Maybe you didn’t know it, but it is really important to God how you look! How do I know?
Think about it with me . . . .
In most churches, on any given Sunday, you can see some really fine outfits. I appreciate the attitude of many that dressing up in honor of God as they worship is part of their expression of His importance. At the same time, I know there are many who dress up for the attention/approval of everyone and anyone else that might see them.
In some churches the clothes might be casual, even real casual, but it’s still often an attempt to impress those that will be seen and will see him or her. Casual is contemporary. Casual is the younger generation’s way of distinguishing themselves. Casual gets the attention of their peers.
On the other hand, coat & tie for the men, nice “Sunday dress” for the ladies is a more mature generation’s way of showing God respect . . . and impressing each other. It seems obvious that if it’s that important to God’s children, it must be important to God. Right?
What about the person who gets critiqued, maybe even to their face?
–“Mrs. Windham, my Sunday School teacher, told me I should dress nicer for church.”
–“Maybe we can help you find something more fitting for joining us as we worship God.”
Is the appearance of an individual the criteria that determines one’s commitment to God?
In general, parents do need to help their children learn how to dress in public. Hopefully parents will take that job seriously, though one sometimes wonders about that when seeing many of the adolescents in a shopping mall! There are limits for what is socially acceptable.
And, yes, churches do have distinct personalities. I remember a time in a First Church, in which I was a minister, a woman introduced me to a young man in very casual clothes. He’d come in on his own for the service. After giving me his name, she said, “Maybe you could help him find some acceptable clothes to wear to church.” OMGoodness!! As soon as I could get him to a place where we could talk privately, I apologized for the embarrassment and told him he looked fine. In fact, I thought he did look fine. It just didn’t meet her standard.
I’ve thought about that incident a lot. Maybe we do need to emphasize what’s really important to dress ourselves in:
- Love for God in an intimate relationship with Him.
- Love for others, by being more concerned about what’s on the inside than what’s on the outside.
- Earning the title, “Christian,” by living as Jesus lived.
- By being “Jesus in skin” to others.
- Loving His bride, the church.
- Being proud of Whose children we are.
I think it is really important to God how we dress. That’s why the Bible says, “Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.” (Col. 3:12; c.f., Rom. 13:14; Eph. 6:13-17; 1 Pet 5:5)
If more churches emphasized the way Christians are to be dressed — spiritually — there would be less need to worry about how one appears in public. More than that, there would be a lot less need to worry about controversy within the body of Christ! Usually, the biggest controversies arise out of how a person or group wants to be seen, or is seen by others, rather than what’s important by God’s standard.
Let me suggest this: Focus on God. Let Him take care of convicting or forgiving the way a person dresses for worship. Let’s put the focus on how we’re dressed.
When the focus in church is on what’s right in a church and controversy begins to disintegrate the unity of the fellowship, give me a call or e-mail me and let’s see what we can do together to clothe ourselves in “compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.” Phone me at 225-773-8883 or contact me using the contact box, below.