Christians pursuing relationship with Jesus Christ are frequently confused by the concepts of walking with Jesus, being in the Spirit, or being one with the Lord. The more we work at it the muddier the water becomes. What does it look like to live when committed to “Thy will, not mine”? Is there a simpler way to understand this supernatural relationship?
There are many metaphors and analogies for the God-human connection that are meaningful to Christians; some more so than others depending on our personality and experience. The one frequently used in Amazing Grays Ministry is comparing this divine – mortal relationship to that between human and horse.
For a complete discussion of how the horse-human relationship mirrors the one we have with God, check out Amazing Grays, Amazing Grace.
Relationship with God: An empty suit of clothes
For those who don’t pursue relationship with horses, another illustration may simplify the matter, at least it does for me.
The greater the influence of the Holy Spirit in our lives the less our own individuality will assert itself. Our goal, of course, is complete regeneration. The process will never be complete while we are earthbound, but the opportunity to pass control to the Spirit is ongoing. How does it work?
Think of yourself as a suit of clothes*; brand new and perfectly ironed. Such clothing will only remain perfectly neat and clean by hiding on a hanger in the safety of our closet. Unless taken out of the closet and worn that new suit is completely useless. I have a suit and you have a suit. When we decide to hand over the reins of our lives to Jesus Christ through the Holy Spirit the closet door opens and our suit begins its useful life.
Each suit is unique. Some are made of coarse wool and others lustrous silk. No two suits have the same utility to the Lord.
Threadbare and Worn by Faithful Service to God
A perfect walk with Jesus may be understood as a suit of clothes with no self-animation or opinion. It’s just a suit. When we allow the Holy Spirit to enter our suit, to direct each movement of arm or leg, glove or boot, and to take our suit wherever He wishes – then we have achieved a perfect relationship with Christ. Perfection can’t be achieved, but we can understand the pursuit of such relationship.
When God takes us off the hanger we enter service. The Spirit directs our path and our circumstances. Sometimes our suit gets wet, sometimes we are singed with a flaming dart. As the years of service mount our suits begin to fray and wrinkle. Places appear where we have been repeatedly bent and rubbed, where no material remains and our suit is nearly used up.
One day our suit will wear out. When our earthly suit is finally retired to the dustbin, it will be replaced with a new suit, incorruptible and perfect.
Dead to sin, but alive in Christ Jesus
Becoming an empty suit of clothes is dying to sin. Giving complete control to the Holy Spirit is being alive in Christ Jesus. Romans 6: 11-16 speaks of such transformation.Whoever determines where our suit goes and how it is used is our master. How is your suit used in service? For worldly gain? For personal celebrity? For God?
As we age the appearance of our suit changes. Wrinkles begin to have wrinkles. Skin becomes thinner and more delicate. The hair on our head takes on the appearance of threadbare elbows on the sleeves of an ancient flannel shirt; all that remain are a few strands woven together.
Get out of the closet.
Offer your suit in service to Jesus Christ. And rejoice if your suit is showing its age as a result of service to the Lord. A new suit awaits.
* An instructor at the Dallas Theological Seminary may have originated the analogy of the empty suit.