Monday, November 17, 2014

Royal Outfit

Did you know that God picks an outfit for us?  We are children of God, the King of kings, and we are expected to be "dressing" differently than the world. Can the world tell when they look at us that we are Christ's ambassadors and that we are royal princes and princesses, belonging to God's kingdom? We must clothe ourselves in Christian virtues: compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness/meekness, patience, and love (verse 14). We are to dress up in the character of Christ. "Clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the sinful nature." (Romans 13:14) True Christlikeness should be the goal of every Christian. This is a growth process, not an overnight achievement. Keep abiding in Christ and we will bear the fruit of the Spirit.

First, we need to realize that we are chosen and loved and holy (set apart as saints for God's own use/work) because of what Christ did for us. This is our status/position. Then we dress accordingly, not the other way around. And before getting all dressed up, you need to take off the old clothes (sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires, greed, anger, rage, malice, slander, filthy language, lie,....as mentioned in verses 5-9). 

Compassion/Merciful Hearts

"Show mercy and compassion to one another." (Zechariah 7:9b)"
"Be compassionate and humble." (1 Peter 3:8b)
We are to have tender hearts that sympathize/empathize with others. Rejoice with those who rejoice. Weep with those who weep. Suffer with those who suffer. Deeply moved by others' afflictions/ hardships. Feel their pain. Genuine caring hearts that want to comfort the hurt, the sorrowful, and the distressed. "I would go to the deeps a hundred times to cheer a downcast spirit. It is good for me to have been afflicted, that I might know how to speak a word in season to one that is weary." (~Charles Spurgeon) 

Kindness

"Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you." (Ephesians 4:32) 
"Whoever is kind to the needy honors God." (Proverbs 14:31b) 
"Make sure that nobody pays back wrong for wrong, but always try to be kind to each other and to everyone else." (1 Thessalonians 5:15)
"And the Lord's servant must not quarrel; instead, he must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful." (2 Timothy 2:24)
Speak kind words. Do kind deeds. Help those in need. Offer support, helping hands, understanding, prayers, encouragement, and friendship. "I shall pass through this world but once. Any good therefore that I can do, or any kindness that I can show to any human being, let me do it now." (Unknown)

Humility

"Wisdom's instruction is to fear the Lord, and humility comes before honor." (Proverbs 15:33)
"Humility is the fear of the Lord; its wages are riches and honor and life." (Proverbs 22:4)
"All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because, 'God opposes the proud but shows favor (gives grace) to the humble.' Humble yourselves, therefore, under God's mighty hand, that He may lift you up in due time." (1 Peter 5:5b-6)
Having true humbleness in heart and mind. Putting others above selves. No boasting/bragging. Acknowledging God in all our ways. "Humble yourself and cease to care what men think. A meek man is not a human mouse afflicted with a sense of his own inferiority. Rather,...he has stopped being fooled about himself. He knows well that the world will never see him as God sees him and he has stopped caring. He has obtained a place of soul rest. The old struggle to defend himself is over." (A.W. Tozer) "Humility does not mean thinking less of yourself than of other people, nor does it mean having a low opinion of your own gifts. It means freedom from thinking about yourself at all." (William Temple)


Meekness/Gentleness

"It should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God's sight." (1 Peter 3:4)
"Let your gentleness be evident to all." (Philippians 4:5a)
Being considerate, pleasant, and peace-loving in disposition. Not harsh or violent. 

Patience

"A person's wisdom yields patience; it is to one's glory to overlook an offense." (Proverbs 19:11)
"Better a patient person than a warrior, one with self-control than one who takes a city." (Proverbs 16:32)
"Love is patient, love is kind." (1 Corinthians 13:4a)
"Encourage the disheartened (compassion), help the weak (kindness), be patient with everyone." (1 Thessalonians 5:14b)"Be patient, then, brothers and sisters, until the Lord's coming. See how the farmer waits for the land to yield its valuable crop, patiently waiting for the autumn and spring rains. You too, be patient and stand firm, because the Lord's coming is near." (James 5:7-8)
Not easily angered/provoked/offended. Controlling temper. Staying calm when annoyed or insulted. Enduring/ persevering. Waiting without complaining. Bearing with others' unpleasantness. Putting up with the contempt and refusing to seek revenge. Refusing to give up on people.

This is how God's chosen people (holy and dearly loved) should live/dress spiritually. Imitate Christ. He is compassionate, kind, humble, gentle, and patient. Each day, let's examine ourselves to see if we are properly dressed as God designs. Do others see Christ in us when they take a look at us?  If not, we need to change our "clothes." "Live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love." (Ephesians 4:2)

Prayer: Dear Heavenly Father, I am so thankful that You love me so much, chose me to be in Your family, and made me holy in Your sight. I want to honor You in all I say and do. Please help me to always be compassionate, kind, humble, gentle, patient, and loving just like Jesus. Please purify my heart and get rid of anything that doesn't please You. Make me be a blessing and sunshine in the lives of others. May others see Christ in me and be drawn to You! In Jesus' Name, I pray. Amen.

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