Costume or Uniform?
October brings a season of costumes. Choices that are inappropriate for the remaining eleven months of the year are strangely acceptable this month. People wear costumes to make a statement, entertain, or celebrate Halloween.
A costume is clothing that reflects a geographical area or historical period. It’s often worn in pretense. A uniform is clothing that signifies membership or affiliation with a particular organization.
People who profess to be Christians often wear costumes, too. And those costumes have nothing to do with Halloween. I’m referring to dressing up as a Christian without actually being a follower of Christ.
Put Off and Put On
While the Bible does speak about dressing modestly and in a God-honoring way, Christians are not required to wear an actual uniform. Still, there are several passages in Scripture that incorporate the concepts of “putting off” and “putting on” to identify true followers of Christ. For example:
- Romans 13:14 – “Clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ.”
- Ephesians 4:22-24 – “Put off your old self . . . put on the new self.”
- Ephesians 6:11 – “Put on the full armor of God.”
- Colossians 3:9-10 – “You have taken off your old self . . . and have put on the new self.”
Putting on a particular set of clothes doesn’t make us Christians any more than sitting in a garage makes us a car. But surrendering to Christ and cooperating with the Holy Spirit in putting off some things and putting on other things—now that’s where real change happens. Transformative change from the inside out, not from the outside in!
Trick-or-treating children ring doorbells each October 31. They dress in all kinds of imaginative clothing. But little boys know wearing a red cape doesn’t make them a superhero. And little girls know wearing a pink tutu doesn’t make them a real ballerina. May we, as followers of Christ, also differentiate between the trappings of external garb and the reality of a heart changed because we clothed ourselves with Jesus.
Something to consider:
When it comes to being a follower of Christ, what are you wearing?