A God-given makeover
A devotional by Jessica Brodie
I eyed my kids from the door, every inch of them covered in head-to-toe grime.
“We found a mud pit, Mama!” they shrieked, little faces transformed with glee.
My heart tumbled—so much for all the cleaning I’d done that morning.
One by one, I scooped them up and deposited them in my shower. There was so much mud caked on it took three shampoos and a loofah scrub-down to get most of it out of their hair and out from under their fingernails, not to mention all the loads of laundry.
That night, as we all snuggled up in my son’s room reading bedtime stories, I inhaled their scent, their freshly washed hair and freshly laundered clothes a balm for my senses.
“We were dirty, Mama,” my daughter whispered, giggling. “But it was so much fun.”
My son looked worried. “Is my special shirt ruined forever?”
I kissed his brow. “All the stains came out. It’s as good as new, sweet pea. Just like you two.”
It took a lot of work to get the mud off my kids, not to mention a bunch of stain remover and laundry cycles to salvage their clothes and my bath towels and mats. But it was true—every bit of filth had been washed away. They were fresh and clean again, like they’d never been walking swamp monsters to begin with.
Reading Zechariah in the Bible today, the prophet’s vision reminds me of my dirty kiddos all those years ago—and what it means for us all today.
In Zechariah’s vision, an angel had come to him from the Lord, telling him how angry God had been with His people. But God promised He would return to Jerusalem with mercy, cleansing them of their sin if they would walk in His ways and follow His commands.
“Then he showed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the Lord, and Satan standing at his right side to accuse him. The Lord said to Satan, ‘The Lord rebuke you, Satan! The Lord, who has chosen Jerusalem, rebuke you! Is not this man a burning stick snatched from the fire?’
“Now Joshua was dressed in filthy clothes as he stood before the angel. The angel said to those who were standing before him, ‘Take off his filthy clothes.’ Then he said to Joshua, ‘See, I have taken away your sin, and I will put fine garments on you.’
“Then I said, ‘Put a clean turban on his head.’ So they put a clean turban on his head and clothed him, while the angel of the Lord stood by.
“The angel of the Lord gave this charge to Joshua: ‘This is what the Lord Almighty says: ‘If you will walk in obedience to me and keep my requirements, then you will govern my house and have charge of my courts, and I will give you a place among these standing here’” (Zechariah 3:1-7 NIV).
Joshua, the high priest of Jerusalem, had been adorned in filth—covered in sin and unworthiness. He and all God’s people has wandered far astray, worshipping other gods and forgetting Who they belonged to. But God, in His great compassion, elected to remove that sin and give Joshua new clothes. Not only that, but He promised Joshua a place in His heavenly home if he would walk in obedience to God.
Just like my kids were covered in mud and grime and Joshua wore clothes of filth, we too are adorned in the muck and mire that is sin. Others might not be able to see the grubby sin-clothes we wear, but to God and His holy beings, I imagine we look like my kids did that day after their visit to the mud pit, our sin stinking and caked on for all of heaven to see.
But, through God’s almighty mercy and fatherly love, we get a fresh makeover! He gives us the chance to be washed clean, to put on brand-new clothes, the finest clothing we’ve ever imagined, and take up residence with Him—if only we choose to follow Jesus. God sent His Son to die for us and pay our sin-debt so that we can discover the path to heaven. He offers us His heavenly shower and laundry, effectively rescuing us from the fires of hell and granting us, in His mercy, new life.
Like “a burning stick rescued from the fire,” we are rescued from eternal death when we choose the path of Jesus. As Jesus said, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6 NIV). And as the apostle Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 5:17 (NIV), “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!”
Let’s get rid of those filthy, muddy, sin-caked clothes. Let’s put on new clothes of redemption—and choose life eternal.
Jessica Brodie is an award-winning Christian novelist, journalist, editor, blogger, and writing coach and the recipient of the 2018 American Christian Fiction Writers Genesis Award for her novel, The Memory Garden.
She is also the editor of the South Carolina United Methodist Advocate, the oldest newspaper in Methodism.
Learn more about her fiction and read her faith blog at http://jessicabrodie.com. She has a weekly YouTube devotional, too.
You can also connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, and more. She’s also produced a free eBook, A God-Centered Life: 10 Faith-Based Practices When You’re Feeling Anxious, Grumpy, or Stressed.