For those of you who have just joined us –welcome. Let me explain what we ramblers are chatting about. We are looking at the way God is bringing us from this old culture into a kingdom culture. To help us do this we are looking at the culture in the Philippines and looking at what God is saying to us through it.
The Filipino national dress is very different from my preconceived expectations. It is very noble looking and made of a mixed past inheritance. Everyday clothes are not much different to western countries – t-shirt and shorts. The Philippines wear more modest clothes than some skimpy western clothes. The thing about the clothing in the culture that took me while to understand is that Filipinos will change their clothes around 3times a day. You may spend a morning with a group of people and get to know their names – but by the end of the morning they have changed their tops and I loose track of who is who: for example the lady who I met 10 minutes ago wearing red is now in a yellow top.
In Kingdom culture we get used to people changing. Changing ourselves as individuals so often that people don’t recognise one another and have to do a double take. We are not to hold snap shots of each other in a good or a bad moment which new stick to the wall of our mind like a family portrait. “Ah yes” we think when we look at our snap shot “I know how that person will react in this given situation – I have them organised in my thoughts”. We are to give each other room to make mistakes, room to learn and room to change.
As far as clothes go we are no longer to wear the rags of slavery. We are slaves no longer. When we live likes salves this looks like us expecting less than the best, putting up with dirt in our lives, being comfortable with less than good – both spiritually and naturally. I always thought it was spiritual to put myself down, humble not to ask for anything and submissive to live for others all the time. I am finding that to love myself and others does not mean I have to come last – we all come first.
Let’s stop wearing the rags of shame and guilt for past wrongs, wearing the filth of habitual rubbish, wearing the shame for thinking we are second rate and worthless. When I was a child I constantly walked with my head down. Why? Because I wore the heavy clothes of shame and I thought that was my identity. I thought that however hard I tried I could never reach the standard set for me. BUT then my Father God came. Picked me up. Washed me down. He told me that I was chosen, royal, a priest and holy. I was his special possession (1 Peter 2:9). The strange thing is there are days when I have listened once again to the lies and I have picked up my stinking rags again and put them on. How crazy! It is time to take off those things and burn them!
We put on our royal clothes. We are to be those who are meeting their lover.
So wash yourself. Pour oil on yourself and wear your best clothes. Ruth 3:3
We are to put on the robes of a loving Father. Bearing his acceptance snuggly around our shoulders
“But the father said to his servants, ‘Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him.” Luke 15:22
We are not to be those who hide our royalty for fear of the responsibility it brings. Being royal means that you will be in the firing line. You will be drawn upon to bring wisdom, you will be called upon to give of yourself and you will be a representative of your Father’s Kingdom. People will expect much from the daughters and sons of heaven – we need to be confident in who we are and bear our responsibility well. See how the King of Israel treated his royal robes…29 The king of Israel said to Jehoshaphat, “I will enter the battle in disguise, but you wear your royal robes.” So the king of Israel disguised himself and went into battle. Chronicles 18:29 (NIV)
We are no longer to wear clothes that don’t fit us. We are called to be who we are – not try to fit into other people’s shoes or clothes. They will be cumbersome, trip us up and at their worst they will make us ineffective in the task ahead. David had this dilemma when King Saul wanted him to put on his royal armour. He didn’t bend under the pressure of trying to be like someone else even under the persuasion of the king. He wasn’t tempted to put on posh clothes to show he was special – he just went in his own tunic to face his biggest enemy ever. There was a lightness to his spirit by being true to who he really was.
38 Then Saul dressed David in his own tunic. He put a coat of armour on him and a bronze helmet on his head. 39 David fastened on his sword over the tunic and tried walking around, because he was not used to them.“I cannot go in these,” he said to Saul, “because I am not used to them.” So he took them off. Samuel 17:38-39(NIV)
Lastly, but by far the least, we are not longer to wear clothes with badges. For a long time now the church has been just like Sainsburys – we all pin badges on ourselves during certain times. These badges may be lies stuck to us. These badges show others our ‘position’ in the church, our sphere of influence and also our limitations. You are a musician of course I am not expecting you to offer to serve coffee, I am a crèche worker I am not qualified to pray for healing. In the Kingdom we are to wear our ‘ministry positions’ lightly so that they do not become our identity. Why do we presume we will always be in same place? everyone is interchangeable from the youth worker to the senior leader – we are there for a season only. This is the season of changing our clothes regularly.