>Sunday mornings can be very chaotic in our home. With five showers, five breakfasts, a confusing interchange of teeth brushing, hair drying and shoe scavenging, it is a mini miracle every time we all manage to be in the van by 7:40, showered, combed, and shod.
Every minute counts. That’s why this past Sunday morning I felt extremely frustrated with myself as I stood motionless in my pajamas for a full five minutes, paralyzed before my closet door.
Sometimes knowing what to wear can be a real dilemma. When I emerged from my room quite a while later (and only because if I waited any longer I would have to go to church with a wet head), my floor was strewn with evidence of my inward indecision. Getting dressed requires much more mental energy than I possess at 6:45 in the morning.
This Sunday, I wondered if I needed to get my priorities straight when I contemplated skipping my devotions in order to have more prep time. After all, I was getting ready to go to church right? I would be reading my Bible during the service – couldn’t my quiet time be excused?
Andrew Murray observed, “In all our efforts at practicing Christianity, the temptation is to give more time and interest to the outward means than to the inward reality.” Scripture mentions very little about adorning the outward self but gives specific instructions for clothing the “hidden man of the heart”:
“Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God” (Ephesians 6:11-17).
Most of us would be laugh at the idea of going out in our pajamas, slippers, and bed hair. Why then aren’t we concerned about facing the world ill-equipped? We can’t assume we are prepared for the trials of the day if we have not been first properly clothed. We need the daily cleansing because meekness, mercy, and humility are not natural to us; without constant renewal, we easily fall back into our assertive, vindictive, and proud ways. That is why we are told to “put on” these things – they require a conscious dressing of our spirits.
We can stand the evil day when we come before the Lord and His Word with a willing heart and ask Him to imprint His character on our hearts – to cleanse our unrighteous thoughts and motives and to fill us with His humility, mercy, and meekness.
It is after all His face we should be looking for in the mirror. “But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfill the lusts thereof.” (Romans 13:14)
I am resolved to be vigilant about clothing my inward self. It may require spending less time doing my hair so that I can spend more time in the Word. It may require going to bed earlier so I can wake up earlier. But I am willing to deny some luxuries for this earthly temple that in the little sacrifices, I might gain that “which is in the sight of God of great price” (1 Peter 3:3, 4). “Wherever you go and whatever you do, at home or abroad, do all with a desire for union with Christ, in imitation of His character and disposition. Desire nothing as much as that which exercises and increases the spirit and life of Christ in your soul so that you are changed into the same character and spirit of Jesus.” (Andrew Murray)