Wednesday, September 19, 2012

It's Time To Take Off Our Grave Clothes, Sistas!

Lazarus, the brother of Mary and Martha (John 11:19) is the man who was dead for four days in a dark tomb before Jesus brought him back to life. He was buried in a cave with a huge stone rolled in front of the entrance. Think about this, Lazarus wasn't dead for just one minute -- where today people in hospitals have been revived with machines after being pronounced dead for a minute or two. No, Lazarus wasn't dead for one hour, or even one day. He was dead for four days! Jesus went to his gravesite and told Lazarus' grieving family and friends to "Take away the stone." (John 11:39). 
Then "Jesus called in a loud voice, 'Lazarus, come out!' The dead man came out, his hands and feet wrapped with strips of linen, and a cloth around his face. Jesus said to them, 'Take off the grave clothes and let him go."' (John 11:43-44). Wow. Immediately Jesus had him take off his grave clothes. Hmmm. When He changes us, it is a radical change inside which affects the outside!
Jesus called Lazarus by his name. "He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out...His sheep follow Him because they know His voice." (John 10:3-4). When He wants to overrule things on earth, such as the fact that dead people cannot hear; His Spirit enables us to hear Him! Lazarus was dead and yet he heard the voice of the Lord call him to life!
Jesus calls spiritually dead people every day to become spiritually alive in Him. Has He called your name? God is the one who opens our ears and our hearts to hear Him as He sovereignly chooses. "But you are a chosen people...belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His wonderful light." (1 Peter 2:9)
As we can see with Lazarus, when He calls we are changed! "If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone the new has come!" (2 Corinthians 5:17). We are alive! What are we doing with this amazing gift of life in Christ? Especially in America -- "for such a time as this" -- what are we doing with all the privileges of our new life in Christ?
Those of us who have a new life in Christ need to take off our 'grave clothes' -- which is actually the will to "throw off  everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles" (Hebrews 12:1). We're talking here about walking away from depression, fear, anxiety, worry, negative thinking, darkness, and self-centerness. There is work to be done in this dark world and we have to be spiritually radiant to serve our Lord! He tells us "I have come that they may have life and have it to the full" (John 10:10). That is abundance of life. Abundance of "love, joy, peace, patience, kindness,  goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control" (Galatians 5:22)! This is the fruit of the Spirit of God living in each one of His children! We are not the living dead!
Jesus said, "I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life." (John 5:24)
So have you changed yet? Let's take off those old grave clothes and put on our God-given, God-designed wardrobe called the Armor of God! (Ephesians 6:10-18). When we're His we receive the privilege of dressing in His Designer Wear!
Since we are speaking spiritually here, this outfit is custom-tailored, it will never wear out and most if all,  it will never go out of style!  Besides that, we read, "...put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand." (Ephesians 6:13) God gives us everything we need. What more could a faithful sista in Christ ask for?
No one else can do what the Lord can do.
"Glorify the LORD with me; let us exalt His name together!"

Copyright 2012 Totally Devoted 3 by Polly Balint
Book Cover Photo Copyright 2012 Polly Balint
"Love That Restores" art by Christine J. Cruz