live in

LiveinClothes do not make the man… or do they?  If I were to wear an Armani suit, would that make me more professional or handsome, or just more professional and handsome looking? 

Good business people aren’t successful just because they wear an expensive suit… but the truth is that many of them do look the part.  You don’t see many people on Wall Street brokering deals over lunch while wearing grass-stained jeans and faded sweatshirts.  Or imagine an Olympic swimmer with a beer belly, chest hair and wearing surfing trunks and a snorkel.  Fast swimmers aren’t fast because they wear speedos… but the truth is that fast swimmers do wear speedos… and have lean muscles, shaved bodies and no fat.  Or imagine a clown wearing regular sized shoes, kakki’s and a nice button down shirt with no make-up, sporting a nice haircut and a normal looking nose.  For a clown I suppose, the clothes (and make-up) do make the man… er… clown.

Appearance often reflects ability and action.  Ability + action = appearance.  Usually.  A successful business person won’t usually look disheveled.  An Olympic swimmer won’t usually look out-of-shape and wearing loose fitting swim shorts.  A clown won’t usually look like a regular old dude.  No, each of these usually looks the part because that’s what they are… and usually are what they are because they also look the part.

This is Paul’s point in Colossians.  A follower of Jesus, Paul says, should wear clothes that reflect who they are.  And they will be who they are also because they wear those certain clothes.  Paul says: "You have clothed yourselves with a brand-new nature that is continually being renewed as your learn more and more about Christ, who created this new nature within you… so you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience.  You must make allowance for each other’s faults and forgive the person who offends you… And the most important piece of clothing you must wear is love… Let the words of Christ in all their richness, live in your hearts. (Col.3:10-16)

Being followers of Jesus makes people wear certain clothes.  And wearing those certain clothes also makes them followers of Jesus.  Period.

Followers of Jesus will wear tenderhearted mercy.
And kindness.
And humility.
And gentleness.
And patience.
And forgiveness.
And over it all, wear love.

The inside and the outside reflect one another.  Paul says that a person who claims to follow Jesus but who acts with greed, impurity, lust, anger, malice, rage, slander, foul language, has not been remade on the inside by Jesus.  The outside must reflect the inside.  Integrity.

So I suppose that Jesus Followers are actually supposed to wear their clothes inside-out.  What’s on the outside is to be what’s on the inside and vice versa.  As Christ lives in us, and precisely because he lives in us, we are given the ability to act a certain way… and as a result, we outwardly should appear that way too.  And because we outwardly appear that way, we should inwardly be that way too.  Paul says we are to live in these certain clothes because Christ lives in us.  Christ wears us… and so we must wear Christ.  Christ lives in us… so we must live in Christ.


  1. Hey Andrew! Yes and no. Here’s some of my initial thoughts:
    I think the key thing in this passage to remember is that it is Jesus who is continually renewing our new nature more and more on the inside… and it is this constantly renewed nature that we are to wear more and more on the outside.
    Our language could never quite explain this… and any picture we give will be inadequate… or like in my examples, a bit cheesey. Illustrations like the ones I used are merely pictures to engage our thought.
    I think we should be honest all the time… but we’re not to wear all of our old nature that still haunts us on the inside on the outside. But we’re not to be fake either. I think it’s good to wear our struggles and our inner turmoil on the outside… but we aren’t to be satisfied with that wardrobe.
    Again, I think celebrating Jesus’ work in our inner self is where we need to spend more time residing too. We can sometimes focus so much on where we are not being/feeling renewed that we fail to enjoy where we are.

  2. wearing the inside out. does that include the times when life’s situations make me feel terrible? Using specific images makes it easy, but I certainly do not a live a nice and consistent athlete, business man or clown-like life. Picking the ‘clothes’ of my inner self sometimes seems out of my hands. Does the Jesus-follower attempt to live with honest integrity about their own lives, or with stoic conditioning allowing them to be all of the others to people when they do not feel that way themselves?

  3. I like what you said, Ken. Nicely done, hot stuff.
    I, honestly, don’t read each and every blog – perhaps because I am married to you and have the opportunity to hear your thoughts on a regular basis. But, when I do read what you write I am almost always impressed by how well you write and, even more so, the passion and heart with which you write. May that passion for being a follower of Jesus encourage and spur you today. I love you!

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