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A Whole New Outfit

A Whole New Outfit

As a teacher I experienced frequent leadership changes. Getting a new school leader with new ideas that would call us into a new direction was as common as pizza for school lunch. Observation has led me to see that we handle change in one of four ways:

  1. Sometimes we completely refuse change. Our mindset doesn’t change and we don’t even try to hide it or “dress it up.” We just keep dressing in the same clothing outside as well as the same undergarments. Eventually, we isolate ourselves and lose all influence. When we get to the end of this attitude we usually quit or are asked to leave the organization.
  2. Sometimes we just “look” like we accept the change but never really change our mind on the inside. It’s like we change up our outside appearance by putting on a new shirt and a different style of pants but underneath we are still wearing the same old brand of underwear that we’ve relied upon for a lifetime.
  3. On occasion we accept the change at the heart level but are afraid to get a new style on the outside. We accept the new direction in theory but not in practice. New underwear where no one can see...but same old style of shirt and pants outside so that no one will notice and ask questions. We change for our leader but not for the world around us. We play it safe.
  4. Finally, there are those who after some research, some careful study, and some new knowledge accept the change not only in their heart but follow up by changing their outside, visible behavior. They put on new everyday basics and also change their external dress. They proudly wear the new company colors and logo to represent the change of mindset. They undergird their entire wardrobe with new underwear and even socks. They are new all the way through! They’ve accepted the change offered!

Paul wrote a letter to the believers in Colossae because they were having trouble making a full change. Colossae had a culture of great diversity. People were very accepting of everything. Knowledge and culture reigned. It was a challenge for new believers to fully immerse themselves into Christ. Things of pre-Christian life remained and were mixed with their new faith. Their heart changed but not their actions. New underwear, but the same old shirt for the world to see. They fit in without notice.

In chapter 3 of Paul’s letter to them he writes this:

"Since you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things because the old you has died, and your life is now with Christ.
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"Since your heart has changed, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another. If any of you has a grievance against someone forgive them. And with all these put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.”

As believers we are to fully accept the change Christ makes in our lives. Christ will certainly change our heart, our mindset, but we must also allow him to fully change our actions so that others see Him through us. We are to undergird ourselves with love and then clothe ourselves externally by how we act in compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, patience, and forgiveness. How are you dressed today? Are you real? Do your hands match your heart? Does everyone around you recognize you as a believer in Christ?

Eric Bowman

 

Eric Bowman ovalEric is our associate pastor, working with outreach and youth ministry as well as adult discipleship and growth. Eric retired from a 28-year career in public education as a high school band director in 2019 and is now living his lifelong dream as a pastor. Eric and his wife, Diana, continue to live in Henry County where they have been lifetime residents. They "raised" three children and are now making their best attempt at "raising" themselves.


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