Clothed With Confidence
Dec 11, 2016 03:19AM
By Bonnie Lyn Smith
“Mom, can I have another ugly Christmas sweater this year? I hate to wear the same one every year to the same events. I’ll pay for it.”
Yes, I get it. At 13 years old, my daughter wants to go into the holiday parties feeling confident, wearing a “new thing” (even if it’s supposed to look like an ugly old thing, which I’m not sure I’ll ever understand).
As we read in Wheat and Winepresses and Is That You, God?, Gideon had been chosen by God to be a “mighty man of valor” to bring about deliverance for Israel. But Gideon had a fear and confidence problem. Apparently, going into battle, he was in need of the correct apparel.
Yeah, me too.
He had multiple conversations with the angel of the LORD, burned an offering to God, and obeyed a command to destroy the false gods the Israelites had started to follow. Gideon took on Baal, the Phoenician false god, and won; he even earned a new name!
Judges 6:32, ESV
Therefore on that day Gideon was called Jerubbaal, that is to say, "Let Baal contend against him," because he broke down his altar.
Did a new name + a victory of sorts = a new confidence?
Maybe, but it had not fully developed yet—and God knew that. So what did He do?
Judges 6:33-35, ESV
Now all the Midianites and the Amalekites and the people of the East came together, and they crossed the Jordan and encamped in the Valley of Jezreel. But the Spirit of the LORD clothed Gideon, and he sounded the trumpet, and the Abiezrites were called out to follow him. And he sent messengers throughout all Manasseh, and they too were called out to follow him. And he sent messengers to Asher, Zebulun, and Naphtali, and they went up to meet them.
The Spirit of the LORD helped Gideon get dressed for battle. The Bible says that the Spirit
Wow! That sounds like significant protection and power. God didn’t send Gideon into fight his enemy on his own strength. He clothed Gideon. I don’t know about you, but I think that’s the kind of outfit I would want before facing any challenge or difficult situation.
There are other examples of this in the Scripture.
1 Chronicles 12:18, ESV
Then the Spirit clothed Amasai, chief of the thirty, and he said, "We are yours, O David, and with you, O son of Jesse! Peace, peace to you, and peace to your helpers! For your God helps you." Then David received them and made them officers of his troops.
2 Chronicles 24:20, ESV
Then the Spirit of God clothed Zechariah the son of Jehoiada the priest, and he stood above the people, and said to them, "Thus says God, 'Why do you break the commandments of the LORD, so that you cannot prosper? Because you have forsaken the LORD, he has forsaken you.'"
Luke 24:49, ESV
“And behold, I am sending the promise of my Father upon you. But stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high."
Notice the order of events in the account of Gideon:
- The Spirit clothed Gideon (with power).
- Gideon sounded the trumpet.
- His family (Abiezrites, a family of the tribe of Manasseh) responded to the call to rally.
- His tribe rallied.
- Several other tribes of Israel joined them.
Wow. First of all, none of the last four actions occurred until the Spirit empowered Gideon. Then, Gideon took the bold step to go forward with this plan, an act of obedience: sounding the trumpet. The initial faithfulness of his family then expanded to the rest of his tribe and other tribes surrounding him geographically.
See what God did? Not only did the Spirit empower Gideon, but He also made him a “mighty man of valor,” winsome enough to command a following.
And the battle hadn’t even been fought yet.
the battles in front of you this Christmas season? Are they relational?
Financial? Career-related? Health issues? Temptation? Addiction? Sin?
How do we claim victory when the enemy—or situation—seems so daunting, so massive?
I’m going to take my cue from our friend Gideon on this one. Like him, I am often found on the floor of my own “winepress,” hiding from what overwhelms me, hoping nobody notices. I don’t think I have the energy or resources to tackle certain obstacles in my life.
But God wants so much more for us. And if we ask Him, He will clothe us with the Spirit too. If you have confessed Christ as your Savior, you already have the gift of the Holy Spirit.
So why not ask the Spirit to clothe you with His power, charisma, strength, and favor for the battle ahead of you?
It’s going to become my new prayer:
“LORD, please clothe me with your Spirit so that I only do and speak what You require of me.”
After seeing Gideon get started (and knowing what he accomplishes in future chapters of Judges), I can’t imagine facing the tough stuff of life without my Holy Spirit covering.
The Christ Child, whom we celebrate this Advent and Christmas, came so that, unlike Gideon, we had constant access to the Holy Spirit living within us.
God with us, Immanuel.
Let’s live in the power of that Holy Spirit "garment" that Christ bought for us with His own body and blood on the cross—for you, for me, for all who call on His mighty name.
Author Bonnie Lyn Smith writes about parenting, marriage, mental health advocacy, special education, faith in the valleys of life, the healing cloak of Jesus, drawing healthy boundaries, relational healing, renewing our minds, walking with a Holy God, and much ado about grace. Join the conversation at Espressos of Faith.
Her book, Not Just on Sundays: Seeking God’s Purpose in Each New Day, offers anecdotes on all of these subjects and Scripture for each situation as well as Book Discussion Questions for deeper exploration.