#WCW – The Gospel with a Side of Standards Please
For decades the church has been host to the ongoing argument between the pulpit and the pews regarding proper church standard, mainly attire. Seasoned christians believe that if you serve the King you should represent Him accordingly. A proclaimed christian should never look or behave like they serve the world and God simultaneously. In others words, once you give your life over to the Lord, you should not be dressing, living, or behaving as you did prior to your conversion. Lay members bout by quoting the overly misquoted, misused and abused come as you are excuse. For the record, there is not one scripture in the bible that actually states you should come as you are. There are, however, scriptures which reference coming to Christ in your current state in surety that you won’t leave His presence the same.
Recently, I paid an artist a compliment on their ode to Jesus as the wamaker. The artist re-recorded and released a timeless gospel track with roots some one hundred and some odd years old. Upon its release, the song skyrocketed blazing a trend on media outlets and the gospel charts. Not even a week after its release, that artist appeared on BET’s 106 & Park to chat the song. The only problem is the artist showed up dressed very secular, or worldly as the old folks say, to promote a gospel song. Church goers went in on her. That’s urban slang for ‘they let her have it’. To be partially fair, this particular artist made her debut in music as a secular artist. However, because of her church roots, upon taking a break from the widely acclaimed all girl band she was a part of, she decided to return to her original musical foundation and pay homage to the good news. Let’s just say the transition hasn’t been easy for her.
Where do we draw the line between what’s kingdom and what’s worldly? Conviction! I experienced a very defining moment my senior year in high school. It was the last week of school and everyone was preparing for either exams or exemptions. Either way, summer was right around the corner and so was a few weeks of sleeping in. Any rate, during those last few days dress code wasn’t a must do. Most of us seniors were getting by in t-shirts, jeans and flip-flops or t-shirts, shorts and tennis shoes. It was whatever. I’ll never forget that day though. It happened on a Tuesday. Ha. I’d thrown on some burnt orange shorts that were about four inches above the knee and a few inches short of daisy dukes. I was walking from my locker to my third period french class to hand over my final assignments and I was done with high school until graduation.
On my way there, I heard a voice call me from behind. It was one of my track coaches who also served as a gym teacher. She was also a well liked christian who acted as a sort of goto chaplain on campus. Everyone knew when they saw her that she would either admonish them, pray for them or encourage them. Well, this particular day, she admonished me. She pulled me to the side and said, “You know christian girls don’t dress like that right?” She didn’t come off harsh or judgemental. But, for reasons I learned later through growing in my walk with Christ, I was offended. I didn’t express my offense to her that day. But I was definitely disturbed that she had the nerve to question my christianity of all people. I wasn’t doing a lot of the other things the other teens were doing in school. As a matter of fact, I was pretty much the church girl throughout my high school days. How dare she make me feel like I was doing something wrong.
Years later I understood why I was so offended. Different reasons draw us closer to God. Mines were trials and tribulations. Later, it was love. During my period of trial, I sought God for help. When I fell in love with Him, I sought His presence. In seeking His presence, I learned the closer you get to Him the deeper your convictions root. Those unpleasant or unnecessary habits and behaviors that were just so matter of fact began to disturb me. I became selective with certain pleasures like different types of music and things I watched on television. And also, my circle of friends shrank in links. I guess what I’m getting at here is that the more God granted me access to His presence, the more I realized the baggage in my life had not only been keeping me from Him but keeping me from being effectively used by Him.
Anybody can quote scriptures. But not everyone is willing to live them. Living the word requires sacrifice and commitment. It also requires a standard. I know the world is sick of hearing people say what would Jesus do. But honestly, you should always ask yourself that question. Considering Him the King, would I speak to Him or in front of Him the way I do my friends? Would I play certain movies or watch certain things while in His presence? Most importantly, would I adorn myself like a casual friend while going to meet Him? A resounding NO! The reason I was so offended by my track coaches loving admonishion was because I had yet to grow in the personal knowledge of Him. It’s one thing to know the God of Sunday morning worship hour. It’s another thing to know Him personally everyday. She challenged my standards. When you don’t consistently seek to know Him deeper, you will find it hard to release worldly attitudes that don’t fit in His presence. You’ll believe in Him but you’ll still hit the club, still drink heavily, and still dress like a hoochie. I know there’s a new age teaching out that says you can dress and act certain ways while representing the kingdom in an effort to reach people on a certain platform. LIES! You DO NOT have to dress or act like a hooker in order to reach one. The bible says, “Ye are the light of the world…”
We are called to be the light in the darkness. People walking in the darkness are looking for the light. But if the light is too consumed with looking like the darkness, how are those in darkness going to find their way out? Selah…