Ministry Resources

Rebellious Clothing

Author: Howard and Nancy Stevens

After getting dressed this morning I had a very unusual experience.

I reached for my cup of coffee, and my shirt refused to move with my arm. When I tried to walk to the refrigerator my pants twisted themselves around my legs and nearly tripped me. I tied my tie in a perfect Windsor knot and positioned it just where I wanted it, but immediately it came undone.

I quickly realized my clothes and I were at war! All day long they seemed to fight my every movement. If I started to walk one direction, they wanted to go the opposite direction. Every time I neatly tucked in my shirt it would pull free of my pants. When I tried to take my arm out of my sport jacket the fabric clung to my arm and refused to let go.

Clothing Problems

My shoes were just as uncooperative. If they didn’t want me to lift my feet off the floor, they acted as if they were glued to the pavement. However, when my shoes wanted to move, I couldn’t sit down.

As you might imagine, people gave me the strangest looks, especially in the elevator when my clothing decided to dance to the elevator music!

Wait a minute, I said to myself. I’m supposed to be in control. Clothing should surrender to the will of the wearer. After all, who is more important, the clothing or the person wearing the clothing?

In Dr. Stanley Horton’s book What the Bible Says about the Holy Spirit, he notes that when the Holy Spirit came upon Gideon in Judges 6:34, “Gideon was just the clothes.” [1] Gideon allowed God to “wear” him to defeat Israel’s enemies.

Romans 12:1 says, “Offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God.” Rather than occasionally using us, God wants to “wear” each of us as we go about our daily activities. We do not want to be uncooperative clothing.

We do not want to hinder God’s Spirit.

Heavily starched pants restrict movement. Flexible clothing lets the wearer move freely.

An overly big, bulky shirt gets in the way. Properly sized clothing fully submits to the wearer and doesn’t get in his way. We must be willing to allow God to cut off excess fabric (habits and imperfections) and trim us down to the right size.

A slippery tie constantly comes undone. Dependable clothing doesn’t pursue its own plans, but allows the wearer to accomplish his goals. We must allow God to use us in whatever position He places us.

Squeaky shoes attract all the attention. Broken-in shoes don’t demand the spotlight or act as if they are more important than the wearer. We must increasingly submit to the Spirit’s leadership.

Coarse or scratchy socks cause a rash. Soft, gentle clothing doesn’t retaliate against verbal attacks, speak abusively, or criticize the wearer. We must allow the Holy Spirit to develop the fruit of the Spirit in us.

The highest compliment that we can receive is to hear someone say that we look like Christ. When we receive such a compliment we must remember that the person is not praising the clothing but the wearer of the clothing.

© by Howard W. and Nancy A. Stevens

1. Stanley M. Horton, What the Bible Says about the Holy Spirit (Springfield, Mo.: Gospel Publishing House, 1976), 39.

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