August 1, 2016 by maryruwe
— CONDUCT —
Have you ever thought about what your clothes say about you? Most of us might not like to admit to making such judgments about what others are wearing, but let’s fact it we do. However, if you’re like me it’s not so much whether the clothes are designer name brands, or the price paid for the clothes as it is whether or not they are clean and fit properly.
Now think on this: our attitudes, words and conduct are the outer garments of our heart and spirit. What are they saying about our representation of Jesus? Do our words, attitudes and actions deny Him or honor Him? Jesus said in John 9:5, “As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world”. In Matthew 5:14 Jesus told His disciples, “You are the light of the world”. This means we are to live according to His Word so the world can see Him and come to Him.
When I was growing up wearing clothes with holes in them meant your parents didn’t have money to buy you new clothes. It also could mean you wore hand-me-down-clothes from siblings or perhaps what someone gave to you.
Clothing styles say a lot about us. Too many women’s styles today are designed to arouse sensuality. Skirts and dresses are very short and blouses and tops are very low-cut; both giving attention to what a woman has rather than who she is. Some men’s clothing designs aren’t much better, even though usually not as bad.
We identify certain professions with certain outer garments called uniforms. In fact some schools today have even gone to uniforms to help eliminate some social differences among students. The way we dress does say a lot about us and this isn’t just in our generation but all through history and it was also true in Jesus’ time.
So if it’s true that our physical outer garments says something about us, then our spiritual outer garments say something about us too. Our attitudes, words, conduct, and even our facial expressions are our outer garments that others see and make judgments of what kind a person we are and what kind of God we serve. Again the question for us to consider is, “do our outer garments represent the world or Jesus”?
We learn a lot about outer garments when we read about blind Bartimaeus in Mark 10:46-52. When Bartimaeus heard that Jesus was passing by he cried out, “Jesus, Son of David have mercy on me!” When Jesus heard him He called for Bartimaeus to be brought to him and asked him what he wanted. He answered that he wanted to receive his sight.
Now here’s another point to consider. When Bartimaeus got up from the side of the road where he’d been begging he did something very important: he threw aside his outer garment. That outer garment signified that he was a beggar. That outer garment indicated his station in life – a beggar. However, when he left his outer garment behind – he was making a faith statement – he was putting off the old outer garment that told everyone he was a beggar and was looking to be a new man who could see clearly.
The less of the world’s way of thinking and doing things and the more we think and do things according to the Bible, the clearer we see.
Ephesians 4:21-24 teaches us that, “if indeed you have heard Him and have been taught by Him, as the truth is in Jesus: that you put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts, and be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness”. Whatever is in our heart in abundance is what will manifest in our attitudes, words, and behavior. This is absolutely true. So how do we “put on” these garments of righteousness and holiness as mentioned above? It’s done by obeying the Word of God.
We can cast off harsh words by learning to speak with a softer, gentle voice. Proverbs 15:1 tells us that a soft answer turns away wrath but grievous words stir up anger. How much more serene would our homes be if we only spoke words of kindness and with softer tones. Think about that. This one change in your home might be the answer needed to stop the strife.
We can cast off bad attitudes by praising God. Isaiah 61:3 tells us that the oil of joy and the garment of praise are for a spirit of heaviness. When we praise God we are dispelling the darkness of depression, discouragement and rebellion that come against us to manifest bad attitudes. Praising God glorifies Him and draws us into closer fellowship with Him and to His love.
We can cast off wrong behavior with good behavior by obeying the Word of God. Obedience is the power that helps us to abstain from doing evil, and even the appearance of doing evil (First Thessalonians 5:22). To abstain means to refrain from an action or practice. So when we realize that our behavior is displeasing God we need to repent and change our actions. This is done by purposefully deciding to live according to how the Bible says we should live. Each decision we make should be in light of what the Bible says.
We can cast off tears of self-pity and self-centeredness by not thinking too highly of ourselves and by learning to be humble before God. Matthew 23:12 teaches us that if we exalt ourselves we become abased or brought down or degraded. Only when we submit to God’s Word and His Way of doing things do we put ourselves in a position for God to exalt us. When God exalts us He gives us dignity, which is the quality or state of being worthy and honored in a position. This position is a child of God in the Body of Christ, a joint-heir with Jesus (Romans 8:17). Remember, Jesus is the Head of the Church and believers are the Church – the Body of Christ. In that position the devil in under our feet!
We walk in that position of authority that Jesus gives to His Body of believers by living according to His Word: casting down imaginations (of self pity, and self centeredness, etc) and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, and bring into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ (Second Corinthians 10:4). The only way we know how to do this is by renewing our mind to the Word of God, which then results in the transformation in our attitudes, words, and conduct.
If we daily renew our mind to the Word of God and obey the Word of God, we shall prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God (Romans 12:1-2).
My prayer for us this week is that we will not only be aware of how we are representing our Heavenly Father, our Savior and Lord, but we will also make any changes necessary to conform to His Word.
Be a blessing this week; for that is what you are created to be.