It's Not What You Can Do, It's What You Need to Do

It's funny how the mind works.

I just finished reading through the Book of Romans in my devotions. This morning I got "stuck" on this little phrase: "Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ" —Romans 13:14, NIV. I wondered what being "clothed" in Christ would look like. Of course, the context of this verse gives us a list of some of the "nasties" that we should avoid such as: orgies, drunkenness, sexual immorality, debauchery, dissension and jealousy. Since I'm not having any issues with any of those (well, maybe a little jealousy from time to time!), I wondered what else "clothed in Christ" might look like in my context.

Ministry never ends. There is always more that can be done than there is time or ability to accomplish. That has weighed heavily on my mind lately so as I thought about this phrase from Romans I initially began to think about all that Christ accomplished during his earthly ministry. When I do that, I always feel a little guilty. I know I don't use my time as wisely as I should—something the Lord was never guilty of doing. He did everything he could.

Wait a minute, said my mind. Jesus did NOT do everything he could. For example, he could have healed all the sick in Galilee. He didn't. Jesus did everything he needed to do. There were probably many occasions when the Lord wanted to do more, and he was capable of doing whatever he desired. But he limited himself and did what he needed to do to accomplish the mission that his Father had given him. And lest that make me think that there is some kind of loophole through which I can escape between "can do" and "need to" it is impossible to forget that Christ's "need to" took him to the cross.

The point is to know what my divinely appointed mission is. I "can" do many things, but not all those things will accomplish the particular role that God has given me to play. In knowing my mission I will better be able to recognize what I "need" to do, rather than be driven by the false guilt connected with thinking I have to do it all.

Perhaps this is one of the lessons hidden in Paul's words in Romans 12:1, 2 (NIV) when he writes: "Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of the world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will."

To be clothed in Christ is not just putting off the sins and habits that belong to another life, it is also that daily submission to our unique part in his plan. At the point of submission he will show us that perfect, good, and pleasing will that leads us to do, not what we might have the capability to do using our own resources, but what we need to do for the Kingdom using his resources.

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