I got up this morning the same way I do everyday. The routine was much the same, putting my pants on one leg at a time, etc., etc.
On Sunday we heard a message preaching Ephesians 6, putting on the armor of God to defend ourselves from the devil’s evil schemes.
On two separate occasions on Monday, I had conversations with individuals who used that piece of scripture in conversation with me, sharing how as followers of Christ we must put on the breastplate of righteousness, the belt of truth and to wield the sword – the Word – in battle.
Now I am a slow learner, but as it was preached on Sunday I was moved to an increasing sense of the need to put on my armor and to make use of it. Then to hear it used on Monday afternoon and again Monday night, well, let’s just say I believe that perhaps it is time to devour the scriptures once again in an attempt to ward off the devil’s evil schemes.
So I find myself in the scriptures, eating the Word, pondering the Word and began to study the book of Colossians in the last couple of evenings.
Having completely gone through the book each of the past two evenings, it is foremost on my mind today…particularly this piece of scripture from Paul’s letter to the church of Colosse.
Hear these words from Colossians 3:12-14 (The Message): “So, chosen by God for this new life of love, dress in the wardrobe God picked out for you: compassion, kindness, humility, quiet strength, discipline. Be even-tempered, content with second place, quick to forgive an offense. Forgive as quickly and completely as the Master forgave you. And regardless of what else you put on, wear love. It's your basic, all-purpose garment. Never be without it.”
Seems to me that God is concerned with what I am “wearing.” It is interesting that I have been on a mission to rid myself of much excess baggage. It is no secret to anyone who has read this blog before that I am not a tiny person, and I often use self-deprecating comments to the effect that I am 6-5 and 475 pounds.
This is a fact that I have not been proud of, the act of gluttony that led to the mass of a man that I have become. Seeing a neighbor who had lost a pile of weight inspired me, and so did the phone call that I received one morning several weeks ago.
“Hi, where are you?,” my wife asked on the other end.
“I am at the store,” I said.
“What are you doing?,” she asked.
“Getting a roll and some pop.”
“A roll?,” she asked.
“Well, two rolls,” I said.
If you are married, you will understand what I am talking about when sometimes your spouse doesn’t really have to say anything to express their level of displeasure with you.
I hung up busted, dejected and motivated. I ate the rolls and drank my final Coke.
To date, I have shed 55 pounds and am nearing the weight I listed on my driver’s license more than 17 years ago…one of the first times I have been able to say so during that span of time.
The clothes I have been wearing are now hanging off my much smaller body and I have been forced to order and re-order garments. I love it! It has been a very satisfying reward for sticking to my diet while my family continues to eat my wife’s amazing cooking.
As I was folding some of my now way-to-big-to-wear pants last evening, I felt pretty good seeing the two pairs of dress pants and two pairs of jeans that I can now wear. More are on the way, and I hope now that I am able to live at this weight.
I guess that is what I find interesting. While the diet has reduced my physical stature by some 25 inches around the chest, midsection, beltline, bicep and thigh; and physically I feel great; and I have these nice new clothes, God is concerned with what I am clothing myself with.
First, the full armor of God to fight against the devil’s evil schemes, and now he give me Colossians 3:12-14.
“So, chosen by God for this new life of love, dress in the wardrobe God picked out for you: compassion, kindness, humility, quiet strength, discipline. Be even-tempered, content with second place, quick to forgive an offense. Forgive as quickly and completely as the Master forgave you. And regardless of what else you put on, wear love. It's your basic, all-purpose garment. Never be without it.”
A couple of situations that are of concern to Kathy and I include teenagers (not ours, far as we know) drinking, and a family who has had their girls placed in foster care.
What do we do with this stuff? What is our responsibility? How do we pray? What do we do, God? These are questions that I continue to run through my mind and contemplate.
Perhaps it has to do with my attire? What do you think? Perhaps we need to put on compassion, kindness, humility, quiet strength and discipline? Perhaps we need to put on the armor of God and wield the sword?
What do you think? What are you wearing?
Father, God, as I walk around in new clothes that you have blessed me with, I pray, Father, that what really matters is that I am wearing your armor; that I am dressed in the wardrobe that you picked out for me: compassion, kindness, humility, quiet strength and discipline. I pray that while physical health matters in my desire to serve you, that my attire, God, would be yours! Amen
Grace and Peace