I am reminded of a show I used to watch called “What Not to Wear.” They took one poor soul that was nominated to need a makeover by their friend or family because they looked so bad. She had no style at all. She was given $5,000 to shop with if they would come to New York with all their clothes and shoes and be taught how to dress, apply the Correct makeup, and get a flattering hairstyle. She had to watch all her old clothes be dumped into a garbage can and pretty much humiliated before national TV for how bad she looked and her choice of clothes. I wonder what their reaction would have been to my very stylish (in my mind) “going away” honeymoon ensemble? It was a bright watermelon suit with a mink collar, alligator shoes and bag, and topped off with the biggest white orchid corsage you have ever seen. I thought I looked quite striking.
As I watched all these commercials about beauty making a person happy and acceptable, I couldn’t help but think about all the young girls and women who are buying into this lie; feeling disappointed and wondering what they are doing wrong; feeling like they need to try harder; and in some cases, fall into a depression from comparing themselves to the commercials or Facebook. Christian girls and women are not exempt from this pressure. In Colossians it is very clear that it is not our outward appearance that matters, it is the inner person and the heart of a woman who follows and loves God that God sees. We are to live as those made alive in Christ. We are told what to “take off” and what to “put on.” Colossians 3:1-17 was written to the Christians living in Colossae. The theme is to press onto maturity in Christ by continuing their battle against sin; pursuing holiness and learning to live as Christians together. Certainly not the message we are hearing in the world today as being the acceptable way to live and think.
Although we exist in the world physically and spiritually, we are already citizens of heaven. “Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthy things…because of these, the wrath of God is coming.” (Colossians 3:1 NIV) The things most important should be things in heaven and we should not be entangled in the present world. This verse calls us to “set our minds.” This is an inner discipline or continuous action. “Things above” are the things that are in line with the character of Christ. We are to put to death (kill) the things of this world that seems to be so normal and almost expected. Things like sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed. These things will bring the wrath of God. There are always consequences to not living a life pleasing to the Lord. I have strayed many times and felt the weight of the decisions I made. It is so easy to be indoctrinated and think it’s not a big deal when we see it as everyday life over and over in front of our eyes. It is also easy to become judgmental of others, however, we need to remember that before we became Christians, we lived the same lifestyle described in this passage. As a result of belonging to Christ, He tells us we must get rid of anger, rage, malice, slander, and bad language from our lips. We are not lie to one another. In other words,…this is a description of “What Not to Wear.” After studying this, I took a hard look at myself and realize how often I am caught up in anger that some days leads to rage, and then to bad language when I am just listening to the news or checking Facebook. Listening to the lies and malice surrounding our everyday life can become contagious. We repeat it just because so-and-so says it. Therefore, I have attempted to make changes by not watching the news as often, and I have lowered my time on the phone by 75%. There are days it is all I can do to not be on my phone. However, it has helped me to find a more peaceful life, as well as having more desire to love and serve. When I am not caught up in the drama of life, I think of others and pay more attention to my own life and how I am living it.
We are not left without instruction on what we should “put on” as godly women. We are to put on a “new self.” A make-over if you will. Our new self is continually renewed by our knowledge of who God is and the only way we gain that knowledge is being in His Word consistently, corporate worship and fellowship with other believers. Our new clothes should be compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Bear each other’s burdens, and forgive one another as the Lord has forgiven us. The main virtue is love which binds all these godly character attributes together in perfect unity. With the help of the Holy Spirit who is in us, our minds are renewed and changed which then gives us the desire for godly behavior. The presence and power of sin will still affect us but not condemn us. Our flesh will continuously dangle our old ugly clothes from before our makeover and we will be tempted to put them on.
As we make these changes in our lives, do not be surprised when others think we are old fashioned or not fun to hang out with any longer. Our job is to live a life that shows unbelievers Christ. We know we have been saved for eternal life (not just an endless existence, but heavenly quality of life) by Jesus, therefore we can live a risen life, which is having a life centered on Christ. Sin’s power is strong but we can keep putting to death those things that creep back into our lives by yielding to the Holy Spirit. (Romans 8:13: “For if you live according to the flesh, you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live.”)
I have challenged myself to reread this passage often and press into the Word and the commands given. My friends, taking off the old and putting on the character of God is what makes us beautiful, acceptable, and happy. There is nothing in this world, a person in this world, or a “look” in this world that will fill us with the beauty that living a life for Christ can give. Get ready for a life-changing transformation by the divine professional…the one true God, who gives you direction for this journey.
1. Does this require a change in me?
2. What can be immediately applied to my behavior?
3. Is there sin to confess? Or a habit to break?
4. Is there a warning to heed?
5. What are the encouraging words that bring you peace and hope in “how you are dressed?”