We wrapped up our study of Revelation this morning. It’s Isaiah’s favorite book, so it was his request to study it this year. It’s been a long time (like college years) since I’ve read and studied it, not counting the Left Behind Kids series (all 40 books) I read alongside Isaiah several years ago, so it was good to re-read it from a new perspective. We used as a companion study Revelation for Teens, Learn the Word Series. It was a good springboard for discussion, but I must say we found ourselves correcting some statements that we didn’t see agreeing with certain scripture or disagreeing with other statements that just didn’t seem sound based on other scripture. We read through the guide with very open and questioning eyes of discernment. But, it was a good springboard for discussion and gave us a guide to follow for our study.
But a book review was not my point in writing this morning. As we close down the final chapter of Revelation, Jesus says in 22:14 “Blessed are those who wash their robes, that they may have the right to the tree of life and may go through the gates into the city.” The study guide made a comment about doing our own actual laundry which set me to thinking. What if we examine our habit of caring for our laundry, you know, the actual dirty clothes from our day, the washing machine and dryer, the hangers, the folding, and (dare I suggest) the ironing. Does how we care for our physical laundry bare any reflection on how we live our lives with Jesus?
Now, I understand that Jesus is talking about the washing away of sins by the Holy Spirit when we chose to accept Jesus as our Savior, receiving the gift of salvation and eternity with Him. His sacrifice on the cross and His rising to conquer death provides the bridge between us and our sin and God. His gift is amazing and it is a choice we make to accept it or reject it. And when we accept it, accept Him, the Holy Spirit washes away our sin, leaving us clean. We will have chosen to “wash (our) robes.” But this isn’t the only place in the Bible that speaks of clothing. God reminds the Israelites that He kept their clothing intact and cared for while they wandered the desert for 40 years (Deuteronomy 8:4 and 29:5). Jesus reminds us that God clothes the birds of the air and encourages us not to worry about what we will wear since our Heavenly Father knows what we need and will care for our needs (Matthew 6:25-28). In describing a woman of noble character, Solomon writes that she is clothed, not only in fine linen and purple, but also in strength and dignity (Proverbs 31:22 & 25). Timothy also encourages us to “dress modestly, with decency and propriety… with good deeds” (1 Timothy 2:9-10). In the same way, young men are encouraged to “clothe yourselves with humility toward one another” (1 Peter 5:5). The Lord goes into great detail describing the garments that Aaron and his sons would wear when they served as priests in the temple (Exodus 28). And let us not forget the armor that God instructs us to wear daily which consists of a belt, helmet, breastplate, sword, shield, and sandals (Ephesians 6:10-18).
However, I must confess that one of my favorite passages is Colossians 3:12-14 “Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.” Not physical clothing, but I often wonder and contemplate what that actual outfit would look like if we assigned garments like the armor mentioned in Ephesians. But that’s for another time.
I love it when we find the same encouraging concepts sprinkled throughout scripture, tying it all together, showing the influence of One author delivering one comprehensive message. For a race that started out naked and blissful in a beautiful garden, clothing sure has become a priority in our lives. And God understands that, so He’s spent a great deal of time and care in His Word addressing it. Both our physical clothing and our heart clothing. Which brings me back to – how do we take care of our clothes?
Presently, I have a pile of dirty laundry sorted on my bedroom floor, a load in the dryer waiting to be folded, and an overflowing basket with semi-folded, clean clothes waiting to be put away. For the most part, I look at each piece of clothing to see if needs to be treated for stains and I hang-dry items that I don’t want to shrink. I fold the clothes coming out of the dryer and put them in the basket. But far too often, that’s where things remain – folded in the basket. It often takes me a week to get the basket to the actual bedroom and the clothes put away. It’s not a hard task, not even overly time consuming, but there it sits. My husband and I collect our needs for the day from the layers of clean, folded laundry out of the basket. So, in light of our morning discussion, I’m stuck on the thought – what does that say (if anything) about how I live my life with Jesus?
I could sit here and critique many aspects of my life and my walk with the Lord. My enemy would be glad to see me do this. Instead, I will choose to listen to the conviction I feel about my own self-discipline in certain areas of my life. As the Lenten season is upon us, I will combine this idea into giving up leaving the laundry in the basket and instead go put it away, using that time to pray over my husband and our marriage, our boys, our home, and whatever is on my heart. I will work with the Spirit on my own personal disciplines. Not only will my laundry be better cared for, but perhaps my relationship with the Lord will be strengthened, too. It might seem silly, but pondering a simple question can really open the the door for a multitude of what God wants us to learn. Right now, I have some laundry to care for.