The chilling hand of the deep freeze has left its unmistakable fingerprints on the South. The past few days we've had to contend with daytime temperatures well below 32 degrees, not to mention snow and ice. One of the compelling reasons to move to Georgia, was the balmy weather. Anything but balmy now! With after-Christmas sales in full swing and the weather offering us a not-so-gentle reminder that our daughter, Riley, will be off to a northern college in the fall, we braved the cold and headed to the mall to buy her some 'real' winter clothes.
Boots. Real boots, not fashion boots. The kind with low heels and a lining of fur, were high on the list. Long sleeve tops and warm sweaters also made the list. I can't say I understand today's teen fashion trends. Through careful observation, I've noticed that the majority of girls wear their shoes without socks of any kind. Shocking to a Mom who searches out both socks and slippers before emerging from her bedroom! And that's all in the comfort of my home. I can't imagine leaving the house without socks! Fortunately, Riley agreed that tights just might be handy for a girl attending college in the frigid North.
I wouldn't have dreamed that even my husband, Steve, would get in on the shopping scene. After some serious Mom and daughter shopping time, Steve called me to let me know that Land's End had a good sale on winter clothes. Say no more. We were on our way. The most memorable moments were when Steve chose some clothes for Riley and she actually liked them! My man never ceases to amaze me! Several hours and a few shopping bags later, we labeled our shopping trip a 'success.'
Wearing the right clothing for each season is important. Wearing the right spiritual clothing is even more important. As a 'new creature' in Christ, I have a whole new wardrobe at my disposal. With His power, I have the ability to 'put off' the clothes of the 'old nature.' Paul wrote to the Colossians about the new 'clothes' they were to wear, "Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering; Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye. And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness" (Colossians 3:12-14; KJV).
Selfishness can be taken off, and compassion for others can be worn. Looking to God's Word and Christ's example will help us to see what this looks like. "But when he saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion on them, because they fainted, and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd" (Matthew 9:36). When we see those who don't know Christ, do we take the time to introduce them to our Savior? Are we available to bear someone else's burdens?
Self-focus can be traded in for God-focus. Realizing that it's all about Him and not about us, goes a long way toward helping us take off this constrictive piece of 'clothing.' Psalm 100 serves as a good reminder: "Know ye that the Lord he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture" (100:3). When we're appropriately clothed, we can say with the prophet Isaiah, "But now, O Lord, thou art our father; we are the clay, and thou our potter; and we all are the work of thy hand" (Isaiah 64:8).
We can replace lack of control with strength under control. We are told, "Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves" (Matthew 10:16).
We can shed impatience for a confident trust and reliance on God and His timetable. Proverbs 3:5-6 shares the timeless wisdom of Solomon, "Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths."
Every day we have a decision. Will we put on the 'new' clothes Christ has purchased for us? Or will we drag out the old clothes, that perhaps are more familiar to us? My prayer is to be clothed with the brand new wardrobe of Christ! What clothes will you choose?