Some of you opened my blog post just out of curiosity because my title sounded like another far-fetched claim made by religious fanatics.
Curious whether I am going to start expounding on guidelines for clothing? Well, actually I am not.
How in the world does the Gospel relate to our clothing?
First of all, what is the Gospel?
The Gospel is the glorious redemptive power of God shown in His humbling Himself on a cross in order to free us from our own self-made prisons of sin and the ultimate complete destruction in which sin results.
The Gospel is the glory of God as seen in the “face” of Jesus.
The Gospel is a gift of such lavish love that no mere human could conceive the extent and encompassing nature of it.
The Gospel is victory! It was Christ’s victory which translates into our victory as His recipients.
The Gospel is the “beginning” for all believers. It’s where our new natures, our life, our relationship with God, our hope, our inheritance, our gifts, everything that matters begins!
This is why the Gospel message and what it portrays about Jesus should impact the rest of our lives.
The Gospel was not just a one-time event, but it is the framework, the foundation upon which the rest of our lives is built.
So, how does the Gospel relate to my choice of clothing?
To answer this question, let me back up to a recent blog post I wrote on walking worthy of our calling. See https://graceinthemoment.wordpress.com/2015/12/14/what-comes-first-walk-or-worth.
In my above-referenced blog post, I referred to the Bible verse that says we walk worthy of our calling (who we are in Christ).
This is how the Gospel relates to my clothing:
- I am a daughter of the Most High God — therefore a “princess,” loved by the greatest Prince who ever lived. My clothing should be that which portrays respect and dignity for myself.
- My clothing shouldn’t draw undue attention to myself. Jesus set the example of drawing people to Himself for what He had to offer them.
The Humbled and Exalted Christ
5 Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, 6 who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, 7 but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.
- I am always considerate of those whom I am serving and serving alongside. This means I do have a responsibility towards my brothers in Christ — just as they have responsibility towards me. It is not a one-way street, but rather a two-way street when it comes to how we as sisters and brothers interact with one another. I am not responsible for my brothers’ actions and thoughts, but I am responsible for my own.
- My clothing is temporal and won’t satisfy the soul longings for an eternal need for “being.” My need for “being” is found in the God Who made me, loves me enough to sacrifice His all in order to win my all.
One simple conclusion is in the following quote, taken from the book Give Them Grace by Elyse Fitzpatrick and Jessica Thompson:
The only clothing that is truly holy is the robe of righteousness Jesus has given to us … Our clothing with His goodness is a clothing of the heart in humility and love for our neighbor, not in outward appearances that have absolutely no value… (Col. 2:20-23). If we are proud of the way we dress, whether fashionably or unfashionably, we’re forgetting our true clothing. — Give The Grace
Can I be transparent with you today?
I have struggled with this very thing. I have struggled with never feeling pretty enough. I have struggled with envy of my beautiful friends. I have struggled with thinking that if I just had the right makeover, right outfit, right hair stylist, right trainer, then I would achieve a standard of (impossible) perfection I set for myself. Oh, I forgot about the plastic surgeries that would also require… You see, I have struggled with feeling that I am never good enough, pretty enough.
From where does that come? I believe it comes from a lack of “being” or “belonging”. I confidently believe it comes from not fully comprehending, accepting, receiving God’s lavish love. Perhaps, the ability to truly receive His love has been hampered by my feelings of unworthiness and rejection, based upon lies.
In fact, this lack of “being” or “belonging,” I would call a “spirit of rejection.” It will manifest itself in an inability to receive compliments, in jealousy, and in an ultra-sensitivity in relationships that causes me to be easily offended.
The “spirit of rejection” ultimately has its root in a lack of truly understanding God’s love for me.
I John 2:15-17 — this verse teaches us that if we continually maintain a strong love of the things that make us proud, make us look good, and prove our worth, then we haven’t really known the “love of the Father.” Why? Because the love of the Father is so glorious, so rich and beautiful, that these paltry baubles have no power to entice us, at least not for long. — Give Them Grace
That’s where the Gospel changes everything!
The Gospel is a “mirror” that reflects the true heart of the Heavenly Father. It doesn’t display a vindictive, arrogant, superficial, altruistic, exclusive God. Rather, it reveals a depth of love so extensive that our hearts cannot contain the whole of it.
The Gospel leaves me secure and complete in His love.
Comprehending the depth of His love for me and receiving it secures me from the need to prove my own worth and frees me from the distractions of comparisons.
Wow! Just wow!
The reality of this truth has absolutely revolutionized my life!
Now, that I truly believe and have experienced God’s love for me personally, when I do revert back to some old patterns of thinking in regards to my appearance, I know that the solution is simple:
I ask the Lord to make me aware in that moment of His love for me — to speak it to my heart.
There is no end of God’s love for me, and there’s no end of it for you as well.
May this truth transform your life as it has mine!
(Thanks, Lysa Terkeurst, of Provers 31 Ministries, for the beautiful quotes!)