I delight greatly in the LORD; my soul rejoices in my God. For he has clothed me with garments of salvation and arrayed me in a robe of his righteousness, as a bridegroom adorns his head like a priest, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.Isaiah 61:10
There are many references to clothing in the bible. Also, many references to His protection, confidence, wisdom, blessings, and love are illustrated using clothing as examples. So, while I’m not a bible scholar, I am an expert in financial education that enhances financial capacity and … I’m a woman who likes nice clothes and who loves God which gives me some insight into this sensitive and controversial topic.
I’m not naive enough to say that God wants us to dress nicely and all have nice clothes, but I do have some expertise in financial matters as it relates to our outward appearance and our financial well-being.
When a bride and groom are married, they become one in the eyes of the Lord (and the world). The Lord blesses their union as he blesses ‘his children’. I will add that in all my years of experience working with people and their money, the issue of spending money on clothing is likely one of the most sensitive subjects because it gets right to the heart of our faith and financial insecurities.
Spending money on clothing for yourself for many people seems like a selfish act, yet look at the benefits: you feel more confident in presenting yourself to the world which enables you to excel in your area of work or service, and economically you are supporting a business and the life of the employee or owner who works at the business.
If you feel guilty or selfish or irresponsible when you purchase clothing and dress yourself in the morning you are not clothing yourself in the ‘garments of salvation or robes of righteousness’. In our society we are required to dress appropriately for the type of work or service we perform. This requires some planning and management in order to present yourself in a way that is congruent with your work and who you are as a person (who God says you are), and for the work God wants you to do.
If you can step outside the emotional connection clothing has to your life and look at it as a necessary tool for your life, you will then understand that God is involved in the details of your wardrobe. He tells us not to worry about what we wear (Matthew 6:25) because if we do, He’s not our top priority. This doesn’t mean to let yourself go and to ‘schlep’ around thinking that somehow you are more ‘godly’. We are all living at this particular time in history because God has a plan for us. This means, we should take heed to his prompting and plan our lives with Him at the centre – including how we spend our money on our clothing that presents us to the world where we do His work.
If God has given you an inspiration and a purpose, or has placed you somewhere to do some work or perform some service, then your obligation is to trust him to provide for you all the necessary tools for you to do that work, including money for appropriate clothing. And in order to assist this process you have to accept that clothes are an essential item in our culture today so you have to know how much money you need to spend to provide you with the appropriate garments to do the work God wants you to do. This means preparing a cash flow forecast that includes a line item for clothing and to being prudent with your purchases. When you do this prayerfully, the Holy Spirit will more easily assist you with your shopping and daily ‘dressing’ routines because you are living your life dependent on the Lord, and congruently with your priorities, your roles, your values and your finances – and when the Lord has inspired your work, and you are trusting him, and putting appropriate systems in place to manage the resources He’s provided you with, then it’s also much easier and more likely that you will realize a larger provision and more resources to continue to do more good work, requiring more provisions, etc. etc.