What To Wear
By Dot Bowen
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; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. Ephesians 4:22-24 (NIV)
I’ve noticed a few things after Christmas this year. Not only did I receive new clothes for Christmas, I also got the gift of a few new pounds. The unwanted extra weight has caused the frustration of figuring out what to wear each morning. I don’t know how you determine what to wear, but there are several things I consider when selecting what to wear for the day. First, I consider my schedule. Appointments, studying, writing, and family events determine my schedule. After I determine what I’m doing for the day, I check my attitude. My clothing reflects my style, and my attitude reflects the real me. Clothing can cover a few extra, unwanted pounds, but attitude reveals the condition of my heart. Some days my style and attitude match, and some days they do not.
While writing in prison, the apostle Paul wrote a letter to the church of Ephesus to encourage the believers and to remind them how to live as followers of Christ. As I read Paul’s letter, I noticed he consistently wrote about putting on and taking off. All my Christian life I have struggled with what I should put on and what I should take off. Of course, I am not referring to my clothing. I have struggled with what I should put on and take off in regards to my attitude and behavior. What attitude should I have when things are going well? And what should I do when things aren’t going so well? What do I need to take out of my life to improve my attitude? What should I do to reflect the glory of God and rather than myself? How and what can I put on or take off consistently to give to God the glory He deserves?
Paul said to put off your old self, which has deceitful desires. I wonder if I really know what I desire. I think I want one thing, but when I see the price tag—whether financial, emotional, or spiritual—I often find I don’t want to pay the cost for that desire. And what if what I don’t want what God want for me? Before I was a Christian, my desire was for myself. Now, as a follower of Christ, what I once wanted (my past desires), I now hate. I hate the years I lost when I was only living for myself. When I was so wrapped up in my own desires for what I thought would make me happy. For years, I was a package wrapped in myself. I have grown to understand the wisest thing I can do is get rid of any selfish way of living. Paul encourages us to get rid of what brings us down like anger, bitterness, jealousy, and selfishness so we can live as free women of God: a life of freedom, a life of joy, and a life with purpose. This is the clothing Jesus bought for us to wear every day!
How do we live this life of freedom joy, contentment, and purpose? Paul knew we would ask so he tells us in Ephesians 4:30. We live through the power of the Holy Spirit who is in us. We can forgive because Christ has forgiven us. We can show compassion because Christ showed us His compassion. We can love because Christ loved us. And we can have the same attitude of joy that Christ has for us. Hebrews tells us Christ gave His life “for the joy set before Him.” We are His joy, and we are His children. Therefore, we are to put on His attitude because we have been clothed with His righteousness. We don’t have to make our clothing; we only choose to receive the clothing Jesus has already purchased for us.
When you are deciding what to wear each morning, choose His righteousness. We may not feel totally adequate to wear His clothing, but that’s the beauty of God’s gift—we aren’t worthy, we are chosen. As children of God, we have been given His joy and His righteousness, and it’s up to us to put it on! We have the opportunity each day to choose what we will wear, how we will wear it, and why we wear it. It’s time for us to exchange our earthly rags for His heavenly clothing! Christ purchased and gave you His clothing of righteousness so it’s not honoring to Him to wear our old, earthly rags. We can feel confident in our clothing because Jehovah-Taiskenu, the Lord our Righteousness, dressed us. And may I add, not only are you beautiful in Christ’s clothing, they perfectly fit you!
Further Reading Ephesians 4:23-32, Ephesians 6: 10-18, Psalm 65:6, Galatians 3:14, Isaiah 61:10