8/17/10

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)