Someone recently asked me what I thought about how people should dress for church. Honestly, my first reaction was, “who really cares?!” Not too long after this, I heard some friends complaining about how their church members dress for church and again I wondered why this really matters. But apparently some have a very strong opinion about what someone ought to wear to church. I’ve spent some time in my Bible and prayer and these are the scriptures that I continue to fall back on:
1 Samuel 16:7 – But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”
1 Peter 3:3-4 – 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.
We are called to worship in everything we do. It says in Colossians 3:17, “And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” Our lives should be a constant worship of our Creator. The difference between worshiping daily and worshiping at a scheduled church gathering is the actual worship time and that it’s with a community of believers. Why should our appearance be any different at the different places of worship? The Bible tells us that we should not consider our outward appearances, but our hearts. When we put too much energy into what we wear, especially if it’s just to please others at church, we are sinning against God’s word. Our hearts during worship is what our Heavenly Father is looking at, not our outward appearances. Our hearts must be in the right place and focused on our worship toward our God.
Likewise, if you are bothered by what others are wearing in church, your heart and mind are not focused on worship; your heart and mind rather are focused on others’ outward appearances. This is a sin. If this is something you struggle with, turn to God and ask Him to clear your mind for worship.
1 Corinthians 6:19 says, “Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own.” This doesn’t mean just on Sundays; it means every day our bodies are a temple for God. Every day we should be worshipping and every day we should be mindful about our appearances. Every day we should be modestly dressed and in preparation for worship throughout our day.
Some may choose to attend church in their absolute best clothing. And this is okay. Rather than worry about the appearances of others, devote time in prayer that your appearance will lead others to dress in their Sunday best. Ask God for a more gracious and forgiving heart, and seek opportunities to clothe others if they are lacking in clothing. And remember, if Christ came to your church wearing the only garments He owned, you wouldn’t turn your back on Him because he wasn’t in a designer suit. Likewise, don’t turn your backs on those not dressed up in the fanciest clothing as they may already be wearing their best. As we all grow in our walk, we are continually transformed and there is nothing wrong with wanting to “present” ourselves to our Father in an honoring fashion.
We must praise God for those who are in church, regardless of their apparel. Hallelujah!! People are coming to church! What a blessing that the church doors are flooding with people who want to hear the word of God and come just as they are! How sad it is that some of us are scoffing at mere appearances rather than seeking their hearts. Welcome them in, have a servant’s heart, and be a witness for Christ!
Romans 8:1 says, “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” There should be no judgment on what others may be wearing to church. Let God, not man, convict their hearts to wearing clothing that honors our body as a temple.