Revive Our Hearts Podcast

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The Well-Dressed Christian Woman

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: Are you clothed with the garment of salvation?

Leslie Basham: This is Nancy Leigh DeMoss.

Nancy: Not through works of righteousness that you may have done, not because you've joined a church, or you're a good person, or you think you could have pleased God or earned His favor with anything you've done. But have you recognized that the only means to salvation, to be clothed with the garment of salvation, is for God to clothe you in the righteousness of Jesus Christ?

Leslie: This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss for Friday, May 30, 2014.

Today’s message from Nancy is called “The Well-Dressed Christian Woman.”

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: How many of you remembered to get dressed this morning? Well, it looks like you all did. Well, as far as I can tell it looks like you did. I mean, outwardly, you definitely got dressed, but what I want us to consider today is, did you remember to dress your heart this morning? Or did you maybe leave the house, forgetting some important article of clothing for your heart?

We've talked on Revive Our Hearts in the past about the importance of the way that we dress as Christian women, the importance of dressing in a way that is modest and feminine, that draws attention not to our bodies but to Christ within us.

Scripture does have a lot to say about the matter of dress and clothing. But it has a lot more to say about how we're clothed inwardly. Those of us who would never think of leaving our homes in the morning without having our clothes on may sometimes slip out of our house without realizing that we aren't fully clothed because we have neglected some of those spiritual articles of clothing. That's what I want to talk about—what it means to be a well-dressed Christian woman—a Christian woman whose heart is well-dressed. 

To introduce that subject, I want to look at a passage in Psalm chapter 45. That whole passage, Psalm 45, is the story of a bride getting ready for her wedding. She's getting dressed; she's thinking about her husband. It's a love chapter. It's a picture of a wedding. Those of you who are married can think back to the time when you got married and remember the wedding day and all the preparations and the care. Not only the day of the wedding but the days leading up to the wedding. You found the perfect dress. You found just the right jewelry to go with it and the right hairpiece. All those things to make sure that it was just right for the wedding.

Well, that's what this bride is experiencing in Psalm 45. In verse 13 the Scripture says, "All glorious is the princess within her chamber"—the place where there's a the bridal room at the church, her chamber, the place where she's getting ready for the wedding. She's glorious within her chamber.

“Her gown is interwoven with gold.” This is a spectacular wedding dress! “In embroidered garments, she is led to the King.” You can just hear the wedding music start to play. This is a picture of the wedding procession. "Her virgin companions follow her," these are the bridal attendants, "and are brought to you" (NIV). 

Here's a woman who is dressed for her wedding. She's dressed for her bridegroom. It says that her gown is interwoven with gold. There's may be gold filament that is threaded through her gown. When we think of gold, we think of something that is pure, something that's valuable, something that has to be purified in the process of being heated up.

As we see this woman in her wedding dress, I think we're seeing a picture of our lives as the Bride of Christ and how in order to be fit for our King, fit for our heavenly Bridegroom, we have to take preparations. We want clothing that is pure, that's valuable—the priceless clothing of being sanctified. That takes place under pressure, as gold is purified under pressure.

Then her garment, it says, is embroidered. The King James says, “she is wearing rainment of needlework.” I don't do embroidery. I don't have the patience for it. Now, I have a sister who does beautiful needlework. I just know she sits there for hours and hours, patiently making those threads and those colors go in the right places. There's a lot of time and work and attention to detail in doing that needlework. That's true of this bride's dress.

But if we're going to be a well-dressed Christian woman, it's also got to be true of the preparation of our hearts. If we're going to be spiritually dressed like a bride fit for our King, it's going to take time and effort and attention to detail.

Now, I want us to look today at several items that the Scripture talks about in the Old Testament that are items that God clothes us with.

First of all, we see in the book of Isaiah that we are to be clothed with the garment of salvation. The garment of salvation—Isaiah 61:10, "I will greatly rejoice in the Lord. My soul shall be joyful in my God. For He has clothed me with the garments of salvation" (NKJV).

Aren't you glad that salvation is something that God does for us? We can't do it for ourselves. I think back to that passage in Genesis 3 where after Adam and Eve sinned, they realized that they were naked and they were embarrassed, they were ashamed. It says that they sewed for themselves aprons or loincloths made out of fig leaves.

They did just the best they could, but God knew it wasn’t enough. It wasn't sufficient. So in the end of chapter 3 of Genesis, verse 21, the Scripture says, "So God made for them clothes out of animal skins, and He covered them" (paraphrased). He clothed them.

You see, God had to take the life of innocent animals to get their skins, to make clothing for Adam and Eve. The first coat was a fur coat. Amazing!

But it's something that God had to do so that they could be sufficiently clothed. What a picture that is in the Old Testament of the fact that in order to give us salvation, God had to take the life of the innocent Lamb of God, the Lord Jesus Christ. With His life He clothed us, covering our sinfulness, our shamefulness, our wickedness, our spiritual nakedness. To be clothed with the garment of salvation is to have trusted in the work that Christ has done for us on the cross.

So I ask you this morning: Are you clothed with the garment of salvation? Not through works of righteousness that you may have done, not because you've joined a church, or you're a good person, or you think you could have pleased God or earned His favor with anything you've done. But have you recognized that the only means to salvation is to be clothed with the garment of salvation, is for God to clothe you in the righteousness of Jesus Christ?

Speaking of which, the second item that God clothes us with is the robe of righteousness. We find it in that same verse. Isaiah 61:10, "He has clothed me with the garments of salvation; He has covered me with the robe of righteousness" (NKJV). 

Our righteousness would never have been enough for us to stand in God's presence. He's covered me with His righteousness—with the righteousness of Christ. The word there for righteousness is a legal term. It talks about a means of being put into proper relationship with God—being right with God, even though we have broken His law and sinned against Him.

How does God declare us righteous? By faith—by our trusting in the righteousness of Christ. He has covered me with the robe of righteousness. Are you wearing it today?

Then number three: God has clothed us with the garment of praise. Isaiah 61:3 says, "He came to console those who mourn, to give them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, and [to give them] the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness" (NKJV).

I know so many women today, Christian women, who are wearing a garment of heaviness. They're depressed; they're discouraged; they're defeated. You ask them how they're doing, and I've been there so many times myself, even this week, and it's kind of a sigh, a moan, a groan. There’s a spirit of heaviness.

It may be because of situations going on in your family. Someone said to me this morning, "I've had so many family members who have been struck with cancer recently. And one of them just lost to cancer." There are times when we feel that spirit of heavyness. But you know, in the midst of those heavy times, God can give you a garment of praise.

You say, "Well yes, I'll get that garment of praise as soon as I get through these circumstances.” No. God wants to give you that garment of praise right while you're in the middle of those circumstances. But that means we have to be willing to give Him our spirit of heaviness.

 Sometimes we don't want to do that. Sometimes we'd rather go around moping, depressed, and groaning and under the weight of things. But God says, "If you are willing to give Me that spirit of heaviness, to give it up, I'll clothe you with the garmet of praise."

To be clothed with the garment of praise means I'm not going to be moody or self-centered or focused in on my own burdens but to let God clothe me with His praise, the garment of praise.

There's another item of clothing God wants to give us, and that's gladness—related to the one that we just talked about—but to be clothed with gladness. Psalm chapter 30, I love this, verse 11, "You have turned for me my mourning into dancing. You have put off my sackcloth and have clothed me with gladness" (NKJV).

Sackcloth is a sign of mourning and grieving and repentance. There are times when it's appropriate to wear sackcloth, spiritually—to have a time of humiliation and repentance and brokenness, especially when we're convicted that we have sinned against God.

But aren't you glad that after we've gone through that process of repentance and brokenness, that God comes back and clothes us with gladness? The word means "glee; joyfulness; mirth; pleasure ,and rejoicing." Gladness, O Lord, You have clothed me with gladness. Did you come with that this morning?

Proverbs tells us that God clothes us as women with strength and honor. "Strength and honor are her clothing" (31:25).

Now, how do we get that strength and honor, or some of your translations say dignity, as a woman? Well, Proverbs 11 tells us a gracious woman gets honor; a gracious woman gets honor.

Psalm 96: "Honor and majesty are before Him. Strength and beauty are in His [presence]" (NKJV). If you want to be clothed with strength and dignity to face whatever's coming into your world this day, you need to get into His presence.

These are things God wants to clothe us with. As I was reflecting on these items of clothing, I thought about a little child, maybe a two year old who's determined to dress himself and doesn't want mommy to help him get dressed. "No! Let me!"

I wonder if some of us aren't that way spiritually. God’s wanting to clothe us with salvation and righteousness and praise and gladness and strength and honor and we're saying, "No, I want to do it myself!"

God's saying "Let Me dress you. Let Me clothe you. Let Me give you what you need to be a really well-dressed Christian woman."

So I want to talk today about some of the items of clothing that the New Testament talks about that are important for us to put on. As I was working on this, this morning, some additional ones came to mind. I want to just share with you, I'm sure there are others, but several items that we need to make sure we are clothing ourselves with. And just as I want to be careful not to leave my house with one navy shoe and one black shoe on, I also want to be careful not to leave my house without making sure that I have put on these articles of clothing.

In fact, these are articles of clothing you want to make sure you put on, even if you're not leaving your house in the morning. If you have a family, it's so important that you be fully dressed with these articles of clothing when you are inside your home. In fact, that's one of the most important places we need to have on these articles of clothing—when we're with the people who know us the best.

The first article of clothing that we're to put on is humility. 1 Peter 5:5 says, "Clothe yourself, all of you, with humility toward one another. For God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble." 

That word humility comes from a Greek word that means "lowliness of mind." It has to do with the way that you think about yourself and, therefore, the way that you think about others. All of that is the fruit of the way we think about God.

If we think about God as great, then we're going to realize that we are small. Lowliness of mind, humility, is esteeming ourselves to be little.

Now, we don't like that way of thinking today or talking when so much of the emphasis is on having good self-esteem. But I think for most of us our problem is that we have too much self-esteem. We think highly of ourselves and God wants us to have a proper estimation of ourselves, to see ourselves as we really are, to see our sin as it really is, and then to have a sense of absolute dependence upon God—the fact that apart from Him, we have nothing; we are nothing; we can do nothing.

You see, when we put on humility toward one another, that means we're going to lift up others. We're going to think highly of them. We're going to esteem all others as better than ourselves. Do you esteem your husband more highly than you esteem yourself?

Now, your husband may not be a believer; he may not be walking with God, but if you're clothed with humility, you will lift him up. You will reverence him; you will esteem him highly. The same is true with your children and others. So we're to put on humility.

Secondly, we're to put on the inner beauty of a meek and a quiet spirit. First Peter 3:4: "Let your adorning," your ornamentation, your jewelry, "be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle [or a meek] and quiet spirit, which is in God's sight, very precious." 

This is what causes God to look at a woman and say, "She's beautiful!" It's that inner beauty of a meek and a quiet spirit. And really, when we talk about meekness, we're talking about putting on the Spirit of Christ. Because He said, "I am meek and lowly in heart."

I was reading this morning from Vine's Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words, which by the way is a very helpful tool for Bible study. Here's what that author has to say about what meekness is.

It is that temper or spirit in which we accept God's dealings with us as good and, therefore, without disputing or resisting. This word is closely related to humility. It's only the humble heart which is also meek and which, as such, does not fight against God or struggle or contend with Him.
This meekness is first of all a meekness before God, but it's also such in the face of men, even of evil men, out of a sense that these men, with the insults and injuries which they may inflict are permitted and employed by God for the chastening and the purifying of His elect, that people who hurt us or harm us in some way that they wrong us, that even these are instruments in the hand of God.

So I can receive God's dealings with me with a spirit of meekness, and I can even receive the wrongs that may be inflicted on me by others with a spirit of meekness. Now it's not weakness, but it's the fruit of power—the power of the Holy Spirit within us. This writer says that:

Meekness is the opposite of self-assertiveness and self-interest. It's neither elated nor cast down simply because it is not occupied with self at all.

Have you put on meekness and a quiet spirit?

Then there's another piece of clothing we're to put on, and that is authority. We're to be under authority, the God-ordained authority that He has placed in our lives. In fact, I like to think of this as the Christian woman's hat.

Sometimes, we get asked questions about head coverings. First Corinthians 11 is a passage that talks about women wearing head coverings. Now, I'm not going to address that subject on this program, but it is clear in that passage that the one head covering a woman must have, must wear, is being in submission to the authorities that God has placed in her life.

If you are a married woman, you are to be under the spiritual covering and protection of your husband and to have it be clear to others that you are under his authority, that you are not operating independently of your husband, but you have come under his covering, his protection.

Even as single women, I find it so important to make sure that we're under the spiritual counsel and influence of godly men. I sometimes will go to the men in our ministry and say, "Would you pray for me? I need the spiritual covering of your leadership. Would you give me counsel about this decision that I'm needing to make? I want to be spiritually covered with authority, with biblical, wise authority."

Then we see in Ephesians chapter 6 something else that we're to put on and that is the whole armor of God. Paul says, "Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might. Put on the whole armor of God, so that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil" (vv. 10–11).

Ladies, think about what goes on inside your home, in your workplace, in your church. We're in a spiritual battle. If you're not clothed with the armor of God, you're going to end up defeated, overwhelmed, distraught, destroyed. Your life is going to be falling apart and attacked by the evil one, if you're not putting on the whole armor of God.

Then also in the book of Ephesians we read that we're to put on a new self. Now, let me read the passage. Ephesians 4:22, says first there's something we're supposed to put off. We're supposed to "put off the old self." That old nature, that flesh that wanted to have it my way; that wanted to control my own life. To put that off because that "belongs to [my] former manner of life and [it's] corrupt through deceitful desires."

Instead, verse 24, I'm to “put on the new self,” the new person. “If any person is in Christ, he is a new creature” (2 Cor. 5:17). I'm to put on a whole new way of thinking and living—it's Christ's way. It's a way that is created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness. It's to be conscious that if you're a child of God, you're not the same person you were; you're a new person. Be new in all you think and do.

Then we come to a whole collection of items of clothing that we find in Colossians chapter 3. "Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves," now listen to this list. "Clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience" (v. 12 NIV). That’s the well-dressed Christian woman. He says, "bear with each other, forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another, forgive as the Lord forgave you, and over all these virtues put on love" (vv. 13–14).

You can't be a well-dressed Christian woman if you are not a lover—a lover of God, a lover of your husband, a lover of your children, a lover of people who are unloveable. Above all, put on love.

Everything we do down here on earth is really just a dress rehearsal. We are to practice putting on that which we will wear for eternity in heaven. Preparation for heaven is what this life is all about.

So we come to the last book of the Bible, Revelation 19:7–8 and the Scripture says, "Let us rejoice and be glad, and give Him glory for the wedding of the Lamb has come, and His bride has made herself ready. Fine linen, bright and clean, was given her to wear" (NIV).

Are you ready for that wedding? Are you a well-dressed Christian woman? I know you've got clothes on today, and I'm glad you do. But what I can't see if your heart. You can't see my heart. I want to challenge you, before you leave your house in the morning, take this list and put on these items of clothing.

Put on humility and meekness and a quiet spirit. Put on submission to authority as your head covering, and put on the whole armor of God. Put on that new self, and put on love.

When you put all that on, do you know what you're really doing? You're putting on Christ—for the Scripture says to put on the Lord Jesus Christ (Rom. 13:14). Be dressed in Him; be clothed in Him, and you can know that you will be a well-dressed, a really well-dressed Christian woman.  

Leslie Basham: That’s Nancy Leigh DeMoss. The name of that message is “The Well-Dressed Christian Woman.”  

You’re hearing the program today thanks to listeners who support Revive Our Hearts financially. All month, we’ve been telling you about ways you can help the ministry at a critical time. Here’s Nancy with a final update for the month. 

Nancy: I want to say a huge thank you to everyone who has given to help meet this fiscal year-end need of $435,000. I’m so grateful for all the prayers and the sacrificial giving that have gone into meeting this need so far. 

Your gift is so important to us as we are hoping to end this fiscal year on target and keep moving forward with our current ministry outreaches. We don’t want to cut back on the kind of ministry we can take on in the year ahead, so your gift today really is important. 

If you’ve been intending to give this month but haven’t done it yet, it’s not too late. Our fiscal year comes to a close tomorrow. You can call us today or tomorrow to make your donation at 1–800–569–5959, or visit us online at ReviveOurHearts.com

And remember, if you've never given a gift to Revive Our Hearts before, your gift today or tomorrow will be doubled, up the the matching challlenge amount we've been given of $70,000.

Now, it will be several days before we know exactly where we've ended up with this fiscal year-end need. But the Lord knows what we need; He knows what He is prompting people to give. I'd like to take a moment to thank Him for His provision.

O Lord, we do thank You as we come to this last broadcast day as we come to the end of May. We want to thank You for Your faithfulness, for Your provision. For years and years You have provided day by day, week by week, month by month, year by year all that has been needed for this ministry to thrive and flourish to expand and to reach women now around the world.

I want to thank You for the times when it was really tight and You kept us on our knees crying out to You, not knowing where the provision was going to come from. But we've seen You come through again and again and again. I believe You are doing that again this month.

I thank You for hearts You have stirred to partner with us in helping us meet this need. Lord, whatever You provide, we'll give You thanks for it. We'll live within the means of what You supply.

We pray that You would continue to meet the need, so that Your truth can go forth and can reach more women; so that the fame of Your name will be spread throughout the nations of the earth and You will be magnified as women find greater freedom, fullness, and fruitfulness in Christ. For all of this, we give You thanks, in Jesus' holy name, amen.

Leslie: Amen. Thanks Nancy. Imagine you’re in a hospital room, in pain, facing some very serious news. Is that the time to be grateful? On Monday, we’ll hear from someone in that situation and hear what he learned about being thankful. Please be back for Revive Our Hearts.

Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss is an outreach of Life Action Ministries.

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About the Teacher

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth has touched the lives of millions of women through Revive Our Hearts and the True Woman movement, calling them to heart revival and biblical womanhood. Her love for Christ and His Word is infectious, and permeates her online outreaches, conference messages, books, and two daily nationally syndicated radio programs—Revive Our Hearts and Seeking Him.

She has authored twenty-two books, including Lies Women Believe and the Truth That Sets Them Free, Seeking Him (coauthored), Adorned: Living Out the Beauty of the Gospel Together, and You Can Trust God to Write Your Story (coauthored with her husband). Her books have sold more than five million copies and are reaching the hearts of women around the world. Nancy and her husband, Robert, live in Michigan.