I’ve been tempted to do lots of things—but one thing I have never been tempted to do is leave the house naked. I am sure that this comes as a great relief to many people, especially those I work with, but if we were to conduct a poll I have a strong suspicion that I am not alone when it comes to my penchant for dressing every day. Unless you were raised in the deep Amazon rain forest, the odds are that you did not grow up in a household where there was an “optional clothing” rule. But getting dressed is optional in the sense that this is not our “natural state” of being. God made both Adam and Eve naked and every human being after them has come from the womb “au naturale.”
In spite of nakedness being our “natural” state, everyone I know prefers to wear clothes. One of Adam and Eve’s first acts after their fall from grace was a very pathetic attempt to sew some leaves together to cover themselves. Thankfully, their attempt at attire never caught on. God took one look at those gaudy green garments and intervened with some very stylish new leather and fur outfits. The “Fall” fashions soon became a hit and animals have never felt safe since.
So, why all this talk about clothing? Well, the other day as I was going through my morning grooming ritual I pondered how much effort we humans put into our daily dressing routines. The question it led me to was, “Do I devote more time to getting dressed physically or spiritually?” Later that day my informal survey of co-workers and close friends indicated that they take about 30 to 45 minutes daily between the bathroom and getting dressed. So I pondered further, “Am I spending more attention to how I look physically than spiritually?”
In order to answer that question for yourself, take a moment and think about the various steps you go through to get yourself ready for the day. Clearly we are creatures of habit, which becomes very apparent when we consider the primping and preening patterns we follow each day. After rolling out of bed I stumble into a grooming groove. My mind goes into autopilot—lay out clothes, shave, shower, deodorant, comb hair, brush teeth, dress, etc. Shortly, I am dressed and heading towards the kitchen for my next set of semi-brainless tasks. Thankfully by the time I put my key in the car and pull out of the garage, my mind begins to engage but I do have to be on guard for the ever-present possibility that I might be mesmerized as I drive my familiar route to work.
Most Christians would never consider not attending to their physical attire, and yet they give little or no attention to getting spiritually ready for the day ahead. It is almost as if they walk out of the house spiritually naked. I understand that with the “new birth” a person permanently receives the gift of holy spirit. When I say that we must “get dressed spiritually,” I mean that we must actively take the time to put on the attitude of Christ in our minds and prepare ourselves spiritually for the day ahead.
As God’s holy people, we are to clothe ourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience (Col. 3:12). I picture this as pulling on my pants of patience, my shirt of compassion, and my hat of humility. In other words, it is our responsibility to dress ourselves with this heavenly garb each day. God tells us that, although I have this new spiritual man of “Christ in me,” I must “put on” this new man.
“…and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator.”
and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.
I love the imagery of getting spiritually dressed. Even in the Old Testament Job visualized clothing himself spiritually.
I put on righteousness as my clothing; justice was my robe and my turban.
This is something that I can remember every day as I connect it with grooming and putting on my clothes. This is a perfect time of day to reflect on promises of God and to praise Him for all He has done. When I make a mistake or sin in some way, like yesterday’s soiled garments, I can shed them and toss them into the hamper.
Say out loud as you prepare for the day, “Praise God! Today is a new day! God’s mercy towards me is renewed and I am putting on my fresh garments of grace. Today I am putting on the new man; I am clothing myself with the Lord Jesus Christ.” That means that if I have “dressed” properly then when I leave my home, the world should see Jesus in me wherever I go.
Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the sinful nature.
When we encounter another person, the most predominant thing we see is their clothing! Think about this for a second—when you remember a friend you see them in your mind, but you don’t see them without clothes on. Clothing becomes an integral part of who we are and how people see us. In a similar way, what we “put on” spiritually is what people will see. And the most important thing we need to clothe ourselves in every day is love.
And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.
Little children love to run around naked. Up until about the age of two my little ones would love to race through the house naked after bath time. We would eventually capture them and then wrestle with them like little wiggly worms as we got them into their pajamas. They love being naked and they have no sense of shame because they have no real sense of “self.” In much the same way, Adam and Eve were naked in the Garden of Eden and they had no shame…that is, until they sinned. Then they became aware of “good and evil” and they took on a nature of self-centeredness instead of being God-centered. This body that we now have has been so corrupted as a result of their sin that the only solution is that God is going to have to give us a “new body.” Our inner man longs for that day:
2 Corinthians 5:2
Meanwhile we groan, longing to be clothed with our heavenly dwelling,
2 Corinthians 5:4
For while we are in this tent, we groan and are burdened, because we do not wish to be unclothed but to be clothed with our heavenly dwelling, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life.
That future heavenly dwelling will be our new body. WOW! Talk about a new and improved model! Many of us wait with great anticipation whenever we hear of a new and improved model being released, like a new phone or computer program. The new body and mind “upgrade” that God has in store goes even beyond our imagination (1 Cor. 2:9).
When this future day comes, we will no longer have to actively put on the mind of Christ, because we will not have the sin nature to resist. The “mind of Christ” will be our new mind and God’s Word will be written upon our hearts. But until that day comes, let’s make sure that every day we “take time to get dressed.”