By Dave Hinkley
Now this I say and testify in the Lord, that you must no longer walk as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their minds. They are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, due to their hardness of heart. They have become callous and have given themselves up to sensuality, greedy to practice every kind of impurity. But that is not the way you learned Christ!— assuming that you have heard about him and were taught in him, as the truth is in Jesus, to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.
Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another.
I saw a meme on the internet this week that joked about the clothing habits of this shelter-at-home season. It claimed that we are likely to wear sweatpants for the whole time (since they can’t be seen on Zoom) and possibly less likely to change our clothes from day to day. My vote is, sweatpants are fine, but please change them.
In the stress produced by too much togetherness or too much alone time it might be easy to let our guard down and give into a similar kind of laxity related to our sin. Our battle with the world, the flesh, and the devil has not changed even though everything else has. There is no break from the discipline of putting off the old self (who we once were before Christ) and putting on the new (who we are now in Christ).
We put off the old self by resisting our deceitful desires (v.22), those that promise fulfillment or meaning apart from Jesus, and seeking the renewal of our minds through meditation on the Word of God (v23). We put on the new self by fighting to live lives worthy of the calling we have been given in Jesus (v.25-32). Our daily behaviors – attitudes, treatment of others, how we spend our time – are the proving grounds for which self we have on.
We must not allow laxity of habit during this time (some of which is fine!) to allow us to be negligent about our daily fight with sin. Keep on your old sweatpants, but don’t keep on the old self!