“Put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh in regard to its lusts.” Romans 13:14
Just because you have a new outfit in your closet doesn’t mean that you chose to put it on today. When we accept Christ into our hearts God gives us a new nature, but He doesn’t remove the old one. Christians have the ability to “put on the Lord Jesus Christ,” or to not put Him on. When we don’t put Him on we live governed by the same appetites, desires, fears, manipulations, and agendas that those in the world function under every day. Our lives become, “the survival of the fittest,” with a little God added on here and there.
But when we get up in the morning and put on the Lord Jesus, our new nature responds and transformation occurs, little by little, from glory to glory, until those around us can sense something different about us. It’s not just reflected in what we do but in who we are. They begin to smell the fragrance of His life in us even as we go about our daily responsibilities.
So what does it mean to put Him on? First, it means to die to self. When Paul said he, “died daily,” he was referring to dying to the carnal nature. Before you put on a new outfit you take off the old one. We have to do it every day because we won’t lose the old nature until heaven. Second, it means to choose an attitude that puts God first instead of self. Humility instead of pride, loving instead of competing, praying instead of presuming, serving instead of consuming, and thanking God for what’s good instead of whining about what’s bad.
We can’t produce any of these on our own, but we can choose an attitude that activates the new nature inside of us. In Christ, you have become a partaker in the divine nature (2Peter 1:4), so that what is easy for God can eventually become easy for you and me. We must practice putting on the Lord Jesus. The world around us rarely gets a glimpse of Christ even from those who call themselves Christians, so our lives stick out like a brand new outfit when we truly put Him on. Peter wrote: “Be ready to give an answer to anyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you.” (1Peter 3:15) When they see Him, they will ask.