Keep Your Shirt On

I meet with a buddy on Thursday nights. We met last night. We were both tired. Feeling it physically, feeling it emotionally, and if we’re honest, kinda feeling it spiritually. Weary is the word that kept coming up in the conversation.

Something about when the going gets perpetually tough that makes it tough to get persistently going.

And honestly, while it doesn’t quite feel right to compare the hardships of 2020 to the seven bowls of God’s wrath of that coming day of God’s judgment, something the coming Christ says in Revelation 16 hits me as having application in these wearying days which require endurance.

Six bowls of God’s wrath have been delivered. Unimaginable “natural disaster” has struck the earth. Painful sores, dying seas, no drinking water, sun flares scorching the skin of anyone who ventures outside. And then, when everyone is about done with the sun thing, the lights go out — like go out over the whole earth — and people are plunged into darkness. And they “gnawed their tongues in anguish and cursed the God of heaven for their pain and sores” (Rev. 16:10-11).

Amidst all this, there’s still a remnant of God’s people waiting for Christ’s return. Still a flock of the faithful. And, breaking into John’s vision of the bowls of wrath, Jesus interjects and whispers to His own, Keep your shirt on!

“Behold, I am coming like a thief! Blessed is the one who stays awake, keeping his garments on, that he may not go about naked and be seen exposed!”

(Revelation 16:15 ESV)

In a season of suffering to end all seasons of suffering, Jesus says to His own, Stay awake. Stay dressed.

In your weariness don’t remove your garment of righteousness. Hold fast to who you are in Me. Take what’s been credited to your account, My righteousness, and continue to live into it — this is not the time to concede the battle nor the time to stop running the race. You’ll be blessed, you’ll know the happiness of having stood holy in Me when, on that day, you stand holy before Me. Keep your shirt on!

In this unending season don’t let fall to the ground your garment of readiness. I’ve told you that in the world you will have tribulation (though you couldn’t have imagined this kind of tribulation), but I also told you to take heart, for I have overcome the world (Jn. 16:33). So take heart. I am victor over this current season of sorrow, as well. And my victory will be known to all when I return. But when I return, it will be like a thief. So be ready. Be engaged. Be about the kingdom’s business. Keep your shirt on!

Maybe not entirely the right passage to apply to this day, but I’m thinking the right exhortation to heed. The right promise to believe.

Blessed is the one who stays awake, keeping his garments on . . .

Not a time for snoozin’. Not a time to tap out . . . physically, emotionally, or spiritually. But a time to continue to prepare for the blessing. It’s gonna be worth it all.

So keep your shirt on, weary saint.

By His grace. Knowing that one day we’ll behold His glory.

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