GET UP - GET DRESSED - GET GOING
We've all got a "morning routine" that starts our day. Sometimes it is a bit different, but most of us vary it only infrequently.
I start my day by greeting the King. I remember reading something related to the UK's royal family that captured my interest. It seems that upon their first greeting to the Queen of the day, members of the royal family greet her AS QUEEN. Afterwards they may refer to her as their mother, sister, auntie, grandma or whatever the relationship might be. So when I rise, I drop to one knee beside my bed and greet Him by saying, "Baruch ata adonai, elohenu, melech ha olam," which is "Blessed are You, O Lord our God, KING OF THE UNIVERSE." Then, having acknowledged His kingship, I greet Him as my Heavenly Father.
My routine continues with coffee, the Daily Office, coffee, scripture reading, coffee, and writing each day's devotional. Oh yes,and then coffee. 🙂
Whatever your typical routine may be, sooner or later we all reach the point where we must get dressed and prepare to head about the demands of the day. For some, the choice of what to wear is a major one. Matching colors, styles and accessories can be a big deal. I have three or four pair of lack jeans that are essentially the same. That makes it easy for me, any shirt I pick will "go with" black. (Or at least that's what I tell myself.)
While the clothes you select for the OUTSIDE may seem important, the "clothes" you select for the INSIDE are more so. It's OK to be concerned about wearing the proper attire. But don't forget that your inner self needs to be fully clothed, too.
The Apostle Paul's instruction makes that plain. "You must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience."
YOU MUST CLOTHE YOURSELVES
It's up to you to do it. Your body will not dress itself, and neither will your spirit. Don't go out into the world with a naked body OR a naked spirit. Either one will be likely to embarrass you. Get dressed.
The thing named first, the thing closest to you, ought to be tenderhearted mercy. A hard heart can be a cruel taskmaster. Guard your heart, and ask the Lord to keep it tender. I have hands that dry and crack easily; and when they do it is very painful. I have to take care to apply lotion regularly. There are even nights where I slather my hands in huge amounts of lotion and then sleep with gloves on!!!
A dried out and cracked heart will be painful, too. Keep applying the anointing of the Holy Spirit, letting God fill you with His tender mercies. It will change the way you see those around you, and make you a channel of His grace.
This is how the grace of God is communicated to those around you. Kindness is like a light shining into a dark place. It breaks down barriers and demonstrates His love. The bible tells us to be kind to one another, kind to our neighbors, kind to strangers, and even to be kind to our enemies. Kindness is all about building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit them. Let them see the kindness of God in you. It changes people.
Don't forget "the Who in you" that is making the difference. It is not you, it is Him. His love, His kindness, His healing, His … well, everything. But, most of all, it is His glory. Be careful to give Him all the credit for what He does. Don't forget that He is the master chef who is crafting the sumptuous banquet, and you are the table server carrying food back and forth. When people tell you how much the "meal" has impacted their lives, don't pretend to be the cook!
This sort of behavior will engender trust. When your gentleness is evident, it draws people who simply want to be close to it. While we were visiting family recently, my young niece came over to sit in my lap and be cuddled. It was a tender moment. She recognized a gentleness that she knew she wanted to be close to.
That same gentleness in you will draw people to you, and lead them to trust. While they may not come and sit in your lap, they will share things that burden their hearts and bring pain to their souls. As they do, let the gentleness of His love guide your words. For the most part, they need loving direction and correction much more than a harsh rebuke. Point them to the one who is able to transform their pain into purpose and their fear into faith.
That process of transformation will seldom happen quickly. But the loving kindness and gentleness of Christ will transform the most hardened of hearts when they are yielded to Him and His grace. Be patient and walk through both times of victory and failure. Encourage, correct and exhort. Speak from God's word, for his word has life within it. Be the patient bringer of light and hope. He is the changer of lives; but He is gentle. Be patient as He uses you to accomplish His purposes.
So remember to get dressed each morning before you go outside. It will make all the difference.