Sunday, March 5, 2017
UV 2217/10000 New Clothes
Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering;
Colossians 3 v 12
Our attitudes are our spiritual clothing. In this uni-verse, we are asked to clothe ourselves with compassion, humility, gentleness and patience. These attributes of Jesus are to be our covering. When people look at us, they see these clothes that cover our spiritual nakedness. These attitudes should be cultivated till they become our second nature, our second skin, so to say. When we claim to know Jesus personally as our Saviour and Lord, we have no excuse but to be like Him. People need to see the Christ in us. The more we know Jesus, the more we love Him, the more we will reflect His image in our character and conduct. God has chosen us not only for salvation but to be like His first born –Jesus. We need not only to redeem our souls when we die but we need to redeem our character when we live.
Our deep and intimate connection, our grafting onto the body of Christ, requires us to be fruitful in terms not just of good works or in terms of reaching others with the message and person of Jesus, but fruitful in terms of the divine nature or DNA of Jesus being injected into us. To our faith, we need to add diligently step by step, stage by stage, knowledge, goodness, kindness, self control, godliness, fraternal affection and finally, the most excellent fruit – love. We cannot do these things on our own steam. We need the anointing, the guidance, counsel and help of the Holy Spirit to get rid of the old man, the sinful self, the selfish and egoistic one to be replaced by the new man, the new nature of Christ. It does not however divest us of our responsibility for we are to be diligent- studying the templates or features of the character and work of Jesus up to the cross, on the cross and as a Resurrected and Triumphant Saviour, as an all powerful King of Kings and Lord of Lords in heaven.
The receipt of the good news should then lead to good nature, good works and good life. We cannot be left unchanged and untouched by the good news of Jesus. If we are not changed it will be like a person who wears old clothes along with new clothes. We will be like Adam and Eve after the fall perpetually ashamed of our moral and spiritual nakedness. The catch is that we need to sew or knit these clothes, stitch by stitch. When a cloth is stitched on a loom, there are two movements, the warp and the woof, the horizontal and the vertical moves of the thread and needle. Dealing with our negative qualities is the warp while dealing with the positive qualities are the woof. Together they form a pattern that is pleasing to the Lord. Many of us take the metaphor of clothing used by St Paul literally and keep taking off and putting on these clothes of Christ according to the situation or need. Once we put on these clothes, these are never to be taken off or it will expose our old nakedness and shame. These are permanent wear and to be kept wrinkle-free, tear proof. It should withstand the pressures and wear and tear of life. We cannot don one and take off one of these parts of the full set of our spiritual clothing, or that part will be naked and exposed. We cannot stitch these clothes overnight and often it takes long and much experience, learning and obedience to develop the full set of these clothes.
Prateep V Philip