Fashion for a girl is important. Girls love fashion. We love wearing the latest styles. Growing up, I started at a Catholic school. Daily, I had to wear the same uniform - a red and green navy jumper over a white blouse. Although it cut down on my parents’ monthly clothing expenses, it did nothing for my creativity.
The limited wardrobe laid the groundwork for me. In my later years, I took to nearly always costume dressing in public school. Costume kidding aside, I did feel a new expression of creativity by having the freedom to choose my own ensembles. I looked forward to it and to wear them well.
The Masterpiece of Righteousness
As fashion helped provide new freedom to self-expression and creativity, that same excitement I can equate to God’s creativity in his masterpiece of giving us righteousness through His Son, Jesus.
We are given the freedom to choose righteousness by receiving what Jesus accomplished for us through His birth, death, burial, and resurrection. This is foundational for our understanding, “For God made the only one who did not know sin to become sin for us so that we who did not know righteousness might become the righteousness of God through our union with him.”
The Greek word Paul uses is poieō, a verb that, when nominalized, is poiema (poem, or poetry). Christ is God’s poetic masterpiece, who became the glorious sacrifice for sin. Though disturbing to the eyes of man, God saw the work of redemption culminated in the masterful poetry of his Son suspended on a cross to give us heaven’s righteousness.
In the Passion Translation, Brian Simmons’s commentary says, “This one verse is perhaps the greatest verse in the New Testament to describe our salvation through the sinless Savior and his substitutionary death on the cross. A wonderful divine exchange took place at the cross. All of our sins were left there, our guilt was removed and forever gone, and we walked away with all of God’s righteousness. What bliss is ours! Every believer today possesses the perfect and complete righteousness of Christ. We are seen by the Father as righteous as his Son.”
Wearing the Masterpiece of Righteousness Well
As I recently wrote in my new book, For the Rest of Your Life... Living Out Your Destiny Blueprint- in my chapter called Women in Wardrobe, I discuss the scripture references to wearing linen (John the Revelator refers to it as the ‘righteousness of the saints’ Revelation 19:8). Linen keeps us cool in high, hot temperatures. In the book, I lay out even more prophetic insights regarding linen in that chapter.
Isaiah 64:6 graphically exposes our need. Hear this out of the Passion Translation, “We have all become contaminated with sin, and you see our self-righteousness as nothing better than a menstrual rag. We are all like fallen leaves, and our sin sweeps us away like the wind.” The implication is that we are whirled along by the wind of our sins. Thank God for our new robe!
Understanding righteousness in Christ has been the demarcation point in our lives (which is fixing the boundary or limit of something). Everything hinges upon understanding the gift of righteousness in Him….where you will go, what you will do, what you believe about Him, and what you believe about yourself knowing He had gone before you and fulfilled it all.
In Isaiah 61:10, “I will sing and rejoice in Yahweh. My whole being vibrates with shouts of joy in My God! For He has dressed me with salvation and wrapped me in the robe of his righteousness. I appear like a bridegroom on his wedding day, decked out with a beautiful sash, or like a radiant bride adorned with sparkling jewels.”
Righteousness, wear it well.
Written by Denise Capra
Artwork by Polly Lunetto
People often misunderstand some things. Our belief system is foundational. What we really believe affects everything.
We aren't endorsing abuses that feed greed and carnal reasoning.
You would be pretending to be, "what you are not"! From the book of wisdom, Proverbs 17:15, it says, " He who justifies the wicked, and he who condemns the just, both of them alike are an abomination to the Lord ."
Restoration & Identity
If the truth be told, we now have a new nature. So we let the nature of God come out! We don't sin because it's NOT our nature. Just as, when ordering product online or booking a flight, we have to agree to the terms and conditions before finalizing the purchase! The same holds true to our "believing and trusting" in God. We need to not attempt to dictate the terms to God. We receive when we are operating on the terms and conditions of the new covenant!
I want to see the reality of restoration come into hurting people's lives. In Galations 6:1-5, Paul taught us,
" Brethren, even if a man be overtaken in any trespass, ye who are spiritual, restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness; looking to thyself, lest thou also be tempted. Bear ye one another's burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ. For if a man thinketh himself to be something when he is nothing, he deceiveth himself. But let each man prove his own work, and then shall he have his glorying in regard of himself alone, and not of his neighbor. For each man shall bear his own burden."
We need this priority as our mode of operation in relating to others in their difficult times and issues.
Isn't it really interesting that Jesus chose men who lived and worked in the world and were so rough around the edges? In Mark 3:16-17 it tells that " And He appointed the twelve: Simon (to whom He gave the name Peter), and James, the son of Zebedee, and John the brother of James (to them He gave the name Boanerges, which means, "Sons of Thunder " His discipleship techniques were on-the-job training, as he lived and taught them. They were in dire need of knowing the truths about the kingdom. The good thing is they didn't have to unlearn religious traditions that would have bound them and restricted their grasp on the new way of living that He introduced to them. They were able to receive the goodness of God that was touching their lives.
Since we want the truth to be told, square one would surely need to be;
Knowing that we are all in need of a Savior, we cannot save ourselves. No polish, self-promotion and identification with success through outward performance can really make it true for us on the inside!
It must start there...from the inside out! God makes us righteous through the free gift.
Why do we manifest self-righteousness?
Here are a few possibilities:
1. "I need to be right to feel good about myself and my own mouth running has led me to self-deception" (see James 1:26)
2. "I have fallen in to religions trap of keeping all the perceived duties of "being Christian" to receive from God- and I can't get out!"
3. Then there's, "One-upmanship" on you. Comparing and competition dictates, "I cannot be perfect, but I'm better than you." The self-righteous measuring stick as depicted in Luke 18:9 with the tax collector and the Pharisee. You'll need to read that amazing story... "I thank God I am not like that guy!"
Prophetic Insights and Fulfillment
I love this prophetic voice from the prophet, Isaiah 64:6 " But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousness's are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.
What is our own righteousness?
Notice this didn't say all our unrighteousness is as filthy rags. This is saying that all our righteousness, our goodness, is as filthy rags. The Hebrew word "ED," which was translated "filthy" in this verse, means the menstrual cycle. (From Strongs) This is saying all our great works are as a menstrual cloth. This is speaking of our self-righteousness. All that we do on our own to obtain right standing with the Lord is grossly inadequate. But when we come to Jesus and receive His salvation, we are given His righteousness ( 2 Corinthians 5:21 ). For us believers, it would be incorrect to say, that all our righteousness's are as filthy rags. Jesus has become our righteousness, Jesus is not a filthy rag. I'm not an old sinner, saved by grace. I WAS an old sinner, but I've been saved by grace and am now the righteousness of God in my spirit ( Eph 4:24 ). Because of Jesus, I am not just in the flesh, I am in the Spirit. I am in Christ. I might walk after the flesh at times, but I am in Christ Jesus and am now righteous in Him. Thank You, Jesus!-Andrew Wommack, Living Commentary.
THE CHURCH~~~~the Woman
We heard another ministry bring out this hidden gem share this impacting truth...The church is often TYPIFIED by a 'woman'. So very many truths are expressed in stories and symbolism!
In Old Testament, the prophet Isaiah declared...chapter 64:6 "But we are all like an unclean thing and all our righteousness's are like filthy rags " - Sin wasn't the problem. Even from the Old Testament we see that our self-efforts are not what God is after. Our choices are important and determine what we are going to believe and put our trust in.
Our general mode of operation has been behavior modification, proving ourselves righteous and holy. It's a total misrepresentation of the truth. We have been clothed with righteousness in Christ. In Isaiah 61:10, " I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, My soul shall be joyful in my God; forHe has clothed me with the garments of salvation , He has covered me with the robe of righteousness," This is a prophetic voice speaking what was to come in Christ. Do you have a robe? If you believe in the simplicity of this good news and receive it- You are wearing it now.
The Number Twelve and the WOMAN
In these New Testament accounts of two healings, we get the symbolic and prophetic picture of the churches restoration to a truth that will bring liberty and revelation through its fulfillment in our time. The body of Christ has been on a journey through time in this church age. In these last days we are experiencing a restoration of the simple revelation of Gods enabling and empowering grace, apart from our performance but a believing for Gods demonstration and power to be revealed to a crying and dying world.
In the gospel of Mark in chapter 5: 21 Now when Jesus had crossed over again by boat to the other side, a great multitude gathered to Him; and He was by the sea. And behold, one of the rulers of the synagogue came, Jairus by name. And when he saw Him, he fell at His feet and begged Him earnestly, saying, "My little daughter lies at the point of death. Come and lay Your hands on her, that she may be healed, and she will live." So Jesus went with him, and a great multitude followed Him and thronged Him. Now a certain woman had a flow of blood for twelve years, and had suffered many things from many physicians. She had spent all that she had and was no better, but rather grew worse.
Reaching this Generation
This story is mentioned simultaneously with the healing of Jairus' daughter. They are forever linked!
A girl restored to life and a woman healed- THESE TWO WOMEN TYPIFY THE CHURCH. In this chapter the woman (older) bleeding is a picture of the CHURCH not being FRUITFUL.
Do you see WE HAVE A PROBLEM WITH REPRODUCTION? We have felt ineffective and we don't have the results we want to see. The church is bleeding because of SELF RIGHTEOUSNESS...not individual sin acts! Our sin is unbelief in what was accomplished through Jesus. The world needs a savior, not more religious trappings and strivings to prove who we are. Our true identity comes forth by believing who God says we are.
See in this passage both the scope of the older generation and the younger generation. There is a fulfillment of a prophetic picture. The number twelve is a key in this chapter also. It represents 'governmental foundation' and Gods authority. The context of the story and the miracle in Mark 5 depicts the woman touching the hem of Jesus' garment with assurance of receiving healing and restoration. Jesus knew immediately power was released and said to her, "Daughter, your faith has made you well. Go in peace, and be healed of your affliction." (GO INTO PEACE and be healed)
"While He was still speaking, some came from the ruler of the synagogue's house who said, "Your daughter is dead. Why trouble the Teacher any further?" One miracle was interrupted by the other one!
Then Mark 5:36 says, "As soon as Jesus heard the word that was spoken, He said to the ruler of the synagogue, "Do not be afraid; only believe." He then told them, "The child is not dead, but sleeping." A few verses later it reads, "And they ridiculed Him. But when He had put them all outside.....Then He took the child by the hand, and said to her, "Talitha, cumi," which is translated, "Little girl, I say to you, arise." Immediately the girl arose and walked, for she was twelve years of age. And they were overcome with great amazement.
The symbolism here expresses the idea that until we are RESTORED and believe the truth about our righteousness we will not see the youth (next generation) rise from dead religion. Do you get the picture of THE OLDER WOMAN as 'the CHURCH' being HEALED and restored with a new assurance to then see new life rise up in the NEXT GENERATION to fulfill purpose and destiny!? This IS the greatest time to be alive! Church there is resurrection for YOUTH in the release from performance and self- salvation in Jesus healing love and power.
Colossians 2:6 says the simplest way to walk free. “So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.”
This is HOW we got started and its how we maintain our freedom. I am living life to the fullest and renewing my mind constantly to the fact that I am a new creation. “Old things are passed away and behold all things are become new.” I am in rightstanding with God and through His grace I can live by His ability that works from the heart.
When I say, “walk by faith” I am referring to a daily walk choosing to believe what God has said about me already. When it seems like everything including my own actions aren’t lining up with the process, I begin daily acknowledging every good thing that is in me in Christ Jesus. Not everything I see in the natural realm would get me a gold star. There are some things that are not good about me on the outside….but God isn’t finished with me yet! I am not excusing my shortcomings. I am realistically trusting in God to enable me to change.
Our life was not to be focused to be on right or wrong or about good or evil. The devil is the ultimate legalist. He will nitpik us all to death. God gives us His directive on how to overcome in Galatians 5:16 “ So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature.” Or to paraphrase it, if we are walking by the Spirit we won’t fulfill the desires or lust of the flesh. Am I yielding to Gods ability that made me righteous? Am I living free in my heart following what the Spirit says daily?
Here’s kind of how it works with me. I wake up sensitive to the promptings of the Holy Spirit trying to recognize my first emotions of my heart. Are they thoughts of fear or guilt or pressure? If so, bringing them in captivity or trying to determine the root or origin. If I’m feeling guilty because I haven’t accomplished what I set out to do this week or if I have a problem with some bad thoughts or a bad dream, then I look to the Spirit of God who helps my infirmities and prays and makes intercession for me. I pray in the Spirit with peace that is already there because the Spirit lives in me and His solutions surface and I release that emotion that is trying to keep me bound up all day. I sometimes have to go much further in dealing with the beliefs of my heart. But I have a commitment to allow the Holy Spirit permission to work in my life and heart. I am not smarter than God. I know He has the best plan.
You see everything in your life is determined by belief of your heart. Proverbs says, “As a man thinketh, in his heart so is he” I must get real and deal with the beliefs in my heart. When I think on a promise in Gods Word, what are the emotions in my heart saying. What do I really believe about that? You might say we’re not to be led by our emotions and that is true. But to deny them altogether is another mistake. Our emotions can really be an indicator to us of what is going on inside and what I believe at heart level.
We were designed from creation to live in God’s presence and to live in the peace that rules in our heart. I often ask myself, “Is my heart in peace?” What are the beliefs that are ruling in my heart?
God through His Spirit is there to show you the hidden motivations of the heart so you can rewrite on your heart God’s truths until peace rules in that area. In the Amplified translation it reads, “And let the peace (soul harmony which comes) from Christ rule (act as umpire continually) in your hearts [deciding and settling with finality all questions that arise in your minds, in that peaceful state] to which as [members of Christ's] one body you were also called [to live].”
For example, most recently I felt our church growth was an an impasse.
I tried to figure it out. Was it the worship service, my preaching or the people? I went to God to get wisdom and he showed me a belief I had that was limiting the growth. One was the way that I saw myself. The other was about not believing that I had the systems and structure in place to facilitate the growth numerically. Every time I thought about growth my heart would feel inadequate. This contradicted that fact that I knew it was Gods will for us to grow. I was more in tune with my feelings of inadequacy rather than what God’s Spirit was saying. So I decided to deal with the beliefs. God has raised up some systems people to help organize our ministry departments. After dealing with these aspects we have seen an immediate and progressive growth.
We cannot deny how we feel in our heart if we want lasting change. We all have pain in the past to some degree. We often anticipate future pain. We don’t reflect and consult with God in our heart. That’s where He has told us to have a guard. God said out of it flow the issues of life. God lives in the heart.
So are you going to do whatever it takes to rewrite on your heart? New beliefs are yours for the living out. These new beliefs replace old ones that have only kept you in the pain and limited you.
In Philippians Paul says: 4:9, “Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you. We can learn also from Paul’s ways.
The Berkeley Version of the New Testament translates a verse out of Timothy with the phrase by saying Timothy “will remind you of my principles of BEHAVIOR IN CHRIST JESUS,” or as the KJV states, “shall bring you into remembrance of MY WAYS WHICH BE IN CHRIST.”
Paul does not send the new covenant believer back to the Law of Moses for New Covenant ethics; rather he argues and reasons Christian ethics from the truth of the believer’s identification with Christ in his death and resurrection.
God’s belief system is that ALL things are possible to him who believes. First, you must believe that Jesus has made you righteous and qualified you for all the promises. Paul tells us in Colossians 1:12 “giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the kingdom of light”.
Our time investment now is renewing our minds to this and persuading our hearts to be settled in it. When that happens the transformation we desire is effortless. Instead of focusing on making the outside look good—lets work on the inside. Our labor is to rest in what God says is true – is exactly that.
When I feel like I am walking free of sins dominion is when I understood that I had the freedom to choose. I am no longer a slave to sin. I am not under law, but under grace. What do I really want? I get the choice. I can live by what I was designed for, the Spirit life of abundance. If I sow to the flesh I will reap corruption. (Gal 6 )
God picks us up when we fall. Or as it says in His Word in Proverbs 24, “for though a righteous man falls seven times, he rises again…” He is such a good Father and He guides me into truth. It is my decision to follow His leading. The Holy Spirit is a gentleman. He doesn’t operate by force in our relationship. He is leading his children into His best. If you feel like the description in my book, you may have read, as a ‘dung beetle’ caught up in a performance trap. Freedom is yours already. It’s a choice to believe you are free. It’s a choice to persuade my heart that I am holy, blameless, and above reproach in his sight. Paul told us that very thing in the letter to the Ephesians in chapter one, verse 4 “For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love 5he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will-- 6to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves.” Its amazing to think that is how God really sees us.
Paul trusted God to reveal to him anything that needed to be changed. He sought God with all his heart. He was not INTROSPECTIVE. He depended on GOD to keep him walking the straight and narrow.
Being self-analytical can be a big inroad of Satan into our lives. Those who are not seeking God have no other choicel. They have to evaluate themselves. For those who are seeking God, He will take responsibility for pointing out the things that need to be dealt with in our lives. We can leave it up to Him. Allow him to bring about the change. As you have this sense of acceptance, He can work the transformation from the inside out. --Phil 3:15 says, “Let us therefore as many as be perfect, be thus minded; and if in anything ye be otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this unto you.
Will you be real with God and understand He knows what you believe in your heart anyway? Do you have such a value for God’s view and opinion that you are willing to give up your own? Then you are free to live your dreams. Dreams to help Gods people know the truth about His goodness will manifest in reality.
We must have a revelation of Gods passionate love for us not based on what we do but based on what He’s done. If my identity is established on what God says about me and not what others may think. I do not have to perform well for acceptance by God. I do not have to be right to be justified that I am ok. I don’t have to have a quota of production on a daily basis to feel worthy or valuable. I am now walking in the simple knowledge and revelation of being pleasing to God because I am His son. Sons are accepted because of our inheritance in the family and not our performance. I pray you’ll live in this freedom too.