Posted by: Heather | September 17, 2010

Adjust to Your Clothing

Isaiah 61:3 (NIV)  …to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of his splendor.

I was just thinking about a story conveyed by our pastor during a recent sermon, and the message that went along with it.   A poor, homeless man entered a clothing store seeking an outfit.  He wasn’t looking for anything special…in fact, he was hoping for someone else’s cast-offs.  All he needed was something to get by in; something to keep him from the elements and cover him during the long days and nights.   He asked the owner of the store if there was anything he could spare.  In an act of sheer compassion, the store owner gave him something he never expected.    Rather than someone else’s old, worn clothing, he gave the man a brand new outfit, complete with undergarments, accessories, and shoes.   In effect, he gave this poor man a potential new start by one simple gift.  In one instruction, his motive became clear; “Do not adjust the clothing to your life…adjust your life to the new clothing”.

In Isaiah 61, the prophet is describing the reason he was sent.  His mission on earth was to preach the gospel to those that were suffering.  This passage tells us the result of their putting faith in Jehovah.  Ashes, mourning, and despair would be exchanged for beauty, the oil of gladness, and the garment of praise.  All of this happens when we put our faith in Jesus for salvation.  God exchanges these negative things in our lives for the positive.  Of course, this doesn’t always mean that our circumstances change immediately, but with salvation, we are given tools to work through our situations and give glory to God even in the midst of them.  First and foremost is His instruction manual, the Bible.

We are effectively given ‘new clothing’ when we come to Christ.  But, how will we choose to use it?  Rather than striving to conform our lifestyle to His instruction, all too often we try to fit His instructions into our lifestyle.   If we really want to be angry with someone who has done us wrong, we console ourselves by saying we have ‘righteous anger’ (to read the True Root of Anger, click here).   If someone chooses not to believe exactly like we do, even though maybe they used to, we can become guilty of condemning them and say they’re ‘not in the truth’ anymore.   The fact is, no group of people or church has all truth.  There are infinite TRUTHS contained in the Bible.  You may know some I don’t, and vice versa.  But, if we sincerely desire to walk in truth, God will continue to show us more as we’re ready, and continue to grow in Him.   Much anger and division is caused by church splits and differing beliefs.  It’s how many mainstream denominations and independent churches we know of were originally formed.

God also has a way of showing us when we’re wrong about things.  I heard a saying recently that I found very intriguing…’Science can change, and we call it progress.  If theology changes, we call it compromise.’  How true this quote is, and how it should make us realize that our beliefs can change over time as we submit and study the Word for ourselves!  We can be raised in a church or a doctrine and taught many good, well-intentioned things.  But, if we find through study that the Bible actually teaches a matter differently than we thought, what do we do with it?   It is so difficult to go ‘against the flow’ when this happens.  But, as we learn the Word and are convicted by it, we are then held accountable for what we know.  As we go deeper in God’s Word and study, we’ll find many things that aren’t truly as they appear on the surface.  This gives us another opportunity to adjust our lives to our ‘new clothing’.

I want to encourage you today (as well as remind myself) that our mission as Christians should not be to conform to this world, but be transformed as our mind is renewed by the Word of God (Rom 12:2).   The Word of God, although it never changes, is constantly moving and living, because it has so many layers of meaning.  We may see something in it today that we didn’t see before.  Let us be courageous enough to adjust our lives to fit the glorious new clothing that was given to us by our Savior.  He paid everything for it.  Let’s not do Him a disservice by mistreating it.

God bless you today!

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Responses

  1. My lesson last night to the Boy’s & Girl’s Club was about being “clothed in righteousness.” Very similar.

  2. Beautiful!

  3. inspiring!!!!

  4. Good devotion Heather! I believe Ephesians 4 tells us to “put on Christ.” Amen.


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