Bible

I’ve got the easy part today: I just have to write a lovingly-crafted, winsome, true-to-the-Bible devotional. My wife has the hard part: taking down the Christmas decorations.

Without going into detail, suffice it to say we have 21 Christmas trees in our house. Thankfully, none of them are real; we couldn’t afford enough vacuum cleaners to get up all the needles. Nonetheless, the sheer number and classification of ornaments makes undressing the trees a ponderous proposition.

Ornaments and ornamentation serve at least one function: to draw attention or add appeal. Blank walls do little for a home. Our natural tendency is to decorate our surroundings, be they home, office, prison cell or hospital room. Generally, decorations add beauty and meaning to our lives. We even decorate our bodies in keeping with our situations. The more significant the occasion, the more ornate our ornaments. In many cultures, the higher the rank, the heavier the gowns, robes or medals. To be stripped of ornamentation is to reveal the basic person or thing—to reveal the true essence. A tree is only a Christmas tree when it’s decorated. Its essential nature is tree. An officer stripped of his stripes and a king robbed of his robe reveal mere men.

After Moses caught the Israelites gallivanting with the golden calf, God told them to remove their ornaments as a sign of remorse, sorrow, and humility (Exodus 33:4–6). They had used their jewelry to make the calf and must now shed the reminders and temptations of sin and show. It is not the outward appearance but the inward heart that reveals the essence of a person, and that is what God sees (1 Samuel 16:7; Jeremiah 17:9–10). He cares not for wealth, status, rank, color, gender or any other distinction. To His eyes, man is man, woman is woman, and all are judged equally (Matthew 22:16).

The apostle Peter instructed Christian women to “[Not] let your adorning be external—the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear—but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious” (1 Peter 3:3–4). He was not forbidding women to wear jewelry but reminding them that real, lasting beauty is found in a godly heart. All ages, genders, and ranks are equally commanded to put on their ornaments—but not on themselves. Believers are to create ornaments of good works and use them to “adorn the doctrine of God” (Titus 2).

These ornaments are meant to attract people to God, not our selves (Matthew 5:16). Except perhaps at an office party, people don’t make Christmas ornaments and hang them on their bodies; they are meant to decorate trees. Just so, Christians need to craft ornaments of good works, not to draw attention to ourselves (Matthew 6:1) but to attract attention to God. We are to dress up with the beauty of a godly spirit and dress down with humility so God gets the attention!

I’ve got the easy part today: I just have to write a lovingly-crafted, winsome, true-to-the-Bible devotional. My wife has the hard part: taking down the Christmas decorations. Without going into detail, suffice it to say we have 21 Christmas trees in our house. Thankfully, none of them are real; we couldn’t afford enough vacuum cleaners to get up all the needles. Nonetheless, the sheer number and classification of ornaments makes undressing the trees a ponderous proposition.

Ornaments and ornamentation serve at least one function: to draw attention or add appeal. Blank walls do little for a home. Our natural tendency is to decorate our surroundings, be they home, office, prison cell or hospital room. Generally, decorations add beauty and meaning to our lives. We even decorate our bodies in keeping with our situations. The more significant the occasion, the more ornate our ornaments. In many cultures, the higher the rank, the heavier the gowns, robes or medals.

To be stripped of ornamentation is to reveal the basic person or thing—to reveal the true essence. A tree is only a Christmas tree when it’s decorated. Its essential nature is tree. An officer stripped of his stripes and a king robbed of his robe reveal mere men. After Moses caught the Israelites gallivanting with the golden calf, God told them to remove their ornaments as a sign of remorse, sorrow, and humility (Exodus 33:4–6). They had used their jewelry to make the calf and must now shed the reminders and temptations of sin and show.

It is not the outward appearance but the inward heart that reveals the essence of a person, and that is what God sees (1 Samuel 16:7; Jeremiah 17:9–10). He cares not for wealth, status, rank, color, gender or any other distinction. To His eyes, man is man, woman is woman, and all are judged equally (Matthew 22:16). The apostle Peter instructed Christian women to “[Not] let your adorning be external—the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear—but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious” (1 Peter 3:3–4).

He was not forbidding women to wear jewelry but reminding them that real, lasting beauty is found in a godly heart. All ages, genders, and ranks are equally commanded to put on their ornaments—but not on themselves. Believers are to create ornaments of good works and use them to “adorn the doctrine of God” (Titus 2). These ornaments are meant to attract people to God, not our selves (Matthew 5:16). Except perhaps at an office party, people don’t make Christmas ornaments and hang them on their bodies; they are meant to decorate trees. Just so, Christians need to craft ornaments of good works, not to draw attention to ourselves (Matthew 6:1) but to attract attention to God.
We are to dress up with the beauty of a godly spirit and dress down with humility so God gets the attention!

More Lifestyle Articles

  • Celebrate Older Americans Month

    Celebrating Older Americans Month all older adults are encouraged to blaze a trail to civic engagement. Civic Engagement means working to make a difference in the lives of your community and its...

  • Strange and Unusual Facts

    William Marston engineered one of the earliest forms of the polygraph in the early 1900’s. Later he went on to create the comic strip Wonder Woman, a story about a displaced Amazon princess who...

  • ’Sno Time Like the Present

    Twelve hours ago, I was fast asleep, and there were 3-4 inches of fresh snow on the ground. Now, there is barely a trace on the ground, and the temperature is in the mid-40s. Welcome to February in...

  • “Small House” Design Nurtures Residents with Dementia

    Caring for an individual with Alzheimer’s disease and dementia is challenging. In addition to the emotional difficulty of seeing a loved one struggle cognitively, there are marked differences in how...

  • 16th Annual Unsung Hero Event

    Lehigh County Aging and Adult Services is accepting nominations for Unsung Heroes! To celebrate Older American's Month, the Lehigh County Office of Aging and Adult Services recognizes Lehigh County...

  • A Clean House Means Peace of Mind: A History of Spring Cleaning

    The first signs of spring create excitement in the Lehigh Valley and throughout the Northeast. After four months or more of staying inside because of cold, snow and rain, we can hardly wait to...

  • A Salute to Valentine’s Day - Stories of Love

    “My first Valentine’s Day with my fiancé was amazing. That January, I looked for a puppy online and found a little Chihuahua I loved. My fiancé said he’d call and talk to the breeder for me. Later,...

  • A Stranger in a Manger

    Studies show that the time of year that produces the most babies is summer, with August leading the way. I’m no expert, but I disagree with them. I believe the most prolific time for babies is the...

  • Angels and Numbers

    Have you ever seen a sequence of numbers, especially over and over again? It could be that you noticed the clock said 5:55, then you looked at your odometer and it read 32,555, and yet again, you see...

  • Apple Picking in the Valley

    This time of year is ripe (pun intended) for picking apples in the Lehigh Valley. To that end we have picked (again with the puns) some of our local “pick your own” venues. Please be sure you go to...

 
Contact Us

Please enter your data here. Fields with an asterisk (*) are required.
Please provide us with a phone number or email so we may respond to your request.


Full Name(*)

Please type your full name.

E-mail

Invalid email address.

Phone

Invalid Input- please enter in form: 123-456-7890

How may we be of service?(*)

Please tell us how big is your company.

If you wish to subscribe enter your full address.

Invalid Input

Please enter the characters shown.(*)
Please enter the characters shown.
Refresh
Invalid Input