Athlete, Put the Uniform On
Galatians 3:26-29 (NIV)
So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.
Putting on a uniform is meant to change you. The “we” grows and the “I” dies. Mission expands. So does responsibility — to others and for others. Self finds a better place to live, and selfless service moves in.
You accept consistent coaching/leadership from more than just yourself. The uniform becomes the strong reminder of whom you belong to and what you’re about.
If you are a Christian, if you “have clothed yourself with Christ,” you share the same destination, mission, coaching and core values with God and others in His family.
Self-sacrifice and an excellent spirit become the standard. The differences of others die. A commitment to unity lives. And one’s identity shifts.
The apostle Paul understood this well and wanted to help others. So he strongly appealed to the Christians in Galatia who were struggling with all kinds of differences (ethnic, racial, social, sexual, political — sound familiar?).
He said to put on the same uniform (“clothe yourselves with Christ“) and watch how putting it on takes great effect. It did! It worked!
VIEW THE UNIFORM. Jesus issues uniforms to His followers and stains them with His beautiful blood. It’s a perfect, redeeming, grace-and-mercy-driven, crimson flow.
When God sees us so clothed, He sees “acceptable,” “forgiven,” “worthy,” “part of the family” no matter what anyone else says. This is how we must view our own uniforms … and that of others who wear it too.
NOTICE THE TAG. The label, “made in the image of God,” is a tag everyone wears. God stitched it into all of us, not just some. Notice it, make it matter when we see all others, regardless of whose uniform they are wearing.
Honor their equal worth as equally created, divine image bearers. Call attention to this tag. Make others feel this as best we can consistently (2 Corinthians 5:16).
UNIFORM MEANS MISSION. Donning it must direct us. Doing justice, loving mercy, walking humbly with our God is much of the mission. It must activate when we wear the uniform. We earn our bars and stripes at this level. This is what we fight for (Micah 6:8).
These are the marks of the uniform we put on. They must override every other look we wear, every other way of operating if we are really on His team (1 John 4:20-21).
Reflect: How must wearing the Christ uniform change the way you see and treat all others? (The church in Galatia certainly struggled with it. So did patriarch Peter. Do you?)
Like the apostle Paul, who could you encourage to wear a Christ uniform with you?
A prayer to consider: LORD, thank You for dressing me in Your perfect righteousness in Christ. What an unmerited gift and amazing uniform to wear! I am humbled to bear the tag as Your image-bearer in this world. What embedded nobility You give to us all!
Through your Spirit and Jesus’s name, Amen.