Monday, February 02, 2004

Some Thoughts about Grave Clothes

The Sunday School lesson yesterday was about Lazarus being raised (Gospel of John, chapter 11, for you kids following along). The speaker had some good things to say, but one thing stuck with me. He said that just because Lazarus wasn't alive again, doesn't mean he was totally free. He had to take off the grave clothes, and he needed help for some of it.

So many times, God delivers us from things--addictions, the past, the present. And while we are free (free indeed!), we may not have taken off the grave clothes. That's why these things still come up for us. We stumble around in the same old sins, we wallow in regret or shame. And that's not real freedom.

What I've found is that I've kept my grave clothes. God has delivered me from problems and situations, and the rotten, stinky grave rags have been removed, but instead of giving them to Him, throwing them away, I kept them. And every once in a while, I try them on again, and wallow in the pain and shame that goes with that.

God didn't bring me back to life so that I can play graveyard fashion show. And if you have been delivered from something, He didn't do it so that you can wander back into that, or drive yourself crazy thinking about it.

It's time to throw away the grave clothes of past decisions, past regrets, and past lives. To place the smelly, wretched bundles of pain, shame, and fear at the foot of the triumphant cross, and walk away. To look back and watch, like Bunyan's Pilgrim, as your burden rolls away down Calvary, into the empty tomb, where it is buried forever.

It's time to stop dressing like the dead. We are alive in Christ. Let's clothe ourselves in Him, eh?

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