Tyler was usually trying to imitate and even emulate his older brother James. It was not surprising that things were this way since they were only a couple years apart and did many things together.
One day, when he knew that they were both getting ready for church, Father went in to check on Tyler’s progress. As he walked in the room he looked at Tyler and asked, “What are you doing?”
“What, I’m getting ready for church like you said to,” Tyler replied in a puzzled yet explanatory tone. “
“Are you planning on wearing that?” his father asked.
“What’s wrong with it? It’s basically the same as James is wearing. Besides, what is wrong with Abercrombie and Fitch? Don’t I look nice?”
Sam’s father was a little taken back by his response. He called James into Tyler’s room so he could talk to them together. He started, “James, your brother here says that he is wearing this—and pointed to what Tyler was wearing—because of what you are wearing. Why are you wearing those clothes James?”
“What is wrong with what I am wearing?” James asked. James then added, “They’re brand new and it’s what all my friends are wearing to church. Don’t you like it?”
“Yes,” his father responded, “you do look nice, but do you feel it is proper attire to wear to church? I would like you both to change; you don’t have to wear a suit and tie like me, but I would suggest a nice dress shirt and dress pants, at least. Remember, we are going to church, not to school or some other casual place. We are going to God’s house to worship, so we should try to look our best.” He added much emphasis on the word “best.” “Just think about the words you find in Leviticus 19:30 and also in chapter 26:2, ‘Ye shall keep my Sabbaths, and reverence my sanctuary: I am the Lord.’ Their father then added, “We can honor and show reverence to God by looking our best. What you wear on the outside can reflect what you wear on the inside. Now, get ready, we don’t want to be late for church.”
Are not the father’s words so true? How often do you and I really think about what we outwardly clothe ourselves with on Sunday morning? What is our actual mindset? Is it more that we want to look pleasant and attractive for other people, or that we want to look pleasant in the eyes of the Lord?
This is a more serious question than we care to realize. For example, do we not “dress up” differently or more than normal when we go to a wedding, a funeral or even the symphony? Ask yourself why that is. You will most likely come to the conclusion that it is because we most likely have respect for someone or even do it with honor. When we then put on our “church clothes” we should do so with not only respect and honor but also reverence. After all, we are going to the Lord’s house. Did you get that? The Lord’s house! We are reminded of that reverence in Psalm 89:7, where the psalmist writes, “God is greatly to be feared in the assembly of the saints, and to be had in reverence of all them that are about him.” Think about the words that we find in Proverbs 3:9, “Honor the Lord with thy substance, and with the firstfruits of all thy increase.”
I realize that we often do not think much about outward apparel on Sunday morning. We should, for, “Glory and honor are in his presence; strength and gladness are in his place.” (I Chron. 16:27) We should constantly remind ourselves of what James and Tyler’s father told them; “What we wear on the outside can reflect what we wear on the inside.” How true that is! Too often we forget or do not even know that our outward clothing can very well say a lot about how we are and act on the inside. When we put on a suit or just a tie—no matter the occasion—we automatically feel differently about the event we are dressing up for.
We must have the proper mindset when we go to God’s house on the Sabbath Day. We can do that by the clothes we wear. That will then most likely affect our attitude when we come into the house of the Lord. The more casual attire usually results in the more casual feelings and attitude: and that is not adequate for worship with God in his house of prayer. We should think about the words in Psalm 122:1, “I was glad when they said unto me, Let us go unto the house of the Lord.” And also Psalm 5:7, “But as for me, I will come into thy house in the multitude of thy mercy: and in thy fear will I worship toward thy holy temple.” I truly feel and believe that we can better think this way by clothing ourselves with proper church attire on the Lord’s Day.
There are certainly things that can hinder our mindset with regard to proper church attire. There can be financial situations, the pressure to look like those in our group, or the thought of just wearing that which is most comfortable. These are but a few and general areas which can affect how we dress. I point this out to you because these areas can be some of the ways in which Satan can and is subtly trying to negatively influence the church. It is very easy to get caught up in the way the world dresses, which can then be brought into the church. Believe me, I was there and continue to struggle with it today. Think about Genesis 3:1, “Now the serpent was more subtle than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made.” Satan is constantly trying to tempt the church and cause her to go astray. Remember the words we find in James 1:14, 15a, “But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin:”
We must not think that we are not in the sight of Satan’s scope of temptation. For, we read of how the people of old were tempted by Satan. It started way back in the Garden with Adam and Eve. Here are a few texts that show of the tempting of the people: Job 1:6, “Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan came also among them.” Job 2:1, “Again there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan came also among them to present himself before the Lord.” And Zechariah 3:1, “And he showed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the Lord, and Satan standing at his right hand to resist him.” We can clearly see that Satan is always lurking around. We also find instances where the devil tempted Christ in the wilderness. We read in Luke 4:2 and 3, “Being forty days tempted of the devil. And in those days he did eat nothing: and when they were ended, he afterward hungered. And the devil said unto him, If thou be the Son of God, command this stone that it be made bread.” Of course we know as believers that Christ stood firm and did not do as he was tempted by the devil.
Perhaps the connection between temptation, the devil and church attire is not clear to you; but I assure you there is a connection. Just remember what was said earlier in the article about the outward appearance affecting the inner appearance. Once you see the connection, you will then be more inclined, by the grace of God, to help others. We can all help each other in this by being a positive influence and setting a good example for each other. Many of you have younger siblings that look up to you and act like you when they get older—if not already. I know I was that way with my older brother. And parents are called to be the example and rule in the home. As the older generation, we are called, as stated by the Apostle Peter in I Peter 5:3b, “…being ensamples to the flock.”
For, as the devil can tempt us even in the clothes we wear, we must be sure to keep that in mind and look our best come Sunday morning. We are reminded of our calling to be strong in Ephesians 4:27, “Neither give place to the devil.” And again in chapter 6:11, “Put on the whole armor of God, that we may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.” We learn of resistance, when in James 4:7 we read, “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.”
We as elect people are well aware of the devil and his many devious tactics to try and draw us away from God and destroy the church. We are reminded of that in II Corinthians 2:11, where the Apostle Paul writes, “Lest Satan should get an advantage of us: for we are not ignorant of his devices.” Fellow brothers and sisters in Christ, we must constantly try to be strong and help each other be strong and fight against those temptations that are all around us. What better way to do that than in prayer; like the one we find in Matthew 6:13, “And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.” Let us also remember the words of Peter in I Peter 5:7-11, “Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you. Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: Whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world. But God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you. To him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.”
It is my heart-felt prayer that these words may have struck your heart and soul in that you will be ever so conscious of how important proper church attire really is, and the need for it to be mentioned.
So, what are you going to wear to church this coming Lord’s Day?