worship & what we wear
We are all worshippers. The question is never, am I worshipping? But daily we should ask ourselves,what/who am I worshipping? The definition of worship is "the act of worshipping God or a god." We either worship the one, True God who is worthy of our affection or we worship little gods that deceive us into thinking they are greater than they are. One area that often gets worshipped in today's culture is fashion and dress. We place our affections on clothing, things and affirmation (all of which won't last). We spend countless hours (and a lot of money) worrying about our looks, our closets and our appearance. Just like Romans 1:24-25, we worship the created and not the Creator.
In college, I majored in Fashion Merchandising. I loved my major and I love the art of dress. However, I lived a lot of years worshipping fashion, always needing the newest things and finding my worth in my looks. If I made any money in high school, it went straight to the clothing budget. But God began to show me there's more to dress. It is not an area of our life that is exempt from worship. We either worship what we wear, or we worship through what we wear.
I recently had the privilege to share with the ladies at North Metro First Baptist Church the history and true meaning of fashion. Here's a sneak peek into that talk.
in the beginning
In the Garden in Genesis 1, God created Adam and Eve in perfection. They were completely naked and unashamed. There wasn't a need for clothing because there was no sin. Everything on earth was spotless, blameless and in right relationship with God. It wasn't until Adam and Eve sinned that they realized their nakedness and tried to cover up. I can only imagine what they felt in that moment when both of their eyes "were opened, and they knew that they were naked." Shame. Fear. Regret. I wonder what went through their minds as they sewed fig leaves together to cover themselves up. The first clothing in the history of mankind was a fig leaf.
washed in the blood
But God's amazing grace redeemed them from a life of "covering up" with things that wouldn't last. In Genesis 3:21 God kills the first animal. The first death was a sacrifice by God to cover the sin of man. Blood was shed so that Adam and Eve would have sufficient covering. That is the grace of God. In the beginning, dress was never meant to be elevated. Clothes were never meant to be worshipped. Satan tempted Adam and Eve with things he knew wouldn't satisfy. They settled for less than God's best because they took their eyes off of their Creator and set them on the created.
Sin is the reason we wear clothing, grace is the reason it can be beautiful. Because of God's mercy and Jesus' sacrifice on the cross, we can worship through our dress. God is so loving that He makes all things beautiful that are surrendered to Him. Instead of worshipping the things we wear, we can worship the Creator of both our bodies and our clothing. Psalm 96:9 tells us:
"Worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness, tremble before him, all the earth."
The Hebrew word for "beauty of holiness" is hadarah is which also means to worship in "holy attire." Our dress isn't something we claim for ourselves and our own enjoyment. It is a symbol of the grace of God meant to be enjoyed as a gift He redeemed. We should dress to honor Christ and not lift up ourselves. Because of God's beautiful grace, we can create through what we wear and our love for Him can shine through our outer appearance. Our attitude affects how we look. When our hearts are set to praise Jesus in all things and lift up His precious name, our outer appearance glows.
All too often I've stressed over what I wear. I've spent too much time getting dressed and too much money wanting something new when what I have is enough. I've elevated my looks to an unhealthy degree and sought affirmation through my outfits. Christ continually sets me free of this, but it is a struggle that comes up quite frequently. Have you ever felt paralyzed when you went to your closet? Or like you just aren't enough and it affects your entire day? Our bodies and our dress has been bought by the blood of Christ. We can be different, sisters.We can worship and create through our dress and honor our Creator. We can wear holy attire because we serve a holy God who has washed us white as snow!
Here are a questions I ask myself before I get dressed each day:
- Does this display the Gospel, or distract from the Gospel?
- Is what I am wearing going to bring someone down, make someone envious or cause them to struggle?
- Does what I have on bring others freedom and encouragement?
- Am I dressing to make myself known or to make Christ known?
- Do I find my worth in my outfit or in my identity in Jesus?
John Piper defined worship as "being satisfied in God and cherishing Christ as gain." All of life is worship. Including the moments we get dressed in the morning and go shopping. May we do everything for the glory of God who has redeemed us from wearing fig leaves and allows us to live in His grace and goodness everyday.