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Watch 2022 online sermons » Dr. David Jeremiah » David Jeremiah - The Christian's Dress Code

David Jeremiah - The Christian's Dress Code

David Jeremiah - The Christian's Dress Code
TOPICS: Christ Above All: The Book of Colossians

We spend hundreds of hours and thousands of dollars each year on clothing, but have you ever wondered what the Bible says about that subject? It really is a fascinating study. In the Bible's opening story, Adam and Eve sin and what do they do? Well, they sew fig leaves together and cover their nakedness and shame. Later in the book of Genesis, Jacob presents his beloved son, Joseph, with the robe of many colors. The clothes are stained with blood as Joseph is swept off to Egypt, only to be turned into garments of fine linen when he gets out of prison. Clothes play important roles in the story of Saul and David, in the life of the high priest, in the ministries of Elijah and Elisha.

When you get to the Psalms, David sings the truth that God removes our "tattered sackcloth and clothes us with gladness". Isaiah rejoices because God has clothed him with the "garment of salvation". Then the unthinkable happens. The divine tailor, the one who clothes himself in glory and clothes his people in grace, steps into the story. Instead of wrapping himself in unapproachable light, he wraps himself in swaddling clothes. Jesus tells the story about a prodigal son who's covered with pigsty manure and when the prodigal returns home, he is embraced by his father who covers his shame with the best robe in the house. In another story, Jesus confronts a demon-possessed man who was known for three things: his uncontrollable madness, his graveyard home, and his constant nakedness. Then he meets Jesus. The demon is cast out and we're told that the townspeople are amazed to see him clothed and in his right mind.

Then Jesus does the most amazing thing of all. He goes to the cross and embraces our shame. He's mocked, he's wrapped in a scarlet robe and crowned with a thorny diadem and then he's taken to Golgotha where he is stripped, suspended between heaven and earth, and stapled to a tree to die. And the executioners crouched at the foot of the cross, casting lots to divide his clothes between them. At that moment, Christ, by wearing our shame and nakedness, secures an eternal life for his people and clothes us forever. Because of Christ's work on the cross, believers are now clothed in his righteousness. Now we're instructed to wear the armor of God and we are to clothe ourselves with Christ, covering our nakedness in shame with his glory and beauty and we are to look forward to the resurrection of our bodies which the Bible describes as a garment that will one day be clothed in immortality.

The storyline of the Bible begins with the tattered attempt to sow a wardrobe out of our own efforts, but it ends with sons and daughters of Adam and Eve living in paradise again in the presence of God, reigning forever in the wardrobe of redemption. There, the redeemed live into eternity as those who are clothed in white garments, whose names will never be blotted out from the book of life because they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. The clothing of the Bible. And in Colossians chapter 3, verses 12 through 17, the apostle Paul tells us what it means to clothe ourselves with Christ.

So we're gonna get dressed this morning. And we're gonna take the implements of our dress, one at a time. Before we do that, however, we need to be reminded of who we are. Holiness in your life, sometimes referred to as sanctification, is just becoming in practice what you already are in position. In the first verses of our passage today, Paul wants to remind us of who we are. And he wants to remind us to receive this, this grace from Christ. "Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved". Paul begins this section of Colossians with this reminder. He tells the Colossians to remember that they are holy and loved by God, and the focus in verse 12 is not on what they can do for God, but what God has done for them. Did you know that God doesn't love us because of what we have accomplished. He doesn't love us because of how we compare to other people. He loves us just because he loves us.

In the New Testament, Paul wrote this: He said: "He chose us. He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love". Paul wanted the Colossians to know that God had chosen them, that they belonged to God. He's gonna give them some instructions in these next few verses, but he's only going to ask them to live up to who they already are, to practice what they already are in position. They are the elect, they are the beloved of God. And that word "beloved" is one of the favorite words of the Bible. It's in the Bible 100 times and we know it best when Jesus was baptized and his Father looked down upon the scene and said, "This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased".

We are the beloved of God. We are his children. We are chosen. If we're Christians, we belong to the royal family. Can I get a witness? And we should know that so that we can know how important it is to live up to who we are. So first of all, receive the grace of Christ and now, secondly, put on the character of Christ. Verses 12 through 14: "Put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering; bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do. But above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection".

We've already learned in earlier verses that we're to put off some things, put some things to death, all those vices we learned about. But now that we have put off these things, the Bible says, according to Paul, we're supposed to get dressed spiritually, we're supposed to put on some things. Each of the virtues that we're supposed to put on help us to understand how we get along with each other. When we get dressed right, we can live right. We can function right. It's most significant to note that every one of the graces has to do with personal relationships. Not any of them have to do with personal accomplishments. We're not to take on the idea that we're clever or efficient or successful. That's not what God is interested in. Paul tells us that Christianity is community and it has as its divine side, the amazing gift of peace with God. Let's get dressed. Let's begin to look like the people that we already are. You're a child of God, you're a child of the King, you were chosen before the foundation of the world.

Now let's get dressed like children of the King. First of all, put on tender mercies. Paul begins with tender mercies. The phrase literally means bowels of mercy. That's how the old King James translates it. It describes the feeling in the gut that moves us to compassion. And this phrase appears only 12 times in the Bible, almost always used in the context of prayer. It's an Old Testament word used only once in the New Testament. Guess where? Right here in 3:12. Paul is saying, "We want God to treat us with tender mercy. He loved us compassionately but we need to treat others the same way".

William Barclay wrote about the need for mercy in the ancient world, and he could have been writing about our world for all I can tell. He said, "If there was one thing the ancient world needed it was mercy. The sufferings of animals meant nothing. The physical handicapped and the weak did not survive. There was no provision for the elderly. The treatment of anyone suffering from mental illness was unfeeling. Christianity brought mercy into this world. It is not too much to say that everything that has been done for the elderly, the sick, the weak in body and in mind, animals, children, and women, all of that's been done through the inspiration of Christianity".

If you look at the world's history, you will discover that when Jesus came and Christianity happened, everything began to change. I could elaborate on that but you'll just have to take that by faith it is true. I had the opportunity to be interviewed by Sheila Walsh. Sheila Walsh has been here numerous times. She comes every year to our chapel to speak to our young people. Often stops along to speak to our women. She's a very wonderful lady and every time we have a new project, she interviews me, and it's part of our plan. She's a really good interviewer for one reason: she reads the book. Most interviewers don't. She does. So I kind of was obligated because she's done so many things for me. She knew I was gonna be in Dallas and she said, "Will you come over and let me interview you for my show"? So I said, "Sure". And she showed a video of the children in Africa that they're trying to help.

If you've ever seen those videos, they're gut-wrenching. And children laying in bed that haven't eaten. They're actually dying of starvation. And I felt that here. That video grabbed me and its tender mercies. Have you ever had anything grab you like that? Something you see that just demands your compassion and you can't help it. Paul says, "Listen, that's the kind of mercy God had for you. He saw you in your plight of sin and he loved you and he brought you to himself. Now, it's your turn. Go show that same kind of mercy to people".

Number two, "Put on kindness". This word expresses the spirit of Jesus, especially as he was dealing with children. Jesus was very kind around children. And Titus says, "But when the kindness and the love of God our Savior appeared". When I was a little boy growing up in Sunday School, I remember one of the first verses we had to learn was Ephesians 4:32: "Be kind one to another". That was our little verse. How many of you know kindness is in disrepair? We don't have a lot of kindness in our world today. R.C. Trench, the 19th century archbishop of Dublin, said, "Kindness is a lovely word for a lovely quality". It's a virtue that shows that you care about your neighbors as much as you care about yourself. And when you have an opportunity, you do something kind to show them that you care.

Oh my goodness, could we use some kindness today. It's gone out of our culture almost completely. Everything's so cold-hearted and coarse. Once in a while you meet a kind person. Do you pray this prayer? I pray this prayer: "Lord, help me to grow older as a kind old man". I'm not there yet, but I'm going there. I don't wanna be a grouchy old man. I don't wanna be a grumpy old person. I don't wanna be a coarse person. I wanna grow in my ability to be kind to people, kindness. He said, "Put on tender mercies, put on kindness". Here's the third one: "Put on humility". Oh my. Colossians 2:18-23, Paul describes the false teachers of Colossi. If you go back and look at those verses, it says they had false humility.

Have you ever met anybody with false humility? They think they're humble but they're not, and they tell you how humble they are and, in telling you they're humble, they discredit their humility. You can't tell somebody how humble you are and stay humble, right? It's a really hard quality. As soon as you think you have it, you don't. Did you know that on nine separate occasions in the Bible, the Bible warns us about being wise in our own eyes. I remember finding that some years ago and then tracing it down. I wrote all the Scriptures down. Nine times in the Bible it says: "Be not wise in your own eyes".

Do you know why that's in there so often? Because we have a tendency to be wise in our own eyes. And if you're wise in your own eyes, you stop listening, you stop asking questions, you stop trying to learn, you think you know it all, and when arrogance and pride take over in your life, you are in trouble. The Colossians were dealing with the gnostics, remember? They were the know-it-alls. Paul says if you wanna combat the know-it-alls, be humble. Don't act like you know it all 'cause nobody knows it all. Be grateful for what you have. Be humble. You know what I've learned? The Bible says this actually: We can either be humble ourselves or God will humble us. Have you noticed that? So I suggest you make this your own self-project because you're gonna be much kinder to yourself than God will be in his process of humbling you.

I've watched this over the years. People have to understand the power of pride to corrupt godliness. "Put on tender mercies, put on kindness, put on humility". Here's one: "Put on his meekness". What does that mean? Well, we don't use that word very often. When was the last time somebody came up and complimented you on your meekness? Nobody does that. And you haven't done it either 'cause we don't for know sure what it means so we aren't gonna use the word and it doesn't sound like a good word. How many of you when you think meekness, you think weakness. Well, let me tell you something. The only connection meekness and weakness have is that they rhyme. That's it. Meekness is not weakness. In fact, I can prove that to you.

First of all, there's two people in the Bible who are known for their meekness. You know who they are? Jesus and Moses. Jesus was timid and cowardly, right? Hah, the Jesus who took a whip and drove the money-changers out of the temple, the Jesus who fasted and prayed for 40 nights alone in the wilderness where the Bible says there were wild beasts. The Jesus who set his face like a flint towards Jerusalem, knowing he would be crucified, sweat drops of blood in the Garden of Gethsemane, suffering on the cross in agony and blood. Jesus Christ was the most courageous man who ever lived and yet he said, "I am meek and lowly of heart".

Jesus was meek. And here's Moses. He was a commander in chief, a general who led the children out of Israel. He stood face to face against Pharaoh, the most powerful ruler on the earth in his day. He was a mighty man of valor. Meekness is not being timid, soft-spoken, insecure, or shy. Here's what meekness is. This is really important for us to grab hold of. Meekness is the opposite of weakness. Meekness is incredible strength under control. This is the very definition of meekness: strength under control. Remember those three words and keep them in your mind whenever you hear the word "meekness". When a person is said to be meek, that doesn't mean they're weak. They may be the most powerful person you know, but they don't have to always be showing their power to prove that they have it.

They don't have to always be showing their authority to prove that they have it. They're powerful people under control. The best example of strength under control is what happens when a trainer takes a wild horse and breaks a stallion so he can be ridden and useful. The strength isn't altered, it isn't taken away; it's domesticated and channeled for good. So meekness is using our God-given abilities in a way that doesn't overwhelm or overpower other people. Meekness doesn't run people over. It's strength under control for the benefit of others. So meekness is pretty good. Somebody says, "You're a meek person," give 'em a hug. "Put on tender mercies, put on kindness, put on humility, put on his meekness". Here's the one that gets us all. This is where the rubber meets the road: Put on his patience. Put on longsuffering; bearing with one another.

Do you know what the meaning of longsuffering is? It's the opposite of shortsuffering. Shortsuffering, literally, the short-tempered person speaks and acts impulsively. He lacks self-control. When a person is longsuffering, he can put up with provoking people. It's all right to get angry if you get angry for the right reasons, but it's wrong to get angry quickly at the wrong thing and for the wrong concern. Notice the phrase that follows is we're to be "bearing with one another". Oh my goodness, what this phrase means. Here is Paul admitting that it can be hard to get along with some people in the church. I'm not gonna ask for a witness. I already know that you know that.

Sometimes, we have to put up with difficult people. You know the difference is, here's what happens. We usually try to change 'em, don't we? "Those people are hard to get along with. I'm gonna", no, you can't. You can't fix some people. Did you know that? Some people are just hard to get along with. And Paul says, "Put on longsuffering and learn how to get along with people who are hard to get along with, and to love them in Christ". People we would normally not choose to associate with come to church and sit next to us. They may sing loud and they may sing off-key. Get over it. Just handle it. Just let it happen.

In the days before smoking was banned from airplanes and there was smoking and non-smoking sections on the planes, a man started to light his cigar. And the flight attendant told him that he was not allowed to smoke a cigar unless it was all right with the other person in the immediate area. So she asked the lady sitting next to him, "Do you object to his smoking"? "I absolutely object. I detest cigars," was the reply. So the flight attendant spoke to a young man who was seated near the front of the cabin and came back to report that he would not mind sitting next to a cigar smoker. As the cigar-smoking man walked forward to his new seat, his former seatmate, the boisterous woman, turned to the flight attendant and said, "I've been married to that man for 30 years, and I can't stand his awful cigars".

I like that story 'cause nobody sees what's coming. But she'd been married to the guy 30 years and she still couldn't get along with him. I mean, what are you gonna do? You married, you got the message. And then, not only put on patience, put on forgiveness. Verse 13: "Forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do". Now I want you to listen carefully to what I'm going to say because I've never preached this message when I have not been aware of the fact that there are people in the auditorium who are dealing with forgiveness issues. Paul moves beyond just enduring and putting up with one another and he says that we're to forgive each other. Instead of complaining against someone, forgive them.

In the New Testament, Christ provides the possibility and the pattern for forgiveness for believers. Ephesians 4:32 puts it this way: "Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you". When you become a Christian, God gives you a reservoir of forgiveness, and out of that reservoir of forgiveness, he intends for you to forgive others. Just as you have been forgiven, he wants you to forgive others. How did he forgive us? The Bible says he did it for Christ's sake. He forgave us unconditionally. He gave us freely. He didn't say, "I'll forgive you but I will never forget". No, no, in fact, the Bible says when he forgave, he threw our sins into the deepest part of the sea. He put our sins behind his back, as far as the East is from the West. That is how we're to forgive.

Don't give me any of this nonsense about, "Well, I'll forgive you but I'm never gonna forget what you did". That isn't forgiveness. You can say, "Well, I can't forget what they did". No, but you can refuse to remember. There's a difference between that. I'm just not gonna remember it against you anymore. In one of his sermons, D.L. Moody used to picture the Lord saying to Peter, "Hey, Peter, go hunt up the man who put the crown of thorns on my head and tell him that I love him. Tell him he can have a crown in my kingdom and it doesn't have any thorns. Find the man who spat in my face and preach the gospel to him. Tell him that I forgive him and that I died to save him. And find the man who thrust the spear into my side and tell him there's a quicker way to my heart". That is how the Lord Jesus has forgiven us. Now it's our turn.

Let me ask you something. Have you been forgiven by God through Jesus Christ? All your sins nailed to his cross? All your sins of omission, commission, and disposition? All of them erased by the power of his blood? How can it be if that is true that you are now harboring a resentful attitude towards your wife or your husband or your cousin or your sibling, why have you carried around that grudge? You have been forgiven. The next time you say, "I can't forgive a person," just stop and remember who you are, you know all of your sins, and how God has forgiven you. If God can forgive you, knowing who you are and all you've done to offend him, then surely you can forgive that person who's waiting to be forgiven. There's a whole message there that needs to be preached more often than it is because my observation is a lot of families are broken because of a lack of forgiveness.

I preached a message like this one time at Hume Lake when I used to go up there and preach to the adults, and a man jumped up in the middle of the message and he ran out and I didn't know what that was all about. He came and told me later that he hadn't spoken to his son in nine years and that when he heard the message on forgiveness, he realized it was his fault and he went to the payphone, that was back in the payphone days, and he called his son on the payphone, talked to him for 20 minutes, asked for his forgiveness, and he said, "Thank you. I'm a new man". Forgiveness doesn't just relieve the person you forgive. Mostly, it relieves you of the burden of unforgiveness. And I recommend it, that you put on forgiveness. Then Paul wrote at the end of his list, "And put on love, which is the bond of perfection". "Above all," he says, "put on love".

That's very interesting because here's the idea that love is the thread that runs through all the implements of clothing that you put on. Love is so important that it's a part of every garment. All of the things we've mentioned are connected to love: tender mercies are love. Humility is love. Paul says, "When you get all done getting dressed, just put on love, because love is the first of all the commandments, and love is the center of it all". Tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering, only get their power when they are motivated by love. Put on love. Okay, now that we're all dressed, we're all ready to go out and meet the world that's looking for those people who are called of God, elected by God, before the foundation of the world, chosen by God. Now they're all dressed up and they're looking like they belong. We're children of Christ. We have dressed up in the wardrobe of Christ. We're now going to live that way.

Now Paul's got three things he wants to tell us before we go out into the world. First of all, he said, "And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which you also were called in one body; and be thankful". Submit to the peace of Christ. Following the command for the Colossians to put on the character of Christ, here's this reference to the peace of Christ. Now, a lot of translations translate this, "the peace of God". But the real translation, the literal one, is the peace of Christ. This is the peace that comes from Christ. Remember, before Jesus went to the cross, he said, "I'm gonna give you my peace. Not as the world gives you, but the kind of peace that comes just from me". And he says in this passage of Scripture, listen carefully: "This peace that I give you is supposed to rule your heart". And the word "rule" is the word for umpire. "Let the peace of God be the umpire in your heart".

The umpire has the final word, and in the Christian terminology, the umpire gets every call right. Let the peace of God umpire in your heart. It's a really important principle that I wanna share with you today. More and more as we walk with the Lord, we find ourselves confronted with decisions we have to make. They're not easy decisions. They're not decisions between what the Bible says is wrong and what the Bible says is right. Those are easy. We don't have to worry, if we're honest, we just do what's right. But sometimes, we're confronted with two things. Both of them seem equally good and we don't know which one to do. And Paul says, "Let the peace of God umpire in your heart". So that if you do that, you will have moments when you say, you know, "I was gonna do that but I just didn't have any peace". Or, "I know this is right because God has given me real peace about this".

Here's something that I can use to help you understand it. When I came here 40-some years ago to be the pastor of this church, I was already a pastor. I'd been a pastor for 12 years. Started a church in Fort Wayne, Indiana, and watched that church grow to about 1500. I loved that church. I loved the people there. And then out of nowhere, this call came to come to San Diego. At first, I kind of smiled at it and it took me two years to process it. But two years later, it was still there. And I remember one day telling my wife, "I don't know what to do. I mean, I love this church, and that church has incredible potential. What am I supposed to do"? So I came up with this idea. "Next week, I'm gonna get up every day and I'm gonna do the very best I can to think and act like I'm staying in Fort Wayne". So I did. "And the next week, I'm gonna get up every day and think and act like I'm going to San Diego".

And you know what? I didn't get any peace at all the first week. The second week, God gave me peace and I came here to be your pastor because the peace of God umpired in my heart. Do you see what I'm saying? And you say, "Well, that's you, Pastor. That works for", no, it works for everybody. If you think you're supposed to do something and you have no peace in your heart, it may not be the red light, but it sure is the yellow light. You better stop and ask yourself, "Why can't I get any peace in my heart over this? Why do I not have a sense of the peace of God reigning over this decision"? It might just mean you need more time to process it, but it also might mean that God is protecting you by his Holy Spirit and the peace umpire to keep you from making a mistake. Let the peace of God umpire in your heart.

And then Paul says, "Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your heart to the Lord". Paul said, "Now, here's what you need to do. Let the peace of God umpire your heart. Now, let the Word of God motivate your worship. Make sure that the Word of God is dwelling in you". You know, it's one thing to get in the Word. It's quite another thing for the Word to get in you. You haven't really accomplished it if you're just in the Word. A lot of people I know, they're in the Word, but by evidence of their life, the Word hasn't gotten in them yet. Let the Word of God dwell in you. Let it be at home in you, that's a permanent seated, settling down, of the Word of God in your life. And then it says when you have the Word of God in you, then you need to worship.

And I love the description of the worship here: "Teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord". The Bible says that when the Word of God is in us, that is the motivation for us to worship. That's one of the reasons why many of our choruses and songs and hymns are simply the Word of God set to music. One pastor calls church singing "take-home theology" because the best songs we sing together give us an easily memorizable, deeply biblical summary of important biblical truths. Do you know, men and women, I remember choruses that I learned in junior high and in the junior department of our Sunday School that were based on the Word of God.

There was a chorus somebody wrote on Galatians 2:20: "I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me". How did you memorize that verse? 'Cause it's a song and it sings in my head. And the Bible says that we who are Christians, we let the Word of God dwell in us richly and then we sing psalms, which are usually Old Testament psalms, those are the hymns, the old hymns that we sing. We sing songs and hymns and spiritual songs. That would describe our worship songs that we sing. But listen to me, the Bible says we not only sing them to God, but I never noticed this before. Did you notice it says: "Admonishing one another while we're praising God".

Listen to me, men and women. I'm not the only one preaching. So are you. When you sing, you're not just singing to the Lord. You're teaching and admonishing those around you. You're learning the Word of God through the hymnody of the church and everyone gets to be a teacher. You sing and you sing and you sing together and it rings in your spirit all week long and that's how it's supposed to work. Let the peace of God umpire in your heart. Let the Word of God motivate your worship. And finally, let the name of Christ be the motivation of your life. "And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him".

You know, I discovered this week that there's a lot of places in the Bible where it says: "Whatever you do". This is kind of like a global thing. This is not pick out what you wanna do. No, it's whatever you do. Proverbs 16:3: "Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and your plans will succeed". Proverbs 4:26: "Plan carefully what you do, and whatever you do will turn out right". Ecclesiastes 9:10: "Work hard at whatever you do". 3 John 5: "Do faithfully whatever you do". Colossians 3:23: "And whatever you do, do it heartily, to the Lord". Ecclesiastes 11:9: "Remember that God is going to judge you for whatever you do". 1 Corinthians 10:31: "Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do everything for God's glory". In word or in deed, whatever you do, do it in the name of Christ. We pray in the name of Christ; we need to live in the name of Christ.

There's a story about a little girl named Amy. The story is told by Laura Deval. She said, "When my daughter Amy was in nursery school, she'd come home every day with drawings and collages and other projects and next to her own name, she'd scrawl the name of someone she loved, usually Mommy or Daddy, sometimes baby brother Ben. 'I did this for you,' she'd probably write. If Amy could do every school project for me and for her dad, surely I can do my projects for my heavenly Father". Now I often ask myself, "Have I written my Lord's name on all that I have done today"? Whatever you do, in word or in deed, do it all to the glory of the Lord.

So here's Paul's final instructions to us in this powerful section of this book we call Colossians. Three things he says to us: Let the peace of Christ arbitrate in your life; let the Word of Christ permeate your life; let the name of Christ motivate your life. Get dressed, remember who you are, get dressed in the clothing of Christ, and then go live your life arbitrated by the peace of God, permeated by the Word of God, and motivated by the name of God.

In the fable, "The Emperor's New Clothes," an unscrupulous con artist seeking royal favor promises to provide the emperor with an outfit of clothing that would be very special. In fact, so delicate and rare would the fabric be that the clothes would be undetectable to the touch, and more importantly, these new clothes would be invisible to anyone of poor character or inferior ability. When the emperor received the empty hanger on which his new outfit was supposedly displayed, he could hardly admit to not seeing the clothes without impugning his own suitability for the royal office.

So he admired the clothes, as did his advisors. They put them on and he strutted proudly around the kingdom stark naked. And you remember the story. The little boy says, "Mommy, they have no clothes". If we're not careful, we Christians can fall into the same trap. We can obediently take off the clothes of the old life, like lying and greed and sexual impurity, but if we fail to replace those old garments with the new robes of righteousness that are presented in this chapter we have just studied, we parade around acting as if we have put them on when in reality, we are spiritually naked. And just as in the case of the emperor, the world is snickering behind our backs because they see us as we really are, not as we're pretending to be.

So what Paul would say to us, "Put reality in your life. Put on these clothes. Don't just act like you're holy, or act like you're humble. Be humble. Be filled with kindness. Be the people God has called you to be, and live according to the blessing that you already have. You are children of the King. Now dress up like a child of the King and live like a child of the King, and don't walk around in imaginary clothing. Be a real you, all the way to the core of your heart," amen.
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