July 13, 2018

You Are a Living Canvas

Speaker: Dr. Harold J. Sala | Series: Guidelines For Living

“You show that you are a letter from Christ, the result of our ministry, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts” (2 Corinthians 3:3).


Whether you are into tattoos, comb your hair, wear neatly pressed khakis, a shirt with a message on it, wear a dark business suit, or a skirt one size too small, you are making a statement as to who you are.  Jerry Adler, writing for a news magazine, says, “Human flesh has been stretched over giant discs implanted in the ear lobe, bones have been compressed into dainty deformities by foot-binding or molded into the bizarre skull shape once favored by certain Pacific Coast Indians, marked by a forehead that slopes backward at the same angle as the nose.  For that matter, bodies have been squeezed by corsets, pumped up by lifting weights, shaved by razors and highlighted by lipstick.”  As  the curator of a museum wrote, “Everybody does something to their bodies to communicate who they are.  Even if just to comb their hair.”

He’s got a point.  Whether it is to dress up, or dress down, what you wear, and how you present yourself says something about who you are and how you want to be perceived.

Question: If Jesus were here today, how would He dress? Would He wear Levis or a business suit–or something else?  Would He wear His hair long or short?  Or with Him would clothes be a complete matter of indifference apart from being clean?

In answering that question, or at least attempting to, I have to say there is nothing in the record that suggests Jesus made a statement by what He wore or how He presented himself.  He wasn’t into making shock statements with His hair, His dress, or His demeanor.  It was His life–not His dress; His deportment–not His deployment which was the statement.  I, for one, have no question that had His dress been out of sync with what was normal and accepted, His enemies would have made a point of that.  They attempted to discredit Him by suggesting He was conceived out of wedlock.

So, the issue confronts us, what kind of statement does God want our lives to make?  Or are we making a misstatement by how we present ourselves?  When Paul wrote to Titus he instructed, “Teach slaves to be subject to their masters in everything, to try to please them, not to talk back to them, and not to steal from them, but to show that they can be fully trusted, so that in every way they will make the teaching about God our Savior attractive” (Titus 2:9,10).  That phrase “they will make the teaching about God our Savior attractive” is the result of their lifestyle–one of honesty and integrity more than what clothing they wore.

The reality is that God looks on the heart–not on the label of your suit or clothing.  He’s more impressed with the lines in your face reflecting a peaceful disposition than the latest color of lipstick or the brand of aftershave lotion you wear.

Do we make too much of what we wear, how fashionable we are, and criticize others too much for not conforming to our ideas of how we ought to dress and act?  Possibly, though what you wear and how you wear it also makes a statement as whether people respect you or hold you in contempt.

Shock statements may say something about how you want to be perceived, but they never bring people closer together or make the Gospel more attractive to those who are outside the Kingdom of God.  Jesus demonstrated that very clearly.  If you are really serious about the statement your life makes, you also have to be serious about how that statement is presented, how it is adorned and what it says.  It’s something to think about.

Resource reading:

2 Corinthians 3:1-6

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