“In her chamber, the royal daughter is all glorious, her clothing embroidered with gold.” ~Psalm 45:13 (HCSV)
This verse appeared at the top of today’s reading from Breaking Free: Day by Day. Oh how I love the image this conveys. Some versions call this girl, “the princess” or “the King’s daughter”. I can imagine her chamber adorned with gorgeous tapestries, linens, and divinely ornate furniture. Naturally, if her clothing is embroidered with gold, her room must be equally as beautiful and precious.
This is the picture Christ has of His children. Royal. Clothed in the finest. Pure. Dare I quote the verse, “all glorious”? How many of us see ourselves this way? Next to none I’d wager. No, we’re more like the earthly princess Beth Moore references in today’s devotional. King David’s daughter, Tamar, was a lovely young virgin. However, her story is terribly tragic. After being defiled, and thrown away like garbage, the Bible tells us that she tears her special royal robe and puts ashes on her head. She lives the rest of her days as a “desolate woman”. Anyone with an ounce of compassion would moan, “how sad”. I don’t know why her father didn’t step up and defend her honor in an attempt to reclaim her dignity. I’m sure it had a lot to do with plenty of generational sin (this royal family epitomized dysfunction). Ultimately, David was a human father, clearly upset by what happened, but so obviously lacking in the ability to properly help his daughter be restored.
Aren’t we like Tamar? We’ve lived through the grime of life, whether at our own hand or others… or both. We trade our royal clothing for stains, rips, and ashes. Our true identity becomes ever more clouded as we allow others to define us through their approval… or disapproval… their acceptance… or rejection… their sins against us… or our own.
Identity. True identity. Some of us haven’t a clue what that even means because we are so covered in ash. But there is hope…
“Wherefore if any man is in Christ, he is a new creature: the old things are passed away; behold, they are become new.” ~ 2 Corinthians 5:17 (ASV)
Since becoming a believer years ago, God has been shaping me into this new creature. I dare say, it would be much easier if I fully accepted “new creature status” years ago instead of taking this painfully long road to allow “the old things” to pass away one at a time, but my “old things” run deep and wide. I’m discovering, when the old things pass away, you are left with a raw mass of a person. There’s a deep vulnerability in letting go, but also a raw sensitivity that runs the risk of being marred as bad if not worse than the old me. The layers of scaring have been peeled back, exposing me to the harshness of this world. This is the place at which you cannot be haphazard about things and allow just anything in. Even seemingly harmless thoughts can grow into anger, resentment, bitterness, and the like. In this raw, trusting, vulnerable state, we must seek the face of God alone. We must bathe ourselves in His Word. After all, He knows what our “new creature” is supposed to look like. He knows the plans He has for us.
Rest assured that people in your life will likely come out in droves during this process to intentionally (or more covertly, unintentionally) shape you. The enemy certainly doesn’t want you to become the new creature God desires you to be. He wants your wings clipped or your tongue tied or your feet maimed. But Almighty God… Oh let me tell you what God wants for us…
But those who wait for the Lord [who expect, look for, and hope in Him] shall change and renew their strength and power; they shall lift their wings and mount up [close to God] as eagles [mount up to the sun]; they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint or become tired. ~ Isaiah 40:31 (AB)
But the fruit of the [Holy] Spirit [the work which His presence within accomplishes] is love, joy (gladness), peace, patience (an even temper, forbearance), kindness, goodness (benevolence), faithfulness, Gentleness (meekness, humility), self-control (self-restraint, continence). Against such things there is no law [ that can bring a charge]. ~ Galatians 5:22-23 (AB)
I find myself as this beautifully exposed new creature. I must trust the Lord with my new heart, emotions, and mind… only He can keep them from growing hard, calloused, and desolate. Only He can exchange beauty for ashes. Only He restores my soul.
So, new creatures beware, because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. Sometimes, my dear brothers and sisters, he uses those dressed in royal garments like Tamar’s brother and father, to shape us back into desolate beings merely trying to survive. Oftentimes without their knowledge. But fear not, for God is with you! Beware, but be wise, and seek the face of the Lord first and with everything you’ve got. Test the words of men against the Word of God. The truth will set you free! And then, you can stand firm, having the confidence that Almighty is creating a new thing in you!