Thursday, August 7, 2014

When Christ Clothes the Heart


"And all of you, dress yourselves in humility as you relate to one another, for “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” ~1 Peter 5:5

As we come to know Christ, we awaken to the fact that He clothes the heart with His sacrifice, His humility, His meekness and righteousness. As the heart and mind are changed, renewed and transformed, this new "inner clothing" should begin to reflect on the outside.  We are a reflection of the One who has given us new life. Dressing oneself in 'meekness' and 'humility' is not on the runways of the fashion shows, or pursued by many today.

Jesus said in His sermon on the mount "blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth." Matthew 5:5 

Simpleness, being down to earth, modest, not haughty or prideful, patient and submissive to our Father in heaven are not qualities we are taught to cultivate, yet meekness is one that Jesus speaks of and is described as personifying.  "Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls." Matthew 11:29 

Showing off, being prideful and "putting on airs" to others only exhausts us. Trying to be something we are not in our insecurities and clothing ourselves to reflect an image on the outside does not give rest to the heart and soul. Gently being clothed in Christ brings His true rest. We are no longer trying to rely on any of our own efforts and striving, but we can rest in the love of God and sit at Christ's feet, with His yoke upon us. We don't have to 'prove' ourselves to Him, He sacrificed for us and has adopted us into His family. "But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God." 1 Corinthians 6:11

Now clothed on the inside, that grace should begin to show outwardly. When clothed only on the outside we are prone to be haughty---vain, conceited, self important, and superior. We are not to be full of ourselves and our own inflated individuality, as if that makes us worthy of "worship" or positive treatment from others.

"Do not let your adorning be external—the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear— but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God's sight is very precious." 1 Peter 3:3-4

The way we carry ourselves, dress and the heart attitude we are clothed with inside is a witness to those we are around. We are reflecting the salvation that renews hearts, and a gentle and humble Savior. Do we look like the world on the outside, as if no inner change has occurred? Being truly aware of Christ's loving sacrifice means that the focus is no longer on ourselves, but His beauty shining outwardly. His beauty is not known to this world, or trending in the fashion magazines.  

We don't want to be like the Pharisees, outwardly reflecting pompousness, but empty inside. 
"Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs, which outwardly appear beautiful, but within are full of dead people's bones and all uncleanness." Matthew 23:27

Moses, one of God's great leaders who guided the Israelite's out of Egypt and who spoke with God directly, is described possessing the quality of meekness. "Now the man Moses was very meek, above all the men which were upon the face of the earth." Numbers 12:3

 Neither was Jesus brash or loud, nor did He carry himself as if He was showing off who He was. He relied on God to do that, He knew His reward was in heaven. Meekness is opposite to the loud and brash wisdom of man. God's wisdom is opposite of ours; it contradicts the world.

"Look at my servant, whom I strengthen. He is my chosen one, who pleases me. I have put my Spirit upon him. He will bring justice to the nations. He will not shout or raise his voice in public. He will not crush the weakest reed or put out a flickering candle..." Isaiah 42:1-3

When Christ clothes the heart and we live in grace, we are no longer 'slaves'---tied to reflecting any of the worlds values. We are Christ's, clothed in His freedom, love and humility.  We can adorn ourselves with His righteousness and salvation. We find peace as we no longer seek our own prideful way, but the way of God.

"But the meek shall inherit the earth; and shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace." Psalm 37:11

Prayer: "Lord, teach and show me your ways, make me aware of your clothing me on the inside. Give me wisdom to reject the immodest fashions of the day, the ones that reflect selfishness and not you. May my striving be for you, and not to look like the world, caught up in it's pride and fleeting vanity. Show me how to reflect you on the outside, clothed with your grace and righteousness. Amen."

"The meek also shall increase their joy in the Lord, and the poor among men shall rejoice in the Holy One of Israel." Isaiah 29:19


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