Fashion can be tricky. All the rules and faux pas, changing of trends, exceptions and scenarios…even the ultra-stylish must stop and think from time to time. There are so many questions and concerns that people deal with on a daily basis when it comes to what to wear.
Have you noticed that people react to you differently based on what you wear? Do certain outfits lend you special treatment and others yield the silent treatment? A recent Wall Street Journal article reported on research from Harvard Business School regarding the importance of what you wear in communicating your status. Has a sharp suit ever earned you special treatment? Have sweatpants made you feel like a leper at that trendy shopping mall? If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, you’ve experienced the social dynamics of clothing.
Judging someone solely on attire may seem unfair. Really, I’m the same person whether I’m sporting Prada or Payless. I still drink milk out of a paper cup and prefer my sandwiches cut in triangles, no matter what I’m wearing. But there’s no avoiding it: How you dress and present yourself does matter, unfortunately your attire often determines how you will be treated in a given situation.
In the past, clothes served as your first introduction to the world, a calling card of sorts. Because everything was handmade and textiles were expensive, a poor man rarely owned more than one or two outfits (one for everyday work and one for church or social activities), while the society man could afford to change outfits two or even three times a day. It wasn’t only the number of items you owned, but also the type, quality and even color of those pieces of clothing that defined your status. Style is important and shapes your self-perception, the perception of others and your sense of belonging.
Although you no longer need to dress a particular way according to your social status, your choice of clothes might still play a role in how successful you are. Although clothes don’t entirely define who you are, they can at least identify you to some degree. What a person chooses to put on can tell you a lot about him or her. What they value. How they see themselves. What their priorities are.
When you and I pull off the old man “and put on the new man…” Colossians 3:10 -which is to say “put on the Lord Jesus Christ,” we are saying something. We put on the Lord, meaning we recognize His lordship over us. He is Lord of all. He controls our life. His word is the last word, and He is the one to whom we must answer. We are saying that He is supreme. He is omnipotent. He is the audience of one to whom your life is played. To put on Jesus is to put on love, it is to put on the humanity of the incarnation the Messiah or Anointed One. Jesus is the only one who gives us the capacity to love our neighbor and love our enemies and love the unlovely equally at the same time. With Jesus, we put on the ability to truly and completely love.
When we put on Christ, we affirm the resurrection power that He gives to sustain and deliver us. It’s quite a wardrobe, don’t you agree? We put on the Lord, and He is supreme. We put on Jesus and His capacity to love. We put on Christ, who gives us the power to live this life. When we put on the Lord Jesus Christ, there is a whole new agenda in place. We think differently. We act differently. We are seen differently by those around us. Our old desires are replaced by a new desire to be holy and pleasing to God. That’s what His love does for us, and that is what our love, in Him, is to do for others.
What are you wearing today?