What are you wearing?
Do you sometimes feel different when you put on a different set of clothes? Does changing clothes into those that go with a particular profession – the policeman, the firefighter, the basketball player, the nurse – does that alter attitudes and behavior? My next door neighbor sure looks different in his jeans out mowing the grass than he does when he has the uniform on and gets in his police car. I bet he feels different too. Decades ago, when I was in a job where I wore a suit and tie every day, “Casual Friday” became the rage (yes, I said it was decades ago!). We had one manager who would not let his office “dress down” because of how it changed behavior in the workplace. I argued with him forever about it and neither of us ever backed down. But he did have a point (if you know him, please don’t tell him I said so).
In Paul’s letter to the church in Colosse, he talks about living the life of a disciple of Jesus. What does that life look like? God gave these words to Paul:
“Don’t lie to each other, for you have stripped off your old sinful nature and all its wicked deeds. Put on your new nature, and be renewed as you learn to know your Creator and become like him … you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience … Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony.” (Colossians 3:9-10, 12b, 14 NLTse)
Those first 17 verses of Colossians – in the NLT subtitled Living the New Life – is one of my favorite passages in the Bible. I highly recommend it for your Bible reading. In those verses extracted above, I hear Paul talking about our old nature and our new nature like a set of clothes. That old nature? The one before accepting Christ and before the Holy Spirit came to live inside me? He tells us how we behaved with that set of clothes and tells us to strip those off. Then he tells us how the disciple of Jesus behaves with our new set of clothes and tells us to put those on. I love that imagery.
This morning I was thinking about this passage again and the frequency of changing clothes came to mind. God’s words that He gave to Paul sound like I’m putting on that set of clothes and keeping them on forever. Whoever does the laundry in your house would like that! Well, after a few days, maybe not. Two more thoughts came to mind. First, when we take off those old clothes, we need to burn them. Don’t have them lying around, available to put on again. Second, we need to put on our new clothes every day. If I keep those new clothes on all the time, they get stale and stinky, and given enough time, start to look more and more like those old clothes I burned. But if I put them on every day, then it’s akin to God’s mercies, fresh and new every day.
Loving the Journey,