12 Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, 13 bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. 14And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. 15And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. 16Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. 17And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
I think it's interesting to note the distinction between two commands in this passage to "put on," and two commands to "let." "Put on" is a very active instruction. Pulling a shirt over my head is very different than letting someone else dress me. So this passage show us that we must choose--actively chose--compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, patience, forbearance, forgiveness, and most of all love. This is to be our clothing, the padding under our armor, if we extend two metaphors that were never intended to intersect (or were they, because I now have?).
"Let" is in quite the opposite sense a passive action. When we allow things to happen to us it is mostly by consent, permission. It is not something that we have to force, something that takes effort from us. The peace of Christ will rule in our hearts if we allow it. If we decide we want another ruler, well, then that is up to us. The word of God will dwell in the disciple's heart if he allows it, especially if he is thankful (notice thankfulness on either side of this instruction). It seems that as God's word dwells in us richly, that wise instruction, admonition, and worship are results, along with ever more thankfulness.
I love knowing and being able to completely trust that God not only knows what is best for me, but wants it also. He wants me to be well dressed in love, and will help me to choose. In fact I probably can't choose to put on love without him. And he wants what's best for me in terms of his word, in terms of his peace. And all I need to give him to let his peace rule is consent -- I just have to trust him enough to let him rule.
And we see this with peace all the time. When we trust God, there is peace in our hearts, even if our lives are chaos.