The police uniform reveals identification, authority, professionalism and unity. A police officer in full dress uniform is known as one of the sharpest-looking people around. While I was in the police academy, I learned that it was my responsibility to maintain a clean and neat uniform that is in good repair and I learned to wear that uniform properly in order to convey the office of law enforcement. When police officers wear their uniform, they project command presence, respect, authority, and power. In fact, research suggests that clothing has a powerful impact on how people are perceived, and this goes for the police officer as well. The uniform of a police officer has been found to have a profound psychological impact on those who view it.
On the contrary, wearing an orange prison uniform conveys a complete different message. Orange jumpsuits are instantly recognizable for prisoners. It is a form of immediate identification with bondage, guilt, and incarceration. In exactly the same way, Paul makes the same contrast in Ephesians 4:22-24 we read…”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… and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.” (Col 3:9-10, Eph 6:11). Paul encourages the Christian to ‘put on’ Jesus Christ and to ‘put off’ sinfulness, which leads to bondage. What we wear is an important relative to who we are. This is precisely Paul’s point in the spiritual sense; you need to dress yourself spiritually to meet your identity. From the spiritual standpoint, it kind of goes like this: when you are saved, you give your life to Jesus Christ, and He redeems you. Essentially, you give up the orange jump suit for a spotless police uniform: A complete transformation of identity! Your old man dies, and you are born again, a new man. The new man wears the police uniform and doesn’t want to wear the old jump suit on top of it because the two are incongruous. Paul says it this way, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” (I Cor. 5:17, NIV) You may say, “But I’ve got a problem. My problem is that I may be a new man or woman in Christ but I got a lot of trouble because I keep messing up. Where is it coming from?” Basically it’s coming because your new man is still connected to your humanness. You have to make a distinction between your humanness and the new man. Your new man is like a new home that Jesus lives in. On the contrary, your humanness houses your old attitudes, thoughts, emotions, and behaviors. The key is deciding daily which place becomes your hang out.
The internal conflict is like always running to the closet and dragging out the cruddy stained orange jump suit that says, “Put these on today.” That’s what your humanness is used to doing. It hangs on to the junk in our lives. It says, “Wear these. You’re the same “old man” you’re going to be forever. It is no wonder Paul says, “I’d really like to get out of this vile body.” No wonder he says, “I have to beat my body to bring it into subjection.” Paul knew this battle first hand and gave us a solution: “Instead, clothe yourself with the presence of the Lord Jesus Christ. And don’t let yourself think about ways to indulge your evil desires” Rom 13:14 (NLT).
How do we clothe ourselves with Christ? Paul says in Romans 12 that you’re going to be transformed by the renewing of your mind. That’s how you will know what is the good and acceptable and perfect will of God. You’ve got to hang out with Jesus to have your mind transformed. 2 Timothy 3:16 says, “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God and is profitable for doctrine, reproof, correction, instruction, and righteousness that the man of God may be mature, or perfect, thoroughly furnished to all good works.” In other words, you reach maturity by the Word of God and the good works result. You say, “But how do I do that?” Well, from your standpoint it is this way. You have a little knowledge and you practice it. As you practice it, you make it a part of yourself and you grow. It’s like food. You take in the Word of God, and as you eat it and devour it, it’s transformed into energy that makes you grow. The more you grow the more you eat. As you take in the Word and pray, as you practice it, it turns into energy. It feeds your new man and you mature. 2 Peter 1:5-11 (Message) explains it like this: So don’t lose a minute in building on what you’ve been given, complementing your basic faith with good character, spiritual understanding, alert discipline, passionate patience, reverent wonder, warm friendliness, and generous love, each dimension fitting into and developing the others…So, friends, confirm God’s invitation to you, his choice of you. Don’t put it off; do it now.
Make a choice daily to hang out with Jesus in the new house while feasting on His Word. If you take this challenge for the next 20 days, your new uniform will be evident for everyone, including yourself, to see. It will display identification, command presence, authority, and power, which are necessary towards a life worth living in Jesus.