Don't let the MOTH eat your gown!

Our study of righteousness as it relates to the Bride of Christ has shown us that we should wear righteousness daily. God uses the word righteousness many times in Scripture and relates it to a piece of clothing. Check out these references if you want to learn more on that topic - Job 29:14, Psalms 132:9, Isaiah 11:5, Isaiah 51:8, Isaiah 59:17, Isaiah 61:10, Ephesians 4:24, Ephesians 6:14. Isaiah 51:8 says, "For the moth will eat them up like a garment; the worm will devour them like wool. But my RIGHTEOUSNESS will last forever, my salvaion through all generations." As I studied this verse I thought of the very literal work of moths...what do they do? They eat holes in our clothes! If righteousness is our spiritual clothing, then what sort of spiritual moths might we need to guard against? I have a little acrostic of the word MOTH that I hope will help you evaluate the presence of any moths in your spiritual life.
First, we have the Me, Me, Me Mentality. Selfishness is a killer in our spiritual life. Becoming so wrapped up in ourselves that we fail to even see God working in our lives is a dangerous trap and one that I fear many Christians find themselves. Scripture has tons to say about denying self - Matthew 16:24, Mark 8:34, and Luke 9:23, all record the same command from Jesus. "If anyone (man or woman) would come after me, s/he must deny her/himself and take up her/his cross and follow me. Three times that command is recorded in the gospels - from the mouth of Christ. Selfish ambition is described in Galatians 5:20 as an act of the sinful nature. Philippians 2:3 warns us to "do nothing out of selfish ambition..." James 3:16 says, "For where you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice." Wow, those are pretty strong words! Evaluate yourself and those in your life. Do you have friends who only talk about themselves, their lives, their children, their job, etc? Are they interested in listening to you or is it all about them? Are you a friend like that? Proverbs 18:1 says, "An unfriendly (wo)man pursues selfish ends." How much of your day is wrapped up in Me, Me, Me?
Second, the O in MOTH is an Overly Sensitive Ego. How easily do your feelings get hurt? How paranoid are you? Prayerfully evaluate yourself and see if you are suffering from an overly sensitive ego. We are not to live by our feelings and yet somehow we let them gain the upper hand in our lives. An overly senstive person constantly has to be stroked and pampered. In our spiritual walk, this exemplifies itself in isolation, jealousy, envy, gossip, and paranoia. The overly sensitive ego is very aware of how it is being treated and also who (in its perception) is being treated better. If your circle of friends is prone to gossip, beware - you may have fallen in with a bunch of women who suffer from OSE! If you think everyone is talking about you, I hate to break it to you, but they probably aren't. To see where an overly sensitive ego will lead you, check out King Saul in the Old Testament. Isaiah 26:3 is the answer to OSE. "You keep him/her in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you...." When our mind is set on Christ our ego will take a backseat.
Our third letter is "T" and it stands for Trial Immunity. Now you may ask, what is that? It is believing that we are immune to trials! Unfortunately, many Christians believe that when they get saved it's easy sailing. They believe salvation is an innoculation against trials and tests, so when hard times come they are baffled. We are not immune to trials!! I Thessalonians 3:3 says it so clearly, "..so that no one would be unsettled by these trials. You know quite well we were destined for them." The last time a trial came your way, what was your response? Paul reminds us to not be surprised because trials are our destiny. James 1:2 says, "Consider it pure joy, my brothers (and sisters) whenever you face trials of many kinds," I Peter 1:6-7 says, "In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kind of trials. These have come so that your faith - of greater worth than gold which perishes even though refined by fire - may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory, and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed." What is the role of the bride of Christ right now? We are to be making ourselves ready. Peter tells us plainly that these trials are coming so that we can be ready to be presented to Christ as genuine and faithful. The bride is not immune to trials. It is by those very trials that we are being made perfect for our bridegroom. Don't resist the trials in your life. Rejoice and thank God that He loves you enough to make you more like Him.
Now for the final part of our "moth" acrostic. The "H" stands for a Haughty Attitude. Nothing kills our witness quicker than a haughty attitude. A haughty attitude is one that is filled with pride, arrogance, and disdain. Scripture records many times that a haughty spirit goes before a fall. Haughty eyes are listed as the very first item in Proverbs 6 of the things God hates. In Zephaniah 3:11 God has a very strong word for those who rejoice in their pride "..never again will you be haughty on my holy hill." A haughty attitude does not display Christ to a lost and dying world. A haughty bride is a poor reflection of her bridegroom. Remember that our righteousness is as filthy rags and that it is only through Christ's righteousness that we are made His bride. It's all about Him! I hope you will do some work this week "moth-proofing" your life. It's easy to let the moths in and we must be as aware and intentional with our spiritual clothing as we are our physical clothing. Remember we are not our own. We have been bought with a price and our purpose is to honor God. (I Corinthians 6:19b-20)


The Bridal Gown

In our study of the bride of Christ we have taken an in-depth look at the role of true worship in the life of the bride. This week we turn our attention to the bridal gown. Revelation 19:7-8 describes the fine linen given to the bride. "Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready. And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints." (KJV) Our bridal gown is righteousness. Isaiah 61:10 says, "I delight greatly in the Lord; my soul rejoices 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 her jewels." God, is in his great love and mercy, sent his son to earth. Jesus, the Righteous One, died so that we might be made righteous according to 2 Corinthians 5:21, "God made him who knew no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God." As we put on righteousness as a bridal gown we reflect Jesus to a lost world. But how many of us believe that we are righteous? When I posed this question to my Sunday School class, I got very few raised hands. Our enemy has so brainwashed us that we believe we are not righteous and that we are not even worthy to be the bride of Christ. We have forgotten that our righteousness comes from Christ and it has nothing to do with how we feel about ourselves. Romans 10:4 says, "Christ is the end of the law so that there may be righteousness for everyone who believes." Because of Christ's redemptive work, we can be made right with God. The original Hebrew word for righteousness has both a masculine and feminine form and is used multiple times in the Old Testament. The masculine form of the word is sedeq and it means "justice; right relation to an ethical or legal standard". The feminine form is sedaqah. This word means "justice; right actions and right attitudes as expected from both God and the people. It describes the attitude and actions God had and expected His people to maintain. We are to sow in righteousness and our lives are to reflect righteousness and integrity". Scripture tells us very clearly that our righteousness is as filthy rags, but don't lose heart - it's not about our righteousness. Hosea 2:19 says, "I will betroth you to me forever; I will betroth you in righteousness and justice, in love and compassion." God chose you to be His bride. When you accepted Jesus you became his betrothed and he clothed you in His righteoueness. Your filthy rags were replaced with fine linen, a beautiful robe, and precious jewels. Clothed in his righteousness you are a radiant bride. Reflect HIS righteousness today!


Results of True Worship

We followed up our lesson on what true worship looks like by discovering the wonderful effect that true worship will have in our life.
True Worship results in --
Open eyes to see God in a clearer way
Right Relationships with God and others
Sincerity and transparency in our motives, actions, and attitudes

You will find that as you truly worship God each of these things will begin to take place in your life. It is a cycle that leads to even more truth in our worship.
For example, as I begin to worship God in spirit and in truth He will open my eyes to see things about Him I didn't see before. Then, as I see these new facets of God, I will enter into an even newer level of true worship. Each result leads back to true worship. What a mighty God we serve. He knows that when we worship Him - truly worship Him - He will fill us with Himself and that's where we will find satisfaction, peace, and purpose. I challenge you to become a true worshipper of God and I promise that He will transform your life.