Thursday, September 10, 2018
Most believers wish to be respectful to God. That desire is commendable. How do we show that respect? Is it done by the men wearing a suit, tie, white shirt, socks and shoes that have been shined? Do women accomplish that desire by wearing an expensive dress, just the right make-up, correctly coiffured hair, and the latest style shoes? We are told that one shows respect by entering the sanctuary (auditorium) quietly.
There is nothing wrong with men wearing a nice suit or women buying a nice dress to wear in the assembly. However, not one single apostle or prophet thought respect was built with style. I doubt if Peter’s wife turned to him and said, “You’re not wearing THAT to church, are you?” If you want to please God, it isn’t about the cost of your clothing and how impressive it is to men (James 2:2-4). What is important is the character that clothes your spirit. Paul said, “And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness” (Eph.4:24). That is what shows respect to God. So what are you wearing prior to, during, and after the assembly is dismissed?
Is your church on Sunday morning more formal than it is on Sunday night? Is Wednesday evening more informal than Sunday night? Is Sunday School more informal than Wednesday evening? What scripture teaches this formalism? New Testament assemblies were not divided into formal and informal. Suit and ties on Sunday morning and dress shirt and slacks on Sunday night are man, not God made. So, where did formalism come from? Isn’t it man’s creation to emphasize the externals? When we go to the Bible to find what guidelines we should use to determine which assemblies are formal and which are informal, silence is our reward. Formalism alienates the disadvantaged. It attracts our social equals. It places a burden on those who worry about being accepted by man. God looks at our heart, not at the price tag on our suit. We may impress others with what we wear, but that isn’t what God is searching for.
“The LORD does not look at the things which man views. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart” (1 Samuel 16:7).