I was so grateful to sparkpeople.com for posting this wonderful Winter workout layering guide. It is a useful tool for those of us who have no idea what we should be wearing when we are running in this cold weather. I tend to be a person who gets cold very easily, so I am usually dressed like Nanook of the North even when it’s 50 degrees. I am totally layered out to the max and end up on the indoor treadmill when it’s below 45 degrees! Cold weather is not my friend.
I have to admit that I am also not a fan of the whole idea of wearing layers when it comes to fashion either. It can be so complicated and cumbersome having all of those articles of clothing on at one time. They have to match, they shouldn’t make you look bulky, etc. I realize it keeps a person warmer, but I hate the way it feels. I literally feel trapped beneath all of that weight.
Often times our spirits feel constricted beneath layers that life throws at us as well. Sometime our spirits are suffocating because the veil is still over our spiritual eyes and we have not found Jesus. Sometimes it’s the weight of religion and sometimes it’s just the things that life has thrown our way like death, illness, divorce, major disappointments, etc.
Look at what Paul said in 2 Corinthians 3:16-18 (The Message), Whenever, though, they turn to face God as Moses did, God removes the veil and there they are—face-to-face! They suddenly recognize that God is a living, personal presence, not a piece of chiseled stone. And when God is personally present, a living Spirit, that old, constricting legislation is recognized as obsolete. We’re free of it! All of us! Nothing between us and God, our faces shining with the brightness of his face. And so we are transfigured much like the Messiah, our lives gradually becoming brighter and more beautiful as God enters our lives and we become like him.
As we come face-to-face with God, those old constricting layers are no longer needed and we can begin to remove them, realizing that there should be nothing between us and Him.
This can be a long process if we have built layers of self-protection as well as unhealthy layers (thought patterns) that we have picked up from living the way the world tells us to, instead of living according to God’s word. We have a Creator who is faithful to strip those unnecessary layers off of us as we approach His throne of grace and mercy. What does that look like? Colossians 3:5-14, The Message (MSG) tells us:
5-8 And that means killing off everything connected with that way of death: sexual promiscuity, impurity, lust, doing whatever you feel like whenever you feel like it, and grabbing whatever attracts your fancy. That’s a life shaped by things and feelings instead of by God. It’s because of this kind of thing that God is about to explode in anger. It wasn’t long ago that you were doing all that stuff and not knowing any better. But you know better now, so make sure it’s all gone for good: bad temper, irritability, meanness, profanity, dirty talk.
9-11 Don’t lie to one another. You’re done with that old life. It’s like a filthy set of ill-fitting clothes you’ve stripped off and put in the fire. Now you’re dressed in a new wardrobe. Every item of your new way of life is custom-made by the Creator, with his label on it. All the old fashions are now obsolete. Words like Jewish and non-Jewish, religious and irreligious, insider and outsider, uncivilized and uncouth, slave and free, mean nothing. From now on everyone is defined by Christ, everyone is included in Christ.
12-14 So, chosen by God for this new life of love, dress in the wardrobe God picked out for you: compassion, kindness, humility, quiet strength, discipline. Be even-tempered, content with second place, quick to forgive an offense. Forgive as quickly and completely as the Master forgave you. And regardless of what else you put on, wear love. It’s your basic, all-purpose garment. Never be without it.
As we head into the New Year, resolve to take off some old layers and put on your all-purpose Love garments that are in season and in style all the time.