When there is no more room in your closet to hang your clothes, it only means one thing – the clothes need to go!
Valerie and I took the time last weekend to get rid of old clothes that we no longer use. We realized (especially Valerie, who has far more clothes than I) that our clothing took up too much space. I had shirts hanging that I forgot about. Valerie had dresses that she never wore. Why keep old clothes that we will not use?
Similarly, I came across a passage for my sermon prep that emphasizes the idea of getting rid of the old. It is our old self, who we were before Christ:
“You have put off the old self with its practices.” – Colossians 3:9
Interestingly enough, the idea behind this passage is to remove something like clothing as it means “to put off or to lay something aside.” It looks like our determination to get rid of the old clothes was right in line with the Word of God!
As a Christ-follower, you are to put aside the sinful practices that were part of your old nature. The old is gone; the new is here! (2 Corinthians 5:17) Christ took on your sins and was the perfect sacrifice to make amends, restoring you to a right relationship with God. As a result, your identity in Christ gives you the freedom to choose life, love, and holiness.
The choice to put off the old self is our responsibility and desire to look more like Christ. What are these ‘old clothes’ that we are to put away?
“You must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth. Do not lie to one another…” – Colossians 3:8
Sadly, people can carry anger like an old garment for years. After dwelling on the hurt, it festers and becomes rage. Malice develops as it has the evil intent to hurt someone. These sinful attitudes spiral downward, affecting the individual since they carry old rubbish that was never theirs to bear.
The list continues and becomes more evident as the mouth reveals what is in the heart (Matthew 12:34). Slander attacks the character of the person with obscene language adding color to it. On top of it all, lies are spread, continuing its devastation. Wearing those garments of the old self damages relationships and causes division in the community.
These interpersonal sins do not need to take place because you have Christ. The Holy Spirit dwells within you, giving you what you need for life and godliness (2 Peter 1:3). There’s no need to keep the old, for you do not walk in the ways of the world anymore (Colossians 3:7). While tempting to resort back to old habits, the Holy Spirit will give you the strength to put it aside. And instead, you “put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its Creator: (Colossians 3:10).
So the choice is yours – will you put off the old self today? To say ‘no’ to the sinful actions that so easily corrupt our walk with Christ and our witness with others? Put on the new self daily and see how the Holy Spirit will draw you near to the Lord and use you for His purposes.
Have a blessed week!
P.S. – I created a chart below describing key differences between the old and the new with verse references. Enjoy 🙂
We have the freedom to choose:
|Earthly things/nature (Colossians 3:2,5)
|Be heavenly focused (Colossians 3:1,2)
|Realm of the flesh – cannot please God (Romans 8:7-8)
|Live according to the Spirit – as God’s children (Romans 8:4,14)
|Indulge the flesh (Galatians 5:13)
|Walk by the Spirit (Galatians 5:16)
|Acts of the flesh (Galatians 5:19-21)
|Fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23)