdom message with our neighbors. (Matt. 28:19) These same qualities make it easier for us to get along with all the brothers and sisters in the congregation. What is the reward for showing such love? It produces united congregations that reflect well on Jehovah and that attract newly interested ones. Fittingly, the Bible’s description of the new personality concludes with this powerful truth: “Besides all these things, clothe yourselves with love, for it is a perfect bond of union.”—Col. 3:14.
“CONTINUE TO BE MADE NEW”
20. (a) What questions should we ask ourselves, and why? (b) We look forward to what time?
20 Each of us should ask himself, ‘What more can I do to strip off and keep off the old personality?’ We need to pray fervently for God’s help and work hard to overcome any attitude or practice that will prevent us from inheriting God’s Kingdom. (Gal. 5:19-21) We also need to ask, ‘Do I continue to be made new in my dominant mental attitude?’ (Eph. 4:23, 24) Putting on and keeping on the new personality is an ongoing process for all Christians until we are able to do so to the full. Imagine how wonderful life will be when everyone we know is clothed to perfection with the new personality!
^ par. 3 In Bible times, Scythians were looked down on as uncivilized people.