Froggy

He had known I would do this dumb thing and He had heard my one-word prayer before it ever entered my mind to say it. And He had answered it, a week ahead of time.

And when you are praying, do not use meaningless repetition as the Gentiles do, for they suppose that they will be heard for their many words. So do not be like them; for your Father knows what you need before you ask Him. Matthew 6:7-8 (NASB)

Many years ago, my son had a little aquatic frog. He had raised it, literally, from a tadpole and loved it. “Froggy” would delight us by appearing to clap his hands when fed, moving the food into his mouth. Unfortunately, Froggy was a messy eater and the water in his little aquarium needed to be changed often. Froggy had to be caught in a net and kept in another bowl while the aquarium was cleaned and refilled. This was usually my son’s job.

Well, one day Froggy’s home was very dirty. We just had not had time to deal with it. Now my son had to run to school and I was late for work. But, it just couldn’t wait any longer, so I promised him that I would clean out the aquarium before I went to work. I was really late though, so I thought, “I’ll just pour some of the dirty water off the top and add some clean water for now.” Unfortunately, as I tipped the aquarium into the sink, Froggy jumped out, flopped around a couple of times in the sink and went right down the drain.

I was aghast. I can’t even think of a word to describe how horrible I felt. My son’s little Froggy, that he loved so much – gone! And all my fault! I fell to my knees and cried out one word, “Jesus!” And Jesus was instantly at my side.

Now I need to flashback a week or so. The pipe around the S-trap under that sink had been leaking badly and my husband finally had some time to work on it. But the pipes were old and rusted together. He worked all day to remove the S-shaped pipe. It could not be cleaned and reused, and he was exhausted. While he took a break, I headed to the hardware to get a replacement. “Be sure to get another metal one,” he called after me (we were restoring an old house and my husband is a purist).

However, at the hardware I was told they did not have any metal S-traps in stock right now, but they did have some very nice PVC traps with easy twist-off and on slip-nuts. Just wanting to be done with it, I bought the PVC pipe. My husband wasn’t very happy, but he screwed the trap on and turned on the water. Voilà, no more leak! Done.

So, a week later as I cried out on my knees, I felt Jesus presence there beside me and I felt Him say, “Look in the S-trap.” I jumped up, easily unscrewed the trap, and looked in. There was Froggy looking up accusingly at me. I carefully moved him to a separate, safe container, and cleaned the aquarium the right way. It wasn’t until I was on my way to work – praising God, very late but not caring one bit – that I realized what God had done.

He had known I would do this dumb thing and He had heard my one-word prayer before it ever entered my mind to say it. And He had answered it, a week ahead of time. He had done it using an irritating leaking pipe and a very long frustrating day (which included not a few grumblings and complainings). I would never have been able to remove the rusted pipe myself. Froggy would have been gone and my son would have been heartbroken. But God cares, God hears, God knows what we need before we even ask Him, God answers!

Thank you, Lord, that you know what we need before we even know or ask. Help me to remember your answers to prayer. Help me, in the midst of troubles and problems, to be on the lookout for an answer to a prayer not yet needed or said. Help me know that, though I can’t see it, you are always working for my good in everything. Thank you that you are always here with me.

Photo by David J. Stang [CC BY-SA 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Xenopus_laevis_4zz.jpg

Put on Jesus, Part One

I am not, intrinsically, loving and compassionate, kind or humble. Definitely not patient. I am not incorruptible, imperishable, or immortal. I even have to put on faith and hope.

Rather, clothe yourselves with (put on) the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the sinful nature. (Romans 13:14 NIV)

I have really struggled with this concept. How do I “clothe” myself with (or “put on”) Jesus? Galatians 3:27 Paul also writes, “all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.”  The New Living Translation translates that last part of the verse as “have been made like him” and I think that is a good clue. In both verses, the Greek word is enduo (ἐνδύω).

“Clothe yourself” or “put on” sounds like slipping into a jacket or something. In fact, in the parable of the Prodigal Son it is used that way, “But the father said to his servants, ‘Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on (enduo) him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet” (Luke 15:22).

The word enduo means to sink into “in the sense of sinking into a garment,” “to invest with clothing … array, clothe, endue.” It comes from a word that means to “go into, enter, go under, be plunged into, sink into” and is used of the setting of the sun.[i]

“Sink into” reminds me of the feeling when you put on a favorite piece of clothing, a shirt or something that just makes you feel good, even secure. It also reminds me of John leaning back unto Jesus, sinking back unto His chest at the Last Supper (John 13:23). In fact, the word used for Jesus’ chest or bosom in that verse is kolpos (κόλπος), which in addition to meaning “the front of the body between the arms” also means “the bosom of a garment, i.e. the hollow formed by the upper forepart of a rather loose garment bound by a girdle or sash, used for keeping and carrying things” like a fold or pocket. It is the word used in Luke 6:38, “Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom (kolpos). (KJV)” It also means a bay, as in a place of safety.[ii] In John 1:18 it says that Jesus is in the bosom (kolpos) of God.

No one has seen God at any time; the only begotten God who is in the bosom of the Father, He has explained Him. (NASB)

I love that! Jesus explained God to us. He is a loving Father who wants to keep us safe and carry us in the fold of His garment, in His bosom. And if we are in Jesus, if we have clothed ourselves with Jesus, endued ourselves with Jesus, have become like Him, we are there with Jesus. Paul says this is something that we can choose to do – clothe ourselves with Him. To be enveloped in Him.

“Sink into” or “plunge into” indicates complete commitment. You can’t plunge into a pool and at the same time just get your big toe wet. Jesus demands full commitment, giving up everything to follow. Romans 13:14 is translated in the New Living Testament as, “But let the Lord Jesus Christ take control of you, and don’t think of ways to indulge your evil desires.” Oswald Chambers said in Disciples Indeed, “Jesus Christ is always unyielding to my claim to my right to myself. The one essential element in all our Lord’s teaching about discipleship is abandon, no calculation, no trace of self-interest.” Jesus said, “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.” In denying ourselves we identify with Jesus, we put Him on, and gain so much more than we might lose.

A very old hymn expressed it this way:

Now crucified with Christ I am, the self within is slain
But still I live, and yet not I – Christ lives in me again
I am sinking out of self, out of self, into Christ
Sinking out self into Christ
I am sinking, sinking, sinking out of self
Sinking out of self into Christ (Sinking out of Self, W.F. Crafts, R. Lowry, c1875)

Here is a list of things that the New Testament says that we can put on or sink into (enduo):

Power from on high (Luke 24:49)

The Lord Jesus Christ (Romans 13:14, Galatians 3:27)

Incorruption, imperishable body, immortality (1 Cor. 15:53)

New man (Ephesians 4:24, Colossians 3:10)

Armor of light (Romans 13:12)

Faith and love as a breastplate, and the hope of salvation as a helmet (1 Thess. 5:8)

Whole armor of God (Ephesians 6:11)

Compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, patience (Colossians 3:12)

Love (agape) (Colossians 3:14)

Pure, fine linen, white and clean (Rev. 15:6, 19:14)

All these things are only found in Jesus, are only available to us because of what Jesus did on the cross. Having to “put on” these things indicates to me that they are not in me. I am not, intrinsically, loving and compassionate, kind or humble. Definitely not patient. I am not incorruptible, imperishable, or immortal. I even have to put on faith and hope. If I don’t choose to put on Christ Jesus, I am left with myself; if I don’t put on incorruption and immortality, I am left with corruption and death; If I don’t put on His power, I am left with weakness; I am left with fear, hopelessness, bitterness, anger, sin and darkness. From the beginning God had to clothe us.

The LORD God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife and clothed them. (Genesis 3:21)

I am not, but He Is!

There is another word in the New Testament that means to clothe or put on. It is only used once, but it is very powerful. We will look at that word in part two of Put on Jesus next time.

 

 

Image from Holly Else https://www.timeshighereducation.com/content/holly-else

[i] Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible

[ii] Thayer’s and Smith’s Bible Dictionary