As I write this blog, I’m sitting in a coffee shop, watching the people around me while I type (one of my eeriest off-putting talents). Being the only coffee joint in my small town, this place tends to attract all types—particularly after schools let out. There’s quite the variety of patrons in the afternoon hours, but one thing I notice now by not having anything to notice about it is that as different as all are, everyone in this ship has one thing in common:
We’re all wearing clothes.
Generally speaking, barring those rebellious toddler years, forgetting to get dressed before leaving the house is a non-issue. By career age, we’re all pretty good at remembering that important step of the daily routine, thank goodness. But I think there’s something we’re all guilty of doing at least a few times on the most rushed of mornings, which is pulling on a pair of jeans or a shirt of questionable cleanliness before dashing out the door. If our clothing passes a sniff-test, it’s generally considered decent etiquette to recycle a favorite shirt or that just-right pair of pants before they’ve taken a spin through the wash.
There’s a biblical principle around clothes-wearing, too, and I’m not talking about the Levitical law that forbids sowing different kinds of cloth together.
In Ephesians 4, we’re told to “put off” the old self and “put on” the new. The old self is a musty, dirty garment riddled with lies, anger, bitterness, deceit, malice and all kinds of ugly stains. The new self is clean and fresh and stitched at every seam with edification, truth, honesty and graciousness. It’s more desirable in every way, both to us and to those around us, and guess what? After we accepted Jesus as Lord and became more and more like him, these clothes fit us better, too.
Sometimes it’s all too easy to slip on those baggy, well-worn sweatpants of theft and corrupt talk. Sometimes that ratty shirt full of defaming holes and rage is easier to drag over our heads in a rush. Sometimes, rather than taking the time to put on the new man, we dress in the old as we sail out the door to face the day.
Taking the time to actively put on our “new man” nature with all its godly attributes is challenging at times—not because it’s difficult to find in our wardrobe, but because it requires more of us to wear it well. We have to really work hard to “get dressed” in the morning. It takes attitude adjustments and diligent perseverance to keep our actions in line with this new nature—the nature of God. Sometimes by comparison, our sinful old-man nature just seems so cushy and easy and comfortable.
But we must always remember that when we were saved, when we became God’s, this heavenly garment become our garb. No matter how comfortable or easy it may feel when we slip into the old man nature, that is not our raiment anymore. And even if it takes us longer in the morning to get dressed with the principles of tenderheartedness, kindness, and forgiveness, it’s worth every second; for just as we wouldn’t go dashing out the front door naked as a matter of “convenience,” so too as followers of Jesus we should not go out into the world dressed in anything less than the attributes of God: our new man nature.