How much time do I spend in personal grooming? I’m not sure, but most of us want to look nice and it is easy to waste minutes if not hours looking in the mirror or standing in the closet. How important is this for a Christian?
I know one simple soul who daily asks God what to wear. She puts great emphasis on her outer appearance because she wants to make a good impression as a believer in Jesus Christ. Some sects take the opposite stand and say that plainer is better. Is there a balance? Or does God even care? What does the Bible say?
In the Old Testament, the most emphasis on clothing concerns what the priests should wear. Long descriptions of their ornamentation are summed up in this sentence:
And you shall make holy garments for Aaron your brother, for glory and for beauty. (Exodus 28:2)
The word order is significant. First holy, then glory, then beauty. That is, in the sight of God, being set apart for holiness has greater value than looking glorious or beautiful. He even uses terms about clothing to describe salvation and righteousness.
I will greatly rejoice in the Lord; my soul shall exult in my God, for he has clothed me with the garments of salvation; he has covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decks himself like a priest with a beautiful headdress, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels. (Isaiah 61:10)
Here, glory and beauty are not neglected, but the idea of being holy and clothed in holiness is more important. This is also brought out in the New Testament, particularly in verses about the adornment of women.
Do not let your adorning be external—the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear— but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious. (1 Peter 3:3–4)
God does not say no to beautiful clothes. He is just more concerned with what goes on in the inner person. He talks about garments of praise and that I am clothed with the Lord Jesus. He says my ornaments are a meek and quiet spirit. For me, the bells on the hems of the priests garments translate into holy actions, words and purposes so that whenever I move, it is music to those around me.
In addition, many passages tell me that I am to put on new life as a daily practice, even using terms comparable to donning clothing.
Put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness. (Ephesians 4:24)
Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. (Colossians 3:12–14)
From this and other verses, I know that when I get dressed each day, the first thoughts should be about my attitude and relationship to God. Am I adorned with the Spirit of Christ, or am I wearing my old clothes of self-centeredness and me-first?
Lord, thanks for this reminder. Getting dressed each morning is more than a routine. It is an opportunity to think about how you want me to be adorned. Each day, I have the choice to put on the Lord Jesus Christ and make Your holiness my garment for the day. I should make reasonable choices about my clothing, but if holiness is the main part of my wardrobe, then glory and beauty will follow, regardless of the externals.