Changing Clothes

Stephen Shaffer

READ : Ephesians 4:17-24

Put off your old self. (v. 22)

Among college age males, there is a practice known as the “sniff test.” Rolling out of bed in the morning, a dirty shirt is picked up off the floor, sniffed, and—if it passes the test—the shirt goes on. Picking up a dirty shirt and putting it back on is less work than doing laundry or finding a clean shirt. As long as no one notices, it is perfectly okay. There is no need to change clothes.

But what may be okay for college guys is not acceptable for Christians. Paul is calling the Ephesians to change clothes. By the power of the Spirit, they are to “put off the old self” and “put on the new self.” But the church in Ephesus was more comfortable picking up their old habits off the floor, sniffing, and then falling right back into them. Anger, falsehood, theft, and lust were all okay as long as no one noticed. Paul reminds the Ephesians that not only has God forgiven them, but he has given them a new way of living. Instead of picking up old patterns of living, they are to live in truth, honesty, and peace.

In our life with Christ we are daily faced with the temptation to fall back into old ways of behaving. Instead, Christ empowers us to put on “the new self created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness” (v. 24).


Lord, help me to put off the old self and put on the new self.