I’m not really a girly-girl. Never have been. I hate to shop, and it takes me forever to pick out something to wear when I have to be dressed up. If I could live the rest of my life in jeans, t-shirts, and flip flops, I would.
But sometimes I have to dress up for special occasions. When I do, I put on and take off, put on and take off, put on and take off. It’s exhausting.
What Are You Putting On?
God calls us to put on and take off some things as well. And if we do it right, it won’t be tiresome; it’ll be awesome.
“The night is nearly over; the day is almost here. So let us put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light. Let us behave decently, as in the daytime, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and debauchery, not in dissension and jealousy. Rather clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the sinful nature” (Romans 13:12-14, NIV 84).
Paul is saying that now that the death and resurrection of Jesus have taken place, we are closer to the time of His return, and we need to act like it. We need to take off sinful behavior and put on Jesus by changing the way we think.
The thing about finding something to wear is that we get to choose. When we’re trying on outfits before we go somewhere, we have to make a choice about what to wear–pants or skirt, prints or solids, sandals or pumps.
The closer it gets to our time to leave, the more panicked we become, especially if we can’t find just the right accessory or outfit that we feel good in.
Put on Christ
We should be just as concerned about the way we live our lives the closer we get to judgment day. The Bible says we will give an account before God for every careless word we’ve spoken (Matthew 12:36). We need to choose to put on Christ every day.
“You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ” (Galatians 3:26-27).
This Scripture tells me that sometimes we are already wearing the right thing, we just don’t know it. We need to take ownership of what God has deposited in us (the Holy Spirit) and walk in it.
But that old sinful nature keeps creeping in with the wrong attitudes. We feel like we have to dress to impress or try to be something that we’re not. We try to camouflage those areas we feel aren’t good enough instead of just letting God make it into something new.
“You were taught with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness” (Ephesians 4:22-24).
Take Off Sin
We must believe by faith that God does the work of changing us from the inside out and then make the choice to lay aside those old patterns of thinking and bad habits. Then we can walk in the newness of life He died to give us.
Paul goes on to tell us in this passage that we need to put off falsehood and “get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice” (4:25, 31). He tells us to instead be “kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other” (32).
You see, even though we have been changed by God, those old sinful patterns and ways of the world are sometimes hard to let go of. We also have an enemy who will constantly bombard our minds with thoughts that lead us astray. That’s why we have to be reminded to take off and put on.
One of the most important pieces of our wardrobe is the armor of God. Paul tells us that some of it we already have, we just need to stand firm in it:
“Stand firm them, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace” (Ephesians 6:14-15).
We already have the truth: Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life (John 14:6). We already have righteousness. We are the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus (2 Corinthians 5:21). And we can stand on the gospel of peace because it is by this gospel that we are saved (1 Corinthians 15:2). We just need to “stand firm” in these truths.
But then we have some accessories to add before we walk out the door:
“In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God” (Ephesians 6:16-17).
These pieces require us to take them up. In other words, we have to choose each day to walk in faith, to hope in our salvation, and to speak the Word of God over our lives.
Just as we choose each day what we will wear around the house, to work, to church, or to run errands, we must choose how we will act towards our family, our coworkers, our church family, and in our community.
“Therefore as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Bear with one another and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues, put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity” (Colossians 3:12-14).
We will never be more beautiful than when we are clothed in God’s character. We will be attractive to others. We’ll have confidence in our witness. And we will be at peace with ourselves and with God.
Go In God’s Beauty
So, the next time you’re like me standing in front of the mirror, running out of time to get somewhere, and still not happy with what you have to wear, just remember this Word:
“Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of jewelry and fine clothes. Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight. For this is the way the holy women of the past who put their hope in God used to make themselves beautiful” (1 Peter 3:3-5).
I love this passage, because even the Bible acknowledges that as women, we want to feel beautiful. And there’s nothing wrong with that. We can fix our hair and wear jewelry and nice clothes. Peter is saying just don’t get all wrapped up in that, because what makes you beautiful is what’s on the inside shining through.
So choose to get dressed each day in the character of Christ. You already have Him in you. Just choose to live it and walk on out the door.