Beauty of Christ ... 3

The cloak of glory

The outermost garment of the Palestinian male was the cloak. It was worn to protect him from the sun during the day, or wrapped around him for warmth and as a blanket at night. For the Christian, it is the perfectly co-ordinated item of attire to be worn by someone who possesses the qualities of humility, service, compassion and holiness.
Cloaks were made from a variety of materials, such as linen, silk, wool and even animal skins. The richer the man, the more elaborate the cloak. As a rabbi and revered teacher, Jesus deserved to wear a cloak that would represent His status. Jesus wore a cloak of good quality before He was crucified. It was woven without a seam which was unusual. It was of such quality that the soldiers stole it from Him and gambled for it rather than tearing it up for division. (John 19:23-24) It also had the prescribed tassels on the corners and fringe on the bottom. The woman with the issue of blood was healed by touching the fringe of Jesus cloak. (Matthew 9:20-22)
Before He was crucified, the Roman soldiers stripped Jesus and put on Him a “gorgeous” robe (Luke 23:11) probably to mock Him as a “king” of the Jews. They did not understand that His Kingdom was far greater than any on Earth. But believers know better than to look on Him with disregard, for His Kingdom is not of earth (John 18:36), but an exceedingly superior one.
With the choice ours to make, followers of Jesus may prefer not to wear a “gorgeous” robe of earthly material, but rather inherit a heavenly garment of righteousness, (Job 29:14), a garment of salvation, (Isaiah 61:10) a robe that is washed white in the blood of the Lamb. (Revelation 7:14) Praise be to God, that such a glorious robe is given as an inheritance through faith.
One of the most significant supernatural events related in the Gospels was the Transfiguration of Jesus. He took Peter, James and John up on a high mountain, where “He was transfigured before them, and His face shone like the sun and His garments became white as light.” (Matthew 17:2 NIV) Matthew tells the reader that they heard God speak, saying “This is my Son, whom I love; with Him I am well pleased. Listen to Him.” (Matthew 17:5 NIV) There’s no doubt that this type of experience would have filled anyone with fear and awe.
Thinking about this event reminds us of the Psalms, which praises God, saying “He wraps Himself in light as with a garment; He stretches out the heavens like a tent.” (Psalm 104:2 NIV) The transfiguration may well have been a preview for the disciples of how the glory of Jesus will be shown to us all when we finally meet Him in Heaven, where His magnificent divine nature is revealed to all the lords of the earth, as Lord of lords in the Kingdom of Light.
Believers who choose to “clothe” themselves with the same qualities of benevolence as Jesus did, will one day receive a garment of light and immortality. “And just as we have borne the likeness of the earthly man, so shall we bear the likeness of the man from heaven.” (1 Corinthians 15: 49 NIV) Paul goes on to say “this perishable nature must put on the imperishable” and gives Christians the magnificent promise about the change going on inside of us, saying we “are being transformed into His likeness with ever-increasing glory”. (2 Corinthians 3:18 NIV) The cloak of glory is a gift that followers of Christ are given as a radiant replication of Christ’s most glorious splendour, honor and majesty.
If light aids vision in the natural world, how is it that the Kingdom of Light is unable to be seen. If it is not physical light, it must be spiritual light, in the same way that holiness is a spiritual attribute. We are not meant to see it yet, rather “we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” (2 Corinthians 4:18 NIV) Colossians 1:12 says that God has qualified us to share in the inheritance of His holy people in the Kingdom of Light. Therefore, as we are clothed with Christ, we are to be holy. “For God did not call us to be impure, but to live a holy life.” (1 Thessalonians 4:7 NIV)
“Clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the flesh”. (Romans 13:14 NIV)
Jill's self talk
"I look not to be adorned in outward beauty, but in the holiness and endeavour that brings glory to God. God is the one who is my judge. If I am diligent He may even say - well done, your life of faith has been pleasing to watch."

Avoid ugliness by avoiding sinful urges

‘Fashion criminal’ is the term given to an individual who delights in wearing mismatched and ill-fitting garments. They lack the sense to dress appropriately and in a coordinated style. They are the fashion equivalent to an unholy person. An unholy person is one who doesn’t learn to control his habits but persists with immoral, irresponsible and harmful behaviors. If not careful, such a person is destined to wear the mandatory attire of the convicted felon. Society has little tolerance for the drunkard, the thief or the adulterer.
Despite society’s clear warnings about such things, many people still end up being incarcerated for their acts of selfishness, foolishness or criminal intent, not to mention lust, greed and anger in moments of stupidity or passion. Equally unbecoming for Christians are the sinful urges that cause us to harbor feelings of envy, or revenge, or pride. The New Testament goes in to great detail and makes it clear that behaviour in any such manner is inappropriate for God’s people.
You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love. For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” If you bite and devour each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other. So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.”
Even thinking about such things is unprofitable for those of us who are clothed in Christ. “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.” (Galatians 5:13-26 NIV) While keeping in the manner and style of the Christian livery, we are able to please God, while at the same time be free to engage in activities that bring us much enjoyment and fulfilment.
Jill's self talk
"I yearn to be cleansed of all the ugliness of sin, to be delivered from evil, and to be immune to the urges of the flesh. No more shall I let the feelings or urges of jealousy, rage, revenge, pride, envy, greed and lust, have any influence over me. I will crucify them daily, I will be set free of them, and I will embrace the very opposite of these things.

Concluding remarks

Everybody would like to look great. Clothes, of course merely cover and decorate the outside of a person, but God desires a beautiful change of the inner person. Believers can, with the help of the Holy Spirit, change the inner self and become like Christ. We can, figuratively, be clothed with Christ from the inside out; casting off our own inner rags of filth and weakness; replacing them with more admirable spiritual garments of virtue and strength, whose beauty is not linked to our age, or the culture of the time, but to our faith. While the world naively thinks that whatever is beautiful is good, we know that it is not true. What we do know however, is that whatever is good is beautiful.
 The more of Christ’s clothes that we wear, such as: the tunic of humility, the sandals of service, the mantle of love and compassion, the prayer shawl of holiness, and the cloak of glory; the greater our potency in all the virtues of Christ and therefore our strength in the Lord. With hearts of inner virtue and godliness we’re enabled to do outer works and let our light shine before men. It is the beautiful light of goodness.
 “The night is nearly over; the day is almost here. So let us put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light.” (Romans 13:12 NIV) “Dear friend, do not imitate what is evil but what is good. Anyone who does what is good is from God. Anyone who does what is evil has not seen God.” (3 John 1:11 NIV) “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” (Romans 12:21 NIV)
The benefit we receive when the Spirit has changed us on the inside, is that the desires of the sinful nature will not be entertained. When attired like Christ, we do not behave in a hurtful, shallow or shameful manner, but we can righteously fulfill the law of love with pure intent.
Arrayed and clothed in Christ will become every true believer’s fashion preference, if we truly have the desire, courage and strength to be not only an eager follower, but a doer of Christ as well.
Jill's prayer
"Lord Jesus, I take claim of the attire that will set me apart as yours. I beseech thee God to transform me from the inside out, so that others will know me as a godly person; a person of genuine humility, of helpful service, of compassion, mercy and caring, and of holiness and integrity. With a character like yours, I aim to walk with You in the glorious Kingdom of Light. "
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