“So Jacob said to his household and to all who were with him, “Put away the foreign gods that are among you and purify yourselves and change your garments.” Genesis 35:2 ESV
So many thoughts around this verse and my reading this morning in YouVersion. As we look at this response from Jacob we see him react to God’s call (v1). In this response he has 3 action steps. Let’s look at these through the lens of God calling us or guiding us towards something.
When God calls us we should:
1) Put away, or as another version says “get rid of” the foreign gods among you.
— It should be obvious to us all the we should not have any idols before God himself…right? Ok, we agree on that point. But, let’s face it — we do! When God calls us to something, or is clearly leading us somewhere it’s a great time to take an audit of our idols. What is controlling us or getting our core attention above Him? Money? Vanity? Porn/Lust? Fame? What is our idol, and we should name it, claim it and get rid of it.
2) Purify yourselves
— Getting rid of our idols is one thing. Keeping them at bay is another. As the Bible vividly describes a dog returning to its vomit, we need to not do the same thing. Peter hits this really hard!
Purity come from purifying ourselves. The best way for me to understand this is thinking about the way to purify and refine gold. That process requires intense heat, over 1000 degrees, and with that heat all the impurities rise to the top and are skimmed away. Without massive amounts of heat and hard work, the gold could not become as valuable as it could be. It would just have potential, but not reach it full capabilities. Sound familiar? Potential! We all have it, but we should not enjoy hearing “we have potential” for too long. That means we are not growing and being fully realized. We must walk through this purification process regularly — it’s not a one and done. What our sin and impurities are often times can only be refined one at a time. This is the journey of life — purifying and refining towards Jesus!
3) Change your garments
— Our idols are gone, we have purified ourselves and what should happen? WE SHOULD LOOK DIFFERENT! Often times the idols and the purifying ourselves is an inside job (our mind, our thoughts, our heart conditions). Others don’t always see clearly our idols, maybe just those few people we let in or the most common is just you alone know them — and God.
But when we get those areas right, when we refine them, we put on a new self (Eph 4). We dress in different clothes and others see it. Changing our garments might be our language we needed to change, and others will see that. It may be our attitudes and negativity that changes, and others will notice. It may actually be our garments and clothes because what we were wearing before had everything to do with our poor self esteem and the new us does not look to enhance ourselves or draw attention to the wrong areas for self esteem.
A closing thought from a message I heard from Bishop TD Jakes nearly 15yrs ago…he was preaching and talked about
“I was a public success but a private failure”. — Bishop T.D. Jakes
This thought and message has stuck with me for a long, long time. When we think about purity and integrity we must realize for a while we can fake it. We can cover up our idols, our sin, our challenges and in the eyes of others we can be a public success. But this challenge, the challenge of responding to God’s calling — his direction requires us to address the private areas.
May we hear Gods call and respond accordingly.
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