My youngest son likes to look good. He likes to wear stylish clothes and for everything to match. He’s also been known to make and wear his own jewelry. My oldest, like his dad, keeps his clothing choices very basic with jeans and a t-shirt being his favorite ensemble. My oldest would never say he’s wearing a “fit,” while my youngest frequently refers to his clothing that way.
While our physical clothing differs greatly from person to person and reflects the unique aspects of an individual’s personality, every Christian is called to have the same “fit” based on the new life Christ won for them. In fact, this clothing Paul talks about has tremendous impact on the quality of our relationships.
“For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God.” (Colossians 3:3)
New Life Relationships
Paul begins Colossians 3 by telling those who have new life in Christ, which he detailed in previous chapters, to focus on the “realities of Heaven.” He follows this exhortation with instructions for cultivating relationships. The rest of the chapter, as well much of the next, details what we are to take off and what we are to put on as we clothe ourselves in our new lives. Those activities center around getting rid of selfish desires and adding in ones that cultivate Godly relationships.
While Paul provides a list of specific old nature habits (Colossians 3:5-9), the main point involves getting rid of a focus on self. Since the old self died when we gained new life in Christ, the old habits need to go as well. Sure, you could check to see if your personal habits are in the examples Paul gives, but the point really involves getting rid of selfishness and focusing on the habits of our new natures.
While the habits of our old nature produce only evil and decay, the habits of the new nature renew daily as we focus on Christ and not on a set of rules or requirements (Colossians 3:10-4:1). The focus of our new natures is to be on others and on building relationships. This does not mean forgetting yourself completely; after all, Jesus said to love others as yourself, not instead of yourself (Matthew 22:37-40).
Free to Be New
Sometimes, often actually, old habits just seem too hard, even impossible, to overcome let alone eradicate altogether. On our own, shedding them truly is impossible. Under the new nature, though, we are not bound by the flesh and its desires because we are led by the Holy Spirit (Colossians 1:9-12). This is why Tongue Taming is possible, and this is why cultivating Godly relationships is also possible.
If we focus on what we are to put on in our new natures, the old habits won’t have room to even exist let alone operate within us. As we focus on clothing our new natures, we’ll find that we don’t even want that old stuff anymore.
New nature clothing, our base layer if you will:
- Tenderhearted mercy
Then there’s the activity of the new nature to add on, sort of the outerwear on top of the main outfit.
- Make allowances for others’ faults
- Forgive others
- Live in peace
- Always be thankful
Personally, I could stop here. I could just focus on these lists and no other part of scripture and have plenty to develop the rest of my life. This must, therefore, be a portion of God’s word that I revisit regularly if I am to live in freedom and develop the new me.