Put on the New -- By Sharon Warden

Ephesians 4:22-24:  "You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness."

Brothers and Sisters: Are you tired of your old clothes? Weary of wearing the old duds? How about a new wardrobe? Something spring-like and becoming? Jesus teaches us that we must PUT OFF the old corrupt nature (the musty old overcoat), and PUT ON the new nature (a new garment for our souls and minds), created, "after the likeness of God."

Folks, the old overcoat we walked around in, woven together throughout our lives in response to living the old life -- the life before Jesus came into it -- is a hideous, raggedy garment, made up of a mismatched patchwork of greed, lying, cheating, rage, envy, stealing, love of material things, anger, foul talk, cursing, gossip, lust, stinginess, arrogance, self-righteousness, self-will, bitterness and orneriness -- all sewn together tightly with the thick cord of FEAR. What a garment! It is ugly, uncomfortable and HEAVY to wear. We look terrible in it and, certainly, it is not becoming to a Child of God. When we wore that old thing, our minds and souls must have looked desperate, peering out from underneath its thick collar. AND, the coat grew more cumbersome as every year passed!

Our Lord says, "THROW if off; GET RID of it; RENEW your souls and minds with the new coat I give you, which you MUST put on. Here it is: a gossamer, light, beautiful coat -- fabricated with harmonious, shimmering stripes of Generosity, Truth, Edifying Words, Kindness, Trust, Purity, Humility, Faith, Joy, Forgiveness, a Forbearing Spirit, Tenderheartedness, Encouragement, Praise, Sweetness, Goodness, Even Tempered -- a CUSTOMIZED garment, bordered and lined with LOVE."

We put it on. Oh, how soft and luxurious it feels to be in this beautiful coat. It looks good on us, too, and oh how it brightens our spirit as we gaze on our reflection in the mirror. Is that Our Lord Jesus that we see? This coat seems to give us a new lease on life. Oh, thank you, Jesus, for Your provision of this wonderful new garment to wear for the rest of our days. NO WAY, while wearing this, could we ever give place to the devil!

Dear Jesus: Help us always to remember that we don't need to wear that scratchy old garment of our old nature. If we DO forget and purposely put it on, or slip it on by mistake or even look at it in the closet, forgetting where our NEW COAT is, nudge us into remembrance of our brand new garment -- this cloak of renewal -- that You give us to wear. Thank you for Your Love to us, that You care enough for us to dress us in the FINEST fashion! In Your Precious Name we pray. Amen

Sharon Warden