Ephesians 4:22, 24 (NIV) says, “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… and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.”
Colossians 3:12 (NIV) also says, “Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. 13 Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. 14 And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.”
And Colossians 3:10 (NIV) adds, “But now you must also rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. 9 Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices 10 and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator.”
Every morning we ask ourselves, “What should I wear?” Possibly earrings, sandals, perfume, a ring, a hat, a sweater?
Do you think of adorning yourself with spiritual things such as compassion, gentleness or peace?
Most of the time when I think of attire in regards to spiritual matters, I think of the armor of God described in Ephesians 6:13-17 – belt of truth, breastplate of righteousness, shield of faith, helmet of salvation, fitted feet of the gospel of peace, and sword of the Spirit (the word of God).
I most certainly forget to clothe myself with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, patience, love, goodness, faithfulness and self control.
What does it mean to “put on” our new selves after we have given our life to Jesus? Have you ever thought about it? I hadn’t until recently reading a chapter of The Search for Significance by Robert McGee.
My practice to “put on my new self” is to spend intentional time in the morning to pause and consider my old ways of response to trying situations, my quick temper, my impatience and other areas of my life that grieved and continue to grieve God (Eph. 4:29-32). I then imagine putting on a new coat of spiritual traits like the ones mentioned in Col. 3:12 that I haven’t ever given thought to “put on” before I leave the door. As I prepare myself for the day, I remember that Jesus has made me a new creation.
2 Corinthians 5:17 NIV says, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!”
2 Peter 1:8-9 (NIV) also says, “For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But whoever does not have them is nearsighted and blind, forgetting that they have been cleansed from their past sins.”
As I merge into traffic, I want to show grace, dignity and kindness to other commuters. When I walk into my building, I want to show kindness and hold the elevator door open for the person behind me and say hello to them. As I walk into my center, I want to show compassion and ask how my student worker is doing and not rush by to get started on my task list. As I return home eagerly awaiting the television and my roommate watches a few shows in a row, I would like to show love and yield to the good and interest of her (Phil. 2:4) and give up my selfish desires.
Putting on my new self is me actively resting in the goodness of Jesus and submitting to the Holy Spirit, minute by minute, day by day. It’s not easy. This takes practice. And when I mess up, Christ tells me to fall back onto Him. “I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me, and I in him, he bears much fruit….” John 15:5 (NKJV)
A recent blog on Desiring God illustrated the importance of memorizing scripture. The psalmist in Psalm 119: 11 (NIV) says, “I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.” I would like to include an acronym here to help us remember the Colossians 3:12 traits we can put on each day: Holding God uP in my Life as the true King and Counselor He is (Humility, Gentleness, Patience, Love, Kindness and Compassion).
Are there people in your life that spur you on to live in the manner God has called us? What people in your life are actively praying for you in specific ways? Is there literature that you read (including scripture) that challenges you spiritually? Do you spend consistent time with the Lord to allow the Holy Spirit to point out areas of needed growth?
I encourage you to spend five minutes today, thinking about what it means to put on your new self in Christ.
Robert McGee in the Search for Significance writes, “We are to put on, or envelop ourselves in, this new self that progressively expresses Christian character in our attitudes and behavior. We are marvelously unique, created to reflect the character of Christ through our individual personalities and behavior.”
Fellow children of God, let us be diligent in wearing a coat of Christ’s character. Adorning who we are after Christ has softened our hearts. Pouring out the kindness and mercy that He so graciously has shown us. Let us be gently transformed into a person who has been touched by God in a profound way.