Colossians 3:14 (NIV): “And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.”
Halloween time! Neligh gets abuzz in the weeks leading up to this day. Houses are decorated. Activities are planned. Kids plan their costumes. Parents wonder how crazy their kids will be after the candy.
We could talk about the history behind Halloween, but we’re not going to. What makes Halloween fun is the costumes. Every child gets to pick something different every year. And they choose that costume for a reason. A child’s character pops out through his costume.
Several years ago, I subbed for third grade on Halloween. So, I was able to help with the Halloween Fashion Show. Every child was so excited. As soon as the costume was put on, even the most introverted child began to glow. Sure, the costume might have been a superhero, zombie, or witch. I did not see the outfit. I saw a child that desperately wanted to express who they were.
I saw a child who was grieving and wanted to be strong. I saw a child who usually faded into the background but had a great sense of humor. I saw a child who felt forgotten but might change the world one day.
Costumes are ironic. We put them on to hide, but they show our character more blatantly than in everyday life.
As followers of Christ, we are called to wear a costume daily. We are to put on attitudes and actions that show whom we are called to be. Paul, in Colossians, describes some things we are to put on: “Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience” (Colossians 3:12). A few verses later, he adds “love.”
None of these attitudes and actions come naturally to us. But, as a follower of Christ, we need to be those things. So, we willfully put on those attitudes and actions, even when our circumstances try to take those costumes off. But the more we wear them, the more those attitudes change us. Soon, we realize that the costumes we put on showed who we wanted to be and whom we would become.
Wherever we are, whomever we are with, whatever is going on, we are to show Christ in us and through us. May our costume clearly show our character.
Isaiah 1:18: “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool.”
I was sitting with a group of pastors at a restaurant in western Nebraska. We swapped stories and laughed.
The oldest pastor among us told of something that had happened to him a few weeks before. He was walking down Main Street, enjoying a lovely Fall Day. Unfortunately, he overlooked a freshly poured square of concrete. There were no warning signs posted. There was no caution tape.
After his third step into the cement, he noticed it was wet. Three deep footprints stood starkly in the smooth, fresh cement.
The workers were livid, as you would expect. He felt miserable and apologized. And then left quickly. The next day, he went back to the scene of the crime. The cement was smooth again. All signs of his footprints were wiped away.
I could not help but reflect on my own life. Every day I live, I walk through areas that I should not. I leave horrible prints on what should be a perfect square of my life. We all do. We all sin.
We carry those footprints in our lives. We leave footprints in the lives of those around us. We feel others’ footprints in our own. We begin to define each other based on those footprints. “Oh, do you remember when John Doe did that? I could never trust him again.”
But there is someone who removes those footprints. He comes into our lives and smooths out the imperfections, leaving no trace behind.
This person is Jesus. He died on the cross for our sins. Scripture says: “though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as wool.”
When we turn to Jesus in faith, receiving Him as our Savior, he removes our sins as far as the east is from the west.
Humanity may still be stuck in the past, remembering our footprints and actions. But God sets us free. In His eyes, there are no footprints. We do not have to be defined by our actions. We are defined by Jesus Christ.
Pastor of Calvary Bible Church, Neligh, NE. Missionary with RHMA. Husband to Maggie. Father to Grace, David, and Daniel. Saved by Jesus Christ