What is the point of taking off our clothes?
Well… to put new clothes on. Duh!
Why don’t we just wear the same clothes every day?
Well… because that is gross and unhygienic.
It seems so dumb to explain it this way, but we get naked to get clean and change in to clean clothes. We wear a myriad of different garments, because sometimes the clothes we have on get dirty. I know… you thought it was because Capitalism told you that you needed to have BOGO shirts that are marked-up because they have a company’s personal logo (or is it, “billboard”?) written on it. But you have a closet full of clothes, because sometimes you have to take old clothes off and put new ones on.
I was doing some research in Colossians and reached a point in chapter 3 where Paul was telling the Gentile Christians to “put off” their old selves and “put on” their new selves. Paul focused on telling the believers not to partake in sexual sins specifically (Col 3:5) and sins of speech (Col 3:8). He said that by believing in Christ, they had taken off their old selves and had put on themselves a new self which was in the image of its creator – an image similar to Adam before the Fall (Gen 1:26-28).
I think the church has focused too much on taking off the old self and has forgotten about putting on a new self.
And people are just living life confused in their birthday suits.
All I hear from Christians is everything every person is doing wrong. Secular music is doing this, or public school is doing that. They forget to tell people the things they should be doing instead. They don’t notice the good things that some people are already doing either.
Paul here in Colossians 3:5, 10, and 12 specifically uses words that are associated with putting on and off clothing. Imagine the believers, after accepting Christ, stripping all the dirty and putrid clothes that once represented who they were. Cool. Their slate is clean. But if they would have stopped there, then they would be naked – spiritually in the buff. They needed to put on themselves clothes that marked what they were as believers – clean clothes like those of their Creator.
Now some would think that Paul would go on to explain personal characteristics that the believers needed to have to be holy. But Paul calls them holy before he tells them what they needed to do!!! Their holiness was not measured by what they did; it was a status of who they were now as God’s chosen people. These virtues are considered an application of their holy standing before God. These virtues don’t make them holy! “Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience…”
Also, Paul did not encourage virtues to the Colossians that could be attained by one person alone. Paul shared virtues that could only be shared within a community – compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience. These are things that each individual had to work on within them selves but for the sake of the community. Paul then shifts to how the community has to act together – with forgiveness, love, in peace and with thanksgiving.
I see so many people judge others for all the wrong that they are doing, when they themselves aren’t doing any good.
They just aren’t doing anything evil.
And that just makes them naked:
A truly indecent exposure.
Sometimes we can get so focused on working on ourselves that we become hermits and forget that Christianity isn’t for ourselves. It is for others – receiving reconciliation and being a part of that reconciliation to the world (Col 1:20-23)! The only vice in Colossians 3:5 that wasn’t sexual in nature was about self-centeredness – which was then called, “idolatry.” Don’t live for yourself.
Don’t make an idol of yourself.
Live for others. Don’t just strip yourself of all the bad in your life, but embrace the good. Put on a new change of clothes! Reach out to others. Love binds all virtues together (Col 3:14). It binds all people together. And it is contagious! You can’t live for God if you are not living for others – in your house, in your church, in your community.
For the sake of us all, will you put on some clothes?