In this day and age there is a wide variety of churches with an equally wide variety on stances on how we should present ourselves at church. While most churches hold the “Come as you are” mentality, encouraging people to wear whatever they want (as long as they are wearing clothes, no nudity please); there are the select few churches where they don’t officially say “Dress up”, but as soon as you walk in the doors you wish you had gotten the unspoken memo.
For me growing up, I will say that dressing up on Sunday was a must, and jeans weren’t an option until my later rebellious teen years. So when I say dress up, I mean dress pants and a blouse, skirt and a blouse or a dress for myself. My brother was in dress pants and a button up or something similar to that effect. My mother led by example, donned in her 'Sunday Best'.
Now I understand that the idea of dressing up every Sunday can seem ridiculous. I mean it isn’t like God is judging us based on our appearance right? Plus dressing up for Sunday's is purely tradition, it's old school. In fact, this very sentiment is what fuels most churches to establish the “Come as you are” policy. And as per usual I find myself down smack dab in the middle of the argument, I think people should be comfortable when they come to church but I also think that they should change out of their pajamas before they get there… you know, put a little effort in.
But what if this issue goes beyond the idea of clothing and appearance? What if this was about something so much more than jeans, dresses and suits (oh my!)? What if this was not about what we are wearing but who we are wearing?
Psalm 100 Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth. Worship the Lord with gladness; come before him with joyful songs. Know that the Lord is God. It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.
Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name. For the Lord is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations.
My question today does not lie in the threads of your clothing or how your hair and make up are done. I'm not talking about the brand of your dress or the way you wear your accessories. It's more about what attitude you wear as you enter God’s House. I want you to think back to last Sunday (or the last time you went to church) and ask yourself the following questions:
1. Were you rushed and anxious because you were running late? 2. Were you thinking about the service before it even began? (How long the congregational prayer will be, will the worship be good, is there a guest speaker, I hope the coffee is better than last week…) 3. Were you distracted by the frustrating morning with your kids and spouse? 4. Were you stressed out from the pressures of work or your finances? 5. What were you feeling? Happy, Sad, Angry, Tired, Frustrated, Annoyed… 6. If God was going to speak to you… would you have heard Him?
Believe me, there are Sunday’s where I would rather attend Bedside Baptist (oh man how I make myself laugh) then actually go to church. Why? For many reasons, and the usual culprit is that I’m tired. But I get up and go anyways because I want to be there in case God needs me to hear something, or in case someone else needs to hear something from me. On those days where I am literally dragging myself through the doors, I go through a self-check as I enter the building and remind myself of these three things;
1. This is the Day that the LORD has made, I will rejoice and be glad in it 2. Church is a privilege… it is somewhere I GET to go… not somewhere I have to go 3. If I want to meet God then I need to be focused on God and not on myself
Matthew 23:37 Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind
I leave my distractions at the door, my troubles and my stresses I surrender at the cross and I walk in anticipating that God will move. Some days God will use me to move in other peoples’ lives and other days He will move in my life. I know that not every day is my turn and that’s okay. Yes there are Sundays where I leave church going “that could have been better”… I mean heck we're all human! Church won’t be perfect and we won’t be perfect but man does God ever use those imperfect people to complete His perfect plan.
So why should we even try to present our best selves if God is going to use imperfect people anyways? Well, because God deserves our best self… in fact, he deserves so much more than that but we need to give Him what we can. Don’t get caught up on the fact that “what we give will never be good enough” but concentrate on presenting your best self to God.
Ephesians 2:10 For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.
So you don’t have to wear a ball gown to church this Sunday to present your best self but try and remember these five steps:
When you Greet People… Greet them knowing God’s love is OVERFLOWING into their lives through you. When you Worship… Worship with full adoration for your SAVIOR, because he deserves so much more. When you Listen… Listen eagerly to the message and EXPECT it to apply to you (not your neighbour) When you Give… Give with a grateful heart of what’s been given to you. When you Leave… Leave with excitement and anticipation as to what God will do in your life this week.
1 Corinthians 10:31 So whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do it all for the Glory of God