“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 3:9-10, NIV)
If we truly want to live life in Jesus, we must be willing to take off the old before we can put on the new. It’s not rocket science. It’s kind of how clothing is supposed to work. You can’t put something new on, until you are willing to take the old off. If you do not, you will just end up with layers upon layers upon layers of old buried beneath the “new.” I wonder if this isn’t the cause of so many of our problems in our spiritual lives.
But it even goes a little further than that. We are not only supposed to take off the old self, we are also supposed to take off its practices—all of the ways and the patterns associated with how the old self continues to reveal itself in our lives. All of the patterns and practices of control and manipulation and self-protection. All of the ways our anxieties and insecurities and fear take shape in our lives and in our relationships. All of the ways our needy souls grasp for attention and affirmation and significance and belonging. We are to take off everything that tends to make us the worst (false) version of ourselves. All of that must be taken off, lest it get covered over and hidden underneath the shiny covering that we tend to show to the world.
I think Eugene Peterson said it well when he wrote: “You’re done with that old life. It’s like a filthy set of ill-fitting clothes you’ve stripped off and put in the fire. Now you’re dressed in a new wardrobe. Every item of your new way of life is custom-made by the Creator, with his label on it. All the old fashions are now obsolete.” (The Message)
Lord Jesus, thank you that you long to make me new. Help me to have the courage and the strength to take off the old, in order to make that possible. Amen.