(This is the seventh in a series of entries drawing analogies between experiences that Ambassador Joseph Grew shared about in his book Ten Years in Japan and practical aspects of being an ambassador for Jesus Christ)
Soon after Ambassador Grew arrived in Japan, the Chinese Ambassador came to visit him. The problem was that the Chinese ambassador wore a rather formal outfit. Ambassador Grew wrote that he was stumped in relation as to what he should wear when he returned the visit to the Chinese ambassador. As Ambassador Grew was writing about his various choices and why each choice would or wouldn’t be appropriate, he wrote that clothing was “that all-important element of diplomacy.”
I wonder how often we, as ambassadors for Christ think about our clothing in relation to being His ambassador? How often would we consider it to be one of the most important elements of our representation of Christ?
Scripture is full of information relating to how we are to dress. Ambassador Grew’s concern had nothing to do with comfort, style, or convenience — his whole concern was what was appropriate and proper.
Do we think there are ever times when it would be okay for an ambassador to dress improperly in public â€“ say for comfort, fashion, convenience, or to draw attention to one’s body? The obvious answer would be “no.”
But, what if it was just a quick errand? Or perhaps a time of exercise? Or what about doing some type of physical labor?
If an ambassador is not able to appropriately represent his country through proper clothing at a specific event, the bottom line is that the ambassador would choose not to attend or participate in the event. Anytime an ambassador steps into public, the clothes that he wears ARE a representation of his country.
The focus of these posts is simply to draw analogies, so I don’t have time to exhaustively reference every Scripture which gives insight into clothing. However, I will go ahead and list a few Scriptures you may find helpful if you were to study this area.
Importance of dressing modestly and not in a worldly fashion:
1 Timothy 2:9: In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with broided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array.
The danger of being a friend with the world; clothing is a medium through which we could identify with the world:
James 4:4: Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.
What about the principle of not defrauding others through our dress? We see that in the ten commandments we are commanded not to covet or lust after others or things, but it says nothing about us dressing in such a way that would lend itself towards another coveting us â€“ or does it?? I find it fascinating that when Jesus was quoting some of the commandments to the rich young ruler, he expanded the application of coveting to include causing another to covet (by defrauding them):
Mark 10:19 Thou knowest the commandments, Do not commit adultery, Do not kill, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Defraud not, Honour thy father and mother.
Clothing is a key part of being an ambassador. God’s instruction for us to be His Ambassadors (2 Corinthians 5:20) is yet another reminder to us that we are to dress appropriately, properly, modestly, and as His representatives! Romans 14:4-5 shares that each of us is directly accountable to God and that we must be fully persuaded that we are living as He would have us live. Which is why we are to study to show yourself approved unto God (2 Timothy 2:15).
Every time we step out of our homes, may we each evaluate what we are wearing. My prayer is that our clothing would appropriately represent the Lord Jesus Christ.