Posted by: glorifyhim1 | September 26, 2011

All Wrapped Up!

I love beautifully wrapped packages with colorful bows and curly ribbon tendrils. And I especially enjoy watching a young child receive such a beautifully wrapped gift! With face aglow and eyes fairly dancing, the child will turn the gift around and study it carefully. And then comes the inevitable question: “Can I open it now?”

No matter how beautiful the package, even a child realizes that the true treasure is what lies inside. No amount of beautiful wrapping paper or colorful ribbon can make an empty box or thoughtless gift more meaningful. At the same time, a carelessly wrapped package can often detract from what is really inside. It’s like a diamond ring slid into a brown paper bag and arranged with other beautifully-wrapped presents. No one suspects the treasure hidden in the paper bag.

I remember a few Sundays ago when a young kindergartner opened a birthday present in Sunday School. She was overwhelmed with the beautifully-wrapped gift and wasn’t sure if she should open it or not. “My Mom said I had to wait until my birthday to open my presents,” she explained as she gently rubbed the package and turned it over and over in her hands. To make her decision more difficult, another child had also received a birthday present and he was already eagerly tearing off the paper. We told the little girl that it was alright with us either way, but that her Mom probably meant she had to wait to open the gifts she was receiving at home. That was all she had to hear as she happily tore off the wrappings and smiled even more over the gift inside.

As I thought about this, I realized that sometimes we hide our true selves from others just like cleverly wrapped packages. We hide behind attitudes, desires, and images that we want to project to others. I can name a few things that I’ve clothed myself with over the years. Perhaps you can identify or even think of additional ways that you’ve clothed yourself.

  • Pride – I’m referring to that thick shell that I have often hidden within. It’s that I don’t really care what you think attitude when deep down I long to be accepted and understood. It’s that self-sufficient attitude that makes others think I know what I’m doing and that I have it altogether when really I’m floundering in my insecurities and hiding it well. Sometimes pride can make me look really good on the outside, but when someone cares enough to start peeling away the layers of insecurity and confusion, I’m not very pretty at all.
  • Self-assurance – This attitude presumes that I’m the only one that can do this and do it right – or at least the way I want it done. I act as if everything depends on me and if left unchecked, I begin to believe it myself. Self-assurance can lead to dependence on self and our abilities. We forget that our true assurance relies not on us and what we can do, but in Christ. Just like pride, self-assurance may cover us well, but it hides a yearning for rest and peace that comes only when we replace striving with surrender.
  • Pleasing Others – When we clothe ourselves with this desire, we actually begin to live our lives to satisfy the desires and needs of others. We become more concerned with meeting their expectations than seeking to satisfy the One we are called to seek and serve – the Lord Jesus Christ. While our willingness to meet the desires of others may cause us to look pleasing to others, it can leave a gaping hole inside of us that can only be filled by the Lord Himself.
  • Self-justification – Wearing the cloak of self-justification causes us to constantly put ourselves in the position of defending, rationalizing, or trying to vindicate our actions to others. We are justified by Christ. As Paul told the Romans: “Who shall bring a charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. Who is he who condemns It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us” (Romans 8:33-34).

Just like a beautifully-wrapped gift with nothing inside, each of the above coverings are empty attempts to present ourselves to others. The Scriptures are clear that there is only one way for a believer to be clothed and that is with Christ. Paul told the Galatians: “For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ” (Galatians 3:26-27). In Christ, we are new creations (see 2 Corinthians 5:17). “For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” When we put on Christ, we are clothed in His righteousness.

But not only does Christ clothe us beautifully on the outside, but He fills us with His Spirit on the inside so that we can have the power to live the life He calls us to live. He produces fruit in our lives that make us beautiful on the inside as well. Paul urged the Ephesians to “be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness” (Ephesians 4:23-24). Then our lives can be characterized by the Christ-like qualities of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, humility, and self-control (see Galatians 5:22-26). Because of Christ’s work in us, we can be beautiful both on the outside and the inside as we are all wrapped up in Him.

Wrapped Up in Jesus

I’m all wrapped up in Jesus,
He covers all of me,
Any righteousness you behold
Is Jesus that you see.

He covers all my sin and guilt,
He blankets me with grace,
He protects me with His mighty arm
And strengthens me each day.

Why should I run from battle?
Why should I doubt or fear?
With the Spirit of Christ within me,
I know He’s always near.

I’m all wrapped up in Jesus,
He hides this wretch I am
In the spotless, shining garment
Of the victorious, living Lamb.

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