“and put on the new f]’>in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth.” v. 24 (NASB)
I stood inside my closet, looking at the beautiful new dress hanging there. My dad and I had gone shopping for my birthday and we chose it together. The dress was gorgeous and I could not wait to put it on. In fact, it did not hang in the closet for long: that was my outfit to church that following Sunday.
Everybody loves new clothes. Well, at least most women do. It feels good to have something new on. But it’s not just new clothes we love. We love to drive that new car, or sit on that new couch. We love to move into that new house or redecorate the old one with new objects and furniture. We gladly commit to putting on newclothes, or using new objects. But when it comes to spiritual things, we don’t always seem as eager to put on the New.
Paul’s epistle to the Ephesians was designed as an encouragement letter to the believers in Ephesus. In it, Paul describes the nature of the church and challenges believers to function as a living representative body of Christ on earth. After a warm greeting, Paul reminds the Ephesians of their standing in Christ: Redeemed. Chosen for Greatness. Filled with the Holy Spirit. Empowered for the Supernatural. Freed from the Bondage of Sin. One can feel his passion and excitement in the first three chapters of the letter.
Then on chapter 4, as though overcome with emotion, Paul changes his tone and starts reminding us that we must choose to walk in a manner worthy of Christ. God has done what only God could do: He has chosen us, redeemed us, filled us and empowered us. The next steps are ours to take.
In what seems like a list of Do’s and Don’ts, Paul lays the Holy Spirit’s instructions for a walk that is worthy of the nature you and I have been given. He says (in my colorful interpretation):
(You, redeemed Child of the Most High) Lay aside the old clothes. Stop walking as those who are still in darkness. Remember, I have empowered you to do this! (vs. 17-19)
(You, chosen seed of Abraham) Put on the new clothes I’ve given you! Put on those garments, which have been created in righteousness and holiness of truth! (vs. 24)
(You, who are filled with the Holy Spirit) Master your tongue, your thoughts, your emotions! Therefore speak truth! Don’t slander your neighbor! Control your temper! Because every time you don’t, you give the devil an opportunity to come into your house. And feast. And destroy. (vs. 27-31)
(You, whom I have empowered for Great Things) Steal no more. Instead, work. Don’t steal precious time from me. Don’t waste a minute in vain tasks that bear no fruit for your future. I have a plan for you. My task is to do that which only I can do. Your task is to work. And Listen. And keep working. (v. 28)
(You, My beloved child) Be kind. Patient. Tenderhearted. Forgiving. Don’t hold these things from anyone in your life. Because I have been kind, patient and tenderhearted towards you. Remember: I have forgiven you completely.
I wonder what our world would be if every Christian out there became as eager to “put on the new self” as we are to put on new clothes… or use new gadgets. I wonder what would happen if we decided, each day, to wear the new garment Christ has purchased for us with His precious blood: A garment adorned with truth, patience, forgiveness, purity in actions and thoughts. I wonder what our impact would be if we all stood up together and said: No. We are not watching that. Or wearing that. Or repeating that. Or going there. Or touching that.
This one thing I know: Were we not vested with the ability to do these things, the Holy Spirit would not have used imperative verbs in these verses to admonish us: “Lay aside!” “Put on!”, “Steal not!” “Let not!”
There is no question about it: We are indeed able. We are completely capable and empowered. If only we choose to deliberately clean the closet, discarding the old, as we do with clothes that we’ll never wear again. And then, intentionally put on the New.
As we dress to get out there, let’s dress as World Changers. History Shakers. Life Givers. Light Bearers.
Let’s dress as children of the King of Righteousness.
Yes. Let’s choose to put on the New!
“For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light.” Ephesians 5:8 (NKJV)