Does God Care What I Wear?
I can wear what I want. The Bible doesn't say anything about appropriate clothing. I can make-over my look as much as I want. It's okay.
Which is kind of, sort of a lie since it's completely out of context from the Bible verses it's based on. First of all, the exact phrase doesn't actually appear in the Bible. The closest phrasing is from 1 Samuel 16:7:
But the Lord said to Samuel, "Do not look at his appearance or at his physical stature, because I have refused him. For the Lord does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart."
To put this passage in context, this is the chapter when the Lord sent Samuel to anoint David the future King of Israel. Samuel went into it with human expectations: it was going to be someone of age, with a King-like look, and maybe a few other details you would naturally assume a future King to have.
Instead, the Lord picked a young shepherd, the youngest in his family and hardly old enough to even shave yet. It wasn't about the clothing or looks, but about the heart.
Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it spring the issues of life. -Proverbs 4:23
Your heart is important. Your relationship with God is everything, but from your heart springs life. Your countenance - appearance, clothing - reflects your heart.
If you're having a bad day, you're tempted to wear comfortable, dark clothing. On the days you feel alive and happy, you want to wear lots of colors and items from your wardrobe that make you look good.
It's human nature to reflect yourself in your personal style. So, if Jesus lives in your heart, shouldn't your outward appearance glorify Him?
Since the beginning of the human race, God has cared about what we wear. It's in Genesis, when Adam and Eve sinned and covered themselves up with leaves. God's reaction? To replace their DIY-leaf garments that were bound to rot and fall apart into leather crafted clothes that would last them for a long time.
A lot of the Old Testament goes into great detail of God's instructions of how the clothing should be made for those serving God in His temple: priests, altar boys, judges and Kings.
"They shall take the gold, blue, purple, and scarlet threat, and the fine linen, and they shall make the ephod of gold, blue, purple, and scarlet thread, and fine woven linen, artistically worked. It shall have two should straps joined at its two edges and so it shall be joined together. And the intricately woven band of the ephod, which is on it, shall be one of the same workmanship, made of gold, blue, purple, and scarlet thread, and fine woven linen." -Exodus 28:5-8
This chapter goes on to list all the intricate details of these pieces of clothing. Every thing is accounted for - from the type of material, to the color of thread.
And then there is the story of the people of Israel wandering through the dessert for 40 years.
"And I have led you forty years in the wilderness. Your clothes have not worn out on you, and your sandals have not worn out on your feet." -Deuteronomy 29:5
Can you imagine the quality of clothing the Israelites must have had? They didn't travel with a wardrobe, nor did they have department stores - they had the clothes on their backs and for forty years they remained in pristine condition.
The Lord didn't forget about us today. When His Son was on Earth, God left instructions for His children for generations to come:
"...women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with propriety and moderation, not with braided hair or gold or pearls or costly clothing, but which is proper for women professing godliness, with good works." -1 Timothy 2:9-10
Unlike the priests in the Old Testament, God didn't give us a checklist for what's okay for Christians to wear. Instead, He gave us the Holy Spirit to train and lead us in holiness.
Our appearance, including the clothes and styles we wear, should be what is proper for a woman professing godliness.
A lot of people though get up on on the phrasing though. What does it mean to dress in a Godly manner? Are mini-skirts okay? Should Christian girls wear bikinis? What is modesty? What about tight clothes?
I wish I could give you exact specifications, but the truth is, there really aren't any. It's about godliness. So, the test that has helped me is answering these two questions:
- Who does this outfit glorify? If it's my own physical assets, I will pass on the outfit. Because I want people to notice Jesus in me - not the clothes I wear, my sleek physique or curves, but the smile that radiates on my face, the words that come out of my mouth and how I live my life. Yes, I make sure that my clothes are flattering and fit me well - tailored and the right size, and nothing that is tight, skimpy, revealing. Clothes that regardless if I'm standing, sitting or walking, don't show excessive skin.
- Would I be comfortable standing in the presence of my God in this? We walk before our Father every day, but often we fall into a familiarity and kind of forget this. So, in the moments when I'm unsure about something I'm wearing, I close my eyes and picture standing before a great and powerful God and if I have the feeling to cover up or change, so goes that outfit.
Your body is the temple of God. You are a reflection on this Earth of our Heavenly Father and with this position comes certain responsibilities - a certain way we should dress, walk, talk and live.
"Do not let your adornment be merely outward - arranging the hair, wearing gold, or putting on fine apparel - rather let it be the hidden person the heart, with the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God." -1 Peter 3:3-4
So yes, God does look at the heart, but He also looks at how we physically represent Him in our daily lives - the words we speak, the way we treat others, and yes, even the clothes you wear.
And for someday, God has prepared white robes as pure as a fresh blanket of snow for his beloved children.
Will you be worthy of these royal robes?