Clothes Make the Man! #TraditionallySouthside

My daughters used to tell me that I have the personality of a tree trunk. Now, that statement would be insulting if I didn’t know that they were sort of kidding and that there weren’t some level of truth in it. I do not have the most outgoing of personalities, and I sometimes find myself feeling awkward in social settings. I am by definition an introvert which I know is somewhat strange since I am a pastor, and most people would have no idea the level of introversion that affect me because I force myself to step out of my comfort zone. I think that this in itself proves that God has a sense of humor because I know that I am not the only pastor who struggles with this same personality trait. When I married Sonya, I truly married my opposite. She has always been one of the most outgoing people I have ever known, and I love her for that. I also love that she has always been there to help me step out of my comfort zone. By nature, I would be more than happy just to find a quiet secluded spot for just my family and me, but Sonya has taught me how to be more social and has pushed me to move beyond my desire to be a hermit.

You may be wondering what my point is in all of this. Well, I’m thinking about clothes. Particularly about my clothes. You see, as an introvert, it isn’t just my personality that looks like a tree trunk. My clothes choices have always been rather boring. Grays, tans, browns – who needs more than that. But over the years, my dear wife has brought me into new levels of color. For example, this weekend, she went shopping and bought me a bright orange dress shirt. She told me that I needed a little more Spring in my wardrobe. Then she encouraged me to wear the shirt to church on Sunday, and I’m glad I did because I got my love language tank filled to the brim. You see, my love language is “words of affirmation.” If you aren’t familiar with this concept, check out Gary Chapman and his book The Five Love Languages. He talks about five different ways that people need to be loved in order to truly thrive. Some people require gifts. Others need physical touch. Some feel loved when you spend quality time with them or perform acts of service. This really comes in handy if you want to truly make your spouse or your children feel loved. Find out their love language and then use that language to bless them. You will be glad you did.

Anyway, that was a rabbit that I never intended to chase. Back to my love language – words of affirmation. I cannot tell you how many compliments that I received on my bright orange shirt. Not only that, several people said that I looked handsome. Well, you gotta know that even following a sleepless night and not feeling the best on Sunday morning, I was energized beyond belief. And it is all thanks to my wonderful wife, Sonya.

And as I was looking in the long mirror thinking to myself, “Yep. The clothes do really make the man,” that statement hit me like never before. I don’t often use that sentence, but as I thought about it, I realized that there is a spiritual correlation. The clothes really do make the man. Especially for Christians. The Bible says that we have been clothed in the robe of righteousness. Not our righteousness. The Bible says that our righteousness is as filthy rags. If our eternal destiny depended on the way we clothed ourselves, we would all be in trouble. The good news is that it doesn’t depend on us; it is all about the blood of Jesus that covers our sins and clothes us in HIS righteousness.

Do you remember the parable of the Wedding Feast in Matthew 22? The King was having a feast for his son that was getting married, and none of the invited guests would come. So he told his servants to go out into the highways and hedges and invite everyone they saw, the good and the bad, to attend the feast. Now, at this point you have to understand the custom of the wedding feast. When the guests would come into the feast, the host would provide a wedding garment for everyone. However, in Jesus’ story, when the King entered, he saw one guest without the wedding garment. One of two things had happened: this guest had either rejected the gift of the King or he had ignored the gift of the king. Either way, he had committed the biggest mistake of his life, and as a result, he was cast into outer darkness with weeping and gnashing of teeth.

That last sentence catches your attention, doesn’t it? The wedding garment is our robe of righteousness, and without it, there is no salvation. There is no heaven. There is only hell and eternal punishment. The good news is that the King of kings and Lord of lords offers you this robe as a gift. All you have to do is say, “Yes!” and you can celebrate with the Bridegroom for all of eternity. It really is that simple. You may be asking, “How do I say yes?” The Bible says that if we believe in our hearts that Jesus died on the cross for our sins, was buried but on the third day rose again, and we confess with our mouths that Jesus is Lord, then we are saved. It really is that simple. Do you have questions about it? Give me a call at 256-353-8814. Send me an e-mail at ben@southsidebaptist.net. I look forward to hearing from you.

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