When Spiritual Fashion Doesn't Fit Our Faith
by Donna Morton
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My husband, John, has recently dropped some weight. As a matter-of-fact, he’s back down to his high school wrestling weight, and I must say, the man looks great.
Many people have noticed John’s weight loss. It’s hard not to see a lot about someone when they’re walking through a parking lot or the airport terminal and—their pants fall down.
“Now you know why it’s so important to wear clean underwear,” I tell him.
It’s also a reminder to wear clothes that fit properly. In response to this, John has been buying new clothes; he does, however, sometimes wear his older duds, tucking the shirts in more tightly and yanking the belt over several notches.
When wearing his older clothes, John’s weight loss isn’t noticeable in a major way. The now too-loose clothes seem to add bulk, but when he puts on his new, better-fitting clothes…WOW! You cannot miss the fact that this guy has made some changes, and good ones at that.
As he and I were discussing this one night, I thought about the scripture from James 2:17 that says faith without works is dead. Some believe that passage indicates that salvation depends on more than faith. However, Ephesians 2:8-10 clearly teaches that works have nothing to do with salvation. Good works will result from faith, but will not earn us salvation—to say they can is the equivalent of saying Christ’s sacrifice on the cross wasn’t enough. James 2 goes on to say, “I will show you my faith by what I do.” (Verse 18)
This brings me back to my hubby, who shows his weight loss by what he wears. In the same way, Christians should show their faith by what they wear—and what we wear should be Christ.
“…for all of you who were baptized in Christ have clothed yourself with Christ.” (Ephesians 3:27 NIV)
All believers are one with Christ, and we’re all saved by faith…but how do we express who we are to the world?
The Bible offers plenty of instructions about living for Christ. Colossians 3:12 tells us to clothe ourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Galatians 5:22-23 speaks of spiritual fruit, or the traits, attitudes and behaviors that set us apart from the world at large.
Does the world see Christ when they look at us? Are we wearing spiritual clothes that fit?
I like stylish clothes, but admit to owning a few fashion disasters. These are clothes that are too loose, out-dated or ugly to everyone but me. I’ve yet to discard them because they’re comfortable and easy to throw on. As Christians, we can have some fashion no-no’s in our spiritual closets, and these are thoughts and actions that stopped fitting us the day we gave our hearts to Christ.
Read interviews with well known fashion designers and you’ll learn who/what influences the attitude their clothes convey. When we read the Bible, we know that our spiritual clothes should reflect the Master Designer. With His help, we can purge our closets of out-dated, ill-fitting and unflattering clothes.
No matter where we’re going or what the day holds, we can dress for success by wearing the heart and mind that is influenced by Jesus Christ. Ephesians 4: 23-24 calls this being made new in the attitude of our minds, putting on a new self created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.
Are you familiar with fashion critic, Mr. Blackwell? His annual list of Worst Dressed celebrities was pretty harsh, attacking people’s clothing styles with observations like “dull, dowdy and devastatingly dreary”, “a profusion of confusion” and “a truck stop tragedy trapped in a typhoon.” On the flip side, he generously complimented those whose fashion sense appealed to him.
Suppose God was like Mr. Blackwell in that He critiqued our spiritual clothes. Would He call us one who “lives like a lantern of light” or would we be slammed as a “carnal Christian catastrophe catapulted by a cyclone”?
As believers, the only clothes that fit us are the ones that represent Christ. One size fits all doesn’t apply anymore and neither does retro. If we’re walking around in spiritual garments that are weighted down with or reflective of the life we lived before Christ, what does that make us?
An ill-fitted, unflattering fiasco whose faith is flat as a fritter…or something like that. And whether we realize it or not, our underwear is probably showing, too.
©Donna G. Morton August 2008
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Beautifully developed metaphor, Donna, and delivered with skill and clarity. You hit home with me!