Colossians 3:12-14 The Message
12-14 So, chosen by God for this new life of love, dress in the wardrobe God picked out for you: compassion, kindness, humility, quiet strength, discipline. Be even-tempered, content with second place, quick to forgive an offense. Forgive as quickly and completely as the Master forgave you. And regardless of what else you put on, wear love. It’s your basic, all-purpose garment. Never be without it.
The Word of God for the Children of God.
Adeste Fideles! Laeti Triumphantes! Venite Adoremus! Dominum.
Gloria! In Excelsis Deo! Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia, Amen.
Out From Under Sins Rags, Changing Our Spiritual Clothes
As Christians, we can express our heartfelt sincerity in following our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ by “dressing the part.”
It damages the cause of Christ when we say we are Christians but do not live or walk or move as if we are – it’s like working a construction job in a prom dress.
We are not going to be, nor can we ever be as effective at our job if we are not wearing the appropriate clothes.
In our pre-Jesus life, we wear our rags, like a hobo, we carry a bag of rags over our shoulders, being habits and sins that prevent us from growing in Christ.
Apostle Paul urges us to move away from hobo, to change our spiritual clothes.
Some of those old clothes are impurity, lust, greed, attitudes, and speech, which are inconsistent with our new life in Jesus.
Paul teaches these things represent the inappropriate clothing of a former life.
But there’s hope.
The Apostle Paul does not leave us with a short “sticky note” or a pages and pages long list of what not to wear, but he does give us a list of what to wear.
It’s a dress code for the Christian life.
At first, putting these new clothes on won’t feel natural.
Their seams might rub a little, or we might feel overdressed.
But as time passes and we keep choosing them, they begin to feel more comfortable until they become a wardrobe staple.
We can create a spiritual capsule wardrobe by choosing attitudes that represent the work Jesus does in our hearts.
These clothes won’t ever tear along the seams or wear out in the seat and will always be appropriate for whatever circumstance we face.
Compassion is a Christlike sensitivity and heartfelt sympathy for the welfare of others, others being our saved, unsaved neighbors whatever the circumstance.
Kindness is a friendly attitude that ultimately seeks to meet the needs of others.
Humility recognizes our weaknesses and acknowledges the power of God in us.
Gentleness is a subtle yielding, then surrendering of our will unto God which we unabashedly reveal in our gentle response to others, especially when provoked.
Patience is our ability to bear up under the upper most unpleasant of situations without giving in to retaliation.
Forbearance is our ability to set our emotions aside, to give ourselves over to the ministry, works of the Holy Spirit, bear with someone else’s weaknesses.
Forgiveness releases our offenders from any obligation.
Love unifies these spiritual clothes, becomes the belt which binds, which invites, which fastens and securely holds everything up in the right place.
Paul writes of other items for our spiritual wardrobe in Galatians, and the Bible references other character qualities, making up our spiritual wardrobe.
For example, we can wear a wardrobe of disciplined prayer, garments of peace, thankfulness, generosity, rejoicing, the message of life and truth being – Jesus.
These fill our hearts, change our lives, and influence our environment.
A new wardrobe for Christ followers is a must to reveal the indescribable length and breadth, and depth and height of our God’s love to our world, to each other.
The Value of Our Praying for Our Unsaved Loved Ones
2 Peter 3:8-13 New King James Version
8 But, beloved, do not forget this one thing, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. 9 The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward [a]us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.
The Day of the Lord
10 But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be [b]burned up. 11 Therefore, since all these things will be dissolved, what manner of persons ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, 12 looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be dissolved, being on fire, and the elements will melt with fervent heat? 13 Nevertheless we, according to His promise, look for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.
Everything we do, everything we seek to do for the sake of God’s Kingdom will and should always begin with a search of God’s Word and prayer for God’s will.
Praying for the Unsaved, Entering the Harvest Fields
John 10:14-18 The Message
14-18 “I am the Good Shepherd. I know my own sheep and my own sheep know me. In the same way, the Father knows me and I know the Father. I put the sheep before myself, sacrificing myself if necessary. You need to know that I have other sheep in addition to those in this pen. I need to gather and bring them, too. They’ll also recognize my voice. Then it will be one flock, one Shepherd. This is why the Father loves me: because I freely lay down my life. And so I am free to take it up again. No one takes it from me. I lay it down of my own free will. I have the right to lay it down; I also have the right to take it up again. I received this authority personally from my Father.”
Disciplining our lives for service to the Kingdom of God, Praying to the Lord of the Harvest for revealing to us unsaved loved ones is not for the faint of heart.
It can, and definitely will be challenging to discipline our life, be persistent in prayer, especially when any of our neighbor’s life may be on a treacherous path.
Sometimes, when it comes to our walk with the Lord, it’s all we can do to keep our heads above water.
How, where can we find the consolation, compassion, patience, forbearance, perseverance to keep fighting in study, in prayer for our neighbor’s salvation?
Like any situation we face, we should always go to the truth of God’s Word.
His truth sets us free and equips us to stay in the fight.
However, on any given day we generally come to God in prayer, strong, weak, discouraged, or hopeful, remember that God hears our prayers (Psalm 18:6).
Psalm 18:6 The Message
6 A hostile world! I call to God,
I cry to God to help me.
From his palace he hears my call;
my cry brings me right into his presence—
a private audience!
The Courage for our Praying that prayer from Psalm 18:6 for own situation to strip off ourselves the filthy rags we wear and lug around over our shoulders?
The Courage to go not back to our closet burdened and full of our tattered rags?
But to stand still long enough in the Presence of God, the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, to be cleansed, clothed, by the Gospel truth of Christ’s own life blood?
by God, the Father, Christ His Son and the Holy Spirit – our personal tailors?
To be fitted for service in God’s Kingdom, our new garments of Righteousness?
We can begin by reminding ourselves that God is the One who created them, God is the one who measured our lives, found us wanting but yet cut the cloth.
To walk into the Harvest Fields … engaging and interacting with the unsaved?
To not turn around after a few steps fearful of getting our new clothes filthy?
We do not always “know them personally” or even “know them at all.”
But to remember that God knows God’s own Children far better than we do!
God, their Creator absolutely knows exactly where they are when we do not.
God knows exactly every single one of their thoughts, every single one of their intentions, and every single expression of lifestyle they are struggling to live in.
Exactly nothing is hidden from God and the Word of God (Hebrews 4:13).
Hebrews 4:12-13 The Message
12-13 God means what he says. What he says goes. His powerful Word is sharp as a surgeon’s scalpel, cutting through everything, whether doubt or defense, laying us open to listen and obey. Nothing and no one can resist God’s Word. We can’t get away from it—no matter what.
James 5:16-18 The Message says,
16-18 Make this your common practice: Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you can live together whole and healed. The prayer of a person living right with God is something powerful to be reckoned with. Elijah, for instance, human just like us, prayed hard that it wouldn’t rain, and it didn’t—not a drop for three and a half years. Then he prayed that it would rain, and it did. The showers came and everything started growing again.
Did you read the last part?
The prayers of a righteous man avail much!
1 Peter 3:12 NKJV says, “For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and His ears are open to their prayers, but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.”
If we seek the Lord’s will for our life and partner with Him to live as He calls us to live as His disciples, we can take the greatest comfort in knowing that God is attentive to our prayers.
In Luke 18:1-8, Jesus shares a parable with His disciples to discipline themselves and to embolden and inspire and encourage them never ever stop praying.
A widow went to an unjust judge begging for justice from her adversary.
Eventually, the judge relented because of her discipline and her persistence.
Verse 7 says, “And shall God not avenge His own elect who cry out day and night to Him, though He bears long with them?”
But Jesus asked if He would find faith when the Son of Man came.
There is no doubt praying as a discipline is an act of faith.
Let’s be determined to be disciplined, be persistent and be faithful in prayer.
Samuel Chadwick, a Wesleyan Minister, said,
“The one concern of the devil is to keep Christians from praying. He fears nothing from prayerless studies, prayerless work, and prayerless religion. He laughs at our toil, mocks at our wisdom, but trembles when we pray.”
Rags to Righteousness, Intersecting Faith and Life:
There are many pressures we face on a day-to-day basis.
Like a grapefruit or a lemon or an orange that releases its juice when squeezed, so do we when the tattered and torn rags of our lives grips us a little too tightly.
What comes out depends on whether we’ve exchanged the old clothes of our pre-surrendered life to Jesus for the new ones in our redeemed life in Christ.
If we are struggling with impatience toward a neighbor, practice forbearance.
Break the list of “new clothes” down and slowly concentrate on one at a time.
The beautiful result will be that we will soon learn how, when, where and why we wear them all as we sincerely pursue our relationship with our Jesus Christ.
In the name of God the Father and God the Son and God the Holy Spirit,
Let us Pray,
Dear Gracious Heavenly Father,
2 Corinthians 6:2 says,” ‘In an acceptable time I have heard you, and in the day of salvation I have helped you.’ Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.”
Father, we are lifting our unsaved loved ones to you. Please soften their hearts. We ask that You take their hearts of stone and turn them into a heart of flesh (Ezekiel 36:26). Please open their minds to understanding (Luke 24:45). We pray You would grant us opportunities to speak with them, but far more importantly that we would continue to come to you in prayer for them.
God, You are not slack concerning your promises but are longsuffering toward us, unwilling that any should perish. Father, we ask that Your lovingkindness draw them to you (Romans 2:4). When we see them and interact with them, let it be Your love for them that they see. Help us be patient, kind, humble, and seek our loved one’s best. Help us to believe all things, hope all things, and endure all things. Help us to love them like You have loved us (1 Corinthians 13:4-8). Lord, we cannot do any of this apart from You. Please extend to us Your Grace, Please give us Your strength. We love you. Thank you for timely hearing our prayers and being all we need in every situation. We commit our loved ones to Your loving and capable hands. Amen!
Adeste Fideles! Laeti Triumphantes! Venite Adoremus! Dominum.
Gloria! In Excelsis Deo! Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia, Amen.