Whenever I interviewed for a job as a teacher and football coach I was greatly concerned about how I looked, the clothes I wore and the image I was going to portray when I first met those people interviewing me during the process. It does matter how we portray ourselves to each other. Though the most important part of the process is the actual interview, one can make or break the hiring decision based upon dress and first impressions. How we appear and how we act are crucial in selling ourselves as the best candidate to hire.
So is it important to put on a good image as Christians? Absolutely it is! We need to do our best to represent Jesus Christ to the world around us. In all of our humanity it is important to have a first good impression on others we encounter everyday. So is this good image connected to how we dress to impress? Is it all about selling ourselves in conversation to prove we are the best Christian out there? Not at all. I know it is important to be respectable in our appearance and proper in our conversation, but it is not about clothes or talk! I remember an older friend of mine once telling me that if I were her pastor, I would have on a tie every week. My response was, “It is probably good that I am not your pastor!” I was not being disrespectful, but I rarely wear ties!
It is about being authentic and real in who we are as representatives of Jesus Christ. It is about being real and sincere in love. It is about spending time in relationship with someone who needs to encounter the Holy Spirit within us. It is all about is allowing God to work in our lives in spite of who we are in ourselves. It is important to strive to do what is right, to love extravagantly, and to walk closer to God everyday.
How do we then approach God?
“With what should I approach the Lord
and bow down before God on high?
Should I come before him with entirely burned offerings,
with year-old calves?
Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams,
with many torrents of oil?
Should I give my oldest child for my crime;
the fruit of my body for the sin of my spirit?
He has told you, human one, what is good and
what the Lord requires from you:
to do justice, embrace faithful love, and walk humbly with your God.”
Micah 6:6-8 CEB
Remember we do not have to make a good impression on God. God loves us where we are, and loves us enough to not allow us to stay where we are. Do you know you are loved that much?
The writer is the pastor of Maplewood and Lockington United Methodist churches.