As the warmer weather returns once again, I find myself ready to sew again. Every time I sew, I find myself amazed at how God transforms the jumble of our human lives into something with purpose, identity and beauty. A shapeless piece of fabric can be cut, folded, and sewn into something proudly worn. A life, lacking lustre, can be redirected to witness the joyful celebration of God’s love.
This is not just a story of being taken from poverty into the richness of Christ’s kingdom. Rather, it is that our poverty is transformed so that the richness of that kingdom is found within us. I think of the fabric; it is not exchanged for a dress, but transformed into one. Similarly, while we “die” to sin, we do not physically pass away but are transformed in spirit-led righteousness. I am glad to be clothed with Christ, to know that the needle of His grace has sewn eternal life into me, that the hands of His love have fashioned me to be beautifully and wonderfully made in His image.
How does God shape us as witnesses of His love? How are we transformed in His richness?
. . .
We need to be cut.
The very first step in turning a piece of fabric into a dress is to cut it. Different shapes serve a different purpose in the make-up of the dress, and some pieces are simply not required.
[Acts 2:36-37] says,
“”Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ.” Now when they hear this, they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Men and brethren, what shall we do?” Then Peter said to them, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptised in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.””
To be cut to the heart is to be so moved by understanding of the gospel that we are willing to surrender to God, and let Him transform us. The Holy Spirit helps to show us the desires of God; to convict us of sin and of righteousness [John 16:8]. He helps prepare us for service in the kingdom of God with spiritual gifts – for example, teaching, exhortation, hospitality, patience. So, being cut to the heart, we know we are also cut out for the work of the gospel and for the glory of God – our purpose to love and serve to King of Kings, the Creator of the heavens and the earth.
. . .
We need to be folded.
The pieces are cut, but now they need to be folded into shape. Fabric is malleable like this, able to be twisted and turned, flattened and folded. How malleable, and how teachable are our hearts?
[Proverbs 13:10] says,
“By pride comes nothing but strife,
But with the well-advised is wisdom.”
Who do we listen to, and are we humble enough to take advice? Are we humble enough to admit that our ways are not God’s ways, and our thoughts not His thoughts [Isaiah 55:8-9]. When God speaks, do we obey? Or do we try to reason that perhaps another way is better? Do we trust that God always knows best and that He works for the good of those who love Him? [Romans 8:28]
. . .
We need to be sewn.
This piece to that, and seams to complete. Sewing the pieces together is fun, because its where the shape of the dress becomes more visible. There is a needle of refining that shapes out character to be more like Christ. There is pain and relief, pulling and stretching, perseverance and hard work, but the outcome is glorious.
“In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honour, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ…” [1 Peter 1:6-7]
Sewn, unpicked, and sewn again; we are shaped and refined in both the big and little things. Hang in there and remember that the outcome is a character more like Christ. It is something worth all the pain and trials of earth.
. . .
We need to wear Christ.
Each dress has its own character and its own embellishments. It is unique, but it also gives a certain image – work, casual, evening, beach. We need to wear Christ, to have His character displayed in our lives and to let the light of His love shine.
“Let us walk properly, as in the day, not in revelry and drunkenness, not in lewdness and lust, not in strife and envy. But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfil its lusts.” [Romans 13:13-14]
To wear Christ is to let His spirit direct us, to let Him lead us in His ways. It means loving Him and loving others, serving with a joyful heart, and doing all things unto Him. It means we live our lives in a way that testifies to others of the goodness of God. It means we allow ourselves to be moved by Him, shaped by Him and grown in His character.
. . .
God created us with glory at our core, the likeness of His image.
I want to be always inspired by Him, and to have His image seen through my life.