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Women's Groups

Day 4 Precious Rags

CTA - Christ to All /Apr. 26, 2021
Day 4 Precious Rags

By Gail Marsh 

We have all become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous deeds are like a polluted garment. We all fade like a leaf, and our iniquities, like the wind, take us away (Isaiah 64:6 ESV). 

An oxymoron is a unique figure of speech where two opposite ideas come together. Jumbo shrimp. Bitter sweet. Civil war. False positive. 

That last one got my attention a few years ago. Shortly after a routine screening, the doctor’s office called to say I’d need a follow-up test. Turns out, there was nothing wrong. Yearly tests afterward were negative. The original positive turned out to be what medical folks call a “false positive.” 

But because of that one false positive, I now sometimes hear a “what if” whispering in the back of my mind. When I hear it, I need to remind myself: false positives happen. They are false. Positively false. 

Sometimes I struggle with “false positive” faith, too. I’m precious to God? Really? Many days my thoughts and actions are anything but precious! I snipe at my family. I do only the bare minimum at work. I even rail against God: “Why can’t we ever have enough money to pay all the bills?” Precious? Me? Not at all! 

When my sinful attitude, words, and actions are set beside my holy God, the contrast makes me want to hide in embarrassment and fear. Even on a good day, the Lord looks past my outward attempts all the way into my heart. There, he clearly sees my self-serving motivations. My good deeds are no more than dirty rags! 

But when I think that, I need to remind myself of the truth: 

You were his enemies, separated from him by your evil thoughts and actions. Yet now he has reconciled you to himself through the death of Christ in his physical body. As a result, he has brought you into his own presence, and you are holy and blameless as you stand before him without a single fault (Colossians 1:21–22 NLT). 

The filthy rags are gone. They’ve been washed clean! Pure! In fact, they’ve been transformed into a robe of righteousness! It’s true! Positively true! 

Prayer starter: Remind me, gracious Father, that because of Jesus, I can be sure—positively certain—that I belong to you, today and always! Thank you for . . . 

Editor’s note: Today’s devotion is slightly adapted from CTA’s Precious and Dearly Loved Softcover Devotion Book. To see it and other items in the Precious and Dearly Loved line of products, visit