Thoughts about Faith // What we wear - by Ben Bonython
Thoughts about Faith// What we wear
Faith shows the reality of what we hope for;
it is the evidence of things we cannot see. (Heb 11:1)
Much of our lives are focused on what we can see. We have confidence in our own hands and decisions and this reflects good stewardship and faithfulness. But what about the faith (actions that show hoped reality or evidence of the unseen) part of faithfulness and stewardship?
Is faith something we should wear like clothes?
Embodied (Enclothed) Cognition is the idea that when we put on clothes like a doctors coat, we are affected by what a doctors coat means. Our minds and thinking take on aspects of what the doctors coat represents. A study in 2010 showed that people wearing doctors coats performed better in concentration tests than other people wearing other/normal clothes. Dr. Galinsky said that "when you wear the coat and see it on your body and feel it on your skin, it influences your psychological processes. The main conclusion that we can draw from the studies is that the influence of wearing a piece of clothing depends on both its symbolic meaning and the physical experience of wearing the clothes”
The bible talks about clothes too. And the bible uses analogies to clothes to express attitudes and behaviours. But even more so, clothing ourselves with Christ by definition is a faith statement - it is laying claim to the reality we hope for, and becomes the evidence of what we cannot see. Paul says that we should strip off our old nature, and instead clothe ourselves with Christ (Col 3:10). The bible makes a number of references about clothes, each requiring 'steps' of faith:
Col 3:12 - Clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience.
Eph 6:13-17 - Put on the belt of truth and the body armor of God's righteousness. For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News so that you will be fully prepared. Hold up the shield of faith to stop the fiery arrows of the devil. Put on salvation as your helmet, and take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
Gal 3:27 - Put on the character of Christ, like putting on new clothes.
Rom 13:12 - Remove your dark deeds like dirty clothes, and put on the shining armor of right living.
Rom 13:14 - Clothe yourself with the presence of the Lord Jesus Christ.
1 Peter 3:4 - Clothe yourselves instead with the beauty that comes from within, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is so precious to God.
Putting on clothes like this is a faith step, and a physical step of action, belief and attitude that we practice. Here, our the physical reality of the old nature is challenged by faith. And like a doctors coat, we allow the clothes of Christ to influence our thinking, our attitudes, our hearts. This is faith at work in a very practice sense.
The Father of the lost son immediately clothed his dirty son. No shower. No punishment. No contract of indentured work. No commitment to counselling. He was clothed immediately...
"But his father said to the servants, 'Quick! Bring the finest robe in the house and put it on him. Get a ring for his finger and sandals for his feet. Luke 15:22
It was a step of faith for the son to accept those clothes given to him from the Father. It required a step of faith to know that he was truly accepted. That he was truly forgiven. That he was truly welcome. His own reality was shouting at him, calling him unworthy, and nothing better than a hired servant. But the Father offered a different reality....
This week, take hold of your reality in faith - take hold of the reality of hope, expect the evidence of what is unseen. Wear the clothes of the Father provides to you with fullness and faith - and allow yourself to think and take on the character of Christ.
This week, wear Faith....everyday, everywhere!