But now you must also put away all the following: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and filthy language from your mouth. Do not lie to one another, since you have put off the old man with his practices and have put on the new man, who is being renewed in knowledge according to the image of his Creator. …Therefore, God’s chosen ones, holy and loved, put on heartfelt compassion kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience, accepting one another and forgiving one another if anyone has a complaint against another. Just as the Lord has forgiven you, so also you must forgive. Above all, put on love __ the perfect bond of unity. Colossians 3:8-9, 12-14
I had a choice to make when I woke up this morning. God gave me free reign to make it. I had to decide what to wear. Would I keep my PJs on all day? No, I decided, I would not. So then came the second choice: What would I change into? I chose jeans and a t-shirt with my kids’ school mascot on it. Having made the choice, I took action on it. I walked to the drawer and pulled out the clothes and put them on.
And as I read these verses this morning, I realized that God has also given me free reign to make a spiritual choice. Am I going to spend all day dressed in the “old man?” I could, you know, because that old man is quite comfy to me, as snuggly and familiar as my pajamas. And I’m ashamed to say that some days, I choose to stay in him. I choose anger and half-truths. I chose resentment and unforgiveness.
But that’s not the good choice. Instead, God is calling me to make the right choice, to put on His image as deliberately as I chose my jeans this morning. Acting like a new man requires my mental and physical work – it doesn’t just naturally flow out of me. I’ve got to decide to have compassion, be humble and patient. I must choose to forgive and accept. And then, having made the choice – I’ve got to actually do it. And sometimes that is the hardest part.
Christ has made me new. His work of forgiveness on the cross is what enables me to put on the new man. But some days, I just feel grumpy. And those are the days I’ve got a harder choice to make than on the days when my emotions are soaring. When my feelings are sour, I’ve got to choose to change what I’m dwelling on. My emotions will follow my thoughts. If I choose to think about my blessings, if I choose thankfulness, I soon begin to feel thankful. And that makes it ever so much easier to act it.