Psalm 30:11-12 (NLT)
You have turned my mourning into joyful dancing. You have taken away my clothes of mourning and clothed me with joy, that I might sing praises to you and not be silent. O Lord my God, I will give you thanks forever!
Well, it’s Sunday morning. Time to decide what to wear to church. In a full closet with nothing to wear, I sense the Holy Spirit whispering to my heart. With a house full of daughter’s, the morning consists of a series of knocks on my bedroom door for fashion inquiries. When the final product is ready to leave, I find it does not matter what I say but what the other sibling said that truly matters. I grew up in the Southern Baptist denomination where girls and women did not wear pants on Sunday morning and stockings were required. Sunday night – one might forego the dreaded hose and a simple skirt would be fine. Wednesdays were a bit more casual but again nothing like the come-as-you-are casual in the church today. It took many years for me to break the religious dress code that I had grown up with now only donning a dress on the occasional Easter or Mother’s Day. After years of struggling to present myself as a decent, godly woman – I have found the most important part is my heart.
“You have taken away my clothes of mourning” could well represent my life. My Heavenly Father has certainly outdone Himself in giving me new life. He has been good to me. Always faithful loving and true. The biggest struggle that I constantly battle is His Timing but that, of course, is my inability to wait on Him. It goes much deeper than the day that He healed my son from cancer or returned my oldest son from the Middle East. It is in each moment that I breathe in Christ and exhale new life thanks to His Spirit. I have been saved from a horrible death and should be “clothed” in joy. But I get wrapped up in too many earthly things that are out of my control so today the very first thing I want to put on is praise. Praise to a God who cared enough to clothe me despite my horrible condition and give me new life.
Proverbs 14:18 (NLT)
Simpletons are clothed with foolishness, but the prudent are crowned with knowledge.
Yesterday I attended a party to celebrate a friend who is getting married, she chose her last girl gathering to be at an establishment called “Painting with a Twist.” Armed with easels, paintbrushes and paint covered in a smock facing a blank canvas, the instructor led this room full of women to paint a beautiful rustic beach scene. She really did her best and should not be judged by our masterpieces. At any rate, when the class began she warned us that the paint we would be using would stain our clothing so if we “love what we were wearing” then we should take special care in our creation. As I began to think about Jesus as I perused the clothes in my closet, I reflected on my relationship to Christ. The very knowledge of who He is and acceptance of His Gift means that I have the profound privilege of living “clothed in the Presence of Christ” each day. (Galatians 3:26-27) Do I love what I am wearing?
The life that we have in Jesus Christ has great potential. We can live clothed in the Presence of Jesus Christ which allows us to walk in the promise of that potential. However, when we leave the house is it clothed in that power and majesty or do we leave Him in the Bible on a dusty shelf. Why bother the Lord with our everyday problems? Why would He care about the daily cares and concerns of His People? He does. Do you love Him enough to wrap your life in Him? Do you love Him enough to not only wear His Presence but make sure not to do those things that might soil His Reputation? Are you conscious of the mantle that you wear? Do you bring honor to His Name like a good designer that you would never wear to work in the yard or walk through mud? Religion can dress you but it cannot change the way you live. A relationship with Jesus Christ will make you conscious of who lives in you and be careful to walk in love as well. It has the power to change our natural life into a supernatural existence in Jesus Christ. Just to know Him and that you belong to Him has the powerful potential and promise to change your life from simple to satisfying. You will exchange garish for His Glory!
Psalm 84:5-7 (NLT)
What joy for those whose strength comes from the Lord, who have set their minds on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem. When they walk through the Valley of Weeping, it will become a place of refreshing springs. The autumn rains will clothe it with blessings. They will continue to grow stronger, and each of them will appear before God in Jerusalem.
Our sin makes anything good that we do seem like “filthy rags” to God. Even the smallest transgression or mistake is an abomination to the righteousness of God. We are doomed from the beginning. But when we accept Jesus Christ and the Gift called His Grace. Jesus wraps us in His Presence like a mantle that covers us completely. Now when we approach God – all He sees is Jesus, His Precious Son. This is important. His Presence is something that we choose to live in. The Lord does not force us to walk with Him or follow Him through life. We decide just like we choose our clothing each day.
If I am going to a job interview, I am most certainly not going to wear gym clothes but a professional outfit. We are not supposed to judge a book by its cover but we do. A first impression is a lasting impression. I want the interviewer or potential employer to think that I am competent and have it all together based on first sight. Some life coaches even go as far to suggest certain colors like red that represent power. Women should avoid short skirts and heavy perfumes. There are many dos and don’ts in this area. What if we approached life the same way? If we were representing Christ to the world, would people want to know our God based on their first impression? God does not dress our outside but our inside. He works on the appearance of our heart which works its way out in the Gifts of the Spirit. We begin to clothe our life in things like “tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience.” (Colossians 3:12) This is our mantle to wear in life. These are the qualities and attributes that make others want the God we serve. You can dress up but unless your heart is properly dressed nothing you do for “God” will be acceptable outside of becoming clothed in Christ.
Romans 13:13-14 (NLT)
Because we belong to the day, we must live decent lives for all to see. Don’t participate in the darkness of wild parties and drunkenness, or in sexual promiscuity and immoral living, or in quarreling and jealousy. Instead, clothe yourself with the presence of the Lord Jesus Christ. And don’t let yourself think about ways to indulge your evil desires.
Clothe yourself with the Presence of the Lord Jesus Christ. This is the beginning of a new life. It will be the very thing that renews, restores and revitalizes your life no matter what is going on in the natural. If we worried less about trying to impress the Lord with the “appearances” of our life and pressed in to the Presence of Christ getting wrapped up in Jesus – there would be a dramatic change on the outside that the world would notice. It would be a message as our mess is turned from broken to beautiful not by our own hands but the God who created us for His Plan and Purpose.
I Peter 3:4 (NLT)
You should clothe yourselves instead with the beauty that comes from within, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is so precious to God.
Well, I still have no idea what I am going to wear today to church so I guess I better get back in the closet and decide. One thing I am clear on now is that it really doesn’t matter what I choose as long as I go the place of worship wrapped in the Presence of Jesus Christ. The beauty within us pleases God more than anything we can do or say for His Kingdom. Inner beauty is produced by the Holy Spirit because Jesus Christ is our Savior and Lord. Do we live that way? Do we love the One who we are wearing? It is essential to being properly dressed for His Kingdom.