What Not to "Wear"

Tonight we had a meeting at the church...a rather frustrating meeting which seemed to revolve around a "dress-code" for those ministering in the church.  All I could think was, "I can't believe how important this is to some people!"  To me, as long as no one is dressing provocatively, or in a way that draws unnecessary attention to their body, there is no problem.  I grew up with very conservative dress standards, and I went to school at a private school that had a dress code.  When I moved to Mexico, I lived for two years on a ministry campus with a skirts-only dress code.  I believe that dress code has it's place...and it's not in the church.

The story that keeps coming to mind is in the book of 1Samuel...the annointing of David as the future king of Israel.  David seemed the most unlikely of all his brothers to become the next king...and I think the prophet Samuel was very surprised by God's choice.  Yet God made himself very clear to Samuel in that passage: "I don't look at the same things people look at.  People look at what is on the outside, at the appearance, and I look at the inside.  I look at what is inside the heart."  I don't think that God cares all too much about what we look like on the outside, or even so much about how we dress.  He cares about the condition of our heart.  He wants to know that we desire Him, that we are seeking after Him, that we want to love Him above all else.  If our heart condition is straying from those things, He pursues us and draws us to Himself, wanting our love above all else.  Whether we ladies wear pants or a skirt, our dress will not hide the attitudes that are inside of us.  When I see a guy wearing a athletic shirt that proclaims the name of a certain sports team, I do not automatically judge him as idolizing that team.  We can wear the holiest-looking clothes (I'm not exactly sure which clothes would be considered "holy"...maybe a long skirt and a buttoned-to-the-collar shirt) and have very unholy attitudes in our heart.  Or we can wear sweats and t-shirts (the "uniform" around the house for busy moms like me) and be actively pursuing an intimate relationship with our Savior.  The clothes...well, they are just clothes.  They are just an "appearance"...not at all the real thing.

I will not contend with anyone who has different ideas for how Christians should dress.  I respect other ideas and viewpoints...but I do think that it just distracts us from the real issue at hand.  If my goal as a believer is to share the good news of the Gospel with everyone that I can, I must admit that I will be much more concerned with their hearts than with their outward appearances!  If it ever came down to telling someone what NOT to "wear", I think I would advise against things like unforgiveness, judgemental attitudes, untruthfulness, or gossipping tongues way before I would think about the clothes.  After all, clothes wear themselves out with time...but heart issues can have an eternal effect.


Listen to Truth

These last weeks have been so busy, and when I get this busy I tend to make mistakes, especially in my thought life.  In all the busyness, my focus starts to sway...and instead of keeping my eyes on the Author and Finisher of my faith, I start to look at me.  It's not always a nice picture- I can see all my inadequacies and shortcomings, my failures and my errors in judgement.  I start to look at myself and my own capabilities to get things done, instead of relying on His perfect strength and the guidance of the Holy Spirit.  It all seems to begin in my thoughts...I allow little thoughts to creep in, sometimes subconsciously, without even realizing it.  Things like, "I can't do this anymore," or "This is too difficult, " or "Why me?" can start a pity-party in my heart that is anything but fun.  It is then that I realize I have a choice.  I can choose to stop the thoughts that go against what God says about me according to Scripture...or I can continue to listen to lies that go against Scripture and allow them to fester and grow within my mind and heart.

Last weekend, I was unfortunately choosing the latter over the former...and I was in a foul mood.  We were getting ready to help out at a Kids' Camp, and quite frankly my attitude was anything but saintly.  I was tired and wasn't afraid to mention that fact, several times, to anyone who was willing to listen.  Suddenly it dawned on me (actually it would be more accurate to say that the Holy Spirit was trying to get my attention) the huge mistake I was making.  I was choosing to listen to the negative thoughts that the enemy was throwing at me instead of taking a deep breath and listening to what God wanted to say to me.  When I took the time to listen to God's voice, He reminded me that His grace is enough, and His strength is made perfect in my weakness.  He reminded me that what we were doing wasn't just another event, but it was another opportunity to share the love of Christ and the good news of the Gospel.  He reminded me that He had plans for the camp that were greater then the plans that I had.  I couldn't very well argue with the things that He was speaking to me, so I confessed my sour attitude and asked for Him to fill me.  I asked for more of His strength, more of His patience, and more of His love.  I asked Him to help me to close my ears to the lies, and to open them to the Truth.  He did it all...and guess what?  Kids' Camp was amazing!  It was fun, refreshing, and all of the children that attended heard about God's great love for them.  It was a blessing to my life...and I almost missed out on it because I was listening to lies instead of the Truth.

So, what is the Truth that we should be listening to?  Here are just some examples:

  • Colossians 1:13-14 I have been redeemed and forgiven of all my sins.
    For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.

  • Hebrews 4:14-16 I have direct access to the throne of grace through Jesus Christ.
    Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has gone through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are yet was without sin. Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.

  • Romans 8:31-39 I am free from any condemnation brought against me and I cannot be separated from the love of God.
    What, then, shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. Who is he that condemns? Christ Jesus, who died more than that, who was raised to life is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written:"For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughter"No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
    • 2 Corinthians 1:21-22 I have been established, anointed and sealed by God.  Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ. He anointed us, set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.
    • Philippians 1:6 I am confident that God will complete the good work He started in me.
      being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.
    • 2 Timothy 1:7 I have not been given a spirit of fear but of power, love and a sound mind.
      For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline.
    • John 15:16 I have been chosen and appointed to bear fruit.
      You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit, fruit that will last. Then the Father will give you whatever you ask in my name.
    • 1 Corinthians 3:16 I am God's temple.
      Don't you know that you yourselves are God's temple and that God's Spirit lives in you?
    • Ephesians 2:6 I am seated with Jesus Christ in the heavenly realm.
      And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus,
    • Ephesians 2:10 I am God's workmanship.
      For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
    • Ephesians 3:12 I may approach God with freedom and confidence.
      In him and through faith in him we may approach God with freedom and confidence.
    • Philippians 4:13 I can do all things through Christ, who strengthens me.
      I can do everything through him who gives me strength.
    When I have thoughts that are contrary to what the Word of God says, I need to realize that I am listening to the wrong thing, and begin once again to listen to Truth!