Monday, May 10, 2010

Are you still wearing your grave clothes?

Remember the story of Lazarus in John 11? Lazarus was a friend of Jesus's who had become very ill and died. He'd been in his grave for 3 days by the time Jesus arrived. Everyone had lost all hope. The man was dead, afterall. Gone, cold, finished. Death is the end, right?

The Bible says that before we became followers of Jesus, we were dead in our sins. Death is described as a force, a by product of evil. Instead of being something that just happens to us, it is actually something that controls us, that reigns in our life. Death is the snake that bites us with a venom for which there is no anecdote.

For if, by the trespass of the one man, death reigned through that one man,  Romans 5:17
just as sin reigned in death  Romans 5:21
The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law.  1 Cor 15:56

Did you ever see that movie, The Night of the Living Dead? There's a bunch of zombies wandering around eating people's brains. Lovely thought, I know. But it reminds me so much of who we were before we met Jesus. Dead people walking around who didn't even know we were dead. We were wrapped in grave clothes all around us, even around our faces. Blinded and wandering about. Already dead and just waiting for the grave to open and swallow us.
So what are the grave clothes?  I think they represent all the things Satan has used to trap us--to keep us blind and dead. Here's some ideas:

Love of money
Love of power, fame
As we seek after these things and give into their temptations, Satan keeps wrapping more and more grave cloths around us until we can barely move through life and can't see where we are going at all.  I know many people like this. They lumber about through life, craving this and craving that and are never satisfied. All the while they don't know they are being continually wrapped and bound for their ultimate burial.

That's why I love the story of Lazarus! Jesus is the only one with the power to save us from death. When Martha told him he was too late, Jesus replied "Anyone who believes in me will live, even after dying." He went on to call Lazarus out of the grave. Out came this mummy-like figure of a man, all wrapped up in his grave clothes. But Jesus didn't leave him like that. Death would have still had a grip on him. No, he told the people to "unwrap him and let him go" 

But I've noticed some people whom God has called out of the grave are still wearing their grave clothes! They still live the same old lives they used to. They never make progress. They never get better. They still struggle year after year with the same old problems and sins. Can you imagine walking around in your grave clothes after you've been given eternal life? Or worse yet, taking them all off and then allowing Satan to bind you again? For one thing, you'd smell pretty bad. For another, how can you live your life all bound up like that?
What is hindering your God-given destiny? What is stopping you from becoming the man or woman God wants you to be? From being victorious? More than a conqueror?. Empowered by the same Spirit that raised Lazarus, that raised Jesus? Why are so many Christians living lives of defeat?

Because they are still bound with their grave clothes. If you ask God, He'll reveal to you what exactly are your particular grave clothes and then He'll help you to take them off. He won't do it without your cooperation, but He will empower you to shed them, layer by layer.

Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?"


  1. Sometimes, unfortunately, we get so comfortable with the old clothes and inured to the stink that we don't want to change! May God help us to desire the beauty of holiness.

    Your comments made me think of obnoxious Eustace having his dragon skin peeled off by Aslan in the Voyage of the Dawn Treader.

  2. I read this the other day, and it really spoke to me. Yet, I think I completely ignored it. Today when everything was going wrong, I opened up my bible, and BOOM, there was this same story, so I read it. I take it as God reminding me.