Modelling the wardrobe of holiness
Modelling the wardrobe of holiness
8 June 2016
What are you passionate about? This question has been asked a million times over my lifetime. In the early years it was family, friends, music, my relationship with God – although there were times this suffered just trying to get the balance right. If you were to ask me now ... what are you passionate about? I would, say my marriage, my family, journeying with people through life issues and ... my relationship with God.
It is pretty obvious that being passionate about my family rates highly. You see, there was a stage in my life when my husband and I thought we would never have children, but God decided to bless us with three – two boys and a girl. I can appreciate; sadly, this is not always the case. Since then, our family has grown in number and the words of God to Adam and Eve become a reality where he says to them: “Be fruitful and increase in number” (Genesis 1:28). All of our children are married – we are further blessed with two grandsons and a granddaughter who give us great joy – plus two more grandkids on the way!
The significance of family is not taken for granted. As I reflect on the blessed life I have, I am fully aware of many who suffer fractured relationships, broken marriages and loneliness. Circumstances cause families to be torn apart by abuse, sickness, addictions, grief and loss, drought and natural disasters, long working hours or, conversely, no work. The list is endless.
Unfortunately, that’s life for many – including Christians. Heartbreak, sadness, anger, disappointment, regret, lost opportunities, unforgiveness and unwillingness to change, brings a dark dimension and an air of hopelessness.
I recently came across a quote which challenges my responses to others when life is tough and feelings of hopelessness invade my life: “When you cannot control the situation, challenge yourself to control how you respond to the situation – this is where your power is! (Anonymous)
Control how you respond to the situation – Hmmm ... here is a challenge for all of us! When you think about it, our responses inevitably affect others – those we live with, those we work with, those we meet randomly and ourselves. D.L. Moody challenged us on our responses when he wrote: “A man ought to live so that everybody knows he is a Christian ... and most of all, his family ought to know.”
The Apostle Paul gives us a great model for behaviour and how to respond when life happens, not only to us and our family, but in all of our encounters with people. His model is for holy living – living like Christ when he says in Colossians 3:12-14: “Since you are all set apart by God, made holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with a holy way of life: compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Put up with one another. Forgive. Pardon any offenses against one another, as the Lord has pardoned you, because you should act in kind. But above all these, put on love! Love is the perfect tie to bind these together” (The Voice)
This is not a passive reminder from Paul. He encourages us to actively engage in ensuring that our responses to life be holy. He reminds us to “put up ... put on ... clothe yourselves. As holy people called by God we are asked to clothe ourselves with the characteristics of one who is holy. Not only that – we are asked to forgive as we have been forgiven.”
What does this mean for us? It means that whoever we encounter – family, friends, people from our church or workplace, people in the street – we are to be intentional about modelling the wardrobe of holiness so that others will encounter Jesus.
Major Christine Ivers is Queensland Divisional Personnel Secretary.