Jeremiah 17:10 “But I, the LORD, search all hearts and examine secret motives…”
Most of us at one time or another has had this happen to us: We are invited to a church or we willingly decide to attend church but when we get there we are either stared at or made to feel unaccepted. If this has not happen to you, it may have happened to someone you know… right? One of the many unfortunate leading reasons/causes of this uncomfortable situation is quite simply: “THE CHURCH DRESSCODE”. I took notice that this happens more so to church goers of a younger age group, predominately 16-30 years old. Not only is the staring an uncomfortable feeling to have to bear during the church service, but it also makes you not want to return to that church – or any church for that matter! And it, unfortunately, leaves you with the feeling: “church people are so judgmental, and stuck up”.
As a PK (Pastors Kid) and young minister, I’ve definitely seen the devastating results of such behavior in church. This behavior, not only is UNSCRIPTURAL (not found in the bible), but it actually draws people away from the church, or WORSE – away from God! So the question that many people have, outside the church as well as inside the church is, “Does God Care About How I Dress In Church If I’m Coming With A Sincere Heart?” Well, rather than going by word of mouth lets be as the Bereans (Acts 17:11) and check the scriptures to answer this question head on…
Clothing, or rather uniformed clothing, plays its’ role in our society. For example, if I saw a house on fire and there were only two people standing across the street wearing uniforms, which one of these people would I get to assist me???
– JOE: the athlete, who is wearing a track suit and running shoes?
– GREG: the fireman, who is wearing the required regulation firefighter’s uniform along with the gear given by the NYFD?
I hope you chose GREG, the firefighter!
Now, let’s make it a little more personal. Some of us work at places where there is a dress code set up in place. If the jobs’ dress code states that you’re not allowed to wear jeans and sneakers, then most of us would adhere to the jobs’ dress code ,or else our job would take disciplinary actions. Those are a few examples, but let’s check the final authority… The Bible.
I hope we all can agree that God is an orderly God, and one of utmost order (1 Corinthians 14:33). He ain’t sloppy! Now let’s take a peek in the Old Testament. God was so detailed in His instructions to Israel that He gave them detailed rules concerning their daily lives from:
procedures for the different types of offerings (Leviticus 1-7), to ordination of the different offices (Leviticus 8-9), the handling of contaminated and unclean objects (Leviticus 11-15), what they ate (Leviticus 17), their sexual practices (Leviticus 18), and even how they were to observe the major holidays and festivals.
The best example of a “dress code” I see in the Bible is found in Leviticus 16:2-4. Specifically look at verse 4, where God tells this to Moses concerning his brother Aaron:
“He must put on his linen tunic and the linen undergarments worn next to his body. He must tie the linen turban on his head. THESE ARE SACRED GARMENTS, so he must bathe himself in water before he puts them on.”
God was so detailed in his instructions that he actually gave Moses a design of how the clothing for the priest should be made! (Exodus 39). The priests of Israel were not to enter into the tabernacle any kind of way they wanted, or else that action would be punished by God. Please do not be FOOLED. The enemy (Satan) is very sly and deceiving. What God meant to be used for distinguishing his people as different and Holy from others, the Devil crept in and twisted it.
The best examples of a dress code, and other practices given by God gone HORRIBLY wrong, are the Pharisees. These were members of ancient Jewish sects, and they adhered, and held, to following the traditions of the Law of Moses. Although the Pharisees tried their best to keep with the traditions given by God… they had many faults. The main fault of the Pharisees had been SELF-RIGHTEOUSNESS. The other was ADDING TO THE WORD OF GOD, which is a no-no (Deuteronomy 4:2). These Pharisees were so concentrated on the traditions that they had actually began to put them in higher regard over the Word of God (Matthew15:1-9). They did this so much that they even tried to catch Jesus in breaking these traditions! But of course our Savior Jesus Christ had to put them in check real quick (Matthew 15:10-13).
So with that brief review of scripture what can we come to understand?
Does God expect a dress code?
Well… let’s see what God truly does expect from us as His children.
Scripturally speaking, God has called all of His people to be Holy. Because He is Holy (Leviticus 11:45). And furthermore, God had sent His only Son Jesus Christ to die! Just for US alone! All so that we may die to our old way of life! And as children of God, we must be obedient to Him, and be Holy in everything that we do; which entails doing our endeavor BEST to not slip back into our old ways of living for the sole reason being that we have received His Holy Spirit… which was received only by grace through faith (1 Peter 1:14-16).
It is an absolute honor to represent God and belong to Him. And as representatives of the Most High God, we must not be like the world. That means I want to reflect my Father’s image in every facet of my life. I want to be distinguished from the world. And just like the priests in the Old Testament had specific designed clothing for “church”…
which God blueprinted Himself…
It makes you wonder…
1 Peter 2:9 says WE ARE ROYAL PRIESTS, AND A CHOSEN GENERATION!
So the answer to the question: does God have a dress code?
Scripturally speaking, YES, God did have a dress code. But what’s even more important is that God has a LIFE CODE! We have a call that He wants us to live up to. His image which He wants us to reflect. But we cannot, by any means, do any of that without receiving His Holy Spirit into our lives. That’s the main ingredient that the Pharisees were missing in the “quest” for “super righteousness”.
So the next time that you are made to feel uncomfortable, or you are the one to make someone else feel uncomfortable because of what they’re wearing to church, remember what Jesus said when quoting the prophet Isaiah:
“These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me” (Matthew 15:8).
YOUR ACTIONS WILL REFLECT YOR HEART.
And remember, when we get to Heaven to be judged by God…
we don’t want Him to say
“Well done, my well dressed servant”.
We want to hear Him say
“Well done, thy fine and faithful servant”.
ALL WRITTEN OUT OF LOVE,
Written By::: Dennis Jackson