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God’s Dress Code for Life

I spent a decade as a teacher trying to force teenagers to comply with our private school’s dress code. On chapel days boys were forced to wear a dress shirt and tie while girls were required to put on a modest dress. Since this worship service immediately followed homeroom, male and female teachers quickly tried to address rule breakers before walking over to the sanctuary. The unpleasant experience of disciplining students distracted me from worshiping God.

Clothe yourselves therefore, as God’s own chosen ones (His own picked representatives), [who are] purified and holy and well-beloved [by God Himself, by putting on behavior marked by] tenderhearted pity and mercy, kind feeling, a lowly opinion of yourselves, gentle ways, [and] patience [which is tireless and long-suffering, and has the power to endure whatever comes, with good temper], Colossians 3:12.

In a letter to the Church at Colosse, the apostle Paul refers to a different kind of dress code. Instead of putting on a specific attire daily, Paul opens minds to putting on spiritual clothing. These articles are like layers of clothing human beings put on as the weather changes each winter. However, God’s dress code involves biblical qualities that coincide with the character and nature of Jesus Christ.

Be gentle and forbearing with one another and, if one has a difference (a grievance or complaint) against another, readily pardoning each other; even as the Lord has [freely] forgiven you, so must you also [forgive]. 14 And above all these [put on] love and enfold yourselves with the bond of perfectness [which binds everything together completely in ideal harmony], Colossians 3:13-14.

The context of chapter 3 begins by putting on the mind of Christ. This is a starting point that requires new Christians to put to death their old self. If you can imagine this process as a form of meditation, believers need to reprogram their minds by relying on the power of the Holy Spirit to commence this transformation. Unfortunately, this change can take a lifetime. While following God’s dress code may be a drag for many, the sooner you comply, your chances to improve open the door for you to experience ideal harmony.

by Jay Mankus

What’s Missing From this Picture?

Regardless of how intelligent or talented you are, everyone goes through periods of slumps, where you are not as productive as usual.  The baseball player can’t get buy a hit.  The running back can’t seem to hold on to the ball anymore.  The jump shooter turns into a brick layer and the goalie treats each opponent like its Christmas.  Likewise, the doctor struggles to diagnose a cold, the engineer wrestles to find a quick solution and the teacher babbles away period after period.  When these circumstances find you, what’s the missing answer, ingredient or piece to your dilemma?

Deep within the pages of the Bible, I think I have unearthed a principle that might just be the missing link.  In Acts 16:22-24, Paul, Silas and Luke find themselves in an awkward predicament, imprisoned for freeing a slave girl.  Instead of arguing, bickering and complaining, somehow they are led to fulfill the words of Psalm 150.  Embracing their situation, Paul and Silas begin a worship service in prison.  This spirit of praise moves God to unleash a violent earthquake, likely 6.0 or higher on the Richter scale.  This natural disaster opens a door for ministry, setting the scene for a spiritual breakthrough.

From a personal perspective, I think I have become too worldly to experience a Pauline like miracle.  However, if I dedicated myself to fasting, prayer and worship, opportunities to share my faith would be plentiful.  Like losing weight, the only remaining question is, do you have the discipline and will power to change.  The apostle Paul went to extreme measures to insure a Christ-like behavior in 1 Corinthians 9:24-27.  Therefore, if a slump resides in your soul, struggling to find meaning and purpose in life, why not apply Psalm 150:6.  Maybe this is the only thing preventing you from getting over the hump.  May this be the last piece you are searching for.

by Jay Mankus

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