I really would rather not try clothes on in the store. However sometimes it is necessary. In order to make sure something fits before I buy it, I will use the changing room. Some garments that look good on the rack don’t quite fit when you try them on. Even though they may be on sale I will put them back on the rack.
God has a changing room for His children. When He saves us by His grace He challenges us to put on a new suit of clothes. Col. 3:12-14 instructs us to put on some things: “Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, 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”. These garments of grace that we are to put on are beautiful and they make us look attractive to everyone around us. Labels are so important for some people. They love to be asked “who are you wearing”? I wonder if we can say we are wearing Jesus Christ. The character traits of tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness and so forth reflect the character of our Lord.
When my wife goes into the changing room even though she may take many garments, often she will choose just one to take home and wear. In verse 14 we are told about the most important garment: “But above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection”. We need to be sure that we are wearing love.
Has someone ever told you that the garments you are wearing do not match? They may clash in one way or another. Likewise, the rags of our old nature do not match our new position in Christ. We need to step into God’s changing room and be fitted with those beautiful garments of grace. Christlikeness will always fit us well.
Pulling off the side of the road the other day I watched as a fire truck sped past me on the way to a fire. As I looked at the faces of the fireman in the engine I noticed that they looked determined and excited to accomplish their mission. Fires are terrible events that bring danger and tragedy, but have you ever met a fireman who resented being called to a fire? Those fireman that I know have a driven and purposeful attitude about their job. When asked about their profession you might even hear them say: “I was born for this”.
That phrase is a wonderful spirit that we should adopt in our service for our Lord. If you were able to interview the apostle Paul you might hear him say: “For to me to live is Christ and to die is gain” (Phil. 1:21). He might also tell you: “And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men” (Col. 3:23). He even described his life in his service for the Lord as being like a drink offering that is being gladly poured out upon the people he ministered to. At the conclusion of our interview of Paul you may overhear him say something like: “I was born for this”.
We can get plugged into numerous activities that occupy our time and attention. We can spend our lives in pass-time diversions that fill our days and empty our wallets. Why not ask the Lord what He would have you to do? Find some sort of ministry that you can plug your life into in service for Jesus Christ. It may be teaching a Bible study, or singing in the choir, playing an instrument, or working with children, teens, or the homeless. You may find your niche in any one of a number of ways that you can serve the Lord. When you do I trust that you will enjoy the ride like a fireman on the way to his mission. Perhaps you too will find that you were “born for this”.
It was my turn to order as I stood in line at McDonalds. I only ordered an iced tea and was about ready to pay when one of the workers said: “congratulations we are running a special promotion until Valentine’s Day, if you will call someone and tell them you love them, you will get your order free”. The first thing that came to my mind was that I should have ordered more than an iced tea. I quickly phoned my wife and told her I loved her while the McDonalds workers were listening. As I got my free tea my sweet wife also told me that I should have ordered more food. I could almost smack myself in the head, and said: “I could have had a Big Mac”. What a missed opportunity.
As disappointing as missing that opportunity to get a free meal, there are more serious missed opportunities in life. God’s Word tells us: “Therefore, as we have opportunity let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith” (Gal. 6:10). We are also challenged in Eph. 5:16: “Redeeming the time, because the days are evil”. When writing to the Romans Paul told the saints that he was “ready to preach the gospel to you who are in Rome”. God’s people need to redeem or to buy up the opportunities that the Lord gives us in life. When He opens a door for us to speak a word of witness for Him we need to boldly walk through that door. Whenever we see someone with a financial need and we have the ability to help we need to do it. If an opportunity to help a neighbor with a chore presents itself we need to make ourselves available.
Opportunities to serve God and help people are all around us. We need to have our eyes and ears open, we need to have our hearts and hands willing, and we need to have our tongues and talents ready to buy up those chances that God send’s our way. Don’t miss your next opportunity!
I remember as a child having come down with the measles. It was not a very pleasant time in my life and my mother tells me that my case got worse. I couldn’t be around other kids and was miserable. In the year 2000 measles was virtually eliminated in the United States. However recently there has been a new outbreak of the disease. Officials with the CDC attribute this recent outbreak to the growing evidence that more parents are not vaccinating their children. Measles is spread from person to person through the air by infectious droplets; it is a highly contagious disease. I remember my mother scaring us kids by telling us we had a great grandfather who died from his exposure to measles.
Measles is a very contagious disease that once again is breaking out. But I wonder how contagious we are, not with the measles virus, but with a vibrant living relationship with Jesus Christ. Are we a contagious Christian? Has the glorious fact that we have been saved from sin and brought into the family of God’s dear Son consumed us? Are we overwhelmed with the joy of our daily walk with the Savior?
You can tell if a person has the measles by seeing the rash spread all over their body. How can we detect a contagious Christian? A contagious Christian will have a warm temperature, a fire in his heart for the Lord. He will have a bold witness and a committed devotion for the Savior. He will love his fellow believers and seek to be an encourager to them. His joy in the Lord will not diminish with time and the trials of life. His spiritual fervor for the Lord will be real and people will notice.
Being contagious is something that we need to avoid when it comes to this new outbreak of measles. But what our country, our community, and our world needs is be exposed to Jesus Christ, God’s Son. We can help spread Him everywhere if we simply become a contagious Christian.
Pastor Stultz has been writing this weekly devotional for many years. In 2009, he published a compilation of devotionals in book form, also called Moments of Meditation