A few years ago for my birthday, Dave gave me a consultation with a clothing stylist. She came to my house and spent a couple of hours going through my closet with me and assessing my wardrobe. Every item I owned was individually evaluated by several criteria: Do I currently wear it? (I answered this question.) Is the style of the garment a good fit for my shape? (The stylist answered this question.) What essential items do I need to add? (Stylist) What would I like to add? (me)
When we finished, there were multiple bags and boxes to donate; my closet was organized by color and sleeve length; I felt decidedly free and unencumbered. The whole process was challenging and yet so liberating. To be honest, I am due for another hard look through my clothes. It’s so easy to accumulate things that I never or rarely ever wear.
Yesterday we learned that LOVE is the essential garment. The Message says it like this: And regardless of what else you put on, wear love. It’s your basic, all-purpose garment. Never be without it. Colossians 3:14
Jesus answered a question put to him in a similar fashion. He says it like this:
One of them, an expert in religious law, tried to trap him with this question: “Teacher, which is the most important commandment in the law of Moses?” Jesus replied, “‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ The entire law and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments.”Matthew 22:35-40
Imagine asking the same question using language of wardrobe and style. It might sound like this: Teacher, what piece of clothing is absolutely essential? The one thing I can’t do without? Jesus replied, “You have to wear love. Love for the One who made you and love for the ones He made, including yourself. This is the essential, all-purpose garment. Never leave home without it.”
I am reading a book entitled, “Repenting of Religion,” and the author takes three chapters to build the foundation of a relationship with God and it is love. It is the love of God for humanity that sent Jesus. When this happened, God assigned and recognized the insurmountable worth and value of his creation. It is his love for us that changes us, renews us, enables us, overcomes all odds for us.
My writing is not so much what I know, but what I am learning and experiencing in the moment. This concept is whirling about in my head — I think it might be called meditation — and I’m wrestling with it again. What does it mean that God’s love for me is so intense that he came in the person of Jesus to fix the gap between me and him? If I am declared a new creation when I accept his love for me, why don’t I always feel new? Why do I still reach for old behaviors and ways of thinking?
Does the intensity of God’s love seem real to you? Does it naturally flow through you to others? Is it an essential garment you reach for every day?