My son screams in the morning when I take off his fire truck pajamas and put on his dinosaur shirt.
Does he want the shirt with the train? The dump truck and excavator? The monkey?
No. What he really wants is to stay in his fire truck pajamas all day.
At the end of the day, though, long after I’ve wrestled him into actual clothes, he screams again when I try to take off his dinosaur shirt and put back on the fire truck pajamas.
Now he wants to wear the dinosaur to bed.
Toddler wardrobe wars.
I’ve done this four times with four kids.
I had the daughter who went several years of her life only wearing dresses and skirts and never ever wearing pants.
I had the daughter who only wore pink and purple and didn’t like any other colors, but who also still refuses to wear dresses or skirts.
Then there was my compliant child. She would say, ‘no’ and take off running when I held up a shirt she didn’t like.
When I found this half-naked toddler in the house, the shirt would be completely missing and she’d appear innocent.
I searched her room, the dresser, every hiding place without result. No shirt.
Then I went to throw something away and saw it peeking out of the trash can.
She skipped the tantrums and went right for putting clothes she didn’t like in the garbage.
I wonder what would happen if we were as careful about the attitudes, beliefs, and heart conditions we clothe ourselves in every morning. Maybe we should be that picky.
It’s a favorite metaphor of the apostles, reminding us to peel off the old clothes of flesh, lust and sin and to purposefully put on a brand new outfit everyday.
We are to clothe ourselves in Christ.
Paul described it this way:
But now you must also rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. Do not lie to each other, since 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 . . .
Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity (Colossians 3:8-14, NIV).
In other words, take it off, take it all off: The anger, the bad attitude and grumpiness, the bad language, the lies. All of those pesky remnants of our pre-salvation self have to go.
We stare at the closet and choose the new clothes we’ll wear each day with great care, pulling on clothes of compassion, kindness, gentleness, patience, forgiveness, and most of all love.
Add in to that mix the favorite outfit of Peter:
“All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another” (1 Peter 5:5)
The bottom line, for Paul is that we should, “clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the flesh” (Romans 13:14, NIV).
Unfortunately, our old fleshly selves have a way of sneaking their way back into our closets.
We think we’ve restyled only to snap in anger during the morning rush.
How did that discarded sin find it’s way into our wardrobe again? More importantly, how did we end up wearing it today?
We aren’t picky enough about the spiritual clothes we don every day. When we’re not paying attention and when we’re not being careful, we find we’re wearing the dirty rags of old habits and familiar sins.
We have to make the conscious choice, the prayerful choice, the one where we ask Christ to robe us in His righteousness.
We can choose to wear Jesus each day.
Reject the clothing of the old self and instead pull on love and step into compassion. Spice things up with a scarf of kindness and a jacket of forgiveness. Wear our own favorite shoes of humility and gentleness.
It’s our Jesus style, it’s Christ shining through us, making HIs presence in our lives unmistakable.
Originally posted November 8, 2011