What to wear to church this Sunday

At some point on a Sunday morning, you will end up standing in front of your dresser or in your closet, trying to figure out what to wear to church. Some of us grab whatever is handy and move on. Others of us (more than we would want to admit) hem and haw and go through multiple choices before settling on the outfit (and then maybe change our minds one more time).

God is definitely interested in and cares deeply about what we wear to church. And, it has nothing to do with suits and ties, T-shirts or jeans. We are His body, and He shares specific instructions with us on what we are to wear when we gather and live life together with other believers.

Check out the guidance that Colossians 3:12-15 gives us:

Therefore, God’s chosen ones, holy and loved, put on heartfelt compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience, accepting one another and forgiving one another if anyone has a complaint against another. Just as the Lord has forgiven you, so you must also forgive. Above all, put on love — the perfect bond of unity. And let the peace of the Messiah, to which you were also called in one body, control your hearts. Be thankful.”‭

Let’s put on our identity in Christ.
We are chosen by God to be His. Let that sink in. God absolutely loves us, and He has taken away and forgiven what separated us from Him. Because of what God has done for us, we can be who He created us to be – in Christ. We are because He Is.

Let’s intentionally and overtly wear the fruit of the Spirit.
From that position of being chosen, made holy and wholeheartedly loved, God gives us His own Spirit. As the Spirit works in and through our lives, His fruit creates beautiful garments we are to put on and show off. We aren’t to hide what God has made and given us to share. We are to put on heartfelt compassion. We are to dress to the nines in kindness. We are to be known for being humble and elevating others. We are to showcase gentleness and wow with the patience that flows from our lives. We should be known for these things. This directive from the Lord is convicting because it reveals our heart. We cannot be selfish and display these qualities. Pride must go. Because God loves us so completely, we can let go of our agenda and embrace Him wholeheartedly. It’s when we surrender fully to the Spirit, that He produces His fruit to clothe us with His character. 

Let’s cover each other in forgiveness.
To forgive is to obey the God who loves us so much. And, God says to those of us who are in the body of Christ, that we must accept each other. When someone has a complaint against us or against another brother or sister (and we know that happens), we must forgive each other. God includes a major zinger in this passage to emphasize how important this is to Him. Just as the Lord has forgiven us, we must also forgive. That puts offenses in perspective. All of our sinful behavior, all of our selfish actions, all of our speaking before thinking, all of our disregard for others or elevating ourselves above other brothers and sisters, all of the ways we squelch the growth of the fruit of the Spirit in our lives — all of our sin, ALL OF IT, Jesus willingly laid down His life to pay it off. And, that’s how we are to forgive others. 

Let’s put on love, which pulls it all together.
It’s the most important – what we cannot leave without. Scripture says, “above all.” The signature piece is love. Simple, pure, unblemished, the perfect piece that complements and sets apart. Love is the hallmark, the defining signature of a Christian. Above all, put on love. This love saturates, encompasses and is the lens through which we see everything else. We put on Christ when we put on love. Our Savior is love, His life is love, His eternal purpose is love. And when we wrap ourselves up in His love, our lives radiate the glory of His Gospel. His love is what pulls it all together. It is the perfect bond of unity. Love is the reason we are family, because God so loved each of us. Now that we believe, we are brothers and sisters – and can come together united in His love, as His church. Love now is our definition, and must be what we are known for, because of Whose we are.

Let’s tie peace around our hearts.
God’s peace is always available to us. The peace of knowing Jesus came to earth with us in mind, willingly making a way for us to have a relationship with Him, is overwhelming. Yet, so often we wouldn’t use the word peace to describe our crazy lives. Peace is either an afterthought or an unattainable ideal that one day we might achieve. Jesus came to set us free from that kind of thinking. When we embrace His love, and give Him our hearts, we have forever access to His peace. However, peace isn’t an automatic result. It is a decision. It’s a choice to let the peace of Jesus have complete control of our hearts. We release our preconceived ideas, and let go of getting a say. We relinquish full authority to the Author of faith. He is God, and we are not. It’s only then that we can clearly hear The Word speak over us, and we can live out the fullness of our calling in Christ.

The way we dress really does matter. By following the pattern of Colossians 3:12-15, we can show the world, and our family, that we belong to Jesus. So, let’s embrace our identity, and follow the Spirit’s lead. Let’s forgive and love like Jesus. And, let’s allow God’s peace to lead the way.

Leaning over the 2022 ledge

Starting again is always daunting. You know where you need to go, but find yourself hesitating at the threshold, not knowing what the ground will feel like once your life hits that next step. I’ve been standing at that precipice for too long.

This past summer I discovered I have a pretty intense fear of stepping off high places. At Glorieta Family Camp, we embarked on many adventurous firsts together, starting with a zip-drop. We were all excited to try something new, so we geared up, and strapped in. My kids, who went before me, cheered me on as my husband had the video going at the bottom of the hill. Suddenly, as the rope dangled in front of me, the open air swallowed all my courage. I felt sick. I could not will myself to lean forward. So, I decided to try to just walk off the platform. I backed up, walked right to the edge, and hit an invisible brick wall. I literally could not go any further. I was completely stuck. I could see what I needed to do, I could see where I would be going, but I could not do it.

Eventually, I turned back to give others in our group another opportunity to jump off and experience the rush of the activity. As I took off my gear, I realized my Fitbit had been buzzing on my wrist, so I swiped the screen to see my pulse was sky-high. Apparently, I earned quite a few exercise points for succumbing to fear.

The kids made the zip-drop look easy.

A few days later, we had the opportunity to try a full zip-line. I had been fielding questions from my family from moment one that morning – would I do it? Honestly, I didn’t know. I wanted to. Frankly, I needed to find some redemption from my utter fail earlier in the week. But as I walked up all eleventy-billion steps to the roof of the tallest building on campus, my legs grew heavier as my over-active mind filled with dread at the thought of what was coming. 

I’m not sure how well I was breathing as I got strapped in and stepped up onto a box, about to coast out into the unknown. Different this time was a little bar out in front of me that I was able to grip with white knuckles, and a roof that shielded my view of how far the drop really was. I closed my eyes, lifted my legs, and gravity took over. I held on like my life depended on it, terrified all the way down. But, I did it. My husband was waiting at the bottom with a big hug. And, then we walked all the way back, and up the eleventy-billion stairs, and did it again, with a death grip and racing heart.

I find that God so often leads me right to the edge, to the brink. Why does He do that?

God didn’t create me to be cradled in the comfort zone. He is always stretching me past the line of what’s familiar and safe. Faith doesn’t grow in ease, it blossoms when facing fear and following Jesus anyway.

Staring into the unknown, I realize that I am not enough. I wasn’t made to be enough – I was made for more. When I freeze at the edge, only knowing Jesus is with me no matter what gives me peace, even if I have to grab hold of it for dear life. I can’t do this on my own – and embracing that gives a new freedom in realizing that Jesus can. I serve a God who walks on water, who resurrects the dead, and who is right now interceding for me. 

As we enter a new year, I wonder if there are places in your life, like mine, that God may be leading you beyond that line in the sand that you drew, or calling you to go deeper or further than you feel like you are ready for or capable of. If that’s where you are, know you are in the Savior’s sweet spot. He is the Waymaker and Miracle worker. And, His Spirit lives in those who belong to Him.

Join me in embracing these four truths in 2022:

  1. I can’t. Jesus can.
  2. I am not alone. Jesus is with me, right now and always.
  3. Jesus will lead me to the edge, but doesn’t intend for me to stay there.
  4. I can face the unknown by leaning into Jesus.
Trust in and rely confidently on the Lord with all your heart
And do not rely on your own insight or understanding.
In all your ways know and acknowledge and recognize Him,
And He will make your paths straight and smooth [removing obstacles that block your way].
- Proverbs 3:5-6, Amplified
Family fun @ Glorieta – we had to grab a photo with this ear of corn. After all, we are the Cobbs! 🙂