Martin Copenhaver: Room to Grow

"Dress yourself with the Lord Jesus Christ, and don't plan to indulge your selfish desires." - Romans 13:14

As a boy, when I went shopping for clothes with my mother, she would always ask me to try on items that were about a size too large to fit me perfectly.  If the jeans I tried on were a bit long, she considered them just right because they left me "room to grow."  Until I grew into them, I could fold the pant legs at the bottom-not much of a fashion statement, to be sure, but at least that way I wouldn't need another pair of jeans quite so soon.

Wearing clothes that don't fit perfectly can make you look and feel foolish at times, but it is also a statement to the world that you intend and expect to continue growing.  It is not a fashion statement.  It is an aspirational statement.

That is how I understand the Apostle Paul's admonition to the Romans:  "Dress yourself with the Lord Jesus Christ."  He is asking the Romans to assume some of the qualities of Christ, to wear them as they would a new set of clothes.

That's quite a charge. When I dress myself with Jesus, I can feel like that boy who is trying to wear an outfit that is at least a size too large.  Not only do I feel awkward, I can even look a bit silly.

Then I remember my mother insisting that it is important to leave "room to grow."  What causes me to trip all over myself today allows for the possibility for growth.  I put on Jesus as I would a new and ill-fitting outfit-in order that someday it might fit and be a fitting expression of whom I have become.


Thank you, Jesus, for leaving me room to grow.  Now, please, provide the growth.  Amen.


From UCC's StillSpeaking devotionals