the wardrobe God picked out for you

One thing I’ve learned from Jesus is that there is a time for defending/debating and there’s a time to keep your mouth shut. A mark of true humility would be knowing the difference between the two.

Sadly, I’m not there yet (I get it right some and get it wrong some). But after a few humbling moments today and some good time in prayer, I’m sensing the Spirit saying to let the defense rest.

And also, how about we move on to some things that matter even more than clothes? Because there are so, so many.

But first, an apology. And I want to start by apologizing to every Southerner and/or Baptist I hurt by my reference yesterday to you both. I was wrong, and I ask your forgiveness.

And second, I apologize to everyone I offended by my tone. It truly wasn’t my intent. And I’m especially sorry to those who felt attacked simply because they like to dress up for church. Like I said, some of my very best favorite people look stunning (and modest!) every Sunday (and every other day too, come to think of it). I have NOTHING against people who dress up, I promise.

Here’s what I really think. If each of us truly came to church dressed in whatever we felt God was laying on our hearts instead of what’s culturally ingrained in us or what we think people expect from us (or what we’re trying to rebel against), I think we would naturally see a wide variety of clothing, don’t you?

I mean, think about it. God created us differently, uniquely! Look at our sizes and shapes and hair color and skin tones and noses (please don’t look too closely at my nose)! Not a one of us looks the same! So, why would we wear cookie cutter clothes??

We are all parts of one body–the body of Christ–but we are very, very different parts. If everyone in my church dressed just like me (or just like you), then someone (rich, poor, whatever) is going to show up one Sunday–who didn’t get the memo–and is going to feel like she doesn’t belong. Right?

So, what I’m saying (and what I didn’t completely and clearly communicate yesterday) is that ALL types of clothing (or rather, the people in them) worshiping together is a TRUE picture of the body of Christ. Just like all colors and races is a true picture of the body of Christ.

Thank you, Jesus, for answering my prayers for wisdom about this post and leading me right straight to Colossians 3. Thank you, Paul, for writing this particular letter to a particular church but allowing us all to benefit from your words. And thank you, Eugene Peterson, for phrasing it with such wow factor in the Message Bible.

Read these words, friends. Soak them up. Make them yours, because they are.

Now you’re dressed in a new wardrobe. Every item of your new way of life is custom-made by the Creator, with his label on it. All the old fashions are now obsolete. Words like Jewish and non-Jewish, religious and irreligious, insider and outsider, uncivilized and uncouth, slave and free, mean nothing. From now on everyone is defined by Christ, everyone is included in Christ.

So, chosen by God for this new life of love, dress in the wardrobe God picked out for you: compassion, kindness, humility, quiet strength, discipline. Be even-tempered, content with second place, quick to forgive an offense. Forgive as quickly and completely as the Master forgave you. And regardless of what else you put on, put on love. It’s your basic, all-purpose garment. Never be without it.

Let the peace of Christ keep you in tune with each other, in step with each other. None of this going off and doing your own thing. And cultivate thankfulness. Let the Word of Christ–the Message–have the run of the house. Give it plenty of room in your lives. Instruct and direct one another using good common sense. And sing, sing your hearts out to God! Let every detail in your lives–words, actions, whatever–be done in the name of the Master, Jesus, thanking God the Father every step of the way. Colossians 3:10-17 (msg)

Isn’t that just PERFECT?

Now, all of you run off and enjoy your weekend! And report back here on Monday with a detailed description of what you wore to church (wink wink).

31 thoughts on “the wardrobe God picked out for you

  1. valerie (in TX)

    Yep. It is. Perfect. 🙂

    And thanks, Marla. You totally convicted me (well…you know…GOD convicted me) about the way I’ve been thinking about the girl who’s been sitting in front of me at church the past couple of weeks. 🙁 eesh. I needed it.

  2. Hannah

    Hi Marla! Thanks for all your thoughtful energy into getting us to think about our attitude to clothing and church. I pray you’re not hurting too much from any flak you received (I didn’t read any comments from your previous article…just your article itself and this one).

    I’ve always just believed that as long as you’re modest, and comfortable, then what you’re wearing is of no importance. Or low importance. Having your heart and attitude right before God is what counts.

    Thanks also for your challenge of spending less time on appearance to spend more time with God. That’s something that’s convicted me lately.


  3. Tonia

    One of the things I love about you is your honesty. We all need to be called out by the ones who love us because that is how we can grow stronger and learn to be more Christ-like. It’s super easy to get caught up with the crowd and lose site of who we are in Christ, especially when that means you are very different and don’t mesh with the cultural norm. Blah, blah, blah. Anyway, thank you for all your words they were very good to read and process. I’m thankful to you and your blog readers during this transition in my life. I guess the Internet isn’t completely of he devil ;-).

  4. gini

    I just read something from Bryant Wright’s (current president of the SBC) devotional book and though he was talking about a whole different issue, it made me think of all the conversation this week on your blog and I thought it was fitting.

    “So often we elevate tradition to the level of the Bible. Tradition can be meaningful, but when we raise it to the level of the Bible, we make it idolatry and ignore the second commandment. Let’s be sure that in following Christ, the Bible is our ultimate authority on how to live for him.”

    Loved your response today… know that God is using you in great ways!

  5. Amy

    Just wanted to say thanks again for these posts. It really let me step back and see the journey I’ve taken over the years regarding this issue. I think God was doing a work and I didn’t even realize it.

  6. Jennifer Ekstrand

    Thank you for having the church clothes discussion. I know I haven’t said much, but I’ve been pondering it quite a bit this week (and have been discussing it a bit on my blog and with my husband. Honestly, it isn’t a topic I’ve thought about much, my clothing, both every day and for church, has been chosen based purely on what I like: what feels good, what I enjoy wearing, what follows 4-H rules (like 2 of the shoe, sock, and pant/skirt should be the same color), what flatters my figure. I haven’t really thought about Scripture and my clothing (beyond don’t wear revealing/suggestive clothing) or what my clothing says about my heart.

    I don’t spend a ton of time or money on clothes, so I just assumed I was “ok”, apart from having some clothes that I never wear.

  7. Keri

    Set The Baptists Free!

    One of my favorite lines from Cambodia……I even told my very Baptist pastor here in Singapore about that and he laughed.

    Don’t be too hard on yourself, I think your intent came through loud and clear on the original post. It needed saying and you said it. Don’t ever apologize for that!

    Love you!

    1. Joni

      I didn’t know the president of the United States goal was to make the world a better place.. Isn’t that the job of each individual? How can you worship god and then turn around,and argue about a man making the world a better place? I thought the pr8s1dent&#e2i7;s goal is to make deals, sucking the world dry.. Because that’s what’s been happening since our first president.

  8. Claudia Porpiglia

    Couldn’t have said it better myself! The reality is the Mason-Dixon line or certain denominations aren’t even living by the old rules anymore. More and more members are feeling the freedom from God to dress as they feel lead.

    Another aspect of this is the whole concept of giving God our best. Many have taken this to an extreme that God never intended us to take it to. We make people feel like the only best they can give is perfection. Perfection will never be achieved in our physical state so we destine people to feeling like they are failing. With clothes this causes many to “compete” and take the focus of what is really important…God receiving the glory!

  9. LaRonda

    I love this!!! Very important and helpful way to explain it to my kids. There is so much pressure to look right then to do right. Thanks for sharing!

  10. Melissa Irwin

    I haven’t read it yet but know several people who have (and I intend to)… but there is a book by Kelly Minter called “The Fitting Room”… I think has to do with this topic.

    Love you, Marla. And I’m from the south and was not offended in the least.

  11. jess

    and that’s that!

    and i venture to guess that what you wrote today is what most of the comments were trying to convey. Sometimes my mom’s family gets together and they argue (discuss, not fight), but they’re all arguing FOR the same thing…loudly and differently, but for the same thing.

    why oh why do i always forget the other thing i want to say?

  12. ellen

    one of the first blogs of yours I’ve agreed with 100% – perfectly said and totally true — hope you know I love you and your family 100% even when we only agree 40% LOL see you Sunday — and I’ll have jeans on but maybe a sparkly shirt 🙂

    1. Marla Taviano

      So, which one of us is 60% wrong most of the time? 😉 I don’t think I’ve ever met someone who disagrees with me so much and loves me so well. Thank you, friend.

      p.s. We’re visiting Britt at camp this weekend, so we’ll be at her church. See you next Sunday!

      1. ellen

        I’m not even sure we actually disagree but I don think we come at things from a different perspective maybe — we’ll miss you Sunday

  13. Bethany Peters

    Q. So what should I wear to church this Sunday?
    A. Compassion, kindness, humility, quiet strength, discipline, and most of all-LOVE.

    I never even thought of this passage dealing with this issue. Love it Marsy!

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