Several months ago I was sitting in a booth at Bruegger’s with my wife, Amy, and our youngest daughter, Ella. A waitress named Sue Ellen commented on the black Fedora hat that I was wearing. As Sue Ellen continued wiping down the tables around us, she shared how she remember the times when men wore Fedoras and how she loved that. These days, people dress any old way they please, she continued. Sue Ellen went on to share how she saw a lady in church one Easter Sunday wearing an Easter hat. After service she followed this young lady outside. Sue Ellen told the woman how great she looked and how she so much appreciated seeing people coming to church dressed in their Sunday best.
I knew exactly what she meant by Sunday’s best. I, too, grew up in an era where when you entered into the House of God you wore your best. Everyone had at least one set of dress clothes that they wore to church known as “your Sunday’s best.” Even though it was the same outfit every Sunday, it was the best you had. It wasn’t a matter of looking better then someone else, you just wanted to honor God with what you had. Even if it wasn’t much … like hand-me-downs from another family member or friend.
I guess times have changed and with it comes our new value system in what one believes will bring honor to God. The truth of the matter is some of us no longer care how we dress or look. There seems to be now a loose dress code that we put under the pretense that we don’t want to make others feel uncomfortable when they come to worship.
I would that we all felt the same way about our sins towards Jesus and how we affect other people when our behavior doesn’t match our faith. We have great freedom in the Spirit. But, our freedom should never allow us to become so lax, just to make others feel more comfortable by lowering the standard (bar) just for the sake of it. What cause or occasion would they then have to raise the bar (standard) if we have grown so lax? Don’t get me wrong, this is not about clothing or a dress code at all, it’s about the condition of our hearts.
APOSTLE PAUL’S USE OF HIS FREEDOM.
I don’t believe that’s what apostle Paul meant when he said, “Though I am free and belong to no one, I have made myself a slave to everyone, to win as many as possible. To the Jews I became like a Jew, to win the Jews. To those under the law I became like one under the law (though I myself am not under the law), so as to win those under the law. To those not having the law I became like one not having the law (though I am not free from God’s law but am under Christ’s law), so as to win those not having the law. To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some. I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings.” 1 Corinthians 9:19-23
Jesus wants the law of God to be written upon the tablets of our hearts not upon paper as though they are just rules to be followed, without the willingness of our hearts. Then others will take notice of our sincerity and glorify God, not man.
Paul was not going to allow his freedom in Jesus to become a stumbling block to those who were weaker in their faith. Paul related to their their struggles without compromising his walk with Jesus. In making himself relatable to those who were weak, he was not attempting to please men to win them to Jesus. What Paul did, he did it for the furtherance of the gospel. He was winning those to Christ, without the compromising of his relationship with Jesus, the living word of God.
DO ALL THINGS TO THE GLORY OF GOD
1 Corinthians 10:31-33
So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. Do not cause anyone to stumble, whether Jews, Greeks or the church of God— even as I try to please everyone in every way. For I am not seeking my own good but the good of many, so that they may be saved. Ask yourself, as a Christian are you attempting to bring the lost to Jesus by your own efforts or through the power and influence of the Holy Spirit.
I will be the first to admit that too often I try to get things accomplished by my cleaver ideas and after they failed, I ask for Jesus’s help. Prayer should have been my foremost option. Paul by the power of the Holy Spirit knew how to genuinely humble himself before God and man so that he might win souls for Christ. Not through human efforts, but by Jesus’s direction and plan. So in whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. Amen.