I will greatly rejoice in the LORD; my soul shall exult in my God, for he has clothed me with the garments of salvation; he has covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decks himself like a priest with a beautiful headdress, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels. - Isaiah 61:10
Every day we reflect an image of someone or something to those around us. Whether we are attempting to reflect a certain lifestyle by the clothes we wear, the music we listen to, or even the stuff we use (a phone, tablet, watch, or car) we are all trying to be someone. Many times the person we are online, at work, or even church is not the real us. Truthfully, it’s the version of the person we want others to see. Deep inside we are afraid to be the “real us” because being the “real you” could result in rejection. Being transparent could lead to family and friends finding out your life is really just a series of masks and lies.
So, we fake it.
Your marriage might be in trouble, or you are one financial mistake away from a complete collapse. You might feel inadequate as a father and husband because that job you go to every day is slowly killing you. You love your kids and feel called to stay home with them, but there are times when you wish they [your kids] would go away, leaving you alone for just a moment’s rest. Your identity is wrapped in what you do and not in the truth of who you are. The problem is you think who you are is found in what you do.
Like her older brother and sister, my two-year-old daughter loves to dress up in different princess, marvel, or superhero costumes. One of her favorite outfits is her pink supergirl tutu. The problem is she think she’s dressing up like superman. We try to tell her, “No baby girl, you’re supergirl, not superman.” But like any strong willed toddler she will have nothing of it. In her mind she’s superman.
Oh to have faith like a child— to unequivocally take on the very image of Christ, to be clothed in his garment of salvation, and to wear his robe of righteousness, regardless of what people tell us. To reject what the world says we should be and stand on truth that our true identity is found only in Christ. This is our promise found in the gospel. We are image bearers of the one who, “For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”
Who we are is found not in what we do. Instead, who we are is found in the righteousness of Christ alone. When we try to wrap our identity in ourselves and our surroundings we will undoubtedly lose focus on the truth which will lead to frustration and seasons of unnecessary pain. Paul provides the analogy of being heirs with Christ in Romans 8:12-17.
“So then, brothers, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ.”
To be an heir with Christ means we take on his kingship as our identity. Our old life has been crucified (put to death) with Christ and “it is no longer I [we] who live but Christ who lives within me.”
In Zechariah chapter 3, we see a vision of Joshua, the high priest, standing before the angel of the Lord and Satan who is waiting to accuse Joshua. Here, before his Lord and his accuser, Joshua stands in his filthy garments awaiting punishment. He sinned, because he’s human, and has accepted his filthiness as his identity. I can see Joshua now, standing with his head hanging in shame and guilt. But in this moment something amazing happens; we are given a glimpse into our future glory in Christ. Instead of condemnation, Joshua receives grace. Instead of punishment, he receives his true identity
“And the angel said to those who were standing before him,“Remove the filthy garments from him.” And to him he said, “Behold, I have taken your iniquity away from you, and I will clothe you with pure vestments.” And I said, “Let them put a clean turban on his head.” So they put a clean turban on his head and clothed him with garments. And the angel of the Lord was standing by.” vs 4-5
Take on the garment of salvation and the robe of righteousness. Clothe yourself daily in the truth that Jesus came and died for you, not for anything you’ve done or didn’t do, but because He loved you. Your past life, mistakes, and your filthy garments are washed clean by the blood of Jesus. You are a child of God, a co-heir with Christ. Go, live out this identity for it is your only true self.
- Lyell Walker