Yesterday’s writing ended with us clothing ourselves in the characteristics of Jesus. The outer covering of all those characteristics must be Christ’s righteousness and love. The love of Christ wraps around us, reaches out and touches others and binds us all together in unity and perfect harmony. Jesus promised us a peace that passes understanding and we have that when Jesus is ruling our hearts. The Good News about Jesus fills our lives. Then we are to teach others that message using the wisdom He gives us. That love and unity is how we should represent Jesus to unbelievers. To quote Francis of Assisi, “Preach the Gospel and, if necessary, use words.” Most of all, we should always have “an attitude of gratitude” thanking God for all His love and blessings. That attitude comes from a heart filled with joy and causes our lips to sing His praises all day, every day!
10 I am overwhelmed with joy in the Lord my God! For he has dressed me with the clothing of salvation and draped me in a robe of righteousness. I am like a bridegroom dressed for his wedding- Isaiah 61:10 NLT
“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” -Anonymous
22 You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; 23 to be made new in the attitude of your minds; 24 and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. — Eph. 4:22-24 NIV
Jesus laid aside His glory, came to earth and clothed Himself in flesh for one purpose. That purpose was to redeem the earth and its inhabitants from their fallen state. He lived a life here to set an example of how we should live. He died and rose again to fulfill His purpose of redeeming us. We remain in the flesh, but we now have the opportunity to be clothed in His righteouseness.
10 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. — Isaiah 61:10 NIV
Think of the time the couple spends together getting to know each other and planning their wedding. Think of the hours, effort and money that earthly brides spend in preparation for their wedding. Consider the excitement of the wedding party, the family, friends and acquaintances as the big day approaches. Then compare that to how much time we spend in preparing ourselves spiritually to meet our Bridegroom. Not only has our Bridegroom paid for the wedding, He has furnished us with the wedding clothes, prepared the wedding feast and has the home all ready to move into. That kind of love should behoove us to spend time every day getting dressed for the wedding. Spend some time each day with the Groom, get to know Him and put on the wedding garments He has given to each of us. You can’t wear them out, they will always be clean and ready.
27 John replied, “No one can receive anything unless God gives it from heaven. 28 You yourselves know how plainly I told you, ‘I am not the Messiah. I am only here to prepare the way for him.’ 29 It is the bridegroom who marries the bride, and the best man is simply glad to stand with him and hear his vows. Therefore, I am filled with joy at his success. 30 He must become greater and greater, and I must become less and less.—John 3: 27-29 (NLT)
Over and over in Chapter 3, we are reminded of John’s faithfulness and steadfastness in following the plan that God had laid out for Him. In today’s society, with all of it’s “me first” attitudes, we need this constant reminder. We, like John, need to know our place in God’s plan and be faithful in carrying out that plan. God’s plan is for us to teach and preach the “foolishness” of the gospel. God has gifted each of us with a special gift that He wants us to use in spreading His Word. What is our gift and how are we using it to further the Kingdom of God here on earth? There is not one job in God’s Kingdom that is not important. Every part of the body has to function well for the Church to work as God planned it. Do we do our job with gratitude that God has chosen us to help Him? Are we filled with joy when those that have more visible jobs are successful? Do we honestly and fervently pray for those in authority over us? Are we “filled with joy” when those around us are promoted to a position over us? In our hearts and minds, we must see ourselves as less important and Jesus as Lord or as Paul puts it, we must mortify the flesh and follow after the Spirit.
5 They deliberately forget that God made the heavens long ago by the word of his command, and he brought the earth out from the water and surrounded it with water.6 Then he used the water to destroy the ancient world with a mighty flood. 7 And by the same word, the present heavens and earth have been stored up for fire. They are being kept for the day of judgment, when ungodly people will be destroyed. 8 But you must not forget this one thing, dear friends: A day is like a thousand years to the Lord, and a thousand years is like a day. 9 The Lord isn’t really being slow about his promise, as some people think. No, he is being patient for your sake. He does not want anyone to be destroyed, but wants everyone to repent.—2 Peter 3:5-9 (NLT)
God spoke everything into existence. Everything is held in place by the power of His word. Because everyone was “doing what was right in their own minds”, God destroyed the earth with the same water that had once covered the earth. Then He placed a rainbow in the sky as a sign to us that He would never again destroy the earth with water. Instead, the day is coming when He will destroy the present heavens and the earth with fire. We have once again arrived at that point where “everyone is doing what is right in their own mind” and not obeying the Lord. The Holy Spirit will not always strive with man and the time will come when God’s promise of destruction by fire will come. When? No one but the Father knows, but He is not bound by time, as we understand it. Our finite minds need eternity broken into small pieces so we can grasp it. That is not necessary for God. The One who is coming will come. While He is being patient with us, we need to be laboring in the fields that are white with harvest. It is not His will that any should perish and everyone will have more than ample opportunity to accept Him as Savior and Lord. But, we know that no matter how long He waits, there will be those who choose to go to hell rather than accept His free gift of salvation. Fill your lamps with oil, trim them to keep them burning and buy extra oil. Be alert! Be ready! The bridegroom is coming soon!