Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. Because of these, the wrath of God is coming. You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived. 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. Colossians 3:5-10
Being a father of two young ladies, I’ve quickly learned that “we’ll be ready in 5 minutes” is girl code for “it will be at least a half hour until we are walking out the door.” In that timeframe, there will be at least a dozen outfit changes that take place. One look gets replaced with another.
As I sit patiently on the couch, I’ll hear the issues they have with every outfit: The top clashes with the bottom. Those jeans are so out of style. They don’t have cute enough shoes to go with their ensemble. The skirt is way too short (this outfit change was brought to you by the protective dad in me).
A flurry of trying on and taking off apparel ensues for what seems like an eternity. Coming to a final consensus on an outfit seems like an impossible task. Trying on different outfits isn’t exclusive for teen girls. Many believers do the same exercise when it comes to trust in their identity in Christ. Today’s passage found in Colossians 3 speaks of TAKING OFF your old self and its practices and PUTTING ON the new self clothed in Christ. (v. 9-10).
Don’t be mistaken. Some read this verse and think this it is like putting on a new pair of jeans or a fancy top only to take it off before bedtime. This isn’t what Paul is talking. Neither is it looking at our tag to see what label we are wearing. Even though we sin, we are a new creation. Paul is referring to a once and for all identity change. Our old self is gone and replaced with something brand new. A new culture requires new patterns which only come from trusting our new identity in Christ.
When we enter into a relationship with Christ, an incredible transformation takes place. In Ephesians 2:1-10, Paul talks about the drastic change that occurs within us when we accept what Christ did on the cross and decide to walk with Him. Paul once again uses the imagery of our old self passing away, dying to Christ, as He forges a new self alive through Him.
A transformation like this occurs not by our power, but solely through His ability to transform us into something new. We have to dress in our new identity so that we live distinct lives that cause the world to take notice of what makes us different which is our encounter with His love, grace, mercy, and forgiveness.
I’m far from a fashion expert, but I know one thing: that old outfit we've been wearing no longer fits. It’s not flattering and, most importantly, it’s not who we are. Imagine if we lived out of our new identity and were no longer paralyzed by attempting to put back on our old self? How would that influence how we approach our days and what we see reflecting in the mirror?
- In what areas do you struggle with seeing yourself as a new creation in Christ?
God, only You could transform my heart and my character. It is through the beauty of the cross that I am made new. May I trust in the security my identity in You provides. In Your name, Jesus. Amen.