I love Paul’s words to the Colossians and our need to put on tender mercies:
Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering;13 bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do.14 But above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection. 15 And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful. 16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. 17 And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.
This is a clear reminder of who we are to be “in Christ.” We are to put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness and longsuffering. These do not come to us by nature, since our nature is contrary to the things of God. But they do come to us after we have become born again in Christ. We are saved by faith alone in Christ alone, but not a faith that is alone and these are fruits of the Spirit that we are to pursue as new creations in Christ.
Paul puts it to us in a way that reflects our responsibility as believers. We are “put on” these things. AS we grow in Christ and the knowledge of Him, the more we reflect these realities in our lives. This implies pursuing these things and chasing after them. When we read these words, we should not only desire them, but pursue them, putting them on as we put off the elements of the flesh that so ensnare us, just as Paul warned us in 3:8ff
But now you yourselves are to put off all these: anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy language out of your mouth.9 Do not lie to one another, since you have put off the old man with his deeds, 10 and have put on the new man who is renewed in knowledge according to the image of Him who created him, 11 where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcised nor uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave nor free, but Christ is all and in all.
Only believers can put off these things. Only believers have been equipped to do so and only believers have been given the desire. All others are slaves to the flesh and to death. While a non-believer may desire the peace found in Christ, He does not desire Christ. Only true believers desire Him and the benefits of being in Him.