Friday, 31 August 2007

Looking good this summer?

1 Peter 5: 5 "Young men, in the same way be submissive to those who are older. All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because, "God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble."

In a society obsessed with appearance and with our own egos so preoccupied with how we look, this verse is very striking. What is proper Christian adornment? Simply character, particularly humility. I am to put on virtue rather than trendy clothes, hold up a mirror to my soul rather than to my face, to beautify my character rather than my appearance. I am to live inside-out. Now, I guess this can sound a little trite in some ways, but when you really think about it, it is very powerful stuff because it brings a completely different orientation to our lives. If we were to spend more time gazing at our souls rather than shop windows, and to spend more mental energy focused on extending our character rather than our wardrobe, surely big changes would come about in our lives. We might even suggest that our focus on clothes and fashion is not just idolatrous, but an attempt to cover over moral bankruptcy - we are perhaps clothing our moral nakedness with fashion. It's not just an over-preoccupation, but a diversion. It is, after all, easier to buy a FCUK t shirt than it is to 'wear' humility or love. You can't buy character.

And the warning/promise at the end of the verse makes it all very serious. If my adornment is pride then I can be sure that God will oppose me - surely a frightening thought. But if I am humble I can depend upon a wonderful promise - the grace of God.