Putting On New Clothes

Rugged outfits were my comfortable wear during the my younger years. I would buy my pink and gray, or black and gray striped shirts and dresses in Ukay-Ukay (where I find something unique everytime!), and pair them with a black almost worn-out pants, and brown monkey stuffed toy decorated back pack. Whatever combination I choose to wear, my dirty high-cut chucks with pink and black checkered strings always compliments the look. I've loved this get-up because I've felt like I could throw myself anywhere, anytime, from walking from the jeepney stop to my office, or running fast to catch the "estribo" of the standing ovation ordinary bus in EDSA, or squeezing myself inside the LRT, to jumping while enjoying gigs and concerts. This outfit, along with the loud rock music from my little apple green ipod shuffle plugged in my ears never failed me.

When Mike and I got married, it seemed like the kinds of clothes that I used to wear didn't fit in to the business world that he was living in. I couldn't wear the same kind of rugged clothes anymore while meeting potential clients and closing deals, or while presenting the business to a crowd of people. It just didn't work out anymore. My new life forced me to change my wardrobe to blouses, blazers, and heels. During special occasions or awarding ceremonies, I would also have to wear formal dresses or long gowns. Learning to wear these kinds of new clothes felt like becoming a new person.

All of these came to mind as I was meditating on Colossians Chapter 3 this morning. Talking about "Putting On" the new self that God gave me after surrendering my life to Jesus, The Message version says it this way:

"You're done with that old life. It's like a filthy set of ill-fitting clothes you've stripped off and put in the fire. Now you're dressed in a new wardrobe. Every item of your new way of life is custom-made by the Creator, with His label on it... So, chosen by God for this new life of love, dress in the wardrobe God picked out for you: compassion, kindness, humility, quiet strength, discipline... And regardless of what else you put on, wear love. It's your basic, all purpose garment. Never be without it." - Col. 3:9-14 [MSG]

These are the things that I've realized as I thought about it: First, I cannot wear new clothes if all I have were my old ones. Through Jesus' sacrifice on the Cross, He bought a new life for me. He has picked out new clothes for me to wear. Second, the word "Put On" caught my attention as it was repeated many times. The new clothes, my new self is already available for me (unlike before), yet, it is still my freewill and daily choice whether to wear it, or slide back to my old way of life. So I asked myself, where are my old clothes, my old self? Did I get rid of them? Or did I just keep some of the, still cherishing them in my closet where I am tempted to choose to wear them sometimes? The Bible says:

"So put to death the sinful, earthly things lurking within you. Have nothing to do with sexual immorality, impurity, lust, and evil desires... You used to do these things when your life was still part of this world... Put on your new nature, and be renewed as you learn to know your Creator and become like Him." - Col. 3:5-7,10

Please do not misinterpret, I am not saying that wearing those clothes that I used to wear is wrong. In fact, I still admire people who look good with that kind of fashion. I just had to share my experience because it has helped me to better understand what the Word of God is trying to tell me. For me, choosing to get rid of those clothes didn't just mean changing my fashion style. It meant death. Death to a huge part of myself. It was leaving behind some of the good things in my life -- music that I've always loved, people who mattered to me, habits and vices that used to make me happy, and yes, along with all of those things were the sins that have kept me enslaved throughout my life. It was hard to let go of what was comfortable and familiar (I cried over them many, many times!), but as I have embraced the new life that God has given me, and put on my new clothes, my new identity as God's precious daughter, my eyes were opened to a whole new world. A world filled with purpose, a life that I would never trade for anything that I have left behind.