You have taken off the old self with its practices and have put on the new self.
Have you ever become overly attached to a worn-out piece of clothing? Perhaps it was an old coat that kept you very warm but was faded and stained. The zipper was broken, and there was a big tear in the sleeve. When winter arrived, you took it out of your closet and started wearing it again. But then a good friend told you, “Please get rid of that! It just doesn’t look good anymore. Here! Try on this new coat I just bought for you.”
Paul is saying something similar in today’s reading (Colossians 3:9-10). He reminds us that we have cast off our “old self.” We now have a “new self”—a new life in Christ, given to us in Baptism (Colossians 3:9, 10). Unfortunately, we don’t always recognize how “new” our new self is. We often see only our old self with all its failings.
What is Paul’s remedy? “Put to death . . . the parts of you that are earthly” (Colossians 3:5). The Colossians may have acted with anger or malice in the past. But the past is over and done with. They are a new creation now, so their identity, their memory, and the vision they have of themselves and the world have changed. They don’t have to keep walking around in old, dirty clothing. Just get rid of it, Paul says. You have something infinitely better to wear!
Of course, this isn’t always easy to do. Our old desires haven’t completely left us. Like that old coat, it can take us a long time to part with them completely. So often we fail because we lose sight of how wonderful our new life in Christ really is. We give in to old temptations because we forget about what God has already done—and still wants to do—through his power and grace.
Is there a habit or inclination you would like to “put off”? Obviously, a habit is something ingrained, so you may not shake it overnight. But be encouraged. God has made you a new creation. He’s done so much in you already, and he’s only just begun!
“Lord, give me the grace and the strength to leave behind everything that stands between me and you!”
Psalm 145:2-3, 10-13
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