What does the Bible say about the Christian’s dress code?
Jun 7th, 2009 / Salt and Light
And that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness. Ephesians 4:24—NKJV
Clothing issues have dogged men and women since they were booted from the Garden of Eden. With challenges ranging from changing styles, dry clean only, spots which don’t come out, “nothing to wear,” “making a statement,” “the tie makes the man,” “dress down day,” and what to do with comfortable, threadbare duds, our lives can be pretty complicated. People often try to assess their mood before they chose their clothes or change their mood with their choice of clothes. “Mall-therapy” comes to mind. We live in a vain world that presses its expectations upon our conscience, our subconscious and our wallets.
Not so long ago our society had a sense of modesty which encouraged a distinction between acceptable clothes inside our house versus outside in “public” (even on a run to the grocery store). Certain clothes were exclusive to work, school and church. Now there is this attitudinal approach to clothing choice that asks, “What can I get away with?”
Believers do not live in an isolation chamber. Pressures mount up with cultural fluctuations. Though the Bible does not speak to fashion it does speak to flare, balance and reflection. For the thinking saint there is a connection between the garb of heart and the draping of body.
Paul relates spiritual transformation for a Christian to the daily choice of changing clothes (“take off” in verse 22 and “put on” in verse 24). We are all familiar with individual choice in clothing (remember the first time your daughter said, “Mommy, I don’t want to wear that!”).
In getting ready for a new day the old and soiled clothing must be removed. Paul reminds us that we are to remove the old behaviors and ways of the sinner we were B.C., before being born again in Christ. The old, shabby garment of “fleshly corrosion measured by desires of deceit” is to be removed, laid aside and disassociated from us. This is a conscious choice and yet it is preparatory for a new day.
The next verse (23) evokes the all too familiar experience of standing before the closet and choosing the outfit for today. That daily ritual requires a review of the plans for the day and the purpose of each hour so that the clothing chosen may be fit for the occasion.
Similarly, the spiritual choice of verse 23 is a choice both thoughtful and reflective of purpose because God has filled the closet with a very valuable wardrobe designed to a specific task. Paul says, “be renewed in the spirit of your mind.” We are not saved for selfish ambitions. We are saved so that we may reflect the glory of God in our lives. That is the task for which we prepare as we stand before the spiritual wardrobe and choose.
Verse 24 gets to the fun part of the daily ritual, getting dressed in the clothes that God has picked out. Put on the clothing of the “new man” which God has designed for your adornment. It makes a statement of flare—we are to wear His livery, it makes a statement of balance—righteous acts toward man and holy heart before God, and it makes a statement of reflection—we show that we have chosen to be obedient to our Lord.
What statement are you making before God and man as you have clothed your heart today? Are there principles herein that you can apply to your clothing choices and your relationship with your physical wardrobe? Whose name is written on your clothing? Trust and obey.