Writing over at The Glorious Table today about the transformation we go through over time to look more like Jesus. To be “clothed in Christ.” Please see the preview below or link to the full post here.
I was two years old when E.T. the Extraterrestrial was released in theaters. This sweet (if also sad and scary) story about a wayward alien and his friendship with a boy named Elliot was my first movie. As my Mom tells it, I reacted very little during the film. Because I was so little, she wasn’t sure how much I really absorbed. But later that night, as she was getting ready for bed, I wandered into her bathroom wearing a blanket and sunglasses over my head, repeating clearly, “E.T. phone home.”
I love that picture of a little girl who was affected by what she had encountered. I love it even more that it wasn’t clear right away what impact the movie had. Sometimes, when we are being impacted by an experience, it isn’t immediately obvious. Sometimes, we don’t see the change until a little bit later. And sometimes, the change takes place bit by bit, over a lifetime.
My delayed transformation into E.T. got me thinking about the transformation that takes place in each of us through our relationship with Christ. While there are some immediate changes that take place, there are others that are more gradual. When we’ve worn one identity for so long, sometimes it just takes a bit before we start to look like the new one. Let’s explore a few verses referencing the “new clothing” we put on in Christ.
“So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ” (Gal. 3:26-27 NIV).
“And you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit” (Eph. 1:13 NIV).
These verses about change are such a comfort. When we make the decision to follow Christ, a few things happen immediately, whether we’ve changed our behavior or not! No matter our history, mistakes, or doubts, when we choose to follow him, we get Christ as our clothing and the Holy Spirit as our companion. We may not see it (yet) and others may not see it (yet), but Jesus quite literally begins serving as a filter for our former selves beginning the moment we meet him. Thank goodness for these changes that are completely independent of our effort and simply gifts of grace.
Behavioral & Attitude Changes
“Let us behave decently, as in the daytime, not in carousing and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and debauchery, not in dissension and jealousy. Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the flesh” (Romans 13:13-14 NIV).
“Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience” (Col. 3:12 NIV).
Unlike the verses in the previous section that are a comfort, these are the types of verses that occasionally get labeled as “dos and don’ts” lists. For those who want to look more like Christ, these words can feel intimidating, pointing out all the ways we aren’t measuring up. For those who are hesitant about faith, they can sound like don’t have any fun” or even like unattainable standards.
The important thing about these verses is not to read them as checklists of potential condemnation but as promises or invitations…
To finish the full post link here.