Bind it around your neck. Adorn yourself with it. Let yourself be confined by it. Let it tie you up and fence you in. Be marked by it. Put it on.
What’s more, write it on your heart. Etch it on your soul. Engrave it within your very being. Let it define you. Put it in.
That’s what’s grabbed me this morning as the pro-wisdom father continues his appeal to his still very malleable son.
And what does he want his son to put on? What is it, of such great value and worth, that he wants him to put in? I’m thinking it’s God Himself.
Let not steadfast love and faithfulness forsake you; bind them around your neck; write them on the tablet of your heart. So you will find favor and good success in the sight of God and man.
(Proverbs 3:3-4 ESV)
Steadfast love and faithfulness. Don’t let them go, says the fatherly counselor. Don’t allow them to escape. Beware of letting them slip away through inattention or neglect. Don’t release your grasp on them. Never seek to be loosed of them. For when they are upon you, and within you, you have put on, and put in, God Himself.
The LORD descended in the cloud and stood with [Moses] there, and proclaimed the name of the LORD. The LORD passed before him and proclaimed, “The LORD, the LORD, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness . . . And Moses quickly bowed his head toward the earth and worshiped.
(Exodus 34:5-6 ESV)
Moses wanted to see the glory of God (Ex. 33:18). He wanted the full experience of His presence. And so God descended and showed Himself a glimpse of Himself–His glory manifest in His person. The light emitted through His nature. And part of that glory? An eternal abundance of steadfast love and faithfulness.
Steadfast love and faithfulness. That’s what the deliverer of Israel saw. That’s what the father of Proverbs wants his son never to lose hold of. That’s what we possess in Christ. That’s what we put on when we put on Christ. That’s what have within when Christ lives within us.
And so the exhortation, put on God, put in God.
It’s not about doing, it’s about being. Not a fidelity to religious observance, but a transformation through the living Spirit.
We put Him on when we pursue being imitators of God with all our heart (Eph 5:1). We put Him in when we partake of His word and are transformed by the renewing of our minds (Rom. 12:2). Over time, the attributes of God Himself, steadfast love and faithfulness, are woven into our spiritual DNA. The likeness of the Father, manifest through the Son, are more and more apparent in His children, by the sanctifying work of the Spirit.
And ours is to not let go. To not stop running the race. To not tap out in the struggle.
But to bind Him on our neck. Write Him on our heart. To not forsake God’s steadfast love and faithfulness.
Put God on. Put God in.
By His grace. For His glory.