Morning Prayer part 6: Dress for success

By Bobby Cabot

Guest Columnist

Last week we talked about renouncing things that are not from God, like fear, anxiety, doubt, worry, or unbelief. This week we need to learn how to dress ourselves for living our new life.

I call it dressing for success!

Apostle Paul makes it clear that Christians are not the same people they were before they accepted Christ.

When we accept Christ, there should be a complete change in our personality.

Paul calls it “putting to death” our old self, and in its place, putting on our brand new nature.

Our new nature is in continual renewal. All that keeps us tied to our old nature is our own stubborn refusal to hear the voice of the Spirit suggesting we need to look at a sinful behavior or pattern that God wants to heal.

If we are willing, we will never fail to grow because the work of growth belongs to God.

Paul was nothing if not a realist.

He tells us how to dress for success in such a way that we should be able to live in peace with any person.

The first virtue on Paul’s list is compassion. Compassion is the pity we feel when we sense another’s pain and are led to alleviate it. Can you imagine anything the ancient world needed more than mercy? In the Ancient Near East, no one cared for the sick; no specific provision was made for the elderly; the mentally ill were severely marginalized.

Christianity brings mercy into the world.

Kindness is caring for your neighbor’s good as much as you care for your own. It is a grace that pervades our whole nature, mellowing everything in us that would otherwise be harsh and austere. Kindness might be stooping to listen to a young child, sending someone a card, delivering a batch of cookies or making a phone call.

Can you imagine this world if everyone took the time in the morning and dressed themselves in kindness? How might the world look if we all put to death our sinful nature and gave up our anger, rage, gossip, greed, malicious behavior, lying or our self-centered need to win?

Humility is another Christian virtue.

Standing before God, a Christian can feel nothing but humble, however humility is tricky. Just about the time you think you’re humble, you’re in real trouble of arrogance!

I am reminded of the pastor who announced her sermon one morning in this way: “My sermon today is on humility, and in my opinion, it’s one of the best sermons ever written!” (Cartoonist Johns in Leadership, Vol. 12, no. 1).

Meekness means that we are controlled in our response to others.

We express our feelings at the right time, in the right measure, and for the right reasons. We don’t overdo it or under-do it.

Jesus said the meek shall inherit the earth (Matt 5:5). He did not mean those who let others walk all over them. He meant those who walk in power under control.

The Greek word for patience indicates the quality of a person who is able to avenge himself, but refrains from doing so. We are called to this patience with others precisely because of God’s patience with us. He has borne all our sin without casting us away.

Apostle Paul renders his command for us to forgive in light of God’s forgiveness of us. Because of Christ’s unmerited forgiveness, Paul says we absolutely cannot hold onto our bitterness and grudge toward other human beings.

What better mess can Satan make than to divide people in unresolved offense, conflict, hurt feelings and bitterness?

Paul saved the best for last.

He said we must wear love throughout our day. Love binds us in perfect harmony. Love is about choice, not feelings. We might not like everyone we meet, but we are called to love them anyway. This kind of love is not sentimental, but self-sacrificial.

Add your dressing to your Morning Prayer:

“Today I choose to dress for success! I put on love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.”

MORNING PRAYER

This is the day the Lord has made; I will rejoice and be glad in it! Today I rest in the embrace of my heavenly Father’s love for me. My father loves me. He spoke me forth from before the beginning of this world, and said this is my child, never rejected! I center myself in Jesus Christ, and I proclaim I am forgiven. There is now no condemnation for me because I am in Christ Jesus! For this day, I renounce all fear, doubt, worry, unbelief, discouragement, depression, pride, arrogance, gossip, [etc.], and in the strong name of Jesus Christ I repent my sin and I take back any ground I have given the enemy in my life! Today I choose to dress for success! I put on love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.

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