Daniel Fast Day 12

Don’t forget the Underwear!

Between 1959 and 1967, Art Linkletter hosted an American comedy series called “Kids Say the Darndest Things”. This show was later reprised by Bill Cosby and more recently Tiffany Haddish. This might be way before your time, but kids were asked questions and their responses usually ended in some kind of hilarity. Kids say some pretty funny things. One kid said, “My dad used to be rich, but then he married my mom.” When sneaking and eating a cookie for breakfast after he was told not to, 3-year-old Case said this, “Jesus was in the kitchen and He said I could eat a cookie.”  

Kids say funny things but so do moms. As a child, my mom would always ask my siblings and me before bed if we had clean underwear on and if we washed our feet. Her reasons were just in case we somehow fell ill during the night and we had to go to the doctor. Or, if the doctor had to make a house visit, we’d be clean (obviously this was a long time ago, doctors making house calls). What a travesty it would be if the doctor would catch us with dirty underwear or dirty feet! Needless to say, that never happened in all of our growing up years.  So, what does this have to do with us clothing ourselves spiritually? Paul continues as he communicates to the Colossians and writes, Colossians 3:14(NLT) “Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony.”

We have this beautiful wardrobe full of royal clothes, clothes fit for The King. But there is one piece of clothing that is absolutely indispensable, and you cannot go without it. You cannot become fruitful without it. You cannot grow without it. You cannot please the Father without it. As a matter of fact, you are nothing without it and you are spiritually naked without it. What is this one piece? LOVE.  It is the everyday, all day, forever piece of all-purpose garment that you should never be without. Forgive the analogy, but love covers your nakedness, just like your underwear covers your body! Listen to how Eugene Peterson puts it in the Message Paraphrase; Colossians 3:14(MSG) “And regardless of what else you put on, wear love. It’s your basic, all-purpose garment. Never be without it.”

Love is not optional. You cannot go without it and you are never fully clothed until you have put on love. We were created to love and be loved. We are crowned with glory and honor. The Father created us to fellowship with Him and with one another. We were made out of love. We are not a novelty to God. He created us male and female so that we can reflect His relational magnificence. We are invited to take care of what He created for us. He gave us dominion over creation and called it good. Genesis 1:30-31(VOICE) “And it happened just as God said. Then God surveyed everything He had made, savoring its beauty and appreciating its goodness. Evening gave way to morning. That was day six.”

God did not create out of boredom; He created out of love. Love is not a feeling; love is an act. All of God’s actions are motivated by love because God is love. It was Love that hurled out the stars and the expanse of the universe. It was Love that made the tiniest creatures to crawl on the earth. It was Love that made the wild beasts to roam the earth. Love took the empty space that was dark, without form, and chaotic and brought order and beauty out of nothing. Then Love spoke and light came into being. The Psalmist writes in Psalm 8:3-5(ISV), “When I look at the heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars that you established - what is man that you take notice of him, or the son of man that you pay attention to him?  You made him a little less than divine, but you crowned him with glory and honor.”

Adam and Eve were placed in the garden to reflect the beauty of the Creator and to tend to His creation. God’s glory and honor was their crown, they were clothed by His light. In Psalm 104 verse 2 the Psalmist says, “the Lord wraps Himself in light as with a garment.” On the Mount of Transfiguration right before Peter, James, and John’s eyes, Jesus’ appearance was changed and His clothes became shining white, brighter than any earthly thing. I believe Adam and Eve were clothed by God’s light. That is why Genesis 2:25 (NLT) says, “Now the man and his wife were both naked, but they felt no shame.”  When Adam and Eve sinned, the first thing they became aware of was their nakedness and they tried through human effort to fix their sin problem. The light went out when they sinned and they became exposed. Genesis 3:7(NLT) “At that moment their eyes were opened, and they suddenly felt shame at their nakedness. So they sewed fig leaves together to cover themselves.”

Their disobedience short-circuited the light that they had received and they became aware of themselves, which produced shame. Jesus said, “If you love Me you will keep My commandments.” To love is to obey and obedience is a sign of love. When Love came calling for Adam, he hid, but love became sacrificial because of disobedience. Sacrifice had to be made so that sin could be covered. Love covered Adam and Eve through the sacrifice of an innocent animal, which set in motion God’s redemptive plan for us all. Genesis 3:21(NLT) "And the Lord God made clothing from animal skins for Adam and his wife."

“For God so loved the world that He gave…” This is our redemptive love story. Love not only covered our sin but love removed our sin forever, through the sacrificial act of Jesus dying on the cross. Jesus expects us to wear love as our all-purpose garment. We are told to put on love because it is love that binds all of us together. The world will know that we are His disciples if we love one another. (John 13:35) The only thing we should owe, is the obligation to love one another. (Romans 13:8) We are told to think about ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works. (Hebrews 10:24) 
1 Peter 4:8-9(HCSB) “Above all, maintain an intense love for each other, since love covers a multitude of sins. Be hospitable to one another without complaining.”

Peter quotes Proverbs 10:12. He is not saying love hides sin, he says love covers sin. Meaning that love always forgives others. Love does not cover up sin, love covers sin. Love is giving and forgiving; it never withholds what it knows is needed, even if sacrifice is required. Love practices what it confesses without making a fuss. Love does not complain while it gives what is required. Love does not condemn when forgiveness is needed. When we see someone taking paths that lead them away from Christ, love calls out, “come home”! James 5:19-20(NET) “My brothers and sisters, if anyone among you wanders from the truth and someone turns him back, he should know that the one who turns a sinner back from his wandering path will save that person’s soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins.” 

Do you realize that we all are part of God’s creation and we are supposed to care for God’s creation? Some people care more about the things God created, than the people He created. When we see fellow believers starting to go astray, love should act quickly and sincerely. Love covers; it never exposes for shame or humiliation. It speaks the truth in love so change can take place, but love never condemns.

Above all, clothe yourself with love. Regardless of what else you put on, you have to wear love. It’s your basic, all-purpose garment. It is what you put on before you put on anything else. Love is the foundation for all spiritual garments. If you have no love, compassion will be lacking. Kindness, humility, quiet strength, discipline, being even-tempered, content with second place, quick to forgive an offense, all these are rooted in love. You have to put on the undergarment of love because it makes you fit for all occasions. Without love, we are simply living exposed lives. So, before you do anything else, don’t forget to put on your underwear…

2 John 1:6(NLT) "Love means doing what God has commanded us, and he has commanded us to love one another, just as you heard from the beginning."

Prayer and Reflection:
  • Saying we love one another and showing we love one another are two different things. In what ways can we practically show our love for others?
  • How much do you value your brothers and sisters in Christ? Do you show hospitality by inviting them to your house, or do you complain about the fact that you have people coming over? 
  • How much do you enjoy doing something for a fellow believer, without expecting anything in return? When last did you do something for someone else as a simple act of love?
  • What about those who are wandering? How deliberate are you in calling them home? Do you pray for someone that you are aware of who is not walking with the Lord anymore? How quickly do you write people off?
  • Do you love sacrificially or conveniently? Can you be specific in your answer?
  • Do you have your spiritual underwear on?
Lord, I give You all the praise and all the glory. May every word I speak bring You honor. May every thought I think be sanctified. May every action I take be bathed in love. Thank You that You covered my nakedness with Your sacrificial love. Thank You that You don’t expose me but You forgive me. Let there be nothing in me that I hide and try to cover up but with honesty, vulnerability, and transparency, I ask You Holy Spirit to do a complete work in me. 

Father, thank You for creating us, in Your image and Your likeness. You created us with the capacity to love, to love You, and to love others. Help us see that love is not a feeling but love is an act. Remind us always to look at the cross of Christ, to see what true love looks like. Help us to sacrificially love others, even when they are difficult to love. We pray for those who are like the Prodigal Son that have walked away. May we never condemn them, even when we do not condone their sin. We want to be our brother’s keeper so remind us that You love them just like You love us! Give us a fresh baptism of Your love so that those who do not know You, will see Your love through us. Help us to love in truth with no hypocrisy. Thank You, Lord Jesus, Amen!

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