Most people think of beaches, palm trees, and theme parks when they think of Florida. And those are all very true. Florida is home to some of the country’s best beaches, top-rated theme parks, and more palm trees than you can count.
But I grew up in south Florida, which has more farmland and swamp than roller coasters and tourists.
Being a young boy in an area with swamps and mud is exciting, yet slightly dangerous. These twin realities can best be seen in an unfortunate and messy incident when I was seven.
One afternoon I joined my best friend Ryan and his family for a trip to the farm where his dad and grandpa worked. Farms in this part of the country are massive, like 20,000 or 30,000 acres of tomatoes, citrus fruit, berries, and much more.
Ryan and I decided to ride his 4-wheeler behind the much larger vehicle carrying his family. It wasn’t long before we got stuck in a foot of swamp. Since we were seven and eight, we weren’t smart enough to get unstuck. So, our failed attempts left us stuck and incredibly dirty.
We were completely covered in mud. Our clothes, shoes, socks, everything was dirty. When we got back to the house, we showered and changed into clean clothes.
A decision for a new self
We didn’t hope to get clean clothes, we didn’t sit and wait for clean clothes, and we took off our old clothes and put new ones on.
This proactive effort of taking off dirty clothes and putting on clean clothes is the image Paul gives us in Colossians 3:9-10.
Seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator.
He uses the “put off” and “put on” imagery throughout the chapter. Remember, he’s speaking to a church in this book. A group of people claiming to follow Jesus. Yet he still reminded them to proactively take off the old self and put on the new self.
This act is something we must do daily. Yes, when we become Christians we are changed and the Holy Spirit dwells within us.
But we are still sinners. We still desire to do things we shouldn’t do or not do things we should do. It’s a daily decision, a disciplined intention to live in light of our “new self.”
You already know the areas where you revert back to the old self. You realize the ways you need to change. So, heed what Paul says: actively put off the old self and put on the new self.
Don’t hope, don’t sit and don’t wait.