Since Friday, I have tried on my new clothes over and over again. Like new crayons (see my previous note), new clothes bring a smile to my face. Since I don't get them often, I thoroughly relish the experience of trying on new clothes and wearing them for the first time. Yesterday morning I was putting on my grey cords (which are so ridiculously comfy!) and one of the new shirts and I noticed how I tend to stand up straighter and be extra careful when I am wearing brand new clothing. How I tend to feel better about my outward appearance when I am wearing new clothes.
And there was a lesson for me in the way I paraded myself around in new clothing.
God tells us not to worry about our clothing (Matthew 6, Jesus' Sermon on the Mount), because He will give us the clothing we need to protect us. [He does not promise, however, to fill our master walk in closets with hundreds of pairs of shoes or a dresser full of fancy underthings or an excessive number of shirts, pants, or sweaters! That's materialism and vanity, folks.] God makes it clear to us, throughout His word, that He desires that we should beautify our souls and let Him change our hearts to be more like that of His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. He also tells us which characteristics to take off. This is the passage that flashed through my mind as I stared at my new clothes in the mirror yesterday morning:
But now you yourselves are to put off all these: anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy language out of your mouth. Do not lie to one another, since you have put off the old man with his deeds, and have put on the new man who is renewed in knowledge according to the image of Him who created him, where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcised nor uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave nor free, but Christ is all and in all.
Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering; bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do. But above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection. And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him. [Colossians 3:8-17]
...and this is the passage that was staring me in the face, since it's taped to the mirror in the bathroom:
Do not let your adornment be merely outward—arranging the hair, wearing gold, or putting on fine apparel— rather let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God. [1 Peter 3:3-4]
Isn't it fantastic that God is more concerned with our inward appearance than our outward one? He gave us our bodies; He controls our genetic makeup and because of that, we are each beautiful to Him, just the way we are on the outside. But even so, He cares more that our soul is beautiful, that out of the overflow of what's in our hearts come forth praises and thanksgiving on our lips and in our actions.
God also promises that once the decision is made by you and I to accept the sacrifice of Christ's life as payment for our sins, that we are new in Christ: "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. [2 Corinthians 5:17]
And so, as I stood there in my new clothes, which I do very much appreciate still, I realized that my focus had been all wrong. I shouldn't be parading about in my new clothing, even if it looks nice on me or if it was a great deal. I need to let myself get that excited about putting on the virtues of God that make a lady truly beautiful from the inside out.
What are you putting on today, dear friend? Did you spend more time making your outer self look fantastic to hide the ugliness of your sin? Did you spend time today purifying your heart, that you might be more like the Lord Jesus? Put on love. Put on thankfulness. Put on joy and praise. Those things never go out of style; they are expensive but they are worth every sacrifice made to own them. Take off those bitter grudges that weigh down your soul. Take off anger. Take off your cynicism and your pessimism. Take off anxiety. Be free of those qualities that taint your spirit and add emotional weight to your life - put on the characteristics of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!
For His glory!
I may be sharing this post at one of the following homemaking Link-up parties!
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