Clothed in Strength & Dignity
“She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come.” Proverbs 31:25
Every once in awhile, I purge my closet and dresser to find clothes that I can give away or donate. These clothes usually don’t fit anymore or have just been sitting lonely for too long. Sometimes, I have to convince myself to let go. If I haven’t worn that shirt for five years, why would I start now?
The last time I cleaned out my closet, I came across some clothing items that were adorable, still fit well, yet, I knew I’d never wear them again so had to get rid of them. There was the blue floral dress that I was wearing when I overheard someone gossiping about me and the pink flannel shirt I was wearing when someone called and said some pretty nasty things to me and blamed me for things that were beyond my control. I really wanted to wear these clothes again, but I couldn’t do it. Every time I looked at them, the bad memories would flood back. Each harsh untruth and graceless comment would haunt me and mess with my knowledge of who I am in Christ.
Do you have or have you had clothes like this in your closet? They are perfect yet remind you that you are not? Maybe it was the dress at your loved one’s funeral. Maybe it was the dress shirt you were wearing when you found out you got passed up for that promotion. Or maybe it was the jeans you were wearing when the doctor told you the bad news.
These clothes might make us feel like we are failures or remind us of some really bad memories, but we serve a God who has clothed us with strength and dignity, and that is the truth we need to remember. Dictionary.com says that strength is not only physical power, but mental and moral power, and dignity means nobility and worthiness. In Christ, we have these! We are worthy and more powerful than we even realize through the blood and love of Christ. Knowing these truths may not make you feel as if you can literally laugh at the days to come as the proverb continues, but you can have confidence knowing that Christ has everything in control.
So, how do you clothe yourselves with strength and dignity? How do you remind yourself of God’s truth over your life? Do you pray, read the Bible, or listen to worship music? If not, then you should. I encourage you to look for ways to remind yourself of His truth. Ask God to help you with this today, and in the meantime, here are some verses to help you get started.
Psalm 139:13-16 “You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother’s womb. Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it. You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion, as I was woven together in the dark of the womb. You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed.”
Romans 8:28 “And we know that God causes everything to work together[a] for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them."
Hebrews 4:16 “So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most.”
Ephesians 2:10 “For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.”
1 Peter 2:9 “But you are not like that, for you are a chosen people. You are royal priests,[a] a holy nation, God’s very own possession. As a result, you can show others the goodness of God, for he called you out of the darkness into his wonderful light.”
Isaiah 41:10 “Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand.”
All Scripture verses are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation.
Hope Instead of Fear
“For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.” 2 Timothy 1:7
God has not given us a spirit of fear. And if God has given us power and love, He has also not given us a spirit of anxiety and anger. So, if these characteristics are not from God, can we stop using them? Can we stop twisting our words to emanate fear in order to get people to agree with us? If God has given us self-discipline, can we hold our tongues? There is a pretty obvious line between speaking the truth in love and speaking the truth in hate, and I think some people tend to justify hate and fear if they think they are speaking truth.
Christians, I’m primarily talking to us. We are supposed to be bringing hope and truth. Instead, some of us are on a conspiracy theory hunt. We should be using a little more wisdom. Have you read Revelation lately? Moral of the story: God wins. We win. Satan tries his hardest, but He loses. The end of this blink in history and then we enjoy the rest of eternity with our Creator.
We are in the midst of some unique times. We have the opportunity to point people to Christ and hope. Almost every church has their service online. Devotions are online. Bible Studies are online. The church has now moved from buildings to every home in the world. Are you pushing people towards this? Are you using your voice to proclaim the Gospel and God’s love? If Christ returns tomorrow, what will be the last thing you say or post online?
I want to encourage you to show love. People don’t need fear. Every avenue of media is telling them to fear. They need love and hope. They’ve lost jobs and loved ones, have had to cancel or postpone life events, and are just plain tired of having their lives on hold. Can we be the light? Can we point people to the only One who brings hope? When our church building doors finally open, there should be a flood of people who have found hope during this time and want more.
I know I included a lot of questions in this blog post, and if hope is the answer, let it begin with me.