I’ve always been told to make sure a piece of clothing fits before you tear the tag off.
Because once the tag is off, the shirt, the shorts, the jeans, the jacket, the shoes . . . they’re yours.
No take backs. No returns. It’s totally, utterly yours.
For whatever reason, I felt the essence of this truth settle within my soul last night as I was unloading the several shopping bags that my mom and I had collected during our shopping earlier that day.
I don’t know what made this so different from all the other times I’ve tore off tags. Maybe it’s because that within the past few months, God has been helping me find who I am really am. And because of this, He is helping me find my style.
For those of you who don’t really know me, I hated shopping growing up. I dreaded the annual back-to-school shopping trip. Hours in a store–heck, hours in several stores–was enough to fill me with loathing, bitterness, and a level of exhaustion that matches the level I would only experience after hours of shopping.
It wasn’t just the prospect of spending time doing what I didn’t want to do that made me hate shopping. It was also because I didn’t have confidence. I didn’t love myself or practice self-care.
If you don’t like the way you look and have low self-esteem, it’s difficult to get excited about shopping for clothes that you think won’t make you beautiful.
Within these past few months of walking with God, however, I not only have gained my style and identity and voice from Him, but I have gained a new love for myself. And no, it’s not selfishness, per se. It’s a love for myself that stems from His love for me.
If the God of the universe and my Maker loved me and loves me, then why did I hate myself?
Once He began to show me the beauty He saw, the self-love started to flow through me. This, specifically, is where I began to find my new desires in my lifestyle. Shopping, then–fashion in particular–became something that piqued my interest.
I wanted new clothes that represented this new me. I wanted a new look that reflected the confidence and self-love I had begun to feel on the inside.
So, while shopping yesterday, God graciously blessed me with clothes that reflect this new style. And maybe it was because of this blessing that the act of tearing off the clothes had a spiritual essence to it.
Poised to tear the tag off the first shirt, I paused. Once the tag was off, I could never go back. This shirt could never go back to the store from whence it came, and it would forever rest in my closet. It would forever be with me.
A feeling of ownership and possession welled up within me. So I tore the tag off.
The feeling spread throughout my entire being, and my mind instantly turned to God. And I wondered if this is how He feels still whenever one of His children confesses they’re a sinner and believes in Jesus.
I wonder if this is how He felt whenever He watched His Son Jesus suffer on that wooden, rough, bloody cross. Taking shallow, painful breaths. Hearing mockery from the gathered crowd. Listening to the tears of His followers. Feeling pain beyond measure, but pain not worse than the agony of God leaving His side.
I wonder if this is how God felt whenever Jesus, with the weight of all our sins on His shoulders, receded to the tomb . . . and three days later, with the burden of sin shrugged off His shoulders, rose again.
This was the moment God tore the tags of sin and wickedness of our bodies. We were and are now His. He has complete ownership and possession. And He wants the best for us.
Paul says in 1 Corinthians 6:19-20:
Don't you know that your body is a sanctuary of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought at a price. Therefore glorify God in your body.
God paid for us to be free of sin and to have a relationship with Him. He bought us out of love, and we are totally, utterly His.
Yet we forget this sometimes.
We allow ruin into our bodies. Ripped seams that aren’t ripped for fashion and lost buttons and faded color due to too many washing outs with the water of the worldly trends.
We don’t wash ourselves with the blood that bought us anymore.
God tore the tag of sin and wickedness off my body . . . off your body. There is nothing we could do that would make Him want to return us. All He ever wanted and wants still is our hearts. He loves us, and we can’t even imagine the love He has for us. And because He loves us, He will protect us and give us a life marked by vitality and not by death and ruin.
All He wants is to give you rest. Rest in His Presence. So you don’t have to worry about meeting the expectations of the world and following the status quo. Because when you are in God’s closet and are totally, utterly His . . . He is all that matters.
Don’t ruin yourself for the world when God has already bought you for an extravagant price, when God wants to give you everything that the world can’t.
Remind yourself that you are bought by Him. Rest in His Presence. Offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God–this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. (Romans 12:1-2)
I promise . . . whenever you turn to God and step into the identity He wants to give you, you begin to find who you truly are. Who He made you to be.
You find your style. Lifestyle. Voice. Marker. Identity.
And whenever you stop to tear the tag off new pieces of clothing, you will rejoice in the gratitude that comes from realizing that your new identity flows from God’s loving purchasing of you from the store of sin and wickedness.
You were bought at a price . . . and God thinks you are totally worth the cost.
Live in that truth, and walk with your Creator who lovingly purchased you.
Owned by Him,