I grew up going to church camp in the summer. It was one of my favorite weeks (or two, if I could convince my parents to let me stay for another) of the year. When I was too old to be a camper, I became a counselor and did that until I went off to college.
Now, twenty years later, I am writing this post (a day ahead of time) from church camp again. This is our church’s week to have camp for all kids in fourth grade and up, all 250 of them! This is the kind of camp I could have only dreamed to attend when I was a kid. I have a harder time keeping up with the kids each year and I am not sure why they aren’t ready for lights out at 9:30 like I am! Still, what a great week!
Later today we will all head home, and one of the first things I will do is strip off my camp clothes, take a nice hot shower, and put on some clean clothes. It’s not that we didn’t shower or change here at camp, I just never feel totally clean until I am at home in my shower and then in clean clothes.
Paul talked about this earthly life the same way. We are here in a set of dirty clothes (3:5-9), but it’s time to get showered and start putting on the new clothes we were really meant to wear (3:10-15). Of course, by this metaphor he means there is a whole new set of thoughts and behaviors associated with the “new humanity” we are becoming (3:11). By the power of the Spirit, we are getting dressed to go home.
Each of these points needs a book of it’s own, but in this chapter Paul gives us some guidance on how to change our spiritual clothes:
- Set our minds on the spiritual not fleshly (3:1-2)
- Strip off the old clothes instead of just trying to keep them on underneath our new clothes (3:5-9)
- Put God’s word into our hearts and minds (3:16a)
- Help each other become new people (3:16b)