I was listening to a preacher, not mine, speak on how the church needs to return to sanctification. To separate itself from this world. To consecrate ourselves in our thinking and actions. He went on a rant, actually, about how we were blending with the world; that he could discern by with our short skirts and low blouses that we – generally speaking- aren’t “sanctified”. He was quite passionate in his speak, committing to make it his message for the coming year, 2016: “Return to Sanctification!”
He’s a young, gifted, anointed man, on fire for God. But in this instance, his youth betrays him.
The church historically has been preoccupied with the appearance of holiness rather than the presence of holiness. I grew up knowing that I could not go to church wearing a spaghetti strap blouse without a cardigan. A short dress was not an option and hosiery or tights was expected. No one told me. I just knew. While I was “covering up” for Sunday service, I was still clubbing, drinking, and dating Monday through Saturday. But on Sunday morning, you’d have thought I had it all together.
A friend and I went to dinner one Saturday. We were seated next to a window, allowing for great people watching. Across the street was a club. We observed the comings and goings of the young 20-somethings in their “Get ‘em Girl” dresses, 5-inch stilettos with no coat in 30 degree weather. We laughed, shook our heads and said, “That baby is cold!” We remembered how that used to be us. Who’d have thought we would now consider a fitted black turtleneck, jeans and riding boots sexy? Ha! How time, age, children, a podiatrist…and God can change you.
The church has been telling people to come as they are, but we don’t really mean it. We’ve made concessions and said that you don’t have to dress up like back in the day. Ladies don’t have to wear gloves and men don’t have to wear a tie. But you still need to “cover up.” No, we don’t say that to their faces. But we say it by our stares or worse, by our avoidance.
And because we live in a society that uses conformance as currency for acceptance, we invite people to remain bound in our churches so that our senses and traditions aren’t assaulted. People come to church to worship, to have an encounter with the Creator of the Universe. To leave different. To be made whole- whatever that looks like to them. But if we insist on the appearance of sanctification and holiness, we send mixed messages concerning God’s compassion, grace and mercy. We take away the freedom to be transparent and vulnerable before God.
Well, Holy Spirit is here to assault your senses and traditions, to beat you up with truth that you might be free.
The short skirts and the low blouses, showing all their “Goodness and Mercy”, is about validation. Wanting to be seen as desirable, beautiful, and worth having. That’s a heart matter. A search for identity.
Interestingly, my skirts “grew” longer as I grew in Christ. I’m not giving up my shoes. I abandoned the artificial purity displayed on Sunday morning for the mind-renewing purity that came with the understanding that Jesus already saw me as desirable, beautiful and worth having.
I didn’t have to cover up. Jesus did not ask me to cover up. But I wanted to—because this baby girl was cold in those little skirts –and– I knew He loved me regardless. I already had His undivided attention.
I’m sure you’ve seen those weight loss Before and After photos. The person is told to take a BEFORE picture of themselves, uncovered, from different angles with all their physical “flaws” exposed. Some pictures even have the subject holding a newspaper to mark the date that the metamorphosis began. That’s how the church should be. Come in with your BEFORE shot, get on a WORD workout plan and watch the change that happens. Watch sanctification happen.
It’s a beautiful thing to watch a woman come into her own- to own her identity in Christ. Sanctification is one of the fruits of having a relationship with Christ. I would say to the young, passionate preacher, “Sanctification, Yes! Get to know who you are in Jesus; who you are to Jesus!”
Lastly, just in case no one told you today. Jesus loves you. He has a plan a for your life. Agree with His plan and watch Him blow your mind!
Did you like this post? Yeah? Then do two things for me, please.
First, share it with someone.
Second, in the comment section below, share one thing I can pray about/for to get you to your AFTER shot. Be brief and use discretion. After all, it is the internet…