I'm looking at my closet right now: dresses shoved on one side, shirts and jackets on the other, some hangers dangling and askew. But mostly, I was looking at the big, blank stretch of wall just above it.
A while back, I had the idea to make a LARGE sign for that spot that says, "She is clothed in strength and dignity." You know...so when I'm standing in front of my closet in my underwear crying because I have nothing to wear, I'll remember the important things to be clothed in.
At least that's the idea. I may still cry.
However, it also made me think of something else: am I really? Am I really clothed in strength and dignity?
I know there are a lot of y'all ready to hop to my defense, but hear me out on this. It might be my new soapbox.
In his letters in the Bible, Paul wrote often to warn his readers about the dangers of inaccurate theology. He wanted them to know how to sniff out a fake. At the time, much of this was centered around circumcision and "the law." These days, we call it legalism.
However, in our modern-day churches, though some are RIFE with legalism, I believe one issue has begun to outpace it. Indeed, this may be even more dangerous: Feel Good Faith.
I see it everywhere I look these days. I hear:
"God says I am enough."
"God says I am perfect just the way I am."
"God says I am strong.
"God says I can accomplish anything."
The problem with those statements? They are false. God doesn't say those things. As a matter of fact, those things are completely counter to the gospel of Jesus Christ because if we were enough, perfect just the way we are, etc. we would not have needed salvation.
But we did. We do.
In every situation in the Bible, if someone needed strength or courage, God did not say, "Go get 'em, Tiger. I know you can do it." He said, "Stand back, son, and watch how I do this THROUGH you."
Have I not commanded you?
Be strong and courageous.
Do not be afraid,
do not be discouraged,
for the Lord your God will be
with you wherever you go.
Joshua 1:9 (NIV)
Joseph did not save millions from famine. God saved millions through Joseph.
Moses did not part the Red Sea. God parted the sea through Moses.
David did not slay Goliath. God slayed Goliath through David.
In these cases, and all the others in the Bible, it isn't the individuals ability that comes to the rescue, it's their faith in the God who saves.
Even the name Jesus means, "God is salvation."
"But what's the harm?" you might ask? "Why is it an issue if people want to say that? We know what they mean, and it makes them feel good. It empowers them!"
Unfortunately, it may feel good, but it's building your house on the sand. Time and again, I see people who say these things fall prey to their own philosophies. Life is hard. Spiritual attack is hard.
I keep watching as the people espousing these philosophies come to remarkably difficult junctures in their lives, and instead of leaning on the ONE who can give them the strength and courage they need to follow God into the dark places, leaning and depending upon Him, they lean heavily on their own understanding, thinking God would never want them to be unhappy or uncomfortable.
They make decisions, not based on scripture, but on what feels good because, after all, that's what gets them through. They trade the worship of God for worship of themselves, and their homes and lives fall like a house of cards. Only houses built on the rock can withstand the wind and waves.
It's sad and tragic and, honestly, just really bad theology.
So, when I look at my blank wall, thinking about the "clothed in strength and dignity" sign, I wonder if I actually am. The answer? If I have chosen to be.
When you read about the Proverbs 31 wife (which is who the quote refers to), there's a pretty formidable woman there. But why? Why is she so amazing? Because she walks through each day with God by her side.
- She works hard because she works to please the Lord.
- She makes good decisions because she trusts the wisdom of God.
- She gives unselfishly because she mirrors the God who gives.
- She is clothed in strength and dignity with no fear of the future because she knows whose hands its in...and it isn't hers.
Charm is deceptive and beauty is fleeting,
but a woman who fears the Lord will be praised.
Proverbs 31: 30
To be frank, I don't know if that's who I am every day...probably not if I'm crying about not having any clothes in front of a loaded closet. I'm super glad I don't have to earn my salvation because if I did, I'd probably have a one-way ticket to Hell.
But I know it's who I aspire to be. It's who, thanks to the Holy Spirit, I look more like as time goes on. But I also know it's not me on my own.
I know I'm really excited to make the sign, not because of who I am, but of who God is, and He is calling me to be a woman fully dependent upon Him, every moment of every day. That's a theology I'm willing to stand on.