I took my wife to the store the other day, and as I was sitting in the car waiting on her, I observed some people going in and out who stood out based on their style of dress. A gentlemen in his late 50’s came out in a sun dress and carrying a purse (yes, I actually saw that), then two women in their 30’s walked in wearing small scarf-like head coverings, blue blouses and green skirts.
We all know of the Amish, Mennonite and various religious groups who dress modestly and alike, and of the various denominations that focus on women not wearing makeup, jewelry, pants, to low of tops or to short of dresses.
I have noticed that people make a point of dressing a certain way based on their beliefs, lifestyle, doctrine or religion. I have also noticed a lot of people who make sure they wear appropriate clothing, yet sometimes dress their inner spirit as mean, grumpy and unloving. It has always bothered me to see someone wearing a cross necklace or a group praying before eating, then treat people mean or uncaring.
I remember when I was younger I liked an evangelist that was fairly popular. His name was Bob Harrington and he was known as the Chaplain of Bourbon Street (anyone remember him?). He mentioned once that he wore certain colors of clothing based on what they meant to him, such as red for the blood of Jesus, and green for eternal life. Of course I had to go out and buy certain colors based on that, but what did that really mean to anyone? No one else knew what that meant and it did not make a difference to anyone else.
I wonder sometimes why it is we seem to put so much importance on our outward appearance, dressing the right way, wearing appropriate jewelry or images, yet we seem to forget our inner person.
It’s our inner self where the Spirit of God resides. It is his love and acceptance that really makes the difference, not our outward apparel.
It is just like living by law or grace, we want to do things to justify our relationship with God. Living by law is our way of outwardly trying to earn salvation and God’s love, yet we no longer live under the Old Covenant of Law. Jesus fulfilled the Old Covenant and made a new agreement whereby He did all the work. It is by grace and his work that we are justified, holy and righteous. It is not our outward appearance but His spirit within us.
Our outward style can be anyway we feel comfortable, but it is the inward spirit that makes the difference. I think it is appropriate to dress modestly, but there are so many styles, and each of us are unique that we can dress according what we like, and let the loving Spirit of God be what really stands out in the way we love, accept and treat those we come in contact with each day.
When we base our christian witness on what we do outwardly and with our appearance, it is not going to make any difference in any one’s life. When we try to imitate someone and how they do things, it is not going to make any difference in any one’s life. It is only when we realize that God lives within us, and it is by His power that anything will happen. We are to allow Him to live through us, loving others and accepting them, no matter what their outward appearance.