Friday, May 29, 2015

Clothe Yourself

Clothe Yourself and Put On
Scripture is full of metaphors that help us to more fully understand God’s desire for us. There is an important concept, habit or discipline that can give us strength and confidence, and also humility. It is clothing ourselves or putting on Christ and His attributes. Although we can attempt to do this, I believe that it is the power of The Holy Spirit that allows us to be clothed in His Splendor, majesty, love, grace, compassion, gentleness or anything else that speaks of God’s character.

First I want to take us to Jesus’ final commands before His ascension into heaven after His resurrection. In Luke 24:49 He says, “I am going to send you what the Father has promised; but stay in the city until you are clothed with the power from on high.” Jesus is speaking of the promised Holy Spirit, the Counselor, the Spirit of Truth, who will guide you in all truth. The power of God comes to us through the Holy Spirit who is the third person or manifestation of God.  The Holy Spirit has existed with the Father and the Son from before time and creation. It is the Holy Spirit who hovered above the abyss and brought light and the oceans in Genesis. He has been working since the beginning to create, empower and guide mankind. In the OT the Spirit of God appeared intermittently to help. But in the New Testament, the Spirit was sent by God to bring us Christ, allowing us to be robed in God’s righteousness and strength. Psalm 45:2, “Clothe yourself with splendor and majesty. In your majesty ride forth victoriously on behalf of truth, humility and righteousness.” The Psalmist is speaking of the coming of Christ. Isaiah the Prophet in 52:1 said, “Clothe yourself with strength. Put on your garment of splendor.”  Speaking of Israel, the chosen people of God.

Paul frequently alluded to putting on the new self, “So let us put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light…rather clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the sinful nature.” (Romans 13:13-14).  In his letter to the Colossians, he wrote, “Therefore as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly beloved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as I forgave you.

Peter also spoke of this intentional act, “All of you clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble (Prov. 3:34). Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty power that he may lift you up in due time…Cast all your cares on him because he cares for you.” (1 Peter 5:5-7). 

Once more back to the Psalms, “Your turn my wailing into dancing, you removed my sackcloth and clothed my with joy…that my heart might sing and be thankful.” (Psalm 30:11).  So God clothes us and admonishes us to clothe ourselves. What a wonderful gift God gives. This gift is made very clear in Proverbs 31, speaking of the ‘The Wife of Noble Character.’ “She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come.”

Perhaps Paul summarizes this discussion best in Ephesians 4:22-24, “You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to 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.”  And one more admonition, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation, the old is gone, the new has come!” (2Cor 5:17).  This is it, the new life clothed and empowered by Christ through the Holy Spirit.  So what do we do? Put on Christ, clothe yourselves with Him and He will do it.

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