For yet another week, our community continues to find itself in the national headlines. On many of the national news websites, stories concerning the FLDS continue rank as some of the most popular. One of the superficial things that the media has begun filling headlines with is the dress of the FLDS members. Obviously, there are more important issues; nevertheless, few of us have missed the stark contrast between the FLDS members’ clothing and the rest of society. The women’s pastel, prairie style dresses and old time hairstyles certainly give them an other worldly appearance – which I think is the point. No one will look at one of these folks and mistake them as a regular member of society.
It’s had me thinking a little bit about our own appearances. In Jesus’ prayer in John 17, he highlights the fact that though his followers live in this world they are not of it. But what does that mean? Are we to wear different clothes? Have different hairstyles? Maybe. Our dress should reflect God’s kingdom values at work in us. Believers should avoid both clothing that is immodest and clothing that makes others feel inferior. As important as those issues are, I don’t think Jesus is primarily speaking about the way we dress, at least, not primarily about how we dress our bodies.
Paul expounds upon this idea of being set apart from the world and says that the main difference is in how we dress our hearts, “Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity” (Colossians 3:12-14). That is, the way in which we are most supposed to be set apart from the world around us has to do with whether or not we've put on Christ. We should be clothed with the qualities of our Savior. So, how’s your heart dressed today? Is it time for a change of clothes?
“For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.” Galatians 3:27.