Saturday, July 17, 2010

New Clothes

Believe it or not, shopping used to be one of my favorite activities.  I would love to find new, bright clothes to replace worn out clothes that I had gotten bored of wearing.  I'm almost embarrassed to admit that I often would pull them out in the car on the way home in admiration as I  looked forward to wearing them.

Well, today I went shopping.  Thankfully I had time to myself to get out of the house and look for some much needed maternity wear.  The gift card that paid for the majority of my purchases made this day of shopping even more enjoyable.  I'm grateful for a few new items to add variety to my wardrobe.

Lately I have been thinking a lot about clothing and how I present myself.  Shifting gears from the tangible to the intangible, I believe we are to be "clothed" a certain way if we follow Christ.   Paul tells us to "... put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness." (Ephesians 4:22-24 ESV).  He says this in a manner as if to say, "Take off the old, worn out, stained outfit and put on the new, bright, clean and beautiful one."  I think that this happens once and for all the moment Christ comes into our hearts.  I also think this is a daily process of "being renewed in the spirit of our minds" and growing more and more like Christ.

Just as it had been a while for me to do much shopping for new clothes, until recently it had been a while  since I had put off the old and put on the new.   I found myself not joyfully displaying the new self, but wallowing in the old.  My faith had become worn out, faint, and dull.  I felt like I was walking around with my clothes on inside out, displaying pain and suffering rather than the hope and joy that God gives me.  God continues to work in me to change this habit and teach me how to rejoice in Him at all times.

I'm finding more and more Scripture that talks about the concept of clothing and of "putting on".  Here are a few passages that stand out to me followed by a thought or two.

The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me,
because the LORD has anointed me
to bring good news to the poor;
he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim liberty to the captives,
and the opening of the prison to those who are bound;
  to proclaim the year of the LORD's favor,
and the day of vengeance of our God;
to comfort all who mourn;
  to grant to those who mourn in Zion—
to give them a beautiful headdress instead of ashes,
the oil of gladness instead of mourning,
the garment of praise instead of a faint spirit;
that they may be called oaks of righteousness,
the planting of the LORD, that he may be glorified.
 (Isaiah 61:1-3 ESV)

What hope we have!  God's comfort to us shown in this passage and later carried out in the life of Christ leaves me without words.

Put on then, as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. 
(Colossians 3:12-17 ESV)

She dresses herself with strength
and makes her arms strong.
 (Proverbs 31:17 ESV)
Strength and dignity are her clothing,
and she laughs at the time to come.
 (Proverbs 31:25 ESV)

The Proverbs 31 woman.  What an example for us in so many ways!

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints, (Ephesians 6:10-18 ESV)

While talking to my pastor the other day about spiritual warfare, he said that he wished we actually had to dress ourselves in armor at the start of the day.  He argued that we don't take the battle seriously enough because we can't see it.  I agreed.  The armor that God provides us is essential in standing firm in His ways and following Him.

1 comment:

My Life as a Mom said...

Love the analogy! Looking forward to seeing what you bought:)

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