Pastor Mike's thoughts

Thoughts on today's Christian world and how it fits into secular society.

Friday, April 28, 2006

How to change your clothes!

When we chose, or choose, to follow Jesus, we feel an immediate need to change our ways. This has been one of the biggest struggles that we all face; turning away from our old ways and following the path that Jesus has chosen for us. Let's face it, it's hard to put away those habits and ways that took us years to develop. It's why so many people who accept Jesus into their lives fizzle out and fall away. The temptation is just too great for them to handle. So, what does the Bible say about change?

Colossians 3:5-14, "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 rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, 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. Here there is no Greek or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all. Therefore as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved children, clothe yourselves with compassion, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity." (NIV)

Verse five impresses the importance of beginning our life, or wardrobe change, by removing the "filthy rags" of our old sinful nature and putting those old behaviors behind us. It's like when you put on a nice new shirt, you don't put it on over a dirty T-shirt. This applies the same way when we accept Christ. You can't put on the new life of a Christian on over the sinful nature of your past and expect it to go together. So after verse five, we're encouraged to put on the seven layers of change.

The first layer is living in the reality that as believers in Christ we are chosen, holy and dearly loved. Secondly, we're to clothe ourselves with compassion, as we enter into the suffering of others, and third, our acts of kindness will help defend against evil in the lives of others. The fourth layer is humility, as we live our lives in awareness of God's grace. The fifth layer is gentleness, as we are gracious toward others. The last two layers are patience and forgiveness. God is so patient with me and is faithful to forgive my confessed sins, so in turn I must be willing to extend patience to others, even those who are hard to deal with. I must be willing to forgive those who have harmed me regardless if they ever apologize or ever ask for forgiveness.
Verse 14 explains that as we put on these seven layers, or garments, we'll create the perfect foundation for the outer garment of love which ties all of the seven virtuous garments in to perfect unity. This outer garment of love identifies us with the one we follow, Christ.

If you want your life to show others that you follow Christ, I want to encourage you to take a look at your spiritual closet. Is it filled with outdated attitudes and behaviors that just don't fit your life as a believer? Get rid of them! Are there bad habits hidden in the dark recesses of your spiritual closet that need to be discarded? Get rid of them! Perhaps the unflattering accessories of impatience and unforgiveness need to be removed and destroyed. Get rid of them! Friends, if you're ready to be dressed for success every day, I want to challenge you to completely overhaul your spiritual wardrobe. Get rid of anything and everything that doesn't fit your life as a believer and then experience the freedom that comes from wearing the correct clothes of love.

How to "change" you clothes:

Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal those items that are keeping you in bondage to your former sinful life.

Write each one down in your journal and commit to removing them from your life


2 Corinthians 5:15, "And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again." (NIV)

Philippians 2:14-16, "Do all things without grumbling or questioning, that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, holding fast to the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I may be proud that I did not run in vain or labor in vain." (NIV)
Colossians 3:2-3, "Set you minds on things above, not on earthy things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God." (NIV)

Have an awesome day, and be blessed...

Going to change my clothes,
Pastor Mike


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