By: Doy Moyer
Dress codes are common. They aren't always liked or appreciated, but they are still a regular part of many organizations and services. One of the more well-known organizations with a dress code is Disney. They have what is called the "Disney Look," and "Cast Members" (employees) aren't allowed to break that look. For example, they aren't allowed to dye their hair an unnatural color, have visible nose rings or tattoos, or wear wild nail polish. They aren't really allowed to have their own individualized look. They must conform to the "Disney Look" standards.
This gets me thinking about the "Christian look." I know there aren't specified codes in the same exact sense that organizations will spell out dress codes, but there is still a modest look that Christians are expected to demonstrate. Since Christians have "clothed" ourselves with Christ (Gal 3:27) and are to "adorn the doctrine of God our Savior in every respect" (Titus 2:10), we need to realize that what we wear is a reflection of our inner character. Scripture plainly warns against the two sides of the "dress code" violations: 1) immodesty, or wearing that which is meant to draw special attention to yourself, and 2) nakedness, a failure not to wear enough.
We can get so wrapped up in trying to define the exact lines of what is too much, too little, too low, too high, etc., that we lose sight of an even more fundamental fact: as Christians, we are not to "break the look" of the adornment of Christ. Here, then, are some reminders about our "look" as Christians:
It's not about individuality, personal expression, or personal comfort. Christians recognize that we are to deny ourselves and take up the cross daily (Luke 9:23). When we try to make Christianity just another mode of personal expression, to make it our own look, then we have completely missed the point. This is true whether we are talking about dress or anything else. Our privilege is to glorify God, to make it all about Him. Christianity has never been a religion of convenience or self-will, but one of sacrifice and self-emptying.
On the other hand, it is about representing something (or someone) bigger. It's about being a team player, knowing that there are others who need to be edified and encouraged. No Christian will want to run over the sensibilities of others, even if it is something that is a personal "right" (Rom 14). It's about knowing our limits and understanding that we live by standards that are not our own. It's about submitting to others. You may disagree with a particular dress code. You might think it's all silly. But those in the positions of authority had reasons for doing it the way they did. They have reasons for asking you to abide by the code. Submission isn't about agreeing; it's about giving up self even when you don't agree or understand.
Don't break the "Christian Look." You have clothed yourself with Christ. You adorn His doctrine. Let your outer dress properly reflect godly inward character.