December 12, 2017

You Are What You Wear

By Chaplain Mike

An illustration from my pastor’s sermon Sunday:

Not too many years ago, my wife and I were on a rare date downtown Indianapolis. It was in the heat of August, so we were at an outside table on the sidewalk on Washington Street. There we were, enjoying the moment of closeness, when out of the corner of my eye passes an individual in a Star Wars storm trooper costume. I looked around and saw another and then another. And over there was Princess Leah . . . over there three Luke Skywalkers . . . Jaba the Hut! I looked at my wife, and then at my adult beverage, then to the storm troopers.

It turns out the national Star Wars convention was in town that weekend. And heavens! Did they ever dress the part?! Man! Were they were living the story, acting the character, and caught up in the moment!

When it comes to the Adventure we have with Jesus Christ, you should know that it is not only the people in the Bible world who dress differently. They are not the only ones who put on new apparel and live a different story. But each one of you, as you become part of the adventure of Jesus’ life, will dress differently. You will present yourself to the world differently. You live out of a new sense of identity and character.

The apostle Paul says in Galatians 3:27, “As many of you as were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.”

And in Romans13:14 he says, “put on the Lord Jesus Christ.”

As one of the characters in Jesus’ adventure, you have a new sense of self, a new identity to live from. And as you allow yourself, as you give yourself the freedom to get caught up in the moment, to live the story, you will never feel more alive.

In Jesus, we have the privilege of living in God’s story of redemption. At times, we may appear to the world as strange and as out of place as the participants in a Star Wars convention. They may think we’re only fantasizing, trying to fulfill a wish-dream, getting caught up in a meaningless display of play-acting.

Nothing is more real. As Pastor Mike said, “Give yourself the freedom to get caught up in the moment. Live the story. You will never feel more alive.”

You can read the whole sermon at Pastor Mike’s blog.

Comments

  1. Are you preaching out of the church year? I had the same reading this week and it stopped me in my tracks.

    When I read Romans 13:14, I felt convicted, the law demanding me to act like Jesus. Then my bible linked this verse with Galatians 3:27 and the gospel overshadowed it, God’s act in baptism does this putting on for me. Freedom.

    • Rob, I appreciate what you say. But is Paul’s exhortation to “put on Christ” law or Gospel exhortation to new obedience?

      • Certainly it could be exhortation to new obedience. Does that mean all gospel exhortations do not create anguish? If so why bear the cross, why repent (acknowledging our sin and trusting in Christs completed work–good repentance), why communion to sustain us, if all gospel imperatives only lead to joy? My experience is that they don’t unless I water the demands down with my sinful nature to what I want it to mean.

        My heart screamed law still, but my brain reading it said certainly love other by “putting on Christ”, as a good thing.

        Upon re-reading it, the passage does point to Christ from beginning to end and looks like Gospel.

  2. Christiane says:

    Staying ‘with Jesus’ spiritually through the course of the Church year may seem strange to some who have only had Christmas Day, and Easter Morning;
    but there is something about the ‘wakefulness’ of a ‘vigil’,
    that brings to mind Our Lord’s comment to Peter:
    ” . . . could ye not watch with Me one hour? ”

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=POm7_WBMJTI

  3. I’ve always linked those verses together with “Away with you, I do not know you.” I have almost no memory for faces – I didn’t recognize my own college roommate when all she’d done was cut her hair over the summer. She was not familiar in the slightest. Clothing is the easiest clue. If I see a co-worker out of uniform, I have to locate another characteristic – hair, piercing, something; but that takes a moment or two. To the extent that I am clothed in Christ (a pair of socks’ worth, maybe!) – to that degree, God knows me for His.

  4. Christiane: Thank-You for posting the video, Beautiful!

  5. “A man becomes the man of his uniform.” (Napoleon Bonaparte)

  6. The difficulty is discerning the difference between putting on Christ versus a just a put-on (“Eminence Front”). Putting on Christ is not attempting to be something you’re not. It’s not a delusion. It’s still looking in the mirror and seeing a broken beggar starring back. It is God who clothes us in the righteousness of Christ. A better term that Paul uses is that we are hidden in Christ, or that we are buried with Christ through baptism and raised to new life through his resurrection. It isn’t just a covering of our sin, and it isn’t us trying to impersonate Christ; it is the new life born of the Spirit.

    • The analogy I’ve heard is that the old adam needs to be shot and killed rather than “molded”, improved, etc.

  7. Something that comes to mind as I read this is how some groups of Christians expect every Christian to outwardly look a certain way and avoid certain things and use a certain type of language. If the person does those things then they are considered a Christian. If they don’t, then their relationship with Christ is suspect. I know this “putting on” is talking about the heart, but we often translate that into every Christian must look like “me”.

  8. I’ve read this article a few times and I must admit I come up with a different take. Those in the Star Wars gear dress the part, they become the character – for a time – in essence they wear a mask , a mask on how they want others to see them. This can happen in christianity too – we clothe ourselves and play the part so that we can appear like the Christian crowd, When taken to extremes I find it a bit annoying, and to be honest I judge it in my heart to be more of an act, more of something that says look at me I’m this.

    It is possible I am looking at this from the wrong direction. My view instead is this, that through faith one makes the choice to look outward instead of inward, to consider someone else instead of one ‘s own selfishness in the small things, that through those actions over time others may notice (not as a goal but as a result of) this person is a christian – or at least “there is something different about this person I’d like to know more about”. We have all met that person – and it is usually not someone who is overtly garbed.

    My thoughts….