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By Nathan Hagan

Being a father of three allows me the opportunity to watch firsthand the wonders of God’s unique design in each of my children (the good, the bad, and the ugly). For example, my middle son has had wonderfully stubborn fashion opinions since he was a toddler. Every morning is a struggle to get on the same page with him regarding what he is going to wear for school. Quick confession: I have never been perceived as a person with stellar fashion sense in any manner. My wife tends to protect my flaws by serving as a solid fashion sounding board. It is considered a win if I walk out of the house with clothes that match.

My son, however, possesses a galaxy of fashion opinions that do not even register on my telescope. His current fashion trend at ten years of age is that he cannot go out in public without some form of neon color on his clothing. This might seem normal if he were an Oregon Duck fan but he lives in Washington State, and neon can be bright and obnoxious to most people. (Perhaps that is why he likes it.) On a recent shopping outing for school clothes he would not even consider an outfit unless it had neon on it. Needless to say, our fashion dysfunction reared its ugly head, and I walked away with a valuable lesson.

As I thought about my son’s stubborn fashion trends, I was reminded how important it is for all of us who claim to follow Jesus to be aware of our own spiritual “fashion” sense. Each of us is responsible for the way we present ourselves to the world around us. Furthermore, the Bible addresses our “fashion style” multiple times. While most of us are familiar with the armor of God in Ephesians 6, the Apostle Paul (who had slightly better fashion sense than John the Baptist) also urges followers of Jesus to clothe themselves “with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience” (Colossians 3:12). Those five qualities are essential in our lives as Christians. More important, they are particularly needed in our culture right now.

One of the most important ways we can influence our community is by “wearing” these qualities that, quite frankly, seem as if they are going out of style. Here are a few helpful spiritual fashion tips for all of us:

  1. While it is always important to put on the armor of God each day, it is equally important to “clothe ourselves” with the apparel Paul encourages in Colossians 3:12. Just as we spend time each morning contemplating what we will wear physically, we must spend time spiritually putting on these vitally important qualities (compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience) through our prayer time.
  2. Although the armor of God is important for our spiritual survival, the “clothing” that Paul mentions here is important for our cultural influence. You may have noticed in the news, on social media, and even around the workplace lately that cynicism, harshness, and sarcasm are becoming the norm. Some might refer to these “clothes” as a fashion trend growing in popularity in the culture. As followers of Christ, we must not present ourselves in such a manner. The armor protects us, but humility and gentleness allow us to have a voice that resonates rather than clashes.
  3. Sometimes we feel it necessary to have our lives speak loudly and boldly like the neon colors my son wears; other times we recognize our lives speak more powerfully to those around us when we wear compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Either way, each of us will make a fashion statement with our lives and our words. What kind of statement do you want yours to make?

About The Author

Nathan Hagan

Nathan Hagan, an Open Bible minister, serves as associate pastor at Turning Point Open Bible Church in Spokane, Washington. He graduated from Eugene Bible College with a degree in pastoral ministry and Gonzaga University with a master’s degree in organizational leadership. He and his wife, Candi, have three children and together enjoy showing God’s love to those in the Spokane community.