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Dressing for the Glory of God
Now and then sincere followers of Christ get the idea that if they are real Christians, they shouldn’t care how they look. Feeling quite virtuous, they let their hair get greasy and stringy, wear clothes that are stained and ripped, and clump around in shoes so shabby that the soles flap with each step.
If you’ve ever wondered if we must “let ourselves go” in order to be real Christians, take note: Simplicity is not slovenliness! God wants everything about us to be neat and clean. Before He spoke to the Israelites from Mount Sinai, God told Moses, “Go unto the people, . . . and let them wash their clothes.”1 Over and over again, in the sanctuary services, He asked the people to “wash and be clean.”2 And before the priests could minister in the sanctuary, they had to clean their bodies and wash their clothes.3 God took the trouble to spell these things out, because they were important to Him.
He has given even more detailed instructions for us today:
“The young should be encouraged to form correct habits in dress, that their appearance may be neat and attractive; they should be taught to keep their garments clean and neatly mended. All their habits should be such as to make them a help and comfort to others.”4
“It is important also that the clothing be kept clean. The garments worn absorb the waste matter that passes off through the pores; if they are not frequently changed and washed, the impurities will be reabsorbed.”5
“God is not pleased to see [us] with unclean bodies and untidy, torn garments. . . . Having the clothing neat and clean will be one means of keeping the thoughts pure and sweet. . . . Especially should every article which comes in contact with the skin be kept clean.”6
• Sewing on a button takes minutes—and makes a huge difference in the appearance of your clothes. • Sew up those small rips before they grow. Stock a basket with scissors, different colors of thread, needles, and an assortment of buttons. When an item of clothing needs repair, add it to the basket. Make it a practice to mend these items when you are talking on the phone or otherwise just sitting. • Safety pins are for emergencies. Make proper repairs as soon as possible. • Stains, spots, and wrinkles have no place on a Christian’s garments—or in his character!7
Pre-treat all stains before washing, and make it a practice to iron your clothes as soon as they come out of the laundry. While traveling, take a small sewing kit and a travel iron or steamer so you can stay neat and tidy.
But what about when we’re at home? Can’t we slouch there? After all, it’s just family! Here’s something written especially for wives and mothers, but the principle applies to all of us:
“Sisters, when about their work, should not put on clothing which would make them look like images to frighten the crows from the corn. It is more gratifying to their husbands and children to see them in a becoming, well-fitting attire than it can be to mere visitors or strangers. Some wives and mothers seem to think it is no matter how they look when about their work and when they are seen only by their husbands and children, but they are very particular to dress in taste for the eyes of those who have no special claims upon them. Is not the esteem and love of husband and children more to be prized than that of strangers or common friends?”8
Whether at home or abroad, a dirty, messy Christian is not a fit representative of Christ. Your grandmother was right, after all, when she told you, “Cleanliness is next to godliness”! Of course, if we are laying bricks or digging in the garden we are bound to accumulate some dirt. But when we’re finished, we don’t need to stay dirty. For a Christian, uncleanliness should simply not be an option.
1. Exodus 19:10. 2. See Leviticus 13:34; 14:8; 15:8; 17:15; and many other similar references. 3. See Leviticus 16:4; Numbers 8:20, 21. 4. Ellen White, Child Guidance, page 419. 5. Ibid., page 109. 6. White, My Life Today, page 129. 7. Ephesians 5:27. 8. White, The Adventist Home, pages 252, 253.
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