FAITH, FAMILY, AND FREEDOM - What are We Wearing?
“Daddy, wear your Dr. Pepper shirt today!”
My 13-year old son finds delight in father and son wearing matching t-shirts. The last couple of years, we made several trips to Kohls and picked out identical pop culture shirts. Our wardrobe includes Mountain Dew, Pepsi, Dr. Pepper, Boba Fett, and the Justice League.
Unlike his older brother who never wanted our family to match clothes, Dawson finds joy and comfort in our dressing alike. Most weekends, I try and make sure that at least one of those days we wear one of our fun shirts.
Through the years we have also tried to get some matching bow ties and suspenders to wear on special occasions. I’ve tried to teach my boys the advice of Dr. Charles Stanley, who says, “Do your best, dress your best, and be your best!”
The Lord does care about what we wear. However, the articles of clothing that impress Him are not ones with Star Wars characters or classy men’s clothes. The apostle Paul wrote to the Colossian church, Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity (3:12-14).
My son’s desire to match his dad thrills me. However, I wonder if he sees godly characteristics in me that he wants to emulate. Paul challenges us to work on these seven pieces of clothing: Compassion; Kindness; Humility; Gentleness; Patience; Forgiveness; Love.
We can look for opportunities every week to practice these character qualities. And we can confess to Jesus that apart from the work of His Spirit, we cannot keep those attributes at work. We depend on His grace as we submit to Him to produce His character in and through our lives.
What they quietly observe from my life may make more impact than what they hear out of my lips. They watch the way I treat my wife when they know I am aggravated with her. They see how I respond to the store clerk or waitress when they have goofed. They know the language I use at home, the entertainment I choose, and whether or not I love and pick up the Word of God to nourish my soul—or only read it when I am preparing to preach.
One of the sobering realities of parenting is that our children quietly observe Mom and Dad every day. They know the real us. They will remember the real us for many years. And our example – sometimes by default - may be the standard they use when they have families of their own.
Billy Graham rightly said, “The real test for the Christian is how he acts at home.”
The word integrity originated from the idea of testing metals. The Latin word “ineteger” means whole or complete. A solid gold ring contains the same quality on the inside as it claims to be to the eye. A gold-plated item only has gold on the surface. The first one, has integrity
I will keep wearing those fun t-shirts as long as my son wants. I doubt when he is twenty-five if he will be saying, “Dad, make sure and wear the Mountain Dew today.” So, I’ll enjoy it for as long as it lasts.
And I hope he will pick up more from me than just liking the Justice League.
(Dr. Rhett Wilson, Sr., is the senior writer for the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association in Charlotte, North Carolina. Rhett graduated from PC and pastored three churches in Laurens County for 18 years. Access his website at www.rhettwilson.org and his blog at www.wilsonrhett.com.)