For those of you who do not know me personally, I have never been a fan of dressing up. I mean, ever. My usual attire consists of sports shorts, a t-shirt and a snapback. Ironically, I grew up in a school that had a dress code, and, of course, I did not just dislike it, I despised it. I would blatantly find ways to get out of dress code and get in trouble. In fact, I remember a time when I got in a ton of trouble because I neglected to bring a coat with me outside.
It was a chilly day, but, let’s be honest, “chilly” in Florida is about 65 degrees, and I play hockey, so I am naturally accustomed to cooler temperatures. In fifth grade, I was a safety patrol and my station was outside letting children out of their cars. I went outside without a coat after telling my teacher that I did not need one since it wasn’t that cold outside. After about ten minutes at my post, I got a call from another safety patrol telling me to go back to the classroom because our teacher was furious. I made my way back to the room to get a stern lecture about not wearing my coat.
At the time of this incident, I was really upset. I was forced to wear clothing that was uncomfortable and itchy. On top of that, I was steaming hot in the sweater because I was not even cold with it off. Now I realize that I didn’t get yelled at because it was cold outside, I got disciplined because I neglected to respect the request of my superior. Even though I thought that it was silly to put on my sweater, I should have done so since I was asked to.
1 Samuel 16:7b “For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.”
This verse reigns true in the American church culture, especially in Southern Baptist and Catholic areas. The judgment that pours on you is amazing. I have had people come up to me and tell me not to come back to the church with my snapback on. I walked into a temple for a tour and the church attendant asked me to remove my cap in respect to God… ARE YOU KIDDING ME? My natural tendency was to turn around and defend myself by debating the poor old women about how the material on my hat doesn’t block my communication with God. My natural tendency is to get very defensive. This is a good thing, though. God is exploiting an area in my nature, making me aware of it, and allowing me to work on it. Such a blessing!
Another thing that I really want to touch on is the idea of dressing up only on specific holidays, such as Easter or Christmas. I, personally, dress the same as I would any other day for these holidays because I don’t make a HUGE deal over those services as opposed to other church services. I respect what they stand for and am aware that they bring in masses of unchurched people to church. However, the reasons for the holidays should be meditated on daily. We should remain in awe of the birth and resurrection of Christ EVERYDAY, not just on the designated HOLIDAYS. For this reason, I don’t dress up any “fancier” than I would any other Sunday.
1 Peter 3:3-4 “Do not let your adorning be external—the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear— but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious.”
Nowhere in the Bible does it say that God will only hear the prayers of the ones dressed nicely or fancy. In fact, you see quite the opposite throughout scripture. If God does not look higher on those who dress “fancy,” or lower on those who do not, then why has the church adopted a policy that promotes such ideas that are contrary to God’s nature. It’s almost like the church encouraging sin while God calls us to flee from sin (Drastic comparison, I understand).
If your parents request that you dress nicely, however, and they have set out a certain dress code for you to follow, I cannot tell you to ignore that. You should obey your parents and not rebel against their authority (As long as it is in accordance with scripture).
In no way am I saying to dress poorly to church, if you enjoy dressing up then, by all means, do so, but do not look down on those who do not. Take the plank out of your own eye before you try to remove a speck out of another’s eye (Matthew 7:3-5).
One More Thought
I do not agree with the majority of charismatic or pentecostal theology. However, I have attended many services of the said denomination(s). I respect the fact that they do not look down on the young; they are slow to judge and accepting. These may be principles that other denominations should adopt…