Sunday, July 09, 2017

DRESSING UP FOR GOD (CHALLENGING CONVENTION), Dan Mayfield

[Disclaimer: I'm not promoting wearing clothing that's immodest or has immoral messages]
Are you "dressed up" for God? I mean do you wear your "Sunday best" when you worship God? And not just on Sunday, but every day of the week. Are you always "dressed in readiness", prepared for the eventuality of His return (Lk 12:35)? Are you dressed in His righteousness having clothed yourself with Christ at Baptism (Galatians 3:26,27)?
Sin is a terrible garment to wear. Without out God's forgiveness, we are like Joshua who was "clothed in filthy garments" (Zechariah 3:3). When God forgave Joshua, it says, " “See, I have taken your iniquity away from you and will clothe you with festal robes" (Zechariah 3:4). Likewise, because of our obedient
faith (Rom. 1:5; 16:26), we have washed our robes and made them white by the blood of Christ (Rev. 7:14). This is how we dress up for God beginning at baptism (Acts 22:16, aww, go ahead, look at the verse).
There are some who have a different interest. They argue that since you dress up for men, as when attending a wedding or a funeral, they say it is only proper that you dress up and show equal respect to God by wearing the very best from your wardrobe when assembling with the saints!
One individual named Van Morris, makes the case for wearing your best clothing when you come to worship, says, "In Genesis 41 we find the Pharaoh sending for Joseph who is in a prison dungeon. We read: '. . .and they brought him hastily out of the dungeon; and he shaved himself, and changed his raiment, and come in unto Pharaoh.' It appears that for some people, going before an important person evokes a certain degree of respect that demonstrates itself in how one presents themselves. How much more so when the important person is the almighty God?" (Pulpit Helps, March 2007, p. 4)
What do you think about this man's reasoning? Is there a valid connection between wearing fancy clothes to please a man and wearing fancy clothes to please God? Wearing fine clothes was not important to John the baptist (Lk. 7:25). And I don't get the impression that Jesus' wardrobe was anything special. And fine clothes did not help the "man of great wealth" to be closer to God (Lk. 16:19). There's nothing intrinsically evil about fine clothing. Lydia was a "seller of purple fabric" and made her living in those circles. But she was first and foremost, a very decent and wonderful woman who loved God (Acts 16:14). The fine clothes did not hurt the woman who loved God but they did not help the carnal-minded man. And James warned not to judge according to appearances, as we become judges with evil motives (Jas. 2:4). This preference could indicate a misplaced emphasis on external things and is only a human justification for pressuring people to satisfy our expectations. This fixation on wearing your "Sunday best" threatens to miss the more important message of dressing in righteousness.
There is no doubt that God is concerned with our clothing. The Scriptures teach the importance of dressing modestly (1 Timothy 2). Some clothing is without a doubt inappropriate dress for a Christian. But the Scripture also warns against judging people on the basis of their clothing. If we act in a way, or if we makes rules that makes a poor man feel uncomfortable because of his clothing, we have harmed him for whom Christ died.
Setting up a dress code for Sunday worship is as much, or more, about pleasing eyes and our own expectations. Maybe the case could be made that wearing your best clothes is necessary for "becoming all things to all men." I personally find the argument weak to make the case that "because we dress up for men, how much more should we dress up for God." I wouldn't want to go to battle with that being my best argument.
Aside from issues of materialism and modesty, our outer apparel likely does not matter at all to God. If it did, wouldn't we want to "dress up" before all prayers since we are coming boldly before His throne of grace? Is God impressed more with an expensive suit than a outfit purchased from the local discount store? You might think so if you listen to some people. It is not an issue to God.
What do we really need to focus on? First and foremost we need to focus on the clothing that is internal and spiritual, making the external apparel, at best, secondary in importance. We know from Scripture that our dress should be modest and appropriate for one making a claim to godliness (1 Timothy 2:9,10). Be thoughtful in your dress. How should we dress through the week? How should we dress to represent Jesus Christ? Dress in like manner on Sunday.

No comments:

Post a Comment

HAVE YOUR SAY, PLEASE COMMENT


To email Dan Mayfield: Click Here