Is It Time For A New Wardrobe?

TODAY’S SCRIPTURE – Colossians 3:1-17

There seems to be trending on cable television several SELF-IMPROVEMENT shows. Some of the appeal I think is the DESIRE to make some changes in our own lives.   Also, some of the appeal is seeing others being able to make the needed changes.

There’s a show called What Not To Wear on TLC.  It’s interesting to watch friends and family rat out a loved one as one who has no style and then the show secretly films the offender.  Then the offender is confronted by the hosts of the show with the chance to change what they wear and given a $5000 pre-paid Visa Card to get a new wardrobe.

I’m certainly NOT a fashionista, but really, you should see some folks sense of style. Almost always it’s a lady who needs to make a change.  I guess us men have an instinctive sense of style  (NOT!).

I’m thinking that most who are reading this have something you would like to change about yourself.  I would like to lose 10-15 pounds myself.

Let’s consider our life with Christ for a moment,

How many of us are totally happy with where we are in our RELATIONSHIP with Jesus?

When we give our lives to Christ, we hear about this NEW LIFE God wants us to have.

John 10:10, Jesus tells us that “I came that they [you] may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance (to the full, till it overflows).”  

But it doesn’t seem to be happening the way we think it should be.

You’re going to have to realize that in order to be able to make those changes about yourself, you actually have to change some things in your life!

For instance, if I want to lose weight, I have to change my eating habits, my exercise habits (currently, no habits here!), along with my attitudes concerning food.

Without CHANGING these specific areas of my life, the weight is not coming off.  No miracle cure is going to change my weight without me changing some things.

THERE IS NO NEED FOR “WHAT NOT TO WEAR” POLICE…the truth is, what we WEAR daily will have an effect on our lives.  

What we WEAR can help us or hinder us.

For one to grow in Christ we need to realize there are some things we ought NOT to WEAR in a figurative sense.  We all need to rid ourselves of some or our entire current wardrobe so that we can really TRANSFORM our image of Christ.

Colossians 3:5-7 (PHILLIPS):

On so far, then, as you have to live upon this earth, consider yourselves dead to worldly contacts: have nothing to do with sexual immorality, dirty mindedness, uncontrolled passion, evil desire, and the lust for other peoples’ goods, which last, remember, is as serious a sin as idolatry.  It is because of these very things that the holy anger of God falls upon those who refuse to obey him.  And, never forget that you had your part in those dreadful things when you lived that old life.

FIRST, WE NEED TO CLOSELY EXAMINE WHAT’S IN OUR CLOSET

One of the most difficult things for people on the TV show to do is get rid of the old wardrobe…snake skin tights and pink boots.  They gotta go!

They need a wakeup call, and the wakeup call on the show is a 360-degree mirror, a truth teller.  It helps make the fashion offender realize that they need to look at changing what they wear.

After the view in the mirror, the hosts of the show go through their closet and throws almost everything in a nearby trash can.

Well, the Apostle Paul gives us a list of items that need to be taken out of our closet and throw in the trash can.

  • WE NEED to throw out the old clothing that no longer fits
  • WE NEED to realize that we are DEAD to the old life; we’ve outgrown many of the items hanging in our closet.

In VERSE 5, we are told literally “put to death” these things.

To consider DEAD means we’re to hold these items in check, restrain them.  Left unrestrained, they will lead us in the wrong direction.

If you look at VERSE 3 casually, we are told that we have DIED with Christ Jesus…BUT here we are told to consider our members of our earthly body as DEAD!  Remember, someone who is DEAD is no longer aroused by the world around them.

This VERSE should remind us that WE have a part to play in our WALK with God.

We need to toss out the clothing that no longer reflects who we are in Christ.

In VERSE 5 we are given a LIST of things that we are to consider ourselves DEAD too.

IMMORALITY deals predominantly with sexual sin.  The word is the same word we get “pornography” from.

1 Thessalonians 4:3 (GNT)

[3] “God wants you to be holy and completely free from sexual immorality.”

This list includes impurity, passion, evil desire, and greed.  All of these deal with getting what we want.

The list is actually in reverse order…the root of all these issues is GREED!

GREED is the overmastering desire for what belongs to another; it includes the breaking of the laws of right and justice in order to obtain them for oneself. 

It’s the relentless urge to get more.  This is really the ROOT of the rest.

We must move in the direction of pleasing our heavenly Father rather than ourselves.

God isn’t against SEX, but SEX outside of MARRIAGE is wrong, no exceptions!

As long as we live in a fallen world, we’ll struggle with these issues.  The last part of VERSE 5 tells us that these things amount to IDOLATRY.

When we REJECT the true and living God of the Bible, we make up one of our own imagination, and we make our desires, appetites, and lusts our god by the deification of them.

WE NEED TO THROW OUT THE OLD CLOTHING that hampers our growth!

The THINGS listed in VERSE 5 are to be a part of the OLD LIFE.  This is the reason for us to put SIN to death in our lives.

We now walk with God and what WE WEAR should reflect that!

Colossians 3:8-9 (NIV)

WE NEED TO DEVELOP A NEW ATTITUDE ABOUT WHO WE ARE IN JESUS.

VERSES 8-9 really deal with issues that have their roots placed in our attitudes.

We are told that we are in need of putting some old attitudes in the “trash can.” And don’t worry, there’s plenty of room in the can!

To put aside, or rid yourselves means to take off–like taking off clothing.

Each of these ATTITUDES if left unchecked will build upon one another.

ANGER is a deep smoldering bitterness…leads to REVENGE by which being bent on causing injury to another either physically or to their reputation.

ALL these things can lead to SLANDER and FILTHY SPEECH.  We need to rid ourselves of these things.

There are many Christians who still to this day struggle with these attitudes.

Ephesians 4:29 The Message (MSG)

“Watch the way you talk.  Let nothing foul or dirty come out of your mouth.  Say only what helps, each word a gift.”

It’s easy to focus on the EVILS of verse 5 and then forget about the EVILS in verse 8.  It may be more difficult for us to deal with BECAUSE…WE can always rationalize our corresponding actions.  “THEY MADE ME MAD!”

Bad ATTITUDES lead to bad actions!

VERSE 9 encourages us not to LIE to one another.

When we harbor bad things in the heart, they will come out in our actions.

If you find yourself struggling with ANGER issues, don’t just sweep them under the carpet.  Don’t rationalize your ANGER.

Our ATTITUDE towards others needs to reflect who we are in Christ Jesus.

We are called and obligated to treat others in a Christ-like manner, even if they don’t deserve it!

Colossians 3:9-11 New International Version (NIV)

 

We need to rid our closets of things that don’t line up with who we are in Christ.

If you go from digging ditches to being a salesman, be wise to get rid of the work clothing that you used to wear daily as a ditch digger and replace it with clothing that matches up with the new job.

I remember when I went from driving a plumbing supply truck to working in the sales office and I had to do the same thing.

Our new purpose in Christ is to be RENEWED to the true knowledge of Christ.

We can’t be RENEWED to the true knowledge of Him if we don’t know anything about Him.

We need to rid ourselves of the CLOTHING that doesn’t reflect our RENEWED PURPOSE.  By obtaining knowledge of Christ and His will through His Word found in the Bible, our spiritual being is being changed into the likeness of Jesus.

We learn to feel, act and think like Christ!

Romans 12:2 (NIV)

[2] Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be TRANSFORMED by the renewing of your mind.  Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–his good, pleasing and perfect will.  [Capitalization for emphasis by the Word Detective]

Our ultimate purpose in life is to be TRANSFORMED into the IMAGE of Jesus!

2 Corinthians 3:18 (AMP)

And all of us, as with unveiled face, [because we] continued to behold [in the Word of God] as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are constantly being TRANSFORMED into His very own image in ever increasing splendor and from one degree of glory to another; [for this comes] from the Lord [Who is] the Spirit.

That is our calling!  Anything that we figuratively WEAR that hinders, THAT needs to be thrown out!

The way some of the people on the TV Show would dress often hindered their advancement chances at their job.  IF we choose to WEAR the STUFF from our old life as described in our passage of Scripture; we will be severely hindered in our TRANSFORMATION.

TACKY IS IN THE EYES OF THE BEHOLDER.

It amazes me what some people will wear and thinks looks great.  It seems as though they are the ONLY ones in the room who cannot see it.

Are you one of those TACKY DRESSERS who wear things such as:

  • Sexual immorality,
  • Impurity,
  • Passion,
  • Evil desire,
  • Covetousness.

DO you wear things such as…

  • Anger,
  • Wrath,
  • Malice,
  • Slander,
  • Obscene talk (dirty talk) coming from your mouth?

IF you do, others can see and hear it and it’s time to put on some NEW clothing.

 

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CREDITS –

Wikipedia What Not to Wear (U.S. TV series); http://www.tlc.com/tv-shows/what-not-to-wear

Photos:  Google Image Search/Advance settings.

Bible Translations:  New International Version (NIV) except where noted.

Learning To Be Patient from the Life of A Preteen? Really??

Scripture Reading – Luke 2:40-52 (AMP):

[40] And the Child grew and became strong in spirit, filled with wisdom; and the grace (favor and spiritual blessing) of God was upon Him.  [41] Now His parents went to Jerusalem every year to the Passover Feast.  [42] And when He was twelve years [old], they went up, as was their custom.  [43] And when the Feast was ended, as they were returning, the boy Jesus remained behind in Jerusalem.  Now His parents did not know this.  [44] But, supposing Him to be in the caravan, they traveled on a day’s journey; and [then] they sought Him [diligently, looking up and down for Him] among their kinsfolk and acquaintances.  [45] And when hey failed to find Him, they went back to Jerusalem, looking for Him [up and down] all the way.  [46] After three days they found Him [came upon Him] in the [court of the] temple, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions.

[47] And all who heard Him were astonished and overwhelmed with bewildered wonder at His intelligence and understanding and His replies.

Now Jesus’ parents went to Jerusalem every year to the Feast of the Passover.  And when he was twelve years old, today known as a “preteen”, the family all went according to custom [Exodus 12:1-11].  PASSOVER was a New Year’s celebration on the Jewish Calendar for Israel.

A traveled day’s journey in Biblical times was estimated 20-25 miles [Bible Study Tools – International Standard Bible Encyclopedia].

My idea today for celebrating New Years is to watch the fireworks at the Seattle Space Needle…on television.  Are we spoiled or what?

And when the Celebration has ended, as they were returning home, the boy Jesus stayed in Jerusalem.

His parents didn’t know it, but supposing him to be in the group, traveled approximately 24 miles before they noticed his absence.  In today’s culture, they would have sent out an AMBER ALERT.

Joseph and Mary then began to search for him among relatives and acquaintances in the caravan and when they couldn’t find him, they returned to Jerusalem to search for him.

After three days…

After a frantic search, they found their boy in the Temple, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking questions.

The childhood and youth of Jesus were normal in many ways.

As a Jewish boy, he experienced the same things that other children experienced at his age.  It was customary for Jewish families to go to Jerusalem for the Passover each year.  Even though it was required only of men, many times it became a family excursion.  So the family of Jesus followed this Jewish custom.

During the twelfth year of a boy’s life, they begin to assume the responsibilities to the LAW.

On the 13th birthday, a Jewish boy is accepted as a full “son of the Law” [Bar mitzvah – son of law].  He became responsible to obedience to the law.

Normally a boy would be taken to the Passover during his twelfth year preparing him for the responsibility of observing the law.  This is the significance of the incident in the life of Jesus at the age of twelve.

Leaving Jesus Behind.

The leaving of Jesus behind in Jerusalem is a kind of thing that could happen to any family in a large, overcrowded environment.  It didn’t suggest neglect on the part of his parents.  Ordinarily, the women would leave before the men on a journey because they walked slower, and the men and boys would follow later.  So Mary assumed that Jesus was with Joseph and the men, while Joseph assumed that he was with Mary and the children.

It wasn’t until they met at the end of the day that they noticed Jesus wasn’t there.   It made it necessary to return to Jerusalem and search the city for three days until they found him.

The unusual thing about THIS twelve-year-old was where they found him.

But there he was!  In the Temple taking advantage of the opportunity of learning from the teachers of the Law.

What more than likely amazed the learned teachers gathered about was that any twelve-year-old boy knew the Torah.  But this twelve-year-old boy not only knew the Law, he knew it inside out understanding the meaning–THAT was remarkable!

JESUS Is Our Model –

First We Can Learn About Our Priorities In Our Lives (vv. 48-49 KJV):

This exchange between Joseph and Mary with Jesus needs close attention.  

It was a REBUKE by Mary, because of the anxiety she felt from Jesus’ disappearance–losing your child’s presence and then finding them.

Naturally, Mary was very upset and worried when she finally found Jesus in the Temple (v. 48).  She might have said even more had the circumstances been a little different.  It may have diluted her response a little because they were in the Temple in the presence of scholars of the Law.  But her words expressed how she felt.  Real ANXIETY looking for him.

Evidently, Jesus had been so absorbed in the experience of listening to the teaching in the temple that he was oblivious to almost everything else.  He was amazed that his parents wouldn’t understand his interest in and presence in the Temple (v.49):  

“Why is it that you were looking for Me?  Did you not know that I had to be in My Father’s house?”  (NAS Bible)

This statement reveals the RELATIONSHIP THAT WILL RECEIVE PRIORITY.

Mary spoke of Joseph as the father of Jesus.  Joseph was the one who had the fatherly responsibility for him, but Jesus reveals a much deeper awareness.

He speaks of “My Father”.

The words spoken by Jesus suggest that He is committed to giving relationship PRIORITY over every other relationship of His life.

As the adult life of Jesus’ life unfolds, this is obviously the PRIORITY by which He lives; but it didn’t begin when He was an adult.  It began in the early days of His life voiced by Him when he was twelve!

In VERSE 49, Jesus is emphatic when He says, “I had to be in My Father’s house.”  

Literally, it would read “My Father’s things.”  This meaning is the same essentially whether you understand “things”, or “house”.

“Had to be” in some translations is a strong word from the Greek language.  It’s the word that speaks of “divine necessity.”  

The word “MUST” is the better idea.

Jesus realizes at the age of twelve that his first responsibility in life is to do the will of His Heavenly Father–and His first interest must be the things of the Father.

The most important house then must be the Father’s house!

I learned when I was a young father many years ago that children can begin to determine their PRIORITIES very early in their lives:  Going out to brunch after church on Sundays; cleaning of their rooms before going outside to play…

We are not told that Jesus established them at twelve, but we are allowed to see they are already in place.

For all of us, and especially young people now is the time to determine what comes FIRST in your life.  If you’ll get the PRIORITIES in place, the other decisions that arise in life will fall into their proper position.

What We Can Learn from Jesus about the Value of Submission (vv. 50-51 NLT):

[50] Yet his parents did not understand the remark he made to them.  

[51] Then he went with them and came to Nazareth, and was obedient to them.  But his mother kept all these things in her heart.

This action doesn’t conflict with the PRIORITIES that have already been established.  In fact, they are an expression of the priorities that He has just stated.

The FIRST submission of Jesus was to God, and then to His parents.

Jesus’ submission to His parents was voluntary.  And children who do not learn to SUBMIT their lives to God, usually have difficulty submitting their lives to their parents.

There is no suggestion that Jesus’ response to His parents was to the pressures they put on Him.  Rather, as a part of His daily life as a twelve-year-old, He voluntarily gave Himself to a life of OBEDIENCE to His parents.  This is the only kind of submission that has any value.

SUBMISSION that is forced can actually have the same qualities as REBELLION.

Every young person, every child needs to learn a valuable lesson here from Jesus.  His parents were not perfect, but He knew that they were God’s appointed GUARDIANS of His ways, so He submitted to them.  This SUBMISSION was part of the preparation for what God had sent Him into the world to do!

We Can Learn from Jesus about Growth in Our Lives (v.52)

[52] And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in the favor with God and man.  (NIV Bible)

In VERSE 40, Luke had written,  “And the child grew and became strong; he was filled with wisdom, and the grace of God was on him.”

This faces us with the mystery of Jesus’ life.

We know that He was the INCARNATION of the living God, the Son of God. Yet the incarnation was such that growth was necessary for His life.

He grew just like every other child must grow and we can learn from His growth the importance of balance.

LEARNING TO USEFUL –

Dr. Luke points out that He grew physically, mentally, spiritually, and socially:

  • He grew physically for “he grew in stature.”  Physical growth is important.
  • He grew mentally for He “grew in wisdom.”  Through His study at the feet of Mary; His involvement at the local synagogue; His visits to the Temple as He grew in His understanding of the Truth of God.
  • He grew spiritually, for He grew “in favor with God.”

Never a moment was He not totally pleasing to God, but in order for that to occur, He must continually GROW SPIRITUALLY.

Jesus was perfectly where a twelve-year-old should be in spiritual growth at the age of twelve.  But at the beginning of a ‘teens’ life, He was perfectly where a thirteen-year-old should be.  And as it was always.

  • And then He grew socially, for he was “in favor with men.”

His ability to relate to others in an acceptable way grew normally and perfectly.

Many of our children today, including our church kids, are not growing in this way.  They may be growing physically and mentally, but the social and spiritual way may be stunted.

JESUS MODELS GROWTH for us all and it should be balanced.

The Growth of The Preteen Jesus Teaching of Patience –

  • Jesus was PATIENT for the process of life to take its course.  He was PATIENT to keep on growing until the Lord God said that it was time to begin His ministry.  He didn’t get ahead of God but waited on Him.  He waited until the age of thirty before He started the mission that the Lord God had given Him and continued not to be impatient for God’s timing in His life.

“My Hour Has Not Come”

This is such an important lesson, one that I continue to learn, and one to learn, especially for young people today!

DO NOT GET IMPATIENT with God and with life.  

Just keep on establishing the right priorities, submitting to the rightful authority and go on growing as a person, and in God’s timing (not yours), He will launch you forward on His mission.  He will open the right doors for you!

No detail of the life of our Lord and Savior is without significance.

The little details are significant for all of us to take in.  It helps us see the PLAN of God for His children and youth today.  Jesus walked the way we should all walk in these matters.

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CREDITS:

Commentaries:  Dr. G. Flattery – Luke 2:41-52; “My Father’s Business” – Global Christian Center.

Growing Up God’s Way by Jeremy Meyers.

PHOTOS:  Google Image Search.

Bible Translations Used:  The New International Version (NIV), except where noted.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

True Love

I’ve been reading and studying God’s Word of late in the Old Testament.  Specifically, the Song of Solomon.  This book of the bible is one that is often overlooked, ignored, and put aside.  Why?  Well there seems to be some misunderstandings in the content.

Some have thought it to be a collection of songs, but it is more generally understood to be a sort of drama, the positive interpretation of which is impossible because the identity of the speakers and the length of the speeches are not disclosed.

Although there are three main theories (allegorical, literal, and the typical), what can’t be missed in the different interpretations, is the story that takes place is about True Love in relationship–between God and Israel, Jesus’ relationship with the Church, and the experience of Solomon and a Shulamite maiden–God’s teaching on marriage and sexual relationships.

TRUE LOVE
TRUE LOVE

Most of us over the years have experienced HUMAN LOVE.  Some remember their first romance with the opposite sex: overcoming shyness, overcoming rejection, dating, the first kiss.  We even remarked, “This is it! This feeling will last forever!”–later to find out that it was but an infatuation and not TRUE LOVE!

One of my favorite allegorical books ever, is a book written by Mr. Don Nori:  Romancing the Divine – A Story About True Love.   As an introduction to his story, he gives us a vivid pictorial of TRUE LOVE and I wanted to share it with you as a Devotional.

~True Love~

How noble true love is!  How invincible!  How pure!  How innocent!

Love simply comes, often undetected even by the one overtaken by 

its mysterious powers.

True love.  The lonely covet its reality.  The arrogant flaunt

its presence.  The ignorant snub its wonder.

It is illogical as anything can be.  It is hopeless to describe it

and folly to shun it.

The greatest philosophers have sought to define it.

Religion has tried to buy it.  Many have tried to elude it.

Love is as hopeless to understand as it is impossible

to deny.  Yet reason and logic are helpless against

love, for it is  a most formidable foe of the mundane and

the average.  True love, you see, dares to go places 

where reason cannot tread.  Love sees realities about which 

philosophy can only hope to dimly speculate.

True love knows what tradition can only distantly remember.

True love draws the least lovable.  It can make anyone

a hero.

True love is the sustaining power of the universe

itself, yet is so lovely that it abides fully in the hearts of

those foolish enough to respond to its rapturous invitation to come.