Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Clean On the Inside, Clean On the Outside!

By: Min. Angela Lee Price
I like Christian apparel! I buy it. I wear it. I give it away. There are some who say we need to get rid of it because too many people are merchandising it and wearing it for all the wrong reasons. This is true. Jesus admonished those who wanted to clean the outside of the cup, but inside they themselves were full of greed and self-indulgence (Matthew 23:25).

We are in a spiritual war and I believe we should fight that war by any and every means necessary. If that means wearing a t-shirt with a scripture on it, I will do it, just not at over-inflated prices.

I see too many people wearing t-shirts that glorify everything that is ungodly. They wear shirts with some of the most vile messages on them, even to church, to choir practice, everywhere and nobody seems to be saying anything about it. Everywhere, there I see the new "in" image, the Grim Reaper, skull and crossbones, and images of death and destruction. Should we as Christians just stand by and say nothing and do nothing about that?

There’s a hip hop song with the hook, “cream on the inside, clean on the outside” about a car with a fresh interior and an “ice cream paint job.” I agree with the rapper Dorrough to some extent. I believe we should want our outer "paint job" to match our "fresh interior" as saved, born-again believers, filled with the Holy Ghost who have not sold out to the ways of the world. If a rapper can rap about it, surely we as Christians can be about it, reflecting Jesus Christ both inside and outside. It is my hope that my Christian t-shirts, caps, mugs, will speak to somebody, somewhere and they will get the message that Jesus saves. Lord knows the nakedness on the rap videos is speaking loudly and clearly enough! The tattoos on the ball players are speaking, too!

On Father's Day weekend, I wore a t-shirt that says, "God The Father: Creator of Heaven and Earth." I grew up without a father. God has been my father and daddy. So, I wore the t-shirt out of my relationship with Him. The t-shirt became a point of discussion as I taught spiritual gifts class to new members. When I have worn that t-shirt in the past, I have had young men, the kind who usually don't come to church, ask me where I got it, or comment that they liked it.

I have another t-shirt that says, "TGIF- Thank God I'm Forgiven." I have used that t-shirt with new members as an icebreaker. I ask them to write down words from "TGIF," like "GIFT," "FIT," "IF," "I," "FIG," and to try to form sentences. We then move from discussing being “forgiven” to talking about Jesus Christ as “the perfect gift,” and how each new believer has at least one spiritual gift. We talk about "fitting" within the body of Christ and "getting fit" through Sunday school and Bible Study.

A profound thing happened to me last year concerning Genesis 16:13 and earlier this year with Hebrews 4:9-11. I began purchasing discounted items with Genesis 16:13 on it early last summer. A few weeks later I was asked to preach in Those Preachin' Women. My assignment was Genesis 16! Only God could have done that! I was able to give away items with Genesis 16:13 on it, my focal verse.

A couple of months ago, I set my kitchen table with cups that said, "Let us, Therefore Make Every Effort To Enter That Rest. Hebrews 4:9-11." A day or two later, I happened to be talking to my brother on the phone and he told me he was going to preach that weekend. I asked him the text and he said Hebrews 4. I told him I had just set the table using the cups with that scripture, and he and I were strengthen by that.

Yes, there are many people whose hearts aren't right wearing Christian apparel. It’s like the outside of “their car” is clean, but the inside is dirty. Jesus said in Mark 7:20-22, “What comes out of a man is what makes him ‘unclean.’ For from within, out of men’s hearts, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly.”

Getting rid of the Christian apparel because some people merchandise it and others wear it for wrong motives is not the answer. Getting rid of Christian apparel because it might offend non-believers isn't the answer either. Continuing to pray for the lost, maturing believers, and having faith in God is. Then, we will be clean on the inside and clean on the outside.

Remember, it is not Mohammad, Buddha, Confucius, nor New Age that saves. Jesus saves!

Check out the Jesus Saves Ministries Social Network and join in our 4th anniversary celebration this month.

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