Dressing Up for Church?
Is getting dressed in our “Sunday
best” something that God has told us he wants us to do, or is it a way of
worship which man has imposed?
It has often been said that if
we were visiting the queen then we would wear our best clothes, so how much
more should we do the same for God?
The trouble with this reasoning
is that it is worldly reasoning. God has told us that it is MAN who is effected
by outward appearances, but that He is concerned with what is in our hearts.
1 Sam 16 v 7
“the Lord sees not as man sees,
for man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.”
God has told us that he wants RIGHTEOUSNESS
to be our garments “ fine linen is the righteousness of the saints”
Rev 19 v 8
God has even gone further and condemned
getting dressed up in costly apparel that is an outward adorning to impress.
“Let not yours be the outward adorning” etc
Our adorning should be our righteous
deeds which we don’t just wear on a Sunday morning, but all the time. Some
make the point that God is not impressed by fancy Church buildings, yet persist
in the belief that He is impressed by fancy clothes. Our bodies and clothes
are our outward tents which rot and perish, it is our inner nature which is
being renewed. Perhaps it is specially mentioned that John the Baptist wore
a garment of camel’s hair to make a point. He was preparing the way for Christ
and the greatest prophet born of woman, yet he did not wear fancy clothes,
in fact the camel was unclean under the law yet John wore a garment of camels’
hair. Jesus commented on the clothing of John to the pharisees who placed
great importance on their outward adorning and flowing robes which today would
be the equivalent of suits and ties, the clothing worn to impress.
Luke 7 v 25
“What did you go out to see?
A man clothed in soft raiment? Behold, those who are gorgeously appareled
and live delicately are in Kings’ courts. But what did you go out to see?
A prophet? Yes I say to you and much more than a prophet. This is he of whom
it is written, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face... among those
born of women there is not a greater prophet than John the Baptist”
If we are born of the spirit we
have a new way of seeing things, we have God’s spirit dwelling in us as we
are told John did, and we will also see as God sees and not as man sees. If
we don’t have God’s spirit dwelling in us then we tend to live by rules as
the pharisees did who did not understand what should have been the motivation
behind the rules God had given to Moses.
There are also warnings about those
who despise what others wear and condemn them. When David danced before the
Lord Michael despised him, and what he wore.
In 2 Sam 6 v 20 we are told
“How glorious was the king of
Israel today, who uncovered himself to day in the eyes of the handmaids of
his servants as one of the base fellows shamelessly uncovers himself. And
David said to Michal, It was before the Lord, who chose me before your father,
and before all His house to appoint me ruler over the people of the Lord,
David’s heart was right before
God, but Michal could’t see what was in his heart, she couldn’t get past judging
him by what he wore. If we do the same then we have not been born or the spirit,
we do not see things as God does.
Despite the many warnings and lessons
there are still people who insist on making rules about what is worn to the
meeting on Sunday. If they think that God is impressed by a shiny piece of
material tied around their neck then that is their idea, it is not what God
has said. If they make rules about how others dress when God has clearly said
He is looking at our hearts and not our outward garments, then it can cause
those who see the futility of this to become disillusioned with groups who
make rules of men that are not God’s rules.
God has told us that we came into
the world naked and leave it naked. It is our characters that He looks at.
It is PEOPLE who are impressed by fine clothing. The argument that we show
respect to God by the way we dress is not a Biblical argument, rather God
condemns those who place importance on outward show.
It is only when we are born of
the spirit and begin to understand the things that really matter to God that
we can get past living by rules and traditions of men which were the stumbling
block for the pharisees.
Sis. Robin Jones (Hurstville, Australia)