When the Lord sets us FREE, takes us out of the bondage of SIN we are truly free in Him. So, why do we then put ourselves back into bondage by enforcing man-made laws, onto ourselves and spend our lives trying to live by them? This has always been a bone of contention for me and I refuse to let anyone force their beliefs and interpretations of the Christian Faith onto me. I strive every day to get into a closer and closer relationship with God so He and only He can truly reveal the things of God to me.
Many worldly interpretations of the Gospel have crept into the Faith through the centuries and its’ effects are felt from the moment we accept the Lord Jesus as our Saviour. One area most affected by this is the outward appearance. The world puts so much emphasis on looks and outward appearance and too many Christians are also putting great emphasis on the way people look.
“Your looks do not define your heart or your love for the Lord,” and no one should be able to convince you otherwise. God is not interested in Christians ‘looking the part.’ The Scribes and Pharisees in Jesus’ time looked the part but were completely corrupt inside and were very harmful to the people they should have been protecting and Jesus did not like it. He was angry with them for leading people astray and adding to their suffering. The following scripture tells us exactly what Jesus thought of the religious establishment of His time who ‘looked the part’ but were completely corrupt inside.
Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men’s bones, and of all uncleanness. Even so ye also outwardly appear righteous unto men, but within ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity.
They dressed right, looked the part but their hearts were unclean, cold and without love just like the bones of the dead, with no life in them. Jesus was not in their hearts and they were definitely hypocrites. While it is good to look right and dress appropriately, do not get too caught up with the outward appearance and don’t judge others because of how they look, actually don’t judge at all. Don’t use the way you look to hide an unrighteous lifestyle because it cannot be hidden from God.
The way Christians dress or look has been a topic of much discussion, debates and preachings through the ages. The Bible does not say you should not take care of your appearance; or that you cannot wear jewellery or colour and style your hair. It does not say women cannot wear trousers or must cover their hair. The following scripture says we should not concern ourselves only with the outward appearance, but it is the beauty of the inner heart that God loves.
1 Peter 3:3-4
Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel; But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price.
Many scriptures have been taken out of context with regards to the way Christians should dress especially women, but once you read and study the Bible and let the Holy Spirit guide you, you will know what is pleasing to the Lord and what isn’t. When you first come to the Lord, just come as you are and don’t worry about what you look like, it is your heart and your desire to follow Him that He is concerned with. If your dress sense is a little risqué, the Holy spirit will work with you (if you let Him) to assess yourself as you progress and you will be able to decide what to keep and what to shake off.
Christians all over the world do not dress the same, you have the casual dresser, the smart dresser, the ‘I’m on the red carpet dresser,’ the cultural dresser. The Lord will not take away your creativity or your desire to adorn yourself, He just asks that we keep it in moderation and concentrate more on our heart and not the outward appearance. A good rule of thumb would be not to show flesh that we all know should not be on show and make sure you can move or bend in your clothes, your rib cage is not restricted and you can actually breathe. This is worth noting for anyone and not just Christians, so this shouldn’t be an issue for the Christian. If you come to the Lord with piercings and tattoos and anything else you adorned yourself with in the world, He will welcome you with open arms, let Him work with you as no one else can.
When God looks at you, He sees the blood of His Son Jesus Christ, then He looks into your heart to see if love is dwelling there. He does not see your latest designer shoes or your bright green coloured hair or your tattoos. If, however He looks into your heart and sees self-worship, pride, vanity, hatred, idolising the materials things that you own, then that’s when you need to be concerned. When you dress up your heart with love, forgiveness and tenderness, removing hate, greed and self-righteousness, then you are dressed well!