Sunday, March 23, 2014

What Not to Wear

Let us rejoice and be glad and give him glory! 
For the wedding of theLamb has come, and his bride has made herself ready
 Fine linen, bright and clean, was given her to wear.
Rev 19:7-8

My son Kenney's wedding is two months away, and I am already on the hunt for the perfect "mother of the groom" dress. This is something I didn’t do when getting ready for my daughter’s wedding and lived to regret it.  We put so much time and attention to the details of the wedding itself, but when it came to my dress, I settled for one I came across at Ross.  It was a Calvin Cline…not bad…I liked the style and color all right.  And hey, it was only $25.00!  I tucked it in my closet assured of the fact I would lose the 10lb I figured would be required to have it fit properly. The problem was, I didn’t lose the weight.  Trying it on wedding day morning, I was more than a little concerned how tight it was….but I took a deep breath, sucked it in,  and got the zipper up.  All day I was praying it would hold.  Well, it didn’t!  10 minutes before I was to be escorted down the isle to my seat, I felt the zipper give way.  I dashed to the bathroom, pulled it off, and gingerly tried to get the zipper working again.  Luckily, it went back together.  I packed myself back into the dress, draped my shawl around my back, and headed down the isle!  Can you say “Stressful!!”

Here's a picture of the dress I ordered online for Kenney's wedding. It's pretty structured, but I love the jacket, and the pearl necklace Mike gave me should go perfectly with my new “wedding suit.” Wedding clothes are important; I’ve learned the hard way they aren’t something to figure out at the last minute.

My clothing malfunction reminds me of the parable of a wedding banquet told by Jesus:  “But when the king came in to see the guests, he noticed a man there who was not wearing wedding clothes. He asked, ‘How did you get in here without wedding clothes, friend?’ The man was speechless. Then the king told the attendants, ‘Tie him hand and foot, and throw him outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’” Without Jesus righteousness covering our sin, the Bible says that we fall short of God’s holy standard even if we are good people.  We won’t be “dressed” in the right clothes when we stand before God’s throne.

How sure are you that you have the right clothes?  My friend Marsha works as a hospice nurse and has witnessed many people dying.  The most heartbreaking was a man who was difficult to please but warmed his way into her heart.  He declined a chaplain and prayer because he was not “religious”.  When he was close to death, he cried out “I can’t get in, I can’t get in!” with a desperate look on his face.  She left his home with a heavy heart, wondering if he realized too late, that he was not prepared.

How do we make sure we are prepared for the wedding banquet God has prepared?   The Bible says that at salvation, a miraculous spiritual makeover takes place. Jesus takes on all our sins, sorrow and shame and in exchange we are given his righteous standing before God.  We are given a picture of this in Zechariah 3:4: “Take off (her) filthy clothes...“See, I have taken away your sins, and now I am giving you these fine new clothes.”  Fine linen was what a Jewish bride or groom wore during the days the Bible was written. Mentioned 105 times in scripture, fine linen symbolizes holiness, righteousness and virtue.   This is the spiritual clothing that God has given us to wear; we don’t have to earn it, just put it on.

If you could stand in front of a spiritual mirror, what do you think your clothes would look like? Have you ever asked God to forgive your sins?  Have you told Jesus that you believe he was God’s only Son that died on the cross for you, and confessed him as your Lord and Savior?  If you have, then God wants you to rejoice, knowing that you have the righteous clothing that you need: “I am overwhelmed with joy in the Lord my God! For he has dressed me with the clothing of salvation and draped me in a robe of righteousness.  I am like a bridegroom in his wedding suit or a bride with her jewels."  Isaiah 61:10-11; NLT

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