Monday, May 24, 2010

What are You Wearing?

Women of Faith:

Was this one of those mornings when it took you 20 minutes and 5 outfits? Or did you wear the first thing you found in the closet?

How did you decide what to wear? Was it a uniform, or did you set it out the night before? Who did you dress to “impress:” your spouse, your boss, your clients, or yourself (the most comfortable thing you could find)?

I remember in my senior year of college taking a “short course” on “dressing for success:” what to wear to an interview, and what to wear on the job. One of the comments that I most remember was not about “what I wore,” but “how” what I wore made me feel and perform.

What we wear on the outside transforms us, it changes the way we behave and the way we feel. Likewise, what we wear on the inside, our attitudes, also transforms us. I can dress to let sin have control of my attitude: I can be frustrated, angry, impatient and seek revenge when someone does me wrong, or when I don’t like the “system” I have to work in (whether that system is the government rules or our “house” rules).

Or I can choose to put on Christ, listen to the Holy Spirit that dwells in me and all of us, and put on a smile, peace and love. I don’t always have to “like” what I am wearing—it becomes a matter of “who” I want to please, of the attitude I want to feel, of how I want to perform.

And that inside decision of choosing my attitude can take 5 minutes and be the first thing I pull out, or it might take me 20 minutes of prayer, asking for God’s help in choosing the right attitude. Just like throwing out the low cut top, or the too tight jeans which give me a “devil may care” attitude, I have to ask God for help in “dressing for success;” in finding the modesty, honesty, caring and professionalism of my Christianity.

In Ephesians 6: 11-20 Paul gave us this “dress for success” guidance: “Put on the armor of God so that you may be able to stand firm against the tactics of the devil. For our struggle is not with flesh and blood but with the principalities, with the powers, with the world rulers of this present darkness, with the evil spirits in the heavens. Therefore, put on the armor of God, that you may be able to resist on the evil day and, having done everything, to hold your ground. So stand fast with your loins girded in truth, clothed with righteousness as a breastplate, and your feet shod in readiness for the gospel of peace. In all circumstances, hold faith as a shield, to quench all (the) flaming arrows of the evil one. And take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. With all prayer and supplication, pray at every opportunity in the Spirit. To that end, be watchful with all perseverance and supplication for all the holy ones and also for me, that speech may be given me to open my mouth, to make known with boldness the mystery of the gospel for which I am an ambassador in chains, so that I may have the courage to speak as I must.”

Paul tells us to be ready to “resist evil” and sometimes the very way we dress, by wearing “low cut” provocative clothes, or even too comfortable clothes, gives us an attitude that doesn’t protect us from the outside world (the principalities, powers and world rulers)—letting in anger, tempting adultery, or showing an attitude of “I’m all about me.”

So just like we need to always “be ready” for the client we didn’t expect to show up, we never know when God’s final judgment will be. We need to lead by example in our outward dress (modesty) especially to our daughters. And we need to dress for the right person—God on the inside, and just as importantly our spouses on the outside, showing we value their opinion more than anyone else’s (by choosing their favorite outfit—not necessarily ours).

Think about this: we don’t wear a suit to bed, or our pajamas to the job. And hopefully low cut tops, too tight clothes, or too short shorts, are not seen in public, but are kept for the privacy of our bedrooms (or cleaned out of our closets).

We dress to meet the job we are doing for the day, and our daily job in our Christian life is to put on a “Jesus” attitude; to transform ourselves with the Spirit of God, with His love, and with His servant attitude.

We should also put as much time and energy into “choosing” our “inside” dress and our “outward” Christian appearance, as we do choosing what clothes we are going to wear for the job we have to do today. Our “dress for success” in God’s world is much more important than our “dress for success” in society.

Dear God: Help me to Dress for Success. Show me the armor that I need to wear each day to allow your Spirit to be seen by the people I come in contact with. I am sorry for the times I have worn anger and frustration. Help me to clothe myself in compassion, to wear (speak) the Truth, to make the tough choice of choosing an attitude fit for a King. Thank you for giving me the courage to “wear” what’s Right. Amen.

So what did you decide to wear to work today?

Did you dress for success?


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