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Dressing for the Glory of God
People often argue that what we are is more important than what we wear. But can we really separate the two? Don’t we reflect who we are by what we wear? We have to admit that God does care about what we wear. If He didn’t, He surely wouldn’t have given us so much instruction!
“Still,” you might argue, “clothing is such a tiny aspect of the Christian life. Let us stick with the great essentials of salvation and not concern ourselves with nitpicking.”
When we think this way, we ignore God’s interest in the smallest details of our lives. It was a small thing that God asked of Adam and Eve: Do not eat of this one tree, out of so many in the garden. When Naaman went to Elisha to be healed, he was enraged because he was asked to wash in an insignificant, muddy river. One of his own servants asked the question that rings through the ages. “My father,” he began, “if the prophet had bid thee do some great thing, wouldest thou not have done it?”1 If Elisha had asked for a large sum of money, a pilgrimage, or some other difficult thing, Naaman would have gladly complied. But Elisha had asked him to do something so easy.
Dressing for God’s glory is not something horribly difficult. But it does take willingness on our part to let Him change our attitudes. God wants us to wear His clothing. “I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see.”2 He wants to cover us, He wants to decorate us inside with His own charms and beauty. Are you willing? If not, are you willing to be made willing? Without a willing heart, Christ cannot work His transformation.
“The apostle presents the inward adorning, in contrast with the outward, and tells us what the great God values. The outward is corruptible. But the meek and quiet spirit, the development of a beautifully symmetrical character, will never decay. It is an adornment which is not perishable. In the sight of the Creator of everything that is valuable, lovely, and beautiful it is declared to be of great price.”3
Someday Jesus will swing open those pearly gates and admit His precious ones. His words will thrill our souls: “Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy Lord.”4
“If the heart is reformed, it will be seen in the outward appearance. If Christ be in us the hope of glory, we shall discover such matchless charms in Him that the soul will be enamored. It will cleave to Him, choose to love Him, and in His admiration self will be forgotten. Jesus will be magnified, adored; and self, abased and humbled.”5
May we be willing to follow Jesus in such a little thing as dress. As we do so, we will witness to the world that we live to glorify God.
1. 2 Kings 5:13. 2. Revelation 3:18. 3. Ellen White, My Life Today, page 123. 4. Matthew 25:21. 5. White, Spiritual Gifts, Volume 2, page 263.
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