I grew up watching the Andy Griffith Show. While my favorite character was Barney Fife, one of the most remembered characters was Ernest T. Bass. Ernest T. was an uneducated and disorderly mountain man who often caused trouble in the town of Mayberry. While he only appeared in six episodes, he made his mark on the show.
One of my favorite episodes is a 1964 episode entitled My Fair Ernest T. Bass. On a Mayberry wiki site, the episode is described.
Andy tries to make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear when he takes it upon himself to turn Ernest T. into a presentable gentleman. The big test comes at Mrs. Wiley’s weekly reception when Andy tries to pass him off as his cousin Oliver “Ollie” Gossage. Even Andy is surprised at Ernest T.’s progress when Mrs. Wiley places his accent as being definitely Back Bay Bostonian, but the whole scheme blows up when Bass smashes a vase over the head of a man who won’t allow him to cut in for a dance with his chosen woman.
Perhaps you remember the famous phrase, “How do you do, Mrs. Wiley”. Watch clip here.
While Earnest T. changes clothes. He is unable to tranform. He quickly returns to his original self when he patience is tested. Renewal must begin on the inside and work its way out. In this week’s text, Paul urges Christians in Ephesus to put on new clothes. He is not suggesting a cover-up operation. Instead, he wants them to live into the authentic transformation, change that has already taken place. While new clothes do not always produce change, remaining in old clothes can hinder. He urges,
(Ephesians 4:22–24 NIV) put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.
Our lives should look different when we are in Christ. We must do away with the old and put on the new. It must more than a nice haircut, bath and brief etiquette training. It didn’t work for Ernest T; it will not work for us. Rather our inner renewal begins in our hearts and becomes evident in the way we live. For the next several weeks, we will unpack this idea of wearing new clothes. Join us on Sunday as we kick off this mini series (inside our Ephesians series) entitled New Clothes.