My husband lost over 100 pounds a few years ago. Throughout the months of his weight loss we began to notice that his clothes weren’t the right fit anymore. They were made for the body he used to have, not the one he was beginning to have. And eventually NOTHING fit—not even the underclothes. Since we weren’t able to fully replace the wardrobe, he kept wearing many of the things he always had and sometimes looked like a child wearing hand-me-downs, several sizes too big.
The Scriptures remind us that we as believers are also changing. As we mature in our faith, the ways we used to act or talk or think no longer fit the person we are becoming. And yet often we keep ‘wearing’ the same ‘garments’ that we did before we were changed—but now they are ‘ill-fitting.’ They belonged to another person and another stage of Christian maturity. Further, we are told that the old garments are not only are ill-fitting and outdated, but they are filthy. Scripture instructs us not to give them away, but instead they are to be burned, so no one else is subject to them.
Don’t lie to one another. 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. All the old fashions are now obsolete. Colossians 3:9-10 (MSG)
And in their place we are given new garments—not the store-bought kind, but custom made by the master tailor for our unique new natures.
What are the clothes that God provides His children? There are actually two very different wardrobes.
One ensemble is made up of the robes of royalty. It is how those who are part of the King’s household should dress: “As those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience…”(Colossians 3:12ff). This is what we are to wear when we are connecting and interacting with others in the family of believers. And it is what we wear when we are out in the community, as we represent our Father, the King. It even comes with perfume! “For we are a sweet aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing…” 2 Corinthians 2:25 (NET).
The other outfit our God provides is the uniform of a warrior. “Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil…” (Ephesians 6:11ff). It is what we are to wear when we are facing the enemy of our souls. It provides the clothing needed both for defense and offense. However, it is not the same armor that Goliath wore, nor the mail Saul’s soldiers wore. It is made up of the simple, mighty tools that David carried with him. This outfit is one of faith, truth, righteousness, and peace.
God gives us both the wardrobe of royalty and the armor for battle to fit perfectly for each occasion. But sometimes we wear the wrong garments. Sometimes when interacting with our brothers and sisters in Christ we try to show off our righteousness, assert our truth and glory in our faith. Then, when we come in contact with sin in our lives, we indulge ourselves with an abundance of kindness and patience, or we make peace with the devil rather than standing firm against him.
We want to wear the right clothing for every occasion. Ones that fit who we are in Christ. Ones that display the character of our King. Ones that equip us to overcome.