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Monday, February 25, 2013

Does Jesus care what we wear to church?

Yesterday, I wrote a post entitled, "a critical spirit." I briefly touched upon the subject of church appropriate attire.
I have heard it said that, in some churches, there is an unspoken dress code. I vaguely recall hearing a message when I was very young about how we should always wear our finest clothes to church.
Throughout the course, of my life, there is one thing I have always noticed. Women in ministry often tend to look good.
Of course, there is nothing wrong with looking good. There is nothing wrong with putting on your Sunday best if you feel that you are honoring God.

I'll be honest. I don't like to dress up. I don't have many dress clothes. I am at home in jeans and t shirts. I work shift work and drive a forklift. I can clean up nicely, but, I truly don't have a lot of clothes at this point in life. I have outgrown some and I have given away a lot of the nicer things in my closet to people who would wear it and appreciate it more than I do.

Yesterday, I asked Jesus if He cared if we dressed up for church. DO you know what verse He gave me? There is a story in the Bible where Jesus is dining with the Pharisees. They noticed that one of the disciples didn't wash his hands. Now, keep in mind that this was  probably considered to be highly offensive and unclean. It was looked down upon by the self righteous Pharisees.

Jesus then told them that it was not what is on the outside that counts, but cleanliness on the inside.

I think it is great and fine if we want to play dressup at church. I can understand the correlation between dressing very nice and reverance and tradition.

 My only concern is for the people who have felt disregared and made to feel ashamed because their Sunday finest is only tattered rags.
Not everyone can afford to dress to the nines, and anyone shaming them into making them feel as if they must, is missing the point entirely.
I also think that it is important to be more than Sunday Christians. It seems to me that Christ would be more honored and revered if we honored him daily and in all that we do, rather than feeling as if we have to prove ourselves by putting on gold jewelry and loafers.
Yesterday, I asked Jesus a very serious question.

I told Him that if He wanted I would go and spend a few thousand dollars on a new wardrobe. I told him that I would get my nails done, buy really nice shoes, and do whatever it takes to look like everyone else..

I told Him that I was willing to buy myself a lot of stuff if that is what it takes..
I'm pretty sure that He told me not to bother. You see, when God directs us to give, nine times out of ten, it will not be self directed.

I guess I am typing this message to anyone who has ever felt left out or condenmed for not having a great wardrobe to wear to church. I am also writing this based on a convsation that I had in the not too distant past. I spoke with a hurting young man who was seeking and trying to find answers in life. I could tell that he had a thirst for Jesus..However, he had been to a church service and received some very haughty looks for a few tattoos that he had on his arms. Keep in mind, his tattoos weren't of naked women or anything offensive.. But, apparently, his simply having them and daring to leave them uncovered caused a few eyes to roll. He said that he felt very uncomfortable, and will never set foot inside that church again.  He said that he did attend another service where he felt accepted, tattoos and all... These peope were able to love him for who he was, and the tattoos didn't bother them. Wasn't that one thing that defined Christ? His ability to look beyond anything social or physical, and simply accept anyone who was willing to run into His arms?
IF you aren't doing the same, then you aren't acting like Christ.

TO those that silently judge others around you based on what they wear... If you don't like someone's attire, if you think that they dress poorly, and you turn up your nose at their tattered rags..
The Bible says we fulfill the Law of Christ when we bear one another's burden..
so, wouldn't it be Christlike if, in all our your excess, you offered to meet some of their needs. In a loving and generous spirit..

and, I didn't really address the subject of modesty here, but I think it is important to dress modestly so that you won't present yourself as a tempation to other believers.
Mark 7: 5-8

So the Pharisees and teachers of the law asked Jesus, “Why don’t your disciples live according to the tradition of the elders instead of eating their food with defiled hands?”
He replied, “Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you hypocrites; as it is written:
“‘These people honor me with their lips,
    but their hearts are far from me.
They worship me in vain;
    their teachings are merely human rules.’[a]
You have let go of the commands of God and are holding on to human traditions.”

“Do not let your adornment be merely outward — arranging the hair, wearing gold, or putting on fine apparel —   rather let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God.”

1 Peter 3:3-4 NKJV
“.. in like manner also, that the women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with propriety and moderation, not with braided hair or gold or pearls or costly clothing, 10 but, which is proper for women professing godliness, with good works.”

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