Day one had been filled with all the “feels” of everything a new year and decade should bring, but it was day two... and the “good feelings” had all but vanished in defeat. As I read the words... “these are new things that can’t be reconciled with old habits,” I heard that soft whisper. Nothing can be new, not even a year if you are trying to bring into it your old worn rags of sin.
In this passage, Jesus was rebuking the Pharisees who were trying to attach their laws and spiritual regalia to His growing influence and ministry. They foolishly believed that their ways afforded them spiritual clout. Jesus knew their hunger for power and religious pride. He, the long-awaited Messiah, stood in their midst and all they could do was claim the beauty and prestige of their worn-out and thread-bare habits.
Sadly, I often share in the Pharisees’ mindset. My old habits are so comfortable and familiar. I don’t even have to think. I can just grab those worn out comfortable clothes of religious, outward conformity and prance around with an air of spiritual pride and accomplishment. How foolish and deceived I am! Christ wants to do a new work, so these old habits just won’t do.
Why had day two of this new year taken on such dark shadows? Foolishly, I carried my old attitudes of ungratefulness and self-will into what should be a fresh start. God wants so much more for me than a dead and worn life. Nothing is ever new when it is already torn and in need of repair. If I want God's best, I must leave the threadbare and torn behind and choose the new garments of Spirit-filled change and humility.
Maybe you also started this new year filled with promise and hope only to find yourself already discouraged. Ask the Lord if there is anything in your closet of spiritual growth and advancement that should no longer be hanging there. Clean out those old habits. Allow for the new ones, that Christ wants to supply, to occupy the prominent place they deserve.
Addressing those old habits in myself is by no means a one-time affair. I have been reminded that even fashions, like neon and velour, make comebacks. In order for the new to remain so, the old needs to be burned up in a flame of surrender and repentance. Just “donating” those former ways is not enough to rid them from my spiritual wardrobe. I must do a continual, daily closet purging and quickly part with anything that resembles that old sinful nature and fashion. How blessed I am to be afforded a new wardrobe every day. I must keep that thought in front of me as I part with the familiar and comfortable.
There is a song that has been running through my mind as I have set out on this quest to be dressed in the best that God offers. "The God Who Stays" by Matthew West has such a powerful message for those days like day two of this new year was for me. God, by His amazing and precious grace, sees me in my new clothes already. Because of His Son, that is what I wear in His loving eyes.
So, if tomorrow you find me struggling in my old rags, remind me that is not the way He sees me. Tell me to run back to the closet of His mercy and grab those priceless new clothes of forgiveness and victory and walk in all that those new garments bestow on this undeserving sinner.
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The Old has passed away. Behold, the new has come.” 2 corinthians 5:17
How are you doing on that quest to be dressed in the best that God offers you freely and daily?
Join us for The ABC's of God's Love Letter Bible study (a 25-week study with topics from Abide to Zeal. 25 Weeks. 25 Writers!) and read more about how the word "Garment" is used in the Bible here.
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