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Fall is defintely in the air!

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Uniforms


A few months ago my wife and I found the TV series JAG on the INSP channel.  It was a series that ran for about ten seasons in the late 1990’s into the early 2000’s.  The show was a an American TV legal drama centered around the activities of the US Navy’s Judge Advocate General division who prosecutes and defends criminal cases under the Uniform Code of Military Justice.  I must admit that I never knew that the program even existed during its original run.  I think that we were going through our “everything on TV is not good” stage at the time!
When I came across it recently, I decided that it must be okay since it is being shown on the INSP Christian based network.  If I remember correctly, the Inspirational Channel was originally associated with Jim Bakker and the PTL Club in the 1980’s. Anyway… when I watch the show I am always impressed with all the uniforms, the order and the strict adherence to the chain of command inherent with Military life.
I thought about this show this morning as I took off reading from Colossians 3:12 in my morning study time with the Lord.  In the English Standard Version the Apostle Paul is quoted as saying, “Put on, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness and patience.”  It turns out that the phrase “Put on” infers “the sense of sinking into a garment.” (Strong's)  As I read this I understood it to not only mean to put on the particular garments described in the verse, but to “sink into” or become as “one” with these graces of God.
Then it struck me how the writer was talking about putting on a particular “uniform” that identifies us as Christians.  Dictionary.com defines a “uniform” as “an identifying outfit or style of dress worn by the members of a given profession, organization or rank.”  That got me thinking about the various Naval and Marine uniforms worn by the actors in the JAG program. It also directed my thinking to all the “uniforms” we wear as Christians!
In the over 41 years of my Christian walk, I have been directly associated with the Catholics, Baptists, and what some call Full Gospel Pentecostal beliefs, and have also rubbed elbows and had close interactions with numerous varieties of other denominational and non-denominational circles.  In that time and associations, I have personally seen all kinds of “uniforms” worn by their members.  There were those whose female members always wore head coverings and dresses.  Those who spoke in “thee’s and Thou’s”, those committed to a life of frugality, and those within the associations that we belong to who saw their Cadillac’s, expensive clothes and lots of make-up in the late ‘80’s and 90’s as a mark of Christ’s blessings upon their lives.
Please don’t get me wrong here!  I am not attempting to make a judgment on anyone’s personal belief systems.  I am only making a personal observation of the many “uniforms” that I have seen in the Christian circles that I have interacted with over the years.  But when I read verses like those found in Colossians chapter three, I discover that the writers of the New Testament were more concerned about the inner graces we demonstrate than the clothing we wear or the cars we drive.  On the other hand though, I firmly believe that those inner graces will also be seen in the way we dress and care for ourselves or the way we take care of our cars and other natural things in our ownership.
Paul consistently teaches us to look and act in the image of Christ to the world around us.  He instructs us to respond to life’s situations with “compassionate hearts,” acts of “kindness,” in “humility” of spirit, and with “meekness” and lots of “patience.”  Then he caps it all off by declaring that “regardless of what else you put on, wear love.  It is your basic, all-purpose garment, never be without it.” (Colossians 3:14- Message Bible)
So… what “uniform” that identifies you as a Christian do you wear?  I firmly believe that “My God will richly fill your every need in a glorious way through Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:19 God’s Word ©)  But I believe that He makes it clear that His richly filling of all our needs is so that we can be a better witness, a better giver, a better example and a better lover filled with His graces for the salvation of our world.  What would you say about that?  Have a great day.  Stay in tune to His Word and His Way, and keep asking yourself… “What is my Uniform of His love that I am expecting to wear today?”

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