James Bryan Smith: Trash the garb of greed

“In Colossians 3:9-10, clothes are a metaphor for behavior: some we must take off and others we put on … some of the “old clothes” we need to throw into the trash: the apparel of anger, lust and lying, the garb of malice, greed and immorality. We used to wear those clothes before we became people in whom Christ dwells and delights. They were our natural wardrobe. Without Christ living in us, enlivening us, making us new, we were spiritually dead, alone and scared. We put on anger in order to manage others; we put on lust in order to feel intimacy; we put on deception in order to get what we wanted …

Now we are Christ-inhabited. We live in the strong and unshakable Kingdom of God. We know who we are and whose we are … Apprentices of Jesus put on compassion. Christ-followers wear kindness each day. Students of Jesus put on humility and gentleness and patience. These are the clothes we now wear … The image Paul gives us of having stripped off old filthy rags and put on new clothes begins the transition from getting rid of vices to putting on virtues.”
James Bryan Smith in Hidden in Christ: Living as God’s Beloved (Downers Grove: IVP, 2013) 108-109.

I flew to Dallas to host delegations from twelve countries at the ECFA International Accountability Summit and to attend the Christian Leadership Alliance conference. En route I got a huge black grease smudge and a tear in my khaki dress pants. I won’t wear them again. They are history!

This made me think of Paul’s instructions to the Colossians. We must trash the garb of greed and put on gratitude which fuels a lifestyle of generosity (cf. Colossians 3:5-17). If we don’t do this, we are the ones who miss out on life as God intended. Imagine wearing old rags when new clothes are in the closet.

Is it time for you to change clothes?

Share this Post