From the outside, our family has had a lot of external change this year. Each of the changes have been in process for years, our talk of moving began in the spring of 2007. Our adoption process began in the fall of 2009. But here we are in the 2010-2011 school year finally in our new neighborhood, still working on the house, and finally learning of God’s little girl who He made to be our daughter even in her biological mother’s womb. We’re even making an educational change next year. Any one of these externals could become our identity, how we’re known or how I make myself known. Some aspects are more tempting to do that and at at least one I still can’t say out loud without a few paragraphs of disclaimers surrounding it. The LORD God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife and clothed them. Gen. 3:21 Now arise, LORD God, and come to your resting place, you and the ark of your might. May your priests, LORD God, be clothed with salvation, may your faithful people rejoice in your goodness. 2 Chron. 6:41 You turned my wailing into dancing; you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy, that my heart may sing your praises and not be silent. LORD my God, I will praise you forever. Psalm 30:11-12 The grasslands of the wilderness overflow; the hills are clothed with gladness. Psalm 65:12 Praise the LORD, my soul. LORD my God, you are very great; you are clothed with splendor and majesty. Psalm 104:1 I delight greatly in the LORD; my soul rejoices in my God. For he has clothed me with garments of salvation and arrayed me in a robe of his righteousness, as a bridegroom adorns his head like a priest, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels. Is. 61:10 I am going to send you what my Father has promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high. Luke 24:49 So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. Gal. 3:26-27 My sin leaves me naked and ashamed, maybe not literally walking around like a crazy person without clothes, but most certainly as one left wanting. Then, immediately while I am still feeling the sting of my shame, He clothes me in Himself…His splendor and majesty, power, salvation, joy and gladness. What form of “fig leaves” can do all that? There is this mega-magnet pull to form my identity from every sort of clothing, even “Christian Made!” clothing that looks a lot like What Jesus Would Do (WWJD?). But even these good works which are compelled by His grace are no more effective than fig leaves in justifying me before Him. It is God who arms me with strength and keeps my way secure. 2 Sam. 22:33 Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ. He anointed us, set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come. 2 Cor. 1:21-22 for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose. Phil. 2:13 The very good news is that if He has made me and chosen to redeem me, filled me with His Spirit and covered me in Himself, His will is going to be done in my life no matter what. The bad news is that I can’t take credit for it nor can I stand in judgment of others for what they do or do not do. Can we call sin “sin”? Of course. Can we identify righteousness as evidence that Jesus is present? Absolutely. But if He is not at work, neither am I and if He is at work, I cannot thwart that no matter how fiercely I fight to resist Him. For the LORD Almighty has purposed, and who can thwart him? His hand is stretched out, and who can turn it back? Is. 14:27 Take Narnia as an example of God’s power at work over and through our own will. None of the children privileged enough to enter into Narnia could do so by their own will. When Lucy wanted her brothers and sister to see what she was talking about, all they found was the back of the wardrobe. She could not be justified in anger at them for not knowing all about Narnia and not being passionate about getting there when they had no idea what she was talking about with “Narnia”. If I get to spend some time in Narnia, do I long for others to experience that magical place too? Of course. What if others, like Lucy, experience the kingdom but I don’t understand? God’s Kingdom is bigger than Narnia and involves more than just a handful of British children on a few missions. God’s Kingdom has come and is coming and may seem as small as a mustard seed here and like a boulder in my path there. I want to celebrate and hear of celebrations erupting whenever it is encountered and witnessed, because there the person and work of Jesus is present. And may it be the clothing of Jesus that is in focus, and not the one wearing Him.
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