“Instead, clothe yourself with the presence of the Lord Jesus Christ. And don’t let yourself think about ways to indulge your evil desires.”
–Romans 13:14 (NLT)
Imagine that you are going on a job interview. More than anything, you want to get that mannagement position, with all its perks. So what is one of the first things you should do, according to many?
A lot of people who hold seminars and write books on this subject would tell you that the most important thing you can do while trying to get a job is dressing for success. But while this may be invaluable advice in its place, what does dressing for success really mean?
All of us have heard of people who were able to get jobs because they were sharp dressers. But do they keep the jobs they get?
To me, the idea of dressing for success speaks of much more than putting on expensive clothes. It includes values like character and commitment, which aren’t superficial.
“But Tim,” you say, “that doesn’t apply to me. I’m not looking for work.”
You may not be looking for a job in the strict sense of the word, but if you are a follower of Christ, I have news for you–you already have one. Jesus calls us to serve one another, a service which is strengthened by the way in which we dress.
Therefore, I have a question today that I think all of us need to ponder. How are you dressing in your Christian life? Are you dressing for success in discipleship, or are you taking your cues from the world around you? In other words, are you following Christ, or the crowd?
It is easier than ever before for any of us to do the latter, because we are influenced by advertising and social media on an ever-increasing level. Many people spend hours on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. I realize that this social-media surfing can be either healthy or unhealthy. According to the Bible, however, the company we keep will have a radical influence on our lives. So instead of dismissing this, let’s examine what God’s Word has to say about that very important subject.
Then, instead of closing our Bibles and going on our merry way, we need to ask God what it means for each one of us to follow Him in our daily lives. For example, each of us has a different path which God is calling us to walk. Yours might be at the water cooler while mine may be at my desk, but we are all equally important to God.
While it is true that we need to be a light to unbelievers without being self-righteous, we can’t use witnessing as an excuse to hang with those who choose to walk in darkness. In the Bible, walking with God is synonymous with obeying Him, and being a successful follower of Jesus. Scripture also tells us that the person who does this will be extremely happy. But just as a baby can’t walk in its own strength, neither can we. Our strength must come from meditation on His Word, so let’s go into the laboratory of our minds, pull out our microscopes and scrutinize the word “meditation” with me.
Meditation is a deliberate act, so just as you would put on a suit of clothes, the Bible tells us to deliberately put on Christ.
But just as clothes get soiled and need to be washed, we continually need to be washed through the confession of sin. Confession just means being in agreement with a holy God, and asking Him to change your heart, as far as sin in your life is concerned.
As you can see, then, putting on Christ is not just something we do on a one-time basis. It should have a dramatic effect not only on how we walk, but on where we walk.
For example, if we choose to spend time with the wrong crowd on Facebook, the progression the Bible gives is as follows. It states that walking with or letting yourself be influenced by those with ungodly counsel leads to instability and destruction, and ultimately passivity.
This description paints a graphic picture of someone who is on a downhill slide. It speaks of someone who is standing immobile in the presence of those who willfully sin. But the progression doesn’t stop there.
In order to see this, think about your favorite chair at home. Mine is the nice, comfy recliner in our living room. The problem is that although you may be comfortable, you’re not at home. Alien forces–namely, the ungodly–are surrounding you and telling you to make yourself at home, when you are actually in a hostile environment. If you think this is just cute verbage, think again. The Bible makes it clear that we are surrounded by wicked demonic beings whose mission is destruction.
Many people laugh off the Devil as a mythical being with a red pitchfork, but if you do, you are playing right into his hands. Satan is described in scripture as being able to appear as an angel of light. To put it another way, he may appear to be your best friend.
Now, put that together with the idea of standing in front of the inviting chair we spoke about earlier. Say you’re hot and tired, ready for some comfort and ease. According to the biblical picture, Satan might say something like this.
“Why are you standing up, buddy? It’s too hot! Sit down and put your feet up.”
While we may laugh at this caricature, Satan uses means much like this to lull people to sleep. The sad news is that many times, the follower of Christ is the first to be taken in.
In order to avoid this, the Bible tells us to be alert. Remember when Jesus asked his disciples to watch with Him on the night of His crucifixion? While they didn’t have recliners, They were still dead to the world. I am like those disciples, though, and sometimes I can fall asleep at the switch when Christ wants to send me on His business. He is unable to send me into action because I am not dressed properly.
We will talk more about that next week, but please don’t wait until then. Ask yourself, “How am I dressed? Am I putting on Christ as the Bible says, and taking up my cross daily? Furthermore, am I dressing to lose, or am I dressing to win?”
Thank you for reading this, and may the Lord give you a wonderful week! We are trying to reach people who are hurting, so if God lays it on your heart, please consider becoming a partner with us. If you would like to make a donation, please visit www.hcmachaplains.org and click on the Donate Now link. You can also send donations by mail to HCMA (Healthcare Chaplains Ministry Association). Our ID number is 560. The address is 101 S Kraemer BLVD, Suite 123A, Placentia, CA 92870.
Finally, you’re always welcome to join our Tuesday night Bible study. These studies are conducted by conference call, and they take place at 5:30 PM Arizona time. Our conference number is 712-432-6498. When prompted, press 1 for live chat rooms, and we’ll be waiting in room 31. You can press pound to bypass our friend Sharon’s intro message once you’ve entered room 31. We hope to talk with you soon!
If you have questions, comments or prayer requests for Timothy or Stephanie Burdick, please call 507-369-6861.