What if each day you could grab one garment-ensemble to wear, including every underpinning and outward accessory, all ready and perfectly coordinated, precisely appropriate, exactly fitting, personally becoming? Put together by a top apparel designer and coordinator who loves you, knows your assets and flaws, and wants to bring out your best?
Spiritually, you/I/we can.
Thursday’s post talked about spiritual apparel Colossians 3:5-10,12,14 says to put on — and un-spiritual items to remove and toss. Both lists prove daunting.
The put-offs weigh heavy with sometimes besetting sins. Covetousness, anger, “little white” lies, impure thoughts, etc… have a nasty knack of creeping right back onto us.
And those lovely items to don seem either impossible to wiggle into or quick to fall right off shortly after we thought we’d secured them on! How, really, can one keep wearing kindness, meekness, humility, and long-suffering patience without it sliding off and down, plunk! into the mud, after fifteen provocations?
So we struggle. And fail. And struggle. If we care to honor God at all by our lives.
There was a man named Brother Lawrence, lay brother/kitchen worker in a 17th century French monastery, who claimed, “in the noise and clatter of my kitchen, while several persons are at the same time calling for different things, I possess ____ ___ as great tranquility as if I were on my knees at the blessed sacrament.” And others testified this truly was his demeanor.
Reading that always grieved me! The only way I knew to come halfway close to such sweetness in my kitchen was to shoo everyone else out! How did He do it?
Answer: Evidently, He was wearing THE GARMENT. (An important word’s missing, above, which I’ll reveal pronto…)
But first, another faith giant… Watchman Nee. Once a couple frustrated sick by their own parental impatience, asked him to pray for God to give them patience:
And he refused to do it!
They were aghast! Were they so far gone God would not hear their prayer, or another’s on their behalf?
No. Nee informed them, “It isn’t patience you have need of…
“It is Christ.”
Christ. THE GARMENT.
Nee explained, “God will not give me humility…, patience…, or…, as separate gifts… dispensing grace to us in packets, measuring out some patience to the impatient, some love to the unloving, [etc], in quantities we work on as a kind of capital. He has given only one gift to meet all our need: His Son Christ Jesus. As I look to Him to live out His life in me, He will be humble…, patient…, loving…, everything… I need — in my stead.”
Then he referenced 1 John 5:11-12 and Romans 6:23, echoing these Colossians concepts:
“Let no one cheat you… not holding fast to the Head, from whom all the body… grows with the increase from God” (Col 2:18).
“…you have put off the old man with his deeds, and have put on the new [man]… renewed… according to the image of Him who created him… Christ [is] all…” (Col 3:9-11).
Let the peace of God rule in your hearts… Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly… Whatever you do…, [do] all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God… through Him (Col 3:15-17).
This was how Brother Lawrence “did it.” He actually said (above), “I possess GOD in as great tranquility…” I omitted “God” from the quote — The. Most. Important. Factor.
And that’s just what we do, way too much, isn’t it? Leave God out.
Why? What fools us, cheats us?
In a post to come…
Today’s post continues a thought thread on dressing for Christ-living. Previous posts following the theme:
Thanking Him, with Ann at A Holy Experience this morning for these astounding gifts:
~ He has clothed me in the garments of salvation! (Is 61:10)
~ He has covered me with a robe of righteousness!
~ He has given me the garment of praise in place of the spirit of heaviness I bore (Is 61:3)
~ He has encircled me with the protection of His feathers like a mother bird
~ He has enveloped me within His gracious love
And are these all not Him?
~ He has given me Himself, the new man, to put on, to wrap myself in, to immerse myself in, to totally cover me.
~ And is He Himself not lovingkindness and tender mercies?
~ Are not humility and long-suffering patience essentials of His Spirit?
Deep gratitude for these, all gifts of Himself, of grace, from the God Who is Love and Light, “the Way and the Truth and the Life” —
and that He has instructed me to ABIDE IN HIM: to nestle down, permanent, in all this glorious gifting!
Oh, how is it that a human soul so graced still can wander…?