‘You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires…and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.’ (Ephesians 4:22,24 NIV)
How did you decide what to wear today?
Some people colour coordinate right down to matching handbags and shoes.
Some put on a suit and tie for that all-important business meeting.
Some slip on a pair of jeans and an old shirt as they tackle the garden.
For teenagers it’s usually whatever’s clean!
For others, usually men, it looks like they got dressed in the dark as nothing seems to bear any relation to anything else they are wearing.
Sometimes what we wear is appropriate to the situation, but sometimes it isn’t.
I still remember that classic ‘Only Fools and Horses’ episode where Del Boy and Rodney dress up as Batman and Robin to go to a fancy dress party. When they arrive at the house they charge in singing the Batman theme tune only to find that all the other guests are dressed very sombrely in black. The host of the party had died that afternoon and no one had told them.
As a Christian we are to be appropriately dressed.
We cannot dress by wearing the same spiritual clothes we used to put on.
Those pig-swilled clothes of our former life before Christ are no longer fit for us to wear. In other words we cannot live in the same way we did before we became a Christian; we are to ‘put off’ our old self, and ‘put on’ the new.
What does this involve?
In context Paul gives us some pointers:
Put off: falsehood (Ephesians 4:25), stealing (v.28), unwholesome talk (v.29), bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice (v.31)
Put on: truthful speaking (v.25), working hard, doing things useful, and sharing with those in need (v.28), building others up (v.29), being kind and compassionate to one another, and forgiving each other (v.32).
The trouble is too often I prefer the old clothes and let old sinful habits rule my life.
Putting on the new clothes that Jesus gives and changing is not the easiest thing to do. It’s a life-long process and I know that daily Jesus will need to exchange my dirty rags for his fresh and beautiful garments.
But it is important that we wear this new set of spiritual clothes otherwise we will grieve the Holy Spirit (v.30).
I for one am grateful for the grace God gives to make this possible (v.7) and for his forgiveness when I fail (v.32).
I have decided to renew my commitment to get dressed in the new clothes of Christ.
How about you?
What are you going to wear today and throughout the year ahead?
Father, I am sorry for the times when I’ve been more comfortable in my old clothes, and I pray that over this coming year your grace and mercy will enable me to put on the clothes of your new life as I grow towards the fullness of Christ.
Have a good year dressing in your new garments.