Have you taken off your grave clothes ?
Jesus called in a loud voice, "Lazarus, come out!" The dead man came out, his hands and feet wrapped in strips of linen, and a cloth around his face.
Jesus said to them, "Take off the grave clothes and let him go." (John 11:43, 44 NIV)
Once many years ago, Jesus called me out of my grave. I was freed from the chains of sin that held me in burial. That was my conversion, yet, in reading this passage the other day I suddenly realized how many more times He has called me.
You see, I often return, to wrap myself in sin, even to this day. With each sin I do not confess and go to prayer to resolve, I am taking another strip of burial clothing and wrapping it around myself.
For instance, when I allow stress at work to pile up within me, and I become crabby to my family when I get home, I have put on a layer of death clothes. When my car broke down and I had to find a way to get the kids to school, my attitude was another strip of linen I wrapped around my body.
The other day I was too proud to help a stranger, in fear of rejection and others watching, thus I put on another sheet.
Gossip, discouraging talk, envious thoughts, feeling sorry for myself, each one of these I found myself wrapped tighter and tighter in my grave clothes. No wonder I feel like I want to explode. Grave clothing will do that to you.
When we put on our grave clothes we are also hanging on to the past. We prefer to dwell in our pain and misery. In looking back, we want the security of the past no matter how terrible it was. We are afraid to face the future, scared to step out and envision what could be.
There's an old proverb that says "A man's curses will fall and wrap themselves around him like a cloak."
Although our cloaks are dirty, foul smelling they are also restricting. Yet we return to put them on. The danger of the cloth is that it will bind you so you are powerless. You will eventually die of suffocation.
That is why Jesus calls out to you today to take off your burial clothes. You need to be released. Join Him in joy, talk to Him and give Him your strips of linen. Do this and live. Don't return to the grave.