…put on the new man….
— Ephesians 4:24
In yesterday’s Sparkling Gem, I taught about “purging the closet” — essentially, ridding your life of anything that is incompatible with whom you have become in Christ Jesus. Today I want to switch gears and teach you how to put on new things that are compatible with living a holy, consecrated life! But before I delve into the Word, I want to relate an experience from my life that happened soon after I had finished writing yesterday’s Gem.
After crafting the finishing lines of that Gem, my wife Denise and I embarked on a trip to Rome that we had been planning for quite some time. When we arrived, Denise asked if she could go shopping “just to look” and see what was in the clothing stores. Of course, I know that looking leads to buying, so I was mystified that she wanted to purchase more clothes since she had just purged her closet the prior week. In fact, when we left for Rome, a huge pile of her clothes was still stacked on top of our guestroom bed, waiting to be zipped up in suitcases and sent to our church where they would be donated for other women to enjoy.
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But now Denise wanted to go window-shopping — which I knew would result in buying more clothes. I just couldn’t wrap my head around it. After that multi-day closet purge, her closet was finally free of those old clothes, and now Denise was going to start filling it up again!
As Denise browsed through one particular shop for two hours, I sat at a coffee shop down the street and waited. The longer I sat there, the more frustrated I became. I wondered, Why is she trying to find new clothes when she just got rid of so many clothes? So finally I got up from my table and went to the store to confront her with my question. I asked, “Denise, you just spent days cleaning out the closet and getting rid of your old clothes. Can you explain to me why you are now trying to refill the closet with new clothes?”
She looked at me and responded, “It’s about having clothes that fit who I am now. Those old clothes don’t reflect who I am anymore. I need clothes that reflect what’s going on inside my life right now!”
I walked out of the store, returned to the very same coffee shop, and continued waiting. As I sat there over a fresh cup of coffee, I really pondered what my wife had said. Finally, I called her on her mobile phone and asked, “Are we close to finishing at this shop?” She answered, “Please come here. I want to show you what I’ve found.” Over the next 40 minutes, we had a fashion show as she tried on every piece of clothing for me that she had picked out — and I have to be honest, those clothes were totally different from anything she had in her “giveaway” pile at home. This deliberate stylistic shift attested to a deeper change in Denise. She is a unique, evolving individual, and the clothes she chose beautifully reflected the changes taking place in her. I finally got it!
This experience brought my mind right back to yesterday’s Sparkling Gem, where we saw that the apostle Paul exhorted us to rid ourselves of attitudes that are incompatible with a godly lifestyle. However, this was not the totality of Paul’s message. After he exhorted us to “put off the old man” in verse 22, Paul continued in Ephesians 4:24 by saying, “And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.” After telling us what to take off, Paul proceeded to tell us what to put on — that we need to acquire new spiritual clothes!
What exactly do these new spiritual clothes look like? Paul provided more detail in Colossians 3:12,13 when he said, “Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering; forbearing one another, and forgiving one another….”
The phrase “put on” is a translation of the Greek word enduo, which was often used in ancient literature to denote a person putting on a new set of clothes. Thus, when it comes to spiritual matters, Paul was telling us it is not enough to simply remove residual hang-ups, bad habits, and fleshly tendencies that block the true expression of your identity in Christ. We must make a conscious effort to “put on” new attitudes and characteristics that are compatible with our new life in Jesus Christ.
And do you know what I’ve discovered from my own personal spiritual journey? The longer I walk with the Lord and the closer I become to Him, the higher He calls me and the more He encourages me to change my lifestyle in order to more closely reflect His character.
As I watched Denise try on all those new clothes in that shop in Rome, I thought of these verses. Inwardly I surmised, Well, Denise “put off” a bunch of clothes that no longer matched her style, and now she is going to “put on” a whole new set of clothes that better fits her evolving style. When I went to pay her bill, I looked at her and jokingly told her she was being scriptural. She liked that response!
Take a moment today to meditate on Ephesians 4:24 and Colossians 3:12,13 and see what God wants you personally to put on. The Holy Spirit wants to dress you in a new and better style, and He is the best Designer on planet Earth! He knows you; He knows Jesus; and He knows how to make you reflect the work Jesus has done inside your heart and life!
MY PRAYER FOR TODAY
Father, You are an amazing Designer! You have decorated and adorned all Your creation in stunning array! But nothing compares with the way You adorned Your children when You clothed us with Your own righteousness to showcase the beauty of Your holiness in a glorious display. I honor You, Father, by putting on the garments that Jesus died to provide for me. And I thank You that because of what Jesus has done, when I put on Christ, people will see and recognize Your goodness each time they look at me.
I pray this in Jesus’ name!
MY CONFESSION FOR TODAY
I confess that I am a new creation in Christ Jesus. I have laid aside the old clothes of my former way of thinking and acting, and I have put on the new wardrobe prepared for me as a partaker of God’s own nature. For my permanent new set of clothing, I put on mercy, kindness, humility of mind, gentleness, patience, and forgiveness. This new wardrobe will never wear out, and it will always be in style with God’s best. Thank You, Lord, for clothing me with dignity and strength, and for making my way perfect as I put on your character like a garment of glory.
I declare this by faith in Jesus’ name!
QUESTIONS FOR YOU TO CONSIDER
- What kinds of changes do you sense the Holy Spirit is seeking to work outwardly in your life so that you become a greater reflection of His work inside your heart?
- When you came to Jesus, He called you to repent and lay aside dead works, but He also called you to take on the character of Christ. Can you say that you demonstrate the character of Christ in your lifestyle? In what ways do you need to conform to Christ more?
- When you look at the list of Christ-like garments that we are supposed to wear listed in Colossians 3:12 and 13, which ones do you think need the most attention in your life specifically?