Whenever my grandfather went to town, he took the time to change out of his farm clothes and put on his “town” clothes.

The concept of changing attire is used by Paul in Colossians 3 to picture an appropriate change in attitude and action on the part of those who become followers of Christ.

“If then you have been raised up with Christ…” (Colossians 3:1) refers to those who are spiritually united with Christ in His physical death and resurrection through faith in His actions as the payment for their sins. Those who are in union with Christ by faith are, “raised to walk in newness of life.” (Romans 6:4)

“Resurrection living” means we “seek the things above…set our minds on the things above.” (Colossians 3:1,2) We are to be adorned with heavenly attitudes that translate into God-honoring actions. In the Spring, homeowners are often focused on lawn care and improvement projects, but a believer’s attention is to be constantly riveted on heavenly pursuits.

Being “properly dressed” spiritually with a focus on the heavenly involves two sets of intentional ongoing choices.

First, we “put aside” sinful, worldly-focused actions like “immorality…greed…anger, wrath…slander and abusive speech.” (Colossians 3:5,8) I’m not the guy who sees a spider on the floor, captures it and releases it outside. I dispose of it and any future relatives immediately. Decisive destruction of sin in our lives is what Paul’s admonition conveys. He literally says “put to death” these ungodly practices arising from worldly perspectives.

Gardeners perpetually wage war against weeds just as followers of Christ constantly battle against sin. We recognize our error by comparing our conduct to God’s character and commands. We repent of and then resolve to put our sin to death, request God’s help to continually resist, and rely upon God’s Spirit to overcome. God, who began a good work in us, will complete it (Philippians 1:6).

Secondly, we “put on the new self,” continually choosing to adorn ourselves with heavenly attitudes that result in God-honoring actions. Christ followers dress themselves in “compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience…” (Colossians 3:12). It’s a mistake to think that followers of Christ are automatically or always godly. We must constantly call upon and cooperate with the indwelling Spirit to consistently and accurately manifest Christ-likeness.

I don’t dress up to work outside, but every child of God is to be dressed up in our Heavenly apparel. Daily we choose to put off wickedness and put on righteousness by Christ’s power at work in us.

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