Every morning I listen to the local radio station to catch up on what may have happened overnight and to find out what the weather will be on that particular day. And every morning I hear an advertisement that advises the listener on the importance of dressing right for those who want to "belong" ... about how one cannot afford not to dress right ... about how -- if one dresses right -- said person will never go wrong.
I must admit that it is a catchy tune and I find myself singing along with it almost daily. I understand the importance of looking your best -- what the world calls "dressing for success." I also try to represent my employer in a positive light when I am working. If that means wearing a coat and tie in some situations, I'm alright with that.
Recently I have been thinking a lot about dressing right, and not necessarily in a way the world might consider "right."
During a recent Sunday School class a friend mentioned that he had been striving, as of late, to be more like Jesus and less like the him he used to be; sort of taking off the old him and putting on the likeness of Christ. It reminded me of one of my favorite Randy Stonehill songs -- one called "Old Clothes."
What my friend is striving to do, and with the help of the Holy Spirit is having some success at, is a hard thing, even for strong Christians.
It means daily getting rid of lovelessness, greed, selfishness, impatience, unkindness -- all of those old, dirty clothes that are now completely "out of fashion" for us to wear as citizens of the Kingdom of God.
In their place we start putting on the new clothes gifted to us by Jesus at the moment of our rebirth -- love, kindness, self control, patience, generosity, compassion and a forgiving spirit.
In other words, each of us is now called to look upon our lives as though we are no longer connected to the old "sinful person" - that person who wants to make itself the center of its own little world; that person who wants to move God to the sidelines of life; the person that is selfish and inconsiderate.
When we come to Christ, God begins a revolution in our lives. He clears away the old and brings in the new. He gives us new clothes to wear. He gives us a new life.
"So I'm packing up my old clothes
with my old and foolish ways ...
They just don't seem to fit me anymore.
I see the light of morning
through different eyes today ...
And I'm giving my tomorrows to the Lord."
From "Old Clothes" by Randy Stonehill