There is a common misconception that God requires suits and fancy dresses to be worn for church services. Where did this come from? The Bible does not have such a concept as what clothes to wear to church. However, sermons are preached and lessons are taught to members and visitors as if this is a commandment of God.
Historically, the requirement came down to us in the Victorian era, where the rich influenced society with dress and culture. During the same time this influence began to creep into the church. In America, settlers and pilgrims reflected this influence in their dress. Slaves who had permission to go to church could not wear their field clothes but were given some of their master’s garments to wear. Pastors and preachers began to teach that dress clothes were the clothing that showed honor to God and necessary for worship service. But what can we learn from the scriptures?
In James 2:2-5, we are told to honor the person despite their apparel. In Matthew 18-23, Jesus chose four fishermen who were at work. The Bible says they immediately left their nets and followed him. They went on to do ministry and Jesus never asked them or any other disciple to change their clothes. As a matter of fact, in Matthew 23:5, Jesus admonished the Pharisees for wearing fancy garments to draw attention to themselves. Jesus condemned them because they placed emphasis on the external.
In 1 Timothy 2:9, the scriptures say we should wear modest apparel, which means do not wear provocative clothing. Provocative clothing is clothing that can tempt others to lust. Some other items that we should not wear include elaborate hairstyles, excessive gold, pearls or expensive clothes.
Modest means limited or moderate amount. In other words, tone it down. It’s time for the people of God to stop drawing attention to themselves in the church with their apparel, because it takes the focus off of worshipping God and puts it on us. We condemn someone who has a t-shirt and jeans (modest). Some churches even go as far as to tell them not to come back to God’s house dressed like that.
Actually we need to tone down the big rings, fancy watches, large gold chains, charms, large earrings, large cufflings, $800 suits, $500 gators, etc. It’s not what we wear on the outside but what we have inside our hearts that matter. Our clothing doesn’t increase our worship. It’s time to praise God with all we have no matter what we’re wearing.
Pastor Reggie Bruce
Faith Deliverance Baptist Church