Why We Dress Our Best for Church

When you’ve been invited to someone’s wedding, do you roll out of bed that morning, throw on your favorite jeans and baseball tee and head to the ceremony because you should feel comfortable when you go and they know how you are?

No. You try to determine what would be most appropriate to the ceremony the bride has planned and dress accordingly, out of respect for the service and the two people getting married.

When you have to go to a funeral service, do you just do farm chores all day and then hop in the truck at the last minute and roll up in there in mucky boots and a sweaty shirt and say, “well, at least I’m here, right?”

No. You stop early, wash up, and change into neat and clean clothes out of respect for the deceased and the family.

Graduations, baptisms, birthday parties, dinner dates, business meetings…we take the time to think about our clothes, dress nicely and appropriately to the occasion, respectfully of who invited us, and in a manner that puts our best foot forward. So how can we do less when we go to God’s house?

Why We Dress Our Best for Church...it's not about how little we can give that God will accept, it's about how much can we give back to the One that gave us EVERYTHING. {via www.walkinginhighcotton.net}

I have to admit, straight away before you see all these adorable pictures of my little men in their suits, that I am a casual person. I’m a jeans and tees and ball cap kinda girl. I think a good pair of dark-wash jeans is about as dressed up as I need to be for just about any occasion. My parents were very causal too, and money was tight for us growing up. Our “best” is not what my household’s “best” is today. My Dad did wear jeans to a baptism–but they were his best black jeans, with a dress shirt and a tie and his nicest leather jacket. So when I say we “dress our best” I don’t mean that our boys wear a suit and tie every Sunday. They don’t. Sometimes they just wear khakis and a button-up shirt. (I actually avoided buying them suits until recently because they grow so fast I thought it was a waste. Mr. Fix-It changed my mind.)

But what they don’t wear is what they wear for farm chores. What they don’t wear is what they wear every day for school. They wear whatever their best dress clothes are at the time. And we make sure that our clothing budget includes dress clothes for Su

Why?

Because Church is not about how little you can give that God will accept. It’s about how much can you give back to the One who gave you EVERYTHING.

the suits 1

How can I offer God less, in His own house, for just  two hours a week, than I give my office every. single. day. 40 hours a week?

How can I offer God less than I give a 5 month old infant who won’t even know I’m there?

How can I offer God less than I offer a high school student who is thinking more about his/her new dorm room than me sitting in the stands?

How can I offer God less than I share with my husband for taking me out to eat on our anniversary?

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Here’s an argument I’ve heard often at churches that promote and encourage casual dress (not just accept it, but promote and encourage it)…God loves us no matter what we wear.

My question to that is, what does that have to do with it? That’s about God’s behavior toward us. How we dress for church is about OUR behavior toward GOD. God does, absolutely love us no matter what we wear. Wearing a suit and tie doesn’t cover up the filthy rags of your sin. He sees straight through your clothes to your heart. If anything, the fact that He loves us no matter what should be encouraging us to do MORE for Him, not less.

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Here’s another one I’ve heard and seen a lot as I’ve read up on this topic…I can love and worship God no matter what I’m wearing. It’s about my heart.

Yes, too true! I think this is very important because I don’t think anyone should judge what your “best” is. This post isn’t titled “Why We Wear Suits to Church.” It’s not about what clothes you wear, it’s about giving your best to the Lord, on the Lord’s day, in the Lord’s house.

And I would ask what’s really in your heart on Sunday mornings when you get dress for church? Is your heart saying, “How can I show God my utmost respect and love and worship today? How can I show Him my humble spirit in His house? How can I give Him my very best in return for all He has given me? How can I show Him the utmost gratitude for all the blessings He has showered down on me?”

Or is your heart saying “Here’s my favorite clothes that I’m most comfortable in, because I don’t think it should matter?” Is your heart saying, “It’s church, everyone should just take me as I am.” In all honesty, deep down in the quiet places…is your heart rebelling against any standard that may be imposed on you from outside? Even if it’s God’s? (Ahem…all you strong-willed women out there, you don’t have to raise your hand. I know. Believe me, I know.)

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Here’s another variation on that one…Clothes don’t matter, I’m here to worship God.

This goes hand in hand with rebelling against outside standards. The fact is, the Bible doesn’t tell to wear suits (or khakis, or skirts, or jeans for that matter) to church. But it does tell us that clothing has always mattered to God when it came to HIS house, HIS temple, and being in HIS presence. There’s example after example in HIS word where He imposed detailed expectations for worship on folks. We don’t live under the law, but the Old Testament is still relevant in knowing God’s heart and mind for His people. The Bible is also full of examples of how believers modified their clothing in humble awe of the Lord. Covering heads, removing shoes, washing…prompted solely by reverence in their own heart and spirit. Are you dressing from a reverent spirit when you head to the Lord’s house on Sundays? Are you presenting yourself wholly to Him, heart, soul, AND body? Or are you saying “You can have my heart and soul, but what I do with my body is up to me, don’t worry about it. Lord, you just worry about my voice and my thoughts, that’s what should matter to You.”

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I’m a busy momma. I work full-time. I farm. I’m a wife and mother to 3 kiddos…all within 5 years of each other. I had 2 under 2–trust me, I know those mornings when you roll out of bed and getting to church in your pjs really would be your best. It’s a miracle you got there at all! This has been a real journey for me.

And I’m pretty strong-willed (I love that new term “strong-hearted-woman”…so much nicer ring to that than “stubborn!”) so the idea of take-me-as-I-am is pretty familiar to me. I’ve worn jeans to church. I’ve sent my son to church wearing Carhartt overalls. (In my defense, we had a farm thing right after church that day!)

I had to come to the place were I admitted that I gave my Monday through Friday paycheck job more wardrobe consideration than my Sunday mornings in the Lord’s house. He wasn’t getting the best that was in my closet, and digging a little deeper, that meant He wasn’t getting the best of the rest of me either. I would spend more time worry about outfits for the kiddos for the occasional birthday party than for visiting the Lord’s house. I even uncovered a little bit of embarrassing ugliness there–it was expensive and inconvenient to keep up with nice Sunday clothes for the children. Budgeting, shopping, washing, ironing, folding and hanging…giving our best to the Lord each week was inconvenient. {blushing with shame here} Thank goodness for Mr. Fix-It helping me out with this heart issue. (He might not have been as gracious as my strong-willed-self thought he should be, but he was honest.)

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I do believe that it’s better to be there than not, no matter what you’re wearing.

No question. If your choice is come straight from work in dusty jeans and boots or not come at all, then ya know what? Dusty jeans and boots are your best that day. But is that really the choice we’re making? Wear this or I can’t go? Or is our choice it’s this or I won’t go? How much does it really put you out to have one or two nice “Sunday” dresses in your closet just for the Lord–after everything He’s given to you? Is it really that you can’t? Even Laura Ingalls Wilder managed in her 4 dress wardrobe to have a special Sunday dress.

These are questions I had to ask myself. And the answers ended up pretty simple for us. We dress our best because the Lord deserves it. The minor inconvenience of cost and time are a small sacrifice to show respect to the One who sacrifice His own innocent Son for me.

And how adorable do my little men look, anyway? {smile}

See where I’m sharing

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