Are We Dressed for the Season?
by Susan Hitchman
Snow has begun to blanket the stately mountains in their winter garb. Early morning drivers peer out through frost-scraped windshields. It’s that season. So it is no surprise that my kids have begun digging through last winter’s snow garb to see what gear will be needed for the whitening slopes.
One pair of outgrown skis will be handed down to the next sibling. One new helmet is needed. Goggles are assessed. A selection of old and not-so-old specimens appear: scratched lenses, disintegrating foam padding, and decaying elastic straps witness to their many years of service. Some things can’t be reused or recycled. They just need replacing.
Jesus experienced a similar phenomenon. Entering His phase of earthly ministry, Jesus’ baptism was followed by a period of prayer and fasting. His objective was to bring about a major transition in human-divine dynamics. The Law of Grace would replace the Law of Judgment. The old garment was torn and in need of replacing.
But as Jesus’ ministry moved among the ranks of the disenfranchised and socially outcast, purveyors of the old tradition recoiled. The Pharisees and the teachers of the law complained:
Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners (Luke 5:30, NIV)?
In other words, why are you breaking with our tradition of exclusivity? The Law of Moses defines us as right and them as wrong.
Jesus’ response, as often was the case, used an illustration. He likely looked around him to find the perfect example. Perhaps He stepped over to a nearby garment vendor. Picking up an old robe discarded by a recent customer He may have fingered the weakened cloth.
No one tears a piece out of a new garment to patch an old one. Otherwise, they will have torn the new garment, and the patch from the new will not match the old (Luke 5:36, NIV).
Jesus let that thought sink in. The old must make way for the new. It happens with clothes, and it happens in our relationship with God. The plan to transition from a law of legalism to a law of love was not plan B.
It was a change of seasons.
God knew the spiritual climate was ripe for it.
Each day we are faced with the same need to adjust our spiritual garments. We tend to cling to patterns of living that need to be replaced: patterns of bitterness, lack of forgiveness, sharp words and short tempers.
We need to follow Jesus’ example of prayer.
We need to draw apart daily in prayer, fasting from our usual busy-ness, and exchange robes; our weakness for His strength, our impatience for His patience, our anger for His loving-kindness, our pride for His humility. (Read those one more time, slowly now, fingering the garments carefully). The old garb is threadbare. It needs to be replaced.
Are you dressed and ready for today’s season?
Each day we are faced with the same need to adjust our spiritual garments.
Draw apart daily in prayer, fasting from our usual busy-ness, and exchange robes.
Draw apart daily in prayer, fasting from our usual busy-ness, and exchange our weakness for His strength.
Draw apart daily in prayer, fasting from our usual busy-ness, and exchange our impatience for His patience.
Draw apart daily in prayer, fasting from our usual busy-ness, and exchange our anger for His loving-kindness.
Draw apart daily in prayer, fasting from our usual busy-ness, and exchange our pride for His humility.
Sue seeks to integrate the adventure of following Christ with her roles as wife, mother of five, co-leader of a women’s Bible study group and parent prayer group, and retreat speaker. She is a member of The Word Guild and NCWA. Outdoor pursuits (cycling, gardening, hiking, & kayaking) remind her of God’s creative bent and constant presence. She writes to encourage others in their journey of faith in God. Visit her blog at: Word Made Flesh
- Where is God’s Sanctuary? (underthecoverofprayer.wordpress.com)