I had my own personal tailor for the first few years after arriving in America. Before you steam with jealousy, it’s not as glamorous as it sounds. It was my grandmother, and her creations didn’t have what some refer to as mass appeal. It was the cheapest way she figured out to keep me from going to school in drawstring shorts. I had plenty of those. The local Montgomery Ward had a clearance on shorts, and my grandmother bought them out for one dollar per piece. The only issue was that they were strange colors like orange, squash, and flamingo pink and not made of the best material. If you’ve ever shopped clearance, you know that all the good colors are gone by the time the price gets that low. No black, blue, or even green for yours truly, just odd, bright colors that stung the eyes and made people stare with pity.
By her reckoning, it wasn’t respectful to wear shorts to school anyway, so after finding an Asian market that sold pinstripe polyester by the yard, there was not a day until I started earning my own money that I didn’t go to school in slacks.
Half the time, I hoped the California sun would not ignite them; the other half, I wondered how it felt not to sweat profusely if the temperature got anywhere near eighty degrees. I know she was doing her best, but they were hideous pants on the best of days, and my elementary school years were spent developing a tough skin.
Kids can be brutal, especially to an odd duck wearing slacks every day with a button-down shirt to match on most days. By the time I turned fifteen, I was making my own money and swore off the homemade slacks for Bugle Boy denim jeans. Those were the days. I got to choose what I wore, what I put on, and how I clothed myself, and it was liberating and exciting all at once.
Unless you are eleven, penniless, and have an overbearing grandmother, no one can force you to wear what you don’t want to wear. You get to choose what you put on, what you clothe yourself with, and accept the cheers or jeers that follow. With men, it’s simple. You pick up a shirt, give it the sniff test, and if your eyes don’t water, it’s good to go. If you’ve got a Walmart nearby, you can do your grocery shopping and get a whole new wardrobe all in one trip.
With women, it’s a bit different, and yes, I know I’m generalizing, but there you have it. The shoes have to match the dress, the dress has to match the earrings, it’s all very complicated and time-consuming, but truth be told, between seeing a woman in a hoodie and sweatpants or a sundress, the sundress wins out, hands down. Husbands, show grace and let them take their time. It’s worth it.
I once knew a man who insisted God picked out his wardrobe and told him what to wear every morning. If it’s true, then we have an entirely wrong image of heaven in our minds. Given the man’s daily attire, it would seem God has a penchant for ten-gallon hats and big belt buckles. Bolo ties also made regular appearances, so maybe not togas and halos after all.
What I do know is that the Word counsels us to put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and that is attire that is non-negotiable if you want to overcome the enemy.
Romans 13:14, “But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts.”
Most people get in trouble in the spiritual as in the physical when they try to layer. You have to have a keen eye for color, texture, and pattern to be able to pull off layering, and most people don’t. In the spiritual, issues arise when folks attempt to put on the Lord Jesus Christ without putting off the old man. You can’t layer one on top of the other. They don’t go together. They clash and do so in such a vivid fashion that people notice.
There are examples a plenty of individuals purporting to be of Christ and living like the world, and the world calling them out on their hypocrisy and inconsistency. It’s the godless pointing the finger and asking about their conduct. That is an attempt at layering Christ over the old man and thinking no one will notice.
Ephesians 4:20-24, “But you have not so learned Christ, if indeed you have heard Him and have been taught by Him, as the truth is in Jesus: that you put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts, and be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness.”
There’s no such thing as a divided heart. That’s just something people tell themselves to keep from acknowledging they’re living in rebellion. The Book is clear; no one can serve two masters, but folks today sure are trying. It always ends badly, but somehow everyone thinks they’ll be the exception to the rule.
You must put off the old to put on the new. You must disrobe yourself of the old man and his corruption that you might put on the Lord Jesus Christ without consideration for the old you. That’s the thing; we like to quote the first part of the verse but refuse to acknowledge the latter. Not only are we to put on the Lord Jesus Christ, but we also make no provision for the flesh to fulfill its lust.
It’s either one or the other, not one more than the other.
With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea, Jr.
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