"Moses' father-in-law replied, 'What you are doing is not good. You and these people who come to you will only wear yourselves out. The work is too heavy for you; you cannot handle it alone.”' Exodus 18:17-18 (NIV)
I have noticed a few things since Christmas. I didn’t just receive new clothes I received a few new pounds as well. With the unwanted extra pounds I received came the frustration of struggling with what clothes to put on each morning. I don’t know if you can relate, but I have several things that go into the process of choosing what I will wear for the day.
First, what is my schedule? And second, what is my attitude? My schedule is determined by appointments, studying, writing and family events. Some people believe “your attitude is your style” but I believe my attitude is determined by my choice. My clothing reflects my style but my attitude reflects the real me. Clothing can cover a few extra, unwanted pounds but attitude reveals the condition of the heart.
Paul wrote a letter to the church of Ephesus to encourage the believers in Ephesus and possibly the surrounding churches and to remind them how to live as followers of Christ. Paul wrote this letter while in prison in Rome. He also attempted to confront any heresy or problems within the church in his letter. As I was reading, I noticed Paul constantly wrote about “putting on” and “taking off”.
All my Christian life I have struggled with what I should put on and what I should take off! I am not referring to clothing but I have had these thoughts about my attitude. What attitude should I have when things are going great? What things do I need to take out of my life to improve my attitude? How and what can I “put on” or “take off” consistently to please God? What’s a girl to wear? What about you? What do you desire to wear?
Paul said to “put off” your old self, which has deceitful desires. I wonder if I really know what I desire... I think I want one thing but when I see the price tag (whether financial, emotional or spiritual) for this desire, I often find myself not wanting to pay the cost of that desire. Before I was a Christian, my desire was for myself and now as a Christian what I once wanted (past desires) I now hate.
I hate the years I lost when I was only living for myself. When I was so wrapped up in my own wants and full of desire for only what I thought might make me happy, I was a package wrapped in myself. I have grown to understand the wisest thing I can do is get rid of any selfish way of living. Paul encourages us to get rid of the things that bring us down like anger, bitterness, jealousy, selfishness, so we can live the life worthy of being called God’s children. Because we have Jesus, we have been given a new life. A life of freedom, a life of joy, a life with purpose.
The life worthy of our calling is the life God has given us through His Son, Jesus Christ. How can we live this life of freedom, joy, contentment, and purpose? Paul tells us in Ephesians 4:30 that we can live through the power of the Holy Spirit who is in us. We can now forgive because Christ has forgiven us. We now can show compassion because Christ has shown us His compassion. We can live a life of love because Christ loved us and gave Himself up for us as the sacrifice for our sins. We are to have the same attitude Christ had when He gave His life for us - joy!
Hebrews tells us Christ gave His life “for the joy set before Him”. We are His joy and we are His children. Therefore, we are to “put on” His attitude because we have been clothed with His righteousness. We do not have to make our clothing we need only receive the clothing Jesus purchased for us.
When you are deciding what to wear each morning, choose His righteousness. We may not feel totally adequate to wear His clothing but that’s the beauty of God’s gift -- we are not worthy... even better -- we are chosen. As children of God, we have been given His joy, His righteousness and it’s up to us “to put it on”!
It’s up to us to choose each day what we will wear, how we will wear it and why we wear it. It’s time for us to exchange our earthly rags for His heavenly clothing! Christ has purchased and given you His clothing of righteousness. And I might add, you look beautiful in your new clothes!
Further Reading: Ephesians 4:23-32, Ephesians 6: 10-18, Psalm 65:6, Galatians 3:14, Isaiah 61:10