Time for a Wardrobe Change

Last Friday night, a group from our church attended a comical play about a family who traveled and sang gospel music at churches around the country.  One of the daughters in this fictional family didn't actually sing but signed each song to enable the deaf to enjoy the music as well.  Her sign language, however, was self-taught and was beyond eccentric (much like my brother-in-law's).  I don't remember laughing so hard in a very long time.  By the intermission, my cheeks were aching, but my heart was light.

One thing that I found interesting about the play was that it was set in the time frame of a single church service.  This meant that not only were there no scenery changes, but neither was there a need for wardrobe changes.  Both the stage and the cast were appareled in one "garment" for the entire play, allowing the production to flow smoothly and without pause.  In this respect, it was very different from other plays I've seen, and I'm sure it was a benefit for all of the cast and crew.

I was thinking about this as I read Ephesians 4:31-32 this morning:   Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you.  

In the production Friday night, the cast was able to go without a wardrobe change.  We, as Christians, don't have such a luxury.  The word "Christian" literally means "little Christ" or "Christlike," so if we're truly going to walk the walk and talk the talk, we're going to need a change of garment.  If you've accepted Christ as your Savior, one wardrobe change has already taken place.  You've already exchanged your filthy rags of sin for God's spotless robe of righteousness.  That change took place the moment of salvation.  However, the Christian journey does not and cannot end there.  The show is not over.

According to this passage in Ephesians, there are some things we need to take off and others we need to put on.  Bitterness, wrath, anger, clamour and evil speaking are not fetching garments on anyone, but they're especially unattractive on a Christian.  They don't fit.  They're out of place.  They don't belong.  Wearing our white robes of righteousness with jewelry of resentment and a belt of bad attitude is like wearing a ball gown with tennis shoes and a football helmet.  They just don't mesh.  Instead, we should accentuate our white robes with rings of kindness, a broach of forgiveness and a tiara of tenderness.  Off with the old; on with the new.

Unfortunately, this wardrobe change is not quite as simple as pulling off your dress clothes and slipping into your favorite t-shirt and yoga pants.  No, this change of garments takes a lot more work.  And not only that, but it also requires constant effort.  It's not a single wardrobe change.  It's a daily, and sometimes even hourly, thing.  Casting off the unattractive and donning the appropriate attire.  Over and over again.  But the biggest difference is that the wardrobe were trying to cast off is often much more comfortable than the one we're trying to put on.  Bitterness often feels much better than kindness.  Bitterness comes naturally, while kindness takes work.  So, in essence we're trading out what feels good for clothes that are initially less comfortable.  The good news is that, over time, those "new clothes" will fit and feel better.  We'll get used to them.  We'll learn to appreciate them.  And maybe before long, we'll prefer them over the "old clothes."

What are you wearing today?  It is said that our clothes make a statement.  Oh, yeah, they certainly do!  So what are you saying?