I don’t tend to focus too much on what I wear. Sometimes I end up wearing old clothes that really should be given away or turned into rags. My wife notices my clothes much more than I do, so I’ve told her she is free to go through my closet whenever she wants and get rid of my old clothes. I usually don’t even miss them.
Just like me, many of us hang on to our clothes too long, and we need to let them go. The same thing can be true in our spiritual life. In the New Testament, the Apostle Paul shares some practical advice for us to help determine what kind of spiritual clothing we need to get rid of and what new kind of clothing we should be putting on instead.
“But now you must also rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander and filthy language from your lips. Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator ... Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.” (Colossians 3:8-10, 12-14)
It’s time we get rid of our old clothing and put on new clothes. We need to go through our spiritual closet and toss out our old behaviors and attitudes like anger, rage, malicious behavior, etc., that keep us from experiencing a close and satisfying relationship with God and with others. We need to make room in our closet for compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, patience and love.
This new wardrobe symbolizes our new Christian nature, with our new behaviors and attitudes. If and when we become Christ followers, we make these wardrobe changes because a dramatic change occurs in our very being. According to the Apostle Paul, “… anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!” (2 Corinthians 5:17)
As a Christ follower, I no longer have to rely on alcohol or drugs or behave in a totally self-centered way, like I did for so many years. Instead, God has a new way of life for me. God offers a new way of life for each of us because we matter so deeply to Him.
There’s no good reason to hold on to our old clothes, our old sinful thoughts, and our old sinful behaviors. Instead, let’s replace that awful wardrobe with clothes of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, patience and love. Let’s embrace the new life that God has for us.
John Watson is pastor of LifeGroups and Care ministries at eFree Church in Kearney.