Getting up and getting dressed is a daily chore for me. I think that most people would feel the same way. It’s not difficult; after all, I know pretty much what to wear to work or to church, or around the house. Getting ready in the morning is just something that uses up a piece of my time, which – until we get some fancy robotic dresser-bots like in the Jetsons cartoon – I will expend in making myself presentable, rather than doing much else.
There are some who like to occasionally stay in their pajamas all day. That’s fine for them, but I prefer to differentiate night (and sleeping) from the day (and working) by my attire. I’ve even told my children during summer vacation that they should change into daytime clothes most days of the week (I know – I’m such an ogre!), in order to tell their body and mind that they will accomplish something that day.
What we wear is more than just clothes, though. Our attitude and character are on display to people with whom we interact.
Have a look at this passage from Romans:
The night is almost gone; the day of salvation will soon be here. So remove your dark deeds like dirty clothes, and put on the shining armor of right living.
Romans 13:12 NLT
If I showed up to work in a T-shirt and shorts (despite being allowed to wear jeans, my workplace is not that casual), it would be pretty clear to my manager that I needed to be sent home to change. In the same way, when our actions aren’t appropriate, it’s pretty obvious. And, evil deeds aren’t just another arbitrary “outfit” that we might wear (like a different style or personal look). Instead, since they are not spiritually appropriate, the verse above describes this behavior as “dirty clothes”. This look might occasionally be considered socially acceptable (especially when surrounded by others who revel in the same wrong behavior), but is not suitable attire for us in God’s eyes.
The good news is that, like changing from “outdoor project” clothes into something that I can wear to a nice restaurant with my wife, our actions can be changed as well. We can’t change the past, but we can strive to do good deeds in the present. (Like when we put on a clean shirt after working outside, those around us are also usually happier when our behavior doesn’t stink!)
As you probably know, though, this can be harder than it sounds. It works best with the support of not only the Holy Spirit (who can help us if we let Him do so), but also fellow human beings who are seeking the same path of “wearing” good deeds that we are.
Following Jesus isn’t just about “not sinning”, through. As He taught (see Matthew 12:43-45), merely driving out evil isn’t enough; it must be replaced with something good, or evil will come back and fill the void. Later in this same chapter of Romans, we are instructed on what to put on instead of evil deeds, and what to do instead of dwelling on how to get back into “dirty clothes” behavior.
Instead, clothe yourself with the presence of the Lord Jesus Christ. And don’t let yourself think about ways to indulge your evil desires.
Romans 13:14 NLT
Being in Jesus’ presence give us the the best “fashion” advice for our behavior. Not only did He model perfect love for others, He also taught us what our actions should look like.
Regardless of what our day holds in store, may our wardrobe – both physical and behavioral – honor God! Let us each read Romans 13:8-14, and consider how to get dressed, today!
Scripture quotations marked (NLT) are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright ©1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, a Division of Tyndale House Ministries, Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.