Those of you who know me are aware that for the second (and final) time in my adult life, I have lost a lot of weight. I am not seeking praise for this transformation because I am the same guy who let myself get badly out of shape. I let myself go, and now I am reclaiming my body for the good of myself, my family, and the kingdom of God.
This change has brought one big issue into my life. As my waistline is shrinking, so is my wardrobe. I own very few clothes that fit me. Most often, I look like a child who has snuck into dad’s closet and put on clothes that are two sizes too big. These garments of my past fill my closet and drawers since I have been that size for ten years.
Here is what I have found interesting about this one issue. I have a difficult time giving up my old clothes. Even though they no longer fit my new lifestyle, I am reluctant to give away my old stuff. I went through the pants first and managed to give away most, but I held onto a couple of favorites. The shirts were next, and I kept eight of them that held some special connection to me. While I write this, I still have about 20 T-shirts hanging in my closet that do not fit, but I am too hardheaded to get rid of them.
The writers of the New Testament describe the transformation because of Jesus as clothing us in new garments. The Apostle Paul and Peter both use the description – Romans 13:14, Colossians 3:12 & 1 Peter 5:5.
It is easy to understand this imagery. Just like losing weight forces me to get rid of the old and put on new things, following Jesus pushes us to give up old behaviors and do new things. This process sounds easy, but those old clothes are so comfortable. I spent money on them, and some even have sentimental value. The past holds a sense of familiarity that makes moving forward to something new seem too costly.
Just like I need to go home and pack up all my old clothes because they no longer fit me, I also need to look over my life and see what is not proper for a believer. If clothes are hard to discard, habits are even more complicated. Yet, how ridiculous I look in my old shirts now is nothing compared to a believer living like they do not have Jesus.