Summary: The Bible has a lot to say to the Christian about “putting off” and “putting on.”
“Don’t Put Off What You Should Be Putting On”
The Bible has a lot to say to the Christian about “putting off” and “putting on.” The abundant life in Christ (John 10:10) is an exchanged life of “putting off” the old and “putting on” the new (Colossians 3:1-17). For example, you are to put off the weight and sin that so easily entangles and to put on Christ. Romans 13:14 tells you specifically to: “… put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh in regard to its lusts.”
Therefore, you are to put off any confidence you might have in the flesh and follow the admonition in Colossians 3:12 to “put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.” You are to put off your carnal weapons for waging war in exchange for the spiritual armor God supplies to his children for the battles you must face in this life (2 Corinthians 10:3-5). You are now privileged in Christ to be a partaker of the divine nature and a daily transformation should be taking place. The Apostle Peter says, “…He (meaning Jesus) has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises, in order that by them you might become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust.” (2 Peter 1:4)
Given the above considerations and the Christian’s tendency to “put off” intentionally the doing of something that should be done, God gives you this admonition: “Don’t Put Off What You Should Be Putting On.” Like Joshua said to the sons of Israel, "How long will you put off entering to take possession of the land which the Lord, the God of your fathers, has given you?” (Joshua 18:3) Brothers and sisters, you must go all the way with Christ. After all, HE went all the way for you! So, “Are you taking possession of the land the Lord has given you or are you procrastinating?” “Are you simply a reformed life or transformed life?” There are great possessions and riches in the land waiting for you if you “Don’t Put Off What You Should Be Putting On.”
To expound upon this truth, the Apostle Paul puts “shoe leather” to God’s Word and tells you how to do this in Ephesians 4:28-32: “28. He who steals must steal no longer; but rather he must labor, performing with his own hands what is good, so that he will have something to share with one who has need. 29. Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear. 30. Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31. Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. 32. Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.”
Putting off what you should be putting in the Christian life has serious implications for you, the church and the lost. When Christians don’t completely “put off” the grave clothes of the old life and “put on” the new righteous robes of Christ, the image people outside the kingdom of God get of Christianity and the Christian life becomes blurred and distorted. Your life looses its salt and capability of creating a thirst and hunger for Christ in others. However, when the life of Christ flows out of the overflow of your life in word and deed, the life of Christ comes into clear focus creating a hunger and thirst for righteousness. Therefore, the Bible concludes it is of critical importance you not put off what you should be putting on in YOUR WORK, YOUR WORDS AND YOUR WALK. The Apostle Paul clearly outlines this for you in the above passage of Scripture.
First, DON’T PUT OFF WHAT YOU SHOULD BE PUTTING ON IN YOUR WORK. The Apostle Paul says in verse 28, “He who steals must steal no longer; but rather he must labor, performing with his own hands what is good, so that he will have something to share with one who has need.” Stealing robs you of your real worth. The very purpose for getting becomes giving when you live in the abundant life. The word “labor” in verse 28 means to exert oneself to the point of exhaustion. Paul says you should work hard so you are in a position to meet the needs of others. Paul did this in both word and deed and told the churches at Ephesus: “In everything I showed you that by working hard in this manner you must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that He Himself said, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” (Acts 20:35). Likewise, Paul emphasized this truth to the churches at Galatia: “So then, while we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, and especially to those who are of the household of the faith.” (Galatians 6:10)