Have you ever had a piece of clothing that fits so well, is so very comfortable, it makes you want to wear it all the time? I had sweatpants like that. I wore them for a day, washed them at night, wore the next day, washed them while I slept, wore them again. You get the picture. I had to go buy a couple more pairs because first of all, they faded fast from all the washing, and second, I wanted to be able to say I had more than one pair. You know, people were looking at me like I was weird, wearing the same pants every single day, I wanted to say, “Hey I’m not wearing the same ones, I have a twin pair at home!”
My kids have all been like that. They have a closet full of clothes but only the green dinosaur sweater that’s two sizes too small and has a hole in the right sleeve will do. Or the faded pair of jeans with the grass stain on the right knee and no left knee left at all. My daughter would wear shirts that were so short they didn’t meet her pants anymore, I would go through her clothes while she was busy and dispose of all the garments I knew were getting too snug to avoid the haggling that would occur if she was involved. Many times she would see another little girl wearing something that looked exactly like the item she once owned and would say, “Look, so and so has the same shirt I used to have!” She’s never caught on that not only does it look it, it is it!
My son had a T-shirt that we brought home for him from a trip we had taken. He loved that shirt so much, he wore it everyday. It went through the wash dry cycle so often, but usually only after it had been wrestled from his clutches, that it was full of tiny holes. My son also likes to make small holes bigger so it wasn’t long before the shirt was in an awful state. One day as I was folding laundry I seized my opportunity and threw the shirt into a bag of odds and ends that were heading to the dumpster. I thought that was the end of it. Much to my surprise, I found him wearing it a few days later. He said he found it on top of the bag of junk and knew it must be a mistake because his favorite shirt was not junk. I hadn’t disposed of it fast enough.
It occurred to me, we have problems exchanging old for new sometimes.
I think it happens because things become comfortable, even if they aren’t the best fit, or if they may not be the best for us.
Think about the disciples. They were doing well in life by their standards and they were called by Jesus to leave it and exchange it all to follow Him ! Seems like a simple decision, but that’s because we’re reading about, not actually being required to a make it. And also, when can read the entire account, they were called to make the exchange having faith that it was profitable.
When God asks us to give up something it’s because His desire is to move us into something better for us. He wants to give us clothes that fit, so to speak, that aren’t ripped or dirty. Sometimes it doesn’t feel like a speedy exchange, sometimes we have to let go without any glimpse of something better on the horizon, but we know that if God is in it, it will always be a better fit. If we remain where we are because we’re comfortable we’ll never realize the fullness of life that awaits us. If the Israelites had remained in Egypt as slaves because they knew what was going to happen day after day, and hadn’t stepped out into the unknown, they never would have received the promise of God.
While they wandered in the desert they complained, it wasn’t easy, but in the end it was worth it. They were free. Sometimes we stay in the confines of our bonds because we know what to expect and the discomfort it easier than the fear of the unknown. But even though it may be hard, it will be worth it. Let go of the old so you can embrace the new.