You were taught to put away your former way of life, your old self, corrupt and deluded by its lusts, 23 and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, 24 and to clothe yourselves with the new self, created according to the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness. Ephesians 4: 22-24
My mother taught me how to dress. I always thought of her as a fashionable dresser, who loved to make sure everything coordinated – even and especially when she and my dad went out to socialize or go to church, his clothes always matched hers, down to the tie! She followed all the fashion etiquette – you know, no white shoes before memorial day, and no white pants after labor day! She sewed many of my clothes growing up, and taught me to do the same for my daughter.
I grew up in Hong Kong, and the reason I tell you this is that British fashion etiquette is a whole new ballgame. Shorts weren’t worn out in public, and to this day, I still get dressed up to get on an airplane.
So I’ve always taken pride in what I wear, even to the point of not offending anyone with my choice of attire. Clothes make a statement, either covering up what’s underneath, or they enhance what’s already beautiful. And even though I was taught to be fashionable and respectful at the same time in my attire, I was told that what mattered most was what was inside.
Paul is writing to new Christians; Gentiles who’s hearts are learning to love and imitate Jesus. He’s encouraging them to purge the things in their closet that represent their old way of life and instead to put on a new creation, one that will bring compliments of righteousness and holiness.
Just like getting dressed is a daily event, so is the need to purge the old way of life and put on the new. We are reminded in our baptism that this is indeed possible. That because Jesus died and rose victorious over sin death and the grave, we get to wear something new everyday – righteousness and holiness!
Have you ever noticed what you feel like when you’re wearing something that is new, and feels good, and fits so well? It can put an extra skip in your step, a hop in your jump, a smile on your face – it can just plain make you want to do the dance of joy! But one thing it will not do: make you say, “O, this ol’ thing?” Cuz there’s nothing old about it – God makes us new each and everyday, clothing us with righteousness, and giving us the opportunity to spread holiness in the kingdom. And when we fall short, that’s the beauty of it all: we get to purge the closet once more, and be adorned by the Creator with something new the next day. May we wear it with pride.
Dedicated to my faith fashion consultant, mom.