Wherever I go, when the subject of fashion and church come up, I hear two contrasting responses:
- Grandma says: “Always put forth your very best for the Lord. When you come to church you should dress up”
- The 22 year old guy says, “Dude, God loves you anyway you want to come to church. Man judges by the outward appearance – God judges by the heart” (1 Sam 16:7)
How can you reconcile what you’re hearing? Your answers to these three questions will help you decide.
- First, ask yourself this question: who are you trying to please?
It’s true Jesus takes us as we are, but it’s also true He highly values the respect we show those who are older than we are. (1 Tim 5). It’s likely your modest, clean jeans and nice t-shirt won’t offend Aunt Sara if you dress it up a bit with a jacket, vest, or pretty scarf. Even a fun pair of flats and a necklace can be enough of a change without compromising your comfort or personal style.
- Next, consider this: will your church fashion choices help or hinder those around you?
Jesus was clear about our freedoms in Him, but also encouraged us to not cause someone else to stumble in their faith because of our decisions. (1 Corinthians 10:31-33). If you are visiting a church that is new to you and you know to be very conservative ask about the dress code. Some could be distracted by your decision to dress ultra-casual. On the other hand, it’s possible your jeans and flip-flops will make a visitor comfortable not only with you, but with Jesus. If your clothes are clean and modest, it’s likely even Aunt Sara won’t mind.
- Finally, will your clothing honor the One you believe in or take attention away from Him?
This is between you and Jesus. His Spirit will guide you – trust that still small voice above yours or anyone else’s.
When it comes to church clothes, the most important “garment” we can put on is the one Jesus wears with perfect dignity: compassion. So, instead of focusing on what you or anyone in your congregation is wearing. . .live out Colossians 3:12 and “Clothe yourself in compassion.”
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Jill is also a member of NSA and AICI.
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