Off with the Old

If you’ve had preschooler in your life in the past decade, you’ve probably read Stan and Jan Berenstain’s modern classic, Old Hat, New Hat. In it, Brother Bear enters a hat shop to trade in his frumpy, crumpled old hat for something new. The Berenstains narrate Brother’s trying on new hats with an adjective parade and humorous illustrations.

Not unlike a new hat, God has a new, just right life for each Christ follower to put on.

Our old life—our sin nature which is continually corrupted—must be put off. “Grace like nature abhors a vacuum,” writes Jack MacGorman. The newness of grace fills the place of the old clothes of corruption. (Read the full context of the following quote from Ephesians 4 here, especially verses 17-32.)

You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.
— Ephesians 4:22-24 NIV

Unfortunately for Brother Bear, he finds an excuse for every new hat he tries on. “Too beady, too bumpy, too leafy, too lumpy.” Confounding the hat salesbears, he returns to his old hat with the repeated phrase, “Just right.” His old hat was comfortable. His old hat familiar. No price to paid. No adjustment to be made. Brother Bear returned to the old when he could have had so much more.

How is it then if God has something new, tailored just for us—a new life fit perfect with his grace—that we don’t try it on and keep it on?

We must have a willingness to try it on: submission. Within submission there is recognition that God is offering something I can not do for myself.

We must have a willingness to keep it on: humility. In humility we embrace the understanding that God’s love makes me worthy of His gift. (Find a few humility quotes here.)

Humble submission to God is the first principle of a better life. Off with the old. On with the new.

A new year is upon us and a better life awaits for those humble enough to accept God’s grace.