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by Charles (Chuck) Robey
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 In (Malachi 1:8) we read,  "And when you offer the blind as a sacrifice, is it not evil? And when you offer the lame and sick, is it not evil?" Is it not just as evil today when we do not give God our best?


Have you ever ask the question, "what should I wear to church " ? One need only to surf the internet to get a matrix of "pros" and "cons", regarding the subject. Church dress preference is actually  not defined  in the Bible.

To me, however,  dressing in my "Sunday Best"  is  simply a matter of my personal conviction, but it’s not something I would ever force upon someone else.

If God's Holy Spirit convicts against any form of living or dress, then you best heed  God's call. ( Deuteronomy 28:1-3) If God directs you to eat no meat, then do so. If God convicts against wearing a certain type garment, then do so. After all, you don't want to miss a "blessing" by not obeying God, do you ? ( 1 Cor 6:19-20) ( 1 Cor 3:17)

In the fifties, growing up had its good and bad points. We had no knowledge of such high tech items as computers, video games, cell phones, and the like. One thing I remember, however, is being taught from a very young age to respect my "God and my Elders, Included in this respect was my " Sunday dress up" cloths. These cloths would hang in my closet, only to be worn on Sunday. Unlike today's youth, these cloths included my bright red "clip on" tie and itchy stiff starched shirt.

Dressing up on Sunday morning turned out to be the high light of my week. ( 1 Cor 10:31) I can still remember Dad giving me at big box labeled, " Sears and Roebuck". This box contained a brand new pair of high top brogan shoes. I was ever so proud, even though the size didn't fit. You see, in those days we had no way of swapping the shoes for a different size. I can hear Dad's last words now, " Son don't get these new shoes dirty or scuffed, as they are you Sunday go to meeting shoes." Well, out of respect for Dad, I surely didn't want another trip to the old barn mercy seat. I'm sure you know what those special prayer meetings meant, a soar bottom for days. So I kept the shoes clean and polish for many a months.

In today's worship our churches are divided between the traditional and the contemporary style of worship. Seems as if our 21st century relaxed contemporary way of living now is filtered into the church, including our casual attire. Should our religious services be relaxed and informal, or should we give God our best attitude and reverence ? (Malachi 1:6-14

I happened to compare an older church Constitution and Bylaws, recently with a more up-to-date revision. This older version was much more conservative, addressing both the men and women's acceptable attire. So what's happened to the "old time religion" ( Colossians 3:23-24) and our " Sunday Go To Meeting Cloths" ? ( Romans 2:6)

Today's church is not a dress-up event. Whatever is clean and comfortable seems to be OK. Yes, in all other aspects of today's culture, we tend to settle on the relaxed mind-set. Church is no exception to this culture, when we take the attitude that attire doesn't matter. ( 1 Sam 16:7) Conversely, we kid ourselves when we causally claim God does not care what we wear to church. ( Psalm 89:7) God cares about every aspect of our lives. ( Jeremiah 29:11)

You may call me a dinosaur, if you choose, but I don't think you can separate the contemporary worship style from the relaxed informal dress. Nor can the traditional worship style be separated from the more conservative dress. Like certain music, clothing defiantly sets a mood. If the music is relaxed and informal, why would the informal clothing not have the same effect ?

The old cliché tells us, "clothing makes the man". Clothing, in my opinion, is a nonverbal way of expression without saying a word. So why not give God your best. In olden times this conjecture was labeled, " giving God your Sunday best". After all, going to church is not going to the beach.

This  issue alone should never cause division in a church. If it does, then Satan has won a victory by distracting from God’s vision for our church. ( 1 Cor 7:5)  You see, as a church we have more important things to talk about, that being witnessing and spreading the gospel.  It bothers me when people look down on certain dress  standards, ( John 7:24) without knowing the individuals circumstances.

By the same token, we Christians must not fall into the old "hypocritical" rut. ( Matthew 7:1) If only I had a dollar for every time someone told me they refused to go to church because "the people care more about what I'm wearing"...but yet that same person thinks nothing about dropping several hundred dollars on a pair of designer shoes, a handbag or an outfit to wear to go out to a nightclub or on a date to impress another person, or to impress someone to get a job. Ooops, who's judging now. ( Luke 20:46-47)

For some people, wearing clean clothing is their best ( James 2:1-9) and God surely understands.( Proverbs 20:27) God also knows wearing the best may also be showing off.( Deuteronomy 15:9 ) It would behoove us all to take a "spiritual bath" by confessing our sins even before adorning our "Sunday Best". ( 1 John 1:9 )

Call me old fashioned, but it seems to me making the effort to wear one's "Sunday best" to church (whether purchased from Saks or Salvation Army) is a way to show respect for God...and will always be "in style."

I realize attending church in a cloak, tunic, sandals and a turban or veil, as did the early Bible characters, would cause quite a disruption in most churches! So what is modesty, as far as the church is concerned ? We should dress for public worship in a way pleasing to God, as God does deserve our best, even though we may wear the same attire each Sunday.

Make no mistake, God always is looking at the heart above our external appearance. ( Proverbs 15:3) Nonetheless, what we wear to worship our holy and pure God may give a measurement, as too where our hearts are.( Jeremiah 17:9-10 ) Just take a look in the mirror. ( James 1:23)

More importantly, does dress  matter to our Lord ? You and you alone, must make this all important personal choice. Keep in mind, however, having a proper attitude towards God's holiness could also affect the way you worship.

Well now, you be the judge. As for me, I will continue to adorn my "coat and tie", be it out-of-date or the latest fashions. After all, the least I can do is show my love for what He has done for me. ( Psalm 119:6-8)

Always remember, true worship is not confined to how we do in church. True worship is the recognizing Gods power and glory in everything we do. ( Acts 17:23) And all God's children said

  • The chorus of that old hymn keeps ringing in my ears!

  • Give of your best to the Master;

  • Give of the strength of your youth;

  • Clad in salvation’s full armor,

  • Join in the battle for truth.


 Author's Note:  

Some people dress-up fancy to impress people at church — they are wrong. Some people dress-down when they go to church, because it’s the weekend, and they are going to relax and no one is going to tell them what to do (meaning they are not going to go to a church where they get “preached at”) — they are also wrong. Other people dress-up (meaning they put on some clean, decent clothes) because they are going to worship God — they are Scripturally right. ( Exodus 19:10, 11 )



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