Monday, March 19, 2018

Shed Those Grave Threads!

“You have taken off your old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator.” Colossians 3:9-10

When Lazarus walked out of the tomb after being dead for four days, he looked like a mummy all wrapped up in his grave clothes. They were probably dirty and, to put it delicately, must have stunk to high heaven. So, what was the first thing Jesus told Lazarus’s family to do? “Take off the grave clothes, and let him go.” Since Lazarus was no longer dead, he no longer needed his dirty, smelly mummy outfit. He was ready for some fresh, new threads.

The same goes for you and me with our old sinful nature. When we come to Christ, we step out of the tomb and leave our old sins behind: the sexual immorality, impurity, lust, greed, coveting, anger, rage, malice, slander, filthy language and lies (Colossians 3:5-9). Those are nasty grave clothes that do nothing but shame our Lord and drag us down. As followers of Jesus who have been spiritually raised from the dead, we have no business clinging to our dirty, smelly sin threads. It’s time to put on Jesus’ fresh, new threads.

Paul described our old GRAVE clothes really well in verses 5-9, and he goes on to describe our new GRACE clothes really well in verses 12-17. Just as we layer our physical clothes on a cold day, we need to layer our spiritual clothes in this sinful world we live in. These new clothes have 10 layers for us to put on:

1. Put on compassion. Our hearts have to break for those around us who are dead in their sins and lost without Christ. And our hearts need to break for Christians around us who make dumb choices but are in need of grace and forgiveness.

2. Put on kindness. One of the most beautiful examples of kindness in the Bible is when King David reached out to a crippled man named Mephibosheth and adopted him into his family. Mephibosheth could never repay King David for his kindness, but that didn’t matter to David. Kindness never worries about someone returning the favor.

3. Put on humility. This is a mindset where you don’t think highly of yourself, but you also don’t think poorly of yourself. In fact, you think about yourself very little. As humble Christians, we should think first about Christ, second about each other and third about ourselves. That’s a humble mindset.

4. Put on gentleness. In Paul’s day this word referred to power under control. We have the ability to destroy others with our words and actions, but instead we exercise restraint for the good of others.

5. Put on patience.
Remember that two of the sins of our old nature are anger and rage. But as followers of Christ, we are supposed to crucify and bury our short fuses. We are not to be short-tempered. We’re supposed to be long-tempered.

6. Put on forbearance.
When Christians around us screw up, we may feel that they deserve our judgment and wrath. But forbearance holds back. There are times when we need to take another Christian to task. But these times are few and far between.

7. Put on forgiveness.
Whether it’s your ex-husband or a trusted friend who stabbed you in the back … anyone who’s wronged you needs to be forgiven. Unforgiveness is part of our old, smelly grave clothes. Crucify and bury it. And put on forgiveness in its place. 

8. Put on love. Of all the traits that should distinguish a church and the Christians within it, love should be at the top of the list. It’s nice to be known as friendly. It’s great to be known as kind, patient and forgiving. But the greatest of these descriptions is … loving. Jesus said, “By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”

9. Put on peace.
When Christ saves us, Jesus sets us free from three wars that we were engaged in: our war with God, our war with people and our war with ourselves. As followers of the Prince of Peace we can now live at peace with God, at peace with others and at peace with ourselves.

10. Put on thankfulness.
God has been so good to us. But it’s so easy to think the way the world thinks—to focus on what He hasn’t done for us. “God didn’t heal my family member who died of cancer. God didn’t restore my broken marriage. God didn’t get me that job.” Oh, friends, God didn’t do many things. But I guarantee you that the things God DID do in your life far outnumber the things that He DIDN’T do. So, you and I must be thankful.

Our Christian life means taking off our old sinful selves and putting on our fresh, new selves which are being conformed to the image of Jesus. So, take off your old grave clothes and put on the brand new clothes of Jesus Christ! We are called to wear these fresh, new threads everywhere—at church, at school, at home and at work.

Dane Davis is the Pastor of First Christian Church in Victorville. For more information, visit  and join us for worship Sundays at 10 am.

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