WHAT NOT TO WEAR
I used to occasionally watch a show called “What Not to Wear,” which took people (nominated by their friends) who had a terrible sense of style (or none at all) and helped them gain a better sense of how to pick clothes that were right for them. The style team explained why the person’s choices on attire were inappropriate or even ugly and, then, taught them how to pick clothes more appropriate for their age, figure and job. Then they gave them $5,000 to spend on a new wardrobe and sent them shopping in New York City!
Let’s face it, without God, most humans put on the wrong behavioral attire every day. Galatians 5:19-21 [ESV] spells it out pretty clearly: Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.
Led by human nature, the flesh, we will more likely default to greed, hate, pride or selfishness as a covering. We might be known for a style of gossip and back-biting or perhaps holding a grudge. These are definitely things that are the Christian equivalent of “what not to wear.”
If you are wondering what to wear, no worries, God, acts as our stylist in Colossians 3:12-14 [MSG] “So, chosen by God for this new life of love, dress in the wardrobe God picked out for you: compassion, kindness, humility, quiet strength, discipline. Be even tempered, content with second place, quick to forgive and offense. Forgive as quickly and completely as the Master forgave you. And regardless of what else you put on, wear love. It’s our basic all-purpose garment. Never be without it.”
I like the way the MSG version puts it, saying “dress in the wardrobe God picked out for you.” If we ever wonder what to wear, it is outlined clearly for us in this passage. No need to struggle with a sense of style, since God has already picked out our garments.
There is a minimalist movement suggesting that we create a signature, basic outfit and wear it every day – a basic, all-purpose outfit that is appropriate to whatever job you have. Maybe for my job I could wear a white shirt and black pants every day. It doesn’t have to be the same white shirt and black pants.
In fact, the theory is that the smartest, most innovative and successful people do this. Steve Jobs is perhaps the most famous for this style type, with his iconic blue jeans and black turtle neck. You can read this article from Forbes for details on how, while not making you smarter, more successful or innovative, wearing the same thing every day frees you to focus on becoming smarter, more innovative and more successful – as well as spending more time with family and less time washing clothes: https://www.forbes.com/sites/joshuabecker/2017/06/14/five-reasons-to-wear-the-same-thing-every-day/#6d95c0456c7d
I think of the final two sentences of the Colossians 3:12-14 as the same type of wardrobe advice: And regardless of what else you put on, wear love. It’s our basic all-purpose garment. Never be without it.
Love should be our go-to outfit. It should be the staple of the Christian wardrobe. Everything else that we are advised to wear is just really accessorizing love.
Perhaps, like me, in order to save time in the morning, you lay out your clothes for the next day the evening before. God does that for us. When we put on love each day, as God advises us, we naturally also wear compassion, kindness and humility.
I don’t know about you, but, if I wait until the morning to pick out my clothes I am likely to find something needs ironing or has a spot on it I didn’t realize or doesn’t fit like it used to, or isn’t right for the weather. Then, I end up spending time either fixing something or picking out a new outfit – time that takes me away from more important morning activities like prayer and study or exercise.
It is the same this with putting on love, kindness, compassion and humility each day. We have to be deliberate about selecting these garments. We have to plan for it by spending time with God, by asking for the indwelling of the Holy Spirit and by making the conscious choice to put on what God has picked out for us.
If we don’t make that commitment and deliberately choose our God-selected attire, we might find ourselves falling back into the ill-fitting, out-of-style garments of our old human nature. Sisters, the old clothing of human nature, outlined in Galatians 9, is no more appropriate for a Christian woman than wearing a swim suit to a formal dinner on a snowy day.
God’s sense of spiritual style is the only one that matters. Love is always in style. For a Christian woman, love always fits perfectly. Love is always what to wear.
I welcome your thoughts, comments and questions. You can write me at Nancy@DynamicChristianMinistries.org