A very dear friend of mine has a tradition that she passed on to me. Every year, she saves a new item of clothing that she usually receives at Christmas time, and wears it for the first time on January 1. “New clothes for the New Year!” she would say.
Though I admit that new clothes are something I do enjoy, there is something that we can all “put on” that could drastically change our New Year. Paul tells the church at Ephesus that they should array themselves in the following manner:[quote]That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness” Ephesians 4:22-24[/quote]
The phrase “put off” comes from the word apotithemi, which means to put away or to cast off. We are to put off the old man. In other words, we need to get rid of this apparel! It is old, ruined, soiled, and corrupt! Paul explains in the surrounding verses that this “apparel” is the old behavior which included lying, stealing, corrupt communication, bitterness, wrath, etc. It is that sinful flesh that in the sight of God is as filthy rags. God uses the apostle Paul to remind us that this is no longer the “clothing” He wishes to see us “wearing”.
However, the apostle Paul instructs the church on what they should wear. We are to “put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.” The phrase “put on” comes from the word enduo, which means to invest with clothing, in the sense of sinking into a garment. We are to put on the new man.
So, today, we have a choice. What will we wear? Will we choose the soiled garment, that is stained and lying wrinkled on the ground; or will we reach into our spiritual closet and pull out the “new man”?
More than likely, the readers of this article truly want to array themselves in the garments of God’s choice. You, like me, want to put on the new man each day. We do not want to live the way we used to live. This is why we spend time in God’s Word, attend church, and bow our heads in prayer. So why is it that we continually pick up this old “apparel?” Why do we fall back into our old habits, old behavior, and old ways when we know it is not what God wants?
The answer is between these verses, in verse 23. God, through the apostle Paul tells us what to put on, and what to put off….but He also tells us to do some renovation! The word renewed comes from the word ananeoo, which means to renovate, reform, renew. We are to renew our minds…out with the bad, in with the good! This can only be done through the power of Christ! There must be a complete renovation! Clean out the old closet…cast out the old man…don’t keep it around for “just in case”. Cast it out!
God uses the apostle Paul to show us how to do this. We have to get rid of the old behavior, the old friends, the corrupt communication, the lying, the stealing, the bitterness, the wicked ways of our old man. Then he tells us that since once this closet is now empty through this complete renovation, we need to fill it with the “clothing” of God’s choice: kindness, hard work, forgiveness, edifying words, compassion, and more! My friends, there is no room in your spiritual closet for both types of apparel.
Renovate your closet, dear readers! Wear new “clothes” that will truly make a difference this year![quote]That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness”
– Ephesians 4:22-24[/quote]