Wednesday, December 21st, 2011
Christians In Grave Clothes
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 11:44 (NIV)
When Christ raises Lazarus from the dead, Lazarus becomes a new creation!
Yet when he emerges from the tomb, linens trail from his body, binding him and hiding his face. Jesus gives the call for the others to tear off the grave clothes and loose their friend. After all, a man raised from death to life must be free to walk and run, free to share his story of hope, free to tell about his life-giving encounter with Christ!
Because of Lazarus, 'Many...believed in Him' (John 11:45).
Like Lazarus, we were raised from dead lives. 'Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new' (2 Corinthians 5:17).
But here's the million-dollar question: have we taken off our grave clothes? Have the old chains been removed, or have they become increasingly rigid and inhibiting?
Grave clothes are old habits that bind God's children--even Christians. Perhaps we are bound by weight, familiar pounds that keep us from exuberant health. Perhaps we are bound by fear, negativity, passivity, or a seeming lack of provision that keeps us from our God-appointed destinies.
Bad habits and words are like filthy rags; they prevent friends and strangers from seeing the brilliant new life we have been given. God calls His born-again children to 'Put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth' (Ephesians 4:24).
The truth is that we are beautiful in Christ, and grave clothes make a bad impression.
So uncover the shining temple of God that you co-inhabit with His Holy Spirit. Once done, help others do the same.