Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Where I've Ended Up

A few blog posts ago I presented my intent to study out how the follower of Jesus should dress, as part of a much larger issue of how we should relate to the world when we’re strangers on it. It’s been a little tricky for me, but I wanted to write about where I’ve ended up.

Our God knows and sees what’s in our hearts. The good and the bad. Do I love him more than anything or anyone? He also sees everything we do. The good and the bad. Am I obedient to him no matter what? It is not one or the other, it is both. Both my heart and my actions must honor him. Kinda reminds me of the scripture about “faith and works”. You need both!

The problem is, our hearts can deceive us. We can be blind to our real motives. So there are religious movements that have instituted rules to ensure obedience to the Bible. The discipline of the Mennonites and 7th Day Adventists in how they dress is admirable. Is it too convenient for me to believe it’s not necessary to separate myself from the world in such a visible way? I hope not, for that is where I’ve ended up, convinced my heart of putting God first, combined with dressing conservatively, is honoring God.

I still like fashion, and knowing the current styles and trends. I still like nice shoes, pretty dresses, and sparkly jewelry. But my desire for these things has waned in light of my study.

Here are some closing thoughts that sum it up better than I can. Writer Duane Elgin, in his book “Voluntary Simplicity” (1993), says:

“More specifically, Christian simplicity is so to use “things” so that, first, they do not interfere with one’s absolute joy in God, and, second, they actually point toward and contribute to that joy. When “things” are given their proper evaluation as being creations of and gifts from the God who loves us and supplies us with every good, then they can operate as integral contributions to that joy. Our task is to receive them in such a way that, as with the reception of any gift, our appreciation focuses on the giver rather than on our possession of the gift itself.”

“So Christian simplicity is not an anxious scrupulosity about possessions (either anxiety about getting and holding them or about keeping them below a certain “Christian” level). Rather, it is a joyous freedom regarding them. When life becomes focused upon God instead of “things,” one not only is freed from all the anxieties that attend possession, but he also is made free to use “things” with all the blessing and joy for which they were created and given to us in the first place.”

Thanks for reading, if you have any thoughts on this topic, please let me know!

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