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Our Jesus Style

 “Clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the flesh” (Romans 13:14, NIV).

     The first time it happened, I thought I was going crazy.

     I rifled through my two-year-old’s dresser and pulled out a new bright red Minnie Mouse t-shirt and some jeans.  Then I placed them in the pile with the other girls’ clothes for the day.

     My toddler took one look at the red shirt on top, screamed “no,” grabbed it and went running through the house like she was heading for a touchdown.

     I have three daughters.  I’ve faced wardrobe protests before.  There’s the “I only wear dresses, the frillier and sparklier the better” and the “I only wear pink and purple” child.

     In the other extreme, we have regular Sunday morning meltdowns with my other daughter who “hates pretty” and refuses to put on a dress.  Oh how I mourn the closet full of hand-me-down dresses just hanging there unused!

Over time, I’ve learned to let some things go, while defending the bottom line principles with unwavering strength.

  • Is what they are wearing modest?
  • Is it appropriate for our destination (play clothes for the playground, nice clothes for church)?
  • Is it appropriate for the weather?
  • Is it clean?
  • Does it fit with a Christian witness?

     If the answer is yes to all the above, we’re good.  I’m usually a stickler for matching, too, but sometimes I’m willing to stretch that a bit.

     Seeing my two-year-old streak through the house that day with a red shirt didn’t phase me in the least.  I dressed my other kids and then hunted for my naked toddler.

     But when I found her, the shirt was missing.  I looked around her, in the rooms she had been in, back in the dresser, and under the kitchen table (her usual hiding place).

     Did I not just see her running with this shirt?  Did it disappear into thin air?  Had I finally completely lost my Mom mind?

     Undaunted, I grabbed another shirt, pulled it on over her head and finished the morning dressing ritual and started washing dishes.  I took some crust from their breakfast toast over to the trashcan and dumped it in almost without looking.  Then I walked back to the trash with my used teabag and napkin and tossed those in, as well.

     Walking away, though, I realized—I had seen red crumpled clothing in there.  The Minnie shirt was now covered in crumbs and splotches of tea, but I salvaged it and threw it into the washing machine.

     Now I’m on to her.  I carry out the clothes in the morning.  The two-year-old’s disappear routinely.  I no longer hunt through the house for them.  I know they’re in the trash can.

     My little one has developed a strong opinion about what she wears every day.

     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.

     And we stare at the closet and choose the new clothes we’ll wear each day with great care.  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, NIV)

     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 its way into our wardrobe again?  More importantly, how did we end up wearing it today?

    Mostly, it happens accidentally.  We aren’t picky enough about the spiritual clothes we don every day.

     If you’re like me, you spend the last few minutes of time in bed each morning thinking about what you’re going to wear and all the things you need to accomplish that day.  You’re planning it all out.

     So, in those few moments before your feet hit the floor, plan the style of your heart.  Choose to wear Jesus each day.  Reject the clothing of your 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 your own favorite shoes of humility and gentleness.

     It’s our Jesus style.  It’s what people should see when they glance our way—our Savior.  His pattern in our lives is unmistakable.


Copyright © 2008-2015 Heather King

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