The other day I grabbed a pair of jeans to get dressed, when all of sudden I saidd out loud, "I didn't think jeans would shrink after 2 years!" I felt that way another time, when I was trying to get into a seat of the kiddie coaster (Veggie Tales) at Dollywood. I had images of my mom trying to overstuff a plastic bag at a garage sale for $1 a bag (How much can YOU stuff in a bag for $1?). I wondered if I'd grabbed the wrong jeans and did a size check ... no! More images of my teenager trying to pack her duffle bag for vacation ... then reality. The jeans didn't shrink. I was bloated! And when you're bloated your clothes feel like they got swapped at the laundromat (any Amens out there?).
It happens to all of us. For us gals it's one of those times we may curse our womanhood ;). But this week I felt the curse of my flesh in general, as I made a mistake I regret from a "bloated heart." Just as our clothing doesn't fit due to a puffed up body, my righteous clothing doesn't fit when my heart is puffed up. I hate to think of it as pride ... but THAT's pride. When I am too big in own mind and act apart from the Spirit's control, the spiritual clothing He provided for me doesn't look right on me. And I'm miserable trying to force puffed up self into it. It should (and does) feel all wrong when someone who has been clothed in HIS righteousness acts like they're in the wrong garments. And it's an uncomfortable place to be; it rubs the wrong way and binds our spirit. Putting a bloated self in the garments of praise robs one of peace and replaces it with anxiety.
In describing a man/woman bloated with pride instead of emptied of self, we read in Habakkuk 2:4 that, "he is puffed up; his desires are not upright - but the righteous will live by his faith." Filled with faith, instead of our own desires = peace.
The one who seeks after God can say, "I delight greatly in the Lord; my soul rejoices greatly in my God. For He has clothed me with garments of salvation and arrayed me in a robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom adorns his head like a priest, and as a bride adorns herself with jewels," Isaiah 61:10.
Oh, I want the righteous garments God paid such a high price for to fit me well! I wish that when I'm "behaving bloated" I could just get a pill to cut down on the fluid in my PMS state (That stands for "Pretty Mean Self). But only the grace of God and the truth of God can overcome my ugliness to make me clean and work it out in my life. That's why I kept those jeans; they fit much better a few days later. And that's why we keep pressing toward the mark of godliness, because God doesn't give up on us, even when we feel like a loser. He helps us learn to empty ourselves of all the excess and fills us up with more of Him. So glad.
Work in progress,