Dressing for the Gospel
Like many of you I went to the fair last week. Before I voluntarily dole out good money to walk into a mass of humanity, I tend to mentally brace myself for the shock of skin I know I will be seeing. This year was no exception. I know I sound like a crotchety old lady but, seriously, if you would feel uncomfortable sitting across the table from grandma in what you are wearing, you may want to reconsider your attire for public viewing. There, I got my crotchetiness out of the way (yes, that is a real word, it even passed spell check!).
Ladies, this blog is not necessarily about modesty, but it is very much about applying godly wisdom to what you physically put on your body. I will not tell you what you can and cannot wear, if that is what you think you hear from me, you are not listening. You must understand that practicing discretion in what you wear is not about the clothing, it is very much about the heart condition of the person putting the clothes on. Do I see a lot of heart issues around me? Absolutely, I see them in lost strangers at the fair, in saved friends at church and most certainly in the person looking back at me in the mirror every day.
Here is what is essential that you understand first. Once God has claimed us as his own, our lives should have one, singular focus. That focus is to bring glory to God (this discussion will hold zero validity to those outside of God’s family). God expresses this in Isaiah 42:7, “everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made.” Also, in 1 Cor. 10:31, “So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” The epitome of God’s glory is seen in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ (read John 17:1-5). Therefore our lives need to be spent on proclaiming this good news to others in order to multiply God’s glory. This is why Jesus commanded us before his ascension to, “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation.” Mark 16:15.
What does all this have to do with what you put on in the morning? Everything. If the gospel of Christ is to be central in our lives, everything we do must revolve around that principal (this keeps the Christian walk relatively simple to understand, although often difficult to carry out as we battle the flesh constantly).
I’ve explained all of the above to get to this important point: even what we wear must point to the gospel. What we place upon ourselves should point the world to Jesus, displaying that our lives have been purchased by our God and we no longer belong to ourselves. I do not dress to bring attention to myself, I dress to direct attention to my Father. Just as God is King over our families and everything we own, he is also King over our bodies and how we decorate them.
A good way to check ourselves in this area is to see if what we are putting on our bodies is pointing away from the gospel. Are people who see you distracted by what you are wearing? Are people noticing your jewelry, shoes, make-up, hair, exposed skin or even your tattoos more than they are paying attention to the message of hope you are supposed to be proclaiming? Maybe you fall prey to advertising for false idols or worldly ideals by constantly branding yourself with logos, teams or organizations. Another direction to consider - are you slothful in caring for your body? Being unkempt with poor hygiene and unhealthy habits also impacts the display of the gospel in your life.
Another good question to ask yourself: when others think of you, is it a physical image that pops into their minds or is it thoughts of your good works and gentle and quiet spirit? Never devalue the adorning that God sees as “very precious” (read 1 Peter 3:2-4). His opinion is the only opinion that matters and we need to live like we believe it.
It is most certainly okay to be physically beautiful, it is okay to look nice and dress well. God hand-crafted each of us with unique gifts and blessings, but everything, everything, everything is to be used for his glory and in submission to his authority. So be wise and discerning in what you put on externally. Dress for Christ and not yourself, consider that as you make your choices each day. It really will make a difference. You don’t want to be the beautiful gold ring with an ugly pig problem (see Proverbs 11:22).
Ladies, cause your bodies to be servants of the gospel message. Do not try to impress the world, but instead decide to love those around you well. Care about the purity of thought of your brothers and sisters in Christ. Care about those who are lost, let them be drawn by your devotion to Jesus and not your worldly accessories. Adorn yourself with the gospel inside and out.
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