566. That’s A Really Ugly Sweater

“I have a friend,” Stan began one morning, “who has a sweater he wears a lot.  It’s really old and, in my humble opinion, is really ugly.  It went out of style a long time ago!”

“Why does he do that?” I asked.

“He thinks it’s nice looking and stylish,” Stan replied.

“He’s also kind of frugal and doesn’t want to spend the money to buy a new one.   He’s content with the old one.”

Continuing, Stan said, “Although it’s just a sweater, it reminds me of what I was like at one point in my Christian walk, and, if I’m not careful, can still be there.”

“In what way?” I asked.

“Make that plural,” Stan replied with a smile.  “Ways!”

Continuing, he said, “Even though I had accepted the finished wok of Christ on the cross and was given the assurance of spending eternity in God’s presence when it’s time, I had not done away with the old self.  I was, in essence, still wearing the same old ugly sweater of self, but I thought I looked just fine.”

What was that all about?” I asked.

“Same old story” Stan replied.  “That was my choice.  I had not taken the basic three steps that are required to be a disciple.  I had not denied self by taking off the old ugly sweater of self.”

“And I had not put on the new sweater God had for me by taking up whatever God had for me to be and to do. “

“And then there was the choice of not wearing the new sweater wherever I went following Him.”

Concluding, Stan said, “To carry the word picture to its conclusion, it was long past time for me to clean out the closet drawers and I finally did it.   I took that ugly old sweater and threw it in the garbage.”

 “I didn’t want to give it away for fear someone else would put it on and think they looked just fine!” 

__________________________________

In reference to your former manner of life, lay aside the old self, which is being corrupted in accordance with the lusts of deceit, and be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth.  Ephesians 4:22 – 24.

Prayer:  Thank you, Father, that you have provided me with all I need to put on a new self through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.  I confess that too often I allow the old self to be what is seen, rather than the new self you have for me.  Please forgive me for all of that foolishness.  I need and I ask for your help in seeing the old self for what it is:  old, comfortable, and contrary to you.  Please, Father, help me to take off and discard all of the old and to put on the new that you have for me.  Help me in denying self, taking up the cross you have for me, whatever the cost, and following you in my new self wherever you want to lead.  Thank you I can and do bring all of these prayers before you in the name of Jesus.  Amen.

Think on this:  Does your wardrobe of self consist of any ugly sweaters that should be thrown away?  What would it look like to do that?  How about putting on the new self that God has for you, the one that looks just like Jesus?  How’s that fit?  Does it look the way it’s supposed to?  Any alterations needed?

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