Wow, where do I start? What’s that old saying, “clothes make the man”. There is absolutely no doubt that we judge based on how a person is dressed. There is absolutely no doubt that we, as Christians, should know how to dress. There is absolutely no doubt that judging a book by its cover may get you into trouble.
I’m not going to offer a theological summary of the issues listed in the title of this post but will tread on common sense for a few minutes. The hot topics among Christians who grade sin according to their “righteousness” — movies, music, modesty, cards, methods of polity in the church, pink shirts, wire-rim glasses, whether you wear a tie or not — give me a break; your righteousness is still filthy rags aside from Christ!
I’ll touch on three
Ladies get the most negative attention on the issue of modesty and dress so let me begin. Just because a woman is wearing a dress or skirt that drags the ground doesn’t make her the epitome of Christianity. Likewise, because a woman wears a pair of pants, this doesn’t make her ungodly and unchristlike! Who’s the one looking on the inside, man or God? My mother wears pants and there is no one that would say she is ungodly!
Baptists treat this issue of how we dress, using their buzz word “modesty” as a cardinal doctrine. I suggest that the Christians using their inspection glasses of perfection recognize and respect the autonomy of the home. As a father and husband, it is my responsibility to gauge and correct “modesty” issues in my home. Is it the Pastor’s job to preach on “modesty?” You better believe it! However, this issue of modesty varies from Pastor to Pastor. Therefore, it is the responsibility of the autonomous home to make “modesty” decisions with the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Rest assured, that the preaching of “modesty” is necessary but a change needs to be driven by the wooing of the Holy Spirit. If a person is changing to please the Pastor, this change will be short-lived. If the change is driven by the Holy Spirit, then, this change will be longterm. “We better spend more time learning the fundamentals of the faith! These are things we must agree upon, and if not, separation may be necessary.” By the way, there are dresses/ skirts that are appealing to the eyes of a man just as a pair of pants can, too, appeal. Thus, common sense is necessary to buy accordingly.
How about Christians that play cards? I’m ok with it, but other Christians may not be ok with it. That’s fine and the responsibility of the autonomous home to decide that issue. Anything can be abused, and you are aware of activity that can negatively impact a simple game with cards. So, Christians that harp about a woman wearing pants, but play cards, are treading upon inconsistencies as observed by an offended party. See how our own convictions on issues that don’t mirror the conviction of another brother and sister may become divisive? “We better spend more time learning the fundamentals of the faith! These are things we must agree upon, and if not, separation may be necessary.” It will do Christians a great spiritual service to learn the difference between convictions and preferences. Let’s be careful not to preach our preferences.
Lastly, music and the trouble wrought in the hearts of many legalistic Christians. I’m confident in saying that K-Love is a burning issue on the lips of Christians. Again, that is all well and good but not an indicator of spirituality in the life of a Christian who listens to K-Love. Shocker!! I listen to K-Love. Guess what? I listen to Southern Gospel, also. Oh, just because you listen to what you believe to be Godly music doesn’t show you are a spiritual giant. Again, this post is common sense based and directed to mature Christians.
How about an example? There are many great and wholesome songs on K-Love, as well as songs that advertise to the flesh. Conversely, I love southern gospel music, and there are many songs that lift up the spirit and cause my soul to shout. However, there are a lot of southern gospel songs that sound like a Trace Adkins concert. So, again, don’t preach your preference, but allow the Holy Spirit to work in the autonomous home.
At 54 years old, I have a spiritual filter that does a good job guiding me on the issues of dress, cards, and music. We, as Christians, need to focus on encouraging each other to more astutely embrace the Holy Spirit’s wooing on issues not implicitly taught in God’s Word. If pants, cards, and some contemporary music isn’t your thing, that’s great and ok! Be sure to wisely approach the issues when using it as a teaching method, for your preferences may not match the preferences of the Christian you’re engaging.
How you serve the Lord in your home, and the standards you set for your home are just that — for your home. Keep it there! Bring to the spiritual table doctrine founded by God’s Word and thus saith the Lord, period! There is no interest in your preferences or the teaching and preaching about your preferences.
Read all of Romans chapter 14, but 2 verses that stand out are verses 10 & 17
“But why dost thou judge thy brother? or why dost thou set at nought thy brother? for we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ.“
“For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.”
“We better spend more time learning the fundamentals of the faith! These are things we must agree upon and if not, separation may be necessary.”