We dress for all occasions even though we seem to live in an “anything goes” culture. When we go to a funeral, we avoid bright colors that might draw attention to ourselves because we attend to pay respect and honor to the life lived. We dress in our shiny party clothes for wedding receptions. We dress in all kinds of ways for church going, not trying to impress, but to be honest. We dress according to the tasks of our workplace. We dress in stretchy clothes to go to the gym to seriously work on those muscles!
As I read this passage, I am reminded of Paul’s instructions about “clothing ourselves” in ways that please God. When we believe in Jesus as Savior AND Lord of our lives, what we think about affects how we dress and how we behave. Is how we dress our top priority—to please God? Do we dress to be like Jesus? Do we dress for Him, as a representative of Him? Is our motivation love for Jesus?
We adore and love Jesus. Our relationship is compared in God’s Word to a “bride and groom”. Jesus is our bridegroom, the one relationship we have been waiting for our whole lives, the One who loved us and laid down His life for us. He is preparing a special place for us where He lives and He will come for us and take us home to be with Him forever someday.
So, how would you dress to please someone who loved you as much as Jesus loves us as His bride? What clothing will impress Him? What does that clothing look like?
Paul makes it perfectly clear:
“In this new life, it doesn’t matter if you are a Jew or a Gentile, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbaric, uncivilized, slave, or free. Christ is all that matters, and he lives in all of us.
Since God chose you to be the holy people he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others. Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony. And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts. For as members of one body you are called to live in peace. And always be thankful.
Let the message about Christ, in all its richness, fill your lives. Teach and counsel each other with all the wisdom he gives. Sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs to God with thankful hearts. And whatever you do or say, do it as a representative of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through him to God the Father.” Colossians 3:11-17
Isaiah tells us, “He dressed me up in a suit of salvation, he outfitted me in a robe of righteousness, As a bridegroom who puts on a tuxedo and a bride a jeweled tiara.” God has dressed us with holiness by washing our sins away because of Jesus redemptive work on the cross for all who believe. May our hearts, minds and souls stay focused on the One and Only who loves us most and loves us best. Let’s keep our garments clean before Him.
Isaiah 61, The Message
Announce Freedom to All Captives
1-7 The Spirit of God, the Master, is on me
because God anointed me.
He sent me to preach good news to the poor,
heal the heartbroken,
Announce freedom to all captives,
pardon all prisoners.
God sent me to announce the year of his grace—
a celebration of God’s destruction of our enemies—
and to comfort all who mourn,
To care for the needs of all who mourn in Zion,
give them bouquets of roses instead of ashes,
Messages of joy instead of news of doom,
a praising heart instead of a languid spirit.
Rename them “Oaks of Righteousness”
planted by God to display his glory.
They’ll rebuild the old ruins,
raise a new city out of the wreckage.
They’ll start over on the ruined cities,
take the rubble left behind and make it new.
You’ll hire outsiders to herd your flocks
and foreigners to work your fields,
But you’ll have the title “Priests of God,”
honored as ministers of our God.
You’ll feast on the bounty of nations,
you’ll bask in their glory.
Because you got a double dose of trouble
and more than your share of contempt,
Your inheritance in the land will be doubled
and your joy go on forever.
8-9 “Because I, God, love fair dealing
and hate thievery and crime,
I’ll pay your wages on time and in full,
and establish my eternal covenant with you.
Your descendants will become well-known all over.
Your children in foreign countries
Will be recognized at once
as the people I have blessed.”
10-11 I will sing for joy in God,
explode in praise from deep in my soul!
He dressed me up in a suit of salvation,
he outfitted me in a robe of righteousness,
As a bridegroom who puts on a tuxedo
and a bride a jeweled tiara.
For as the earth bursts with spring wildflowers,
and as a garden cascades with blossoms,
So the Master, God, brings righteousness into full bloom
and puts praise on display before the nations.
WHAT DO WE LEARN—HOW DO WE RESPOND?
If we have trusted Christ as our Savior, we are free to love like He loves, think more like Him so we will walk with God in ways that are pleasing to Him. We have been set free from bondage; our spiritual debt to the Lord has been paid. Instead of the ashes of mourning, we have a crown on our heads, for He has made us royalty as part of His family. We have been given His Holy Spirit to guide and help us and we wear a robe of righteousness as His “bride”, His beloved, forgiven from all our sins. In other words, we have been “made right” with God, fully forgiven of sins, so we can be in relationship with Him.
We respond is grateful praise and humble thanksgiving for we do not deserve what God has to offer as His gift to us. But He gave anyway, while “we were yet sinners”, for “God so loved”.
Thank you! Thank you for saving my soul and making me whole. Thank you for growing our relationship with trials and challenges so I will depend on You and trust you with ALL my life. You chose me. I choose you. Thank you for loving us the way you do.
In Jesus Name, Amen