“Who are you wearing?” was the question overheard on the red carpet at the Oscars. The answers included names I had never heard and the outfits included many things I would never wear. And it got me thinking: As a Christian, I’m wearing Christ – but as more than a put-on.
Every day as Christians, we go out into the world representing someone other than ourselves. But we are not wearing a costume as we do it. We are literally clothed with Christ. Taking off the old nature, we put on things of the new nature— the likeness of Christ. Our hope is to be out there in the world, not with a costume, but fully clothed in Christ.
What does that look like? I found more than 75 “put off” and “put on” statements in the Bible. Here are a few:
- Put off bitterness (Heb 12:15) … and put on tenderhearted and forgiving attitudes (Eph 4:32).
- Put off a lack of love (1 John 4:7)… and put on love (John 15:12).
- Put off unforgiving spirit (Mark 11:26)… and put on forgiveness (Col 3:13).
- Put off judging (Matt 7:1-2)… and put on allowing God to search our hearts (John 8:9).
- Put off pride (Prov 16:5)… and put on humility (James 4:6).
- Put off boasting and conceit (1 Cor 4:7)… and put on esteeming others (Phil 2:3).
- Put off gossip (1 Tim 5:13)… and put on edifying speech (Eph 4:29).
- Put off jealousy (Gal 5:26)… and put on trust (1 Cor 13:4).
- Put off critical spirit (Gal 5:15)… and put on kindness (Col 3:12).
- Put off idle words (Matt 12:36)… and put on a bridled tongue (Prov 21:31).
- Put off wrath (James 1:19-20)… and put on a soft answer (Prov 15:1).
- Put off discontentment (Heb 13:5)… and put on contentment (1 Tim 6:8).
The things we need to put off are off-putting when it comes to Christian living. Once we are aware of our sin and Christ’s offer to cover us, we want to share the good news of that grace with everyone. But our old self is still a put-off! The good news is that Jesus has got you covered.
Have you ever been at a dinner or event and then realize you forgot your wallet? It is anxiety-inducing. The response to that, someone might say, “I got you covered.” God has us covered eternally and ultimately. He has provided, through the death and resurrection of His Son Jesus Christ, the ultimate covering for sin. We are separated from God by the chasm of sin, and in response, God says, I’ve got you covered.
Because we live within the promise of that covering— we desire to be covered in the things of Christ. This is the process of sanctification that takes our entire life. In this process we put off the things of the world, to put on the things of His kingdom to be His faithful representatives.
So during Black Tie season in Hollywood when everyone is dressing to impress, let’s be challenged to go dressed— not just in a put-on— but in the covering of Christ.