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Dressing for the Glory of God
What are you wearing right now? What kinds of clothes do you have in your closet? Why do you dress the way you do? We dress for different reasons, even if we don’t consciously think about it.
For example, some dress for self. Actually, this is a basic motive for much of what people do today. Some dress and adorn their bodies because they want to be admired. Others dress the way they do because they want to alert the world to the fact that they are individuals. Many people crave extra attention to bolster their egos and their self-confidence, and will often go to amazing extremes to make sure they are noticed. We see it all around us: the young lady who invites wolf whistles because of her skimpy top over skin-tight hip huggers; or the young man with baggy trousers that seem certain to fall to the floor at any moment. Both point to the same motive: Self longs to be appreciated or at least noticed. But Paul tells us, “If ye then be risen with Christ, . . . set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.”1
Some dress to please others. Children and teens aren’t the only victims of peer pressure. Adults of all ages and classes also participate. Fashion is a hard mistress. Whether it is the size of a collar, the width of a tie, the length of a skirt, or the gear to wear at a picnic, pressure is there. We all feel it.
A Christian dresses to glorify God. Christians care about what they wear because they want it to display a beautiful picture of the One they serve. As the hymn says, we want to be “the transparent medium, Thy glory to display.”2 The Christian’s goal is to “do all to the glory of God.”3
We are “living epistles” that can be known and read of all.4 If the outward appearance does not match the inward condition of the soul, people will be confused. We can even become an excuse for someone else’s rebellion.5 A young woman may feel her heart is pure and that she genuinely loves Jesus, but if she dresses in a suggestive way, she can be sure that men looking at her will find it hard to think of Jesus.
Our clothing can be a distraction even if it is tasteful and modest. If our wardrobe is filled with expensive-looking clothes at the peak of fashion, many people will pay more attention to what we wear than anything we say for the Lord.
We need to beware of displaying self in any form. When our clothes do not make a display of self, people around us will realize that there is more to the Christian life than what meets the eye. And those living epistles, known and read of all men, can make a profound impact in the world.
1. Colossians 3:1, 2. 2. “Live Out Thy Life Within Me,” by Frances Ridley Havergal. See Seventh-day Adventist Hymnal, #316. 3. 1 Corinthians 10:31. 4. 2 Corinthians 3:2, 3; Ellen White, Gospel Workers, page 163. 5. Matthew 18:6; Romans 14:13–15; 1 Corinthians 10:33.
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