Friday, October 28, 2011

What to Wear?

As I passed by the TV my husband was watching last night, a clip came on of a “surprise guest” on a talk show. The gentleman entered the set wearing a business suit and an Obama mask, and when he lifted the mask, the surprise was that it was President Obama himself!

Celebrity masks are big sellers at Halloween, but that clip made me wonder if the face we present to the world each day, even if our own, is more of a mask than our true self. Do we rush out of the house Sunday morning grumbling about how our spouse or children made us late, have murderous thoughts about the driver who cut us off, and then enter church with a cheery but somewhat forced smile?

This time of year always prompts discussions of how Christians should react to Halloween. The celebration began as a pagan ritual calling forth and consulting with spirits of the dead and celebrating death itself, at a time when the coming winter forced farmers to kill off sickly animals. Skulls and skeletons were important emblems representing death. The holiday was then was appropriated by the early Christian church as All Saints’ Day revering martyrs, and the night before was All Hallows’ Eve.

The Bible is clear that Christians should not take part in sorcery, witchcraft, fortune telling or other dealings with the spirit world, for we are sealed with the Holy Spirit (Leviticus 19:31; Isaiah 8:19; 2 Chronicles 33:6; Micah 5:12; Nahum 3:4; Galatians 5:19-22; Deuteronomy 18:10; 2 Kings 17:17). Costumes resembling demons, skeletons, wizards, vampires, or witches would therefore seem inappropriate.

Yet, some “Halloween alternatives” for children, such as a Parade of Nations to inform children of customs and native dress in lands where missionaries serve, may be educational, fun, and a good opportunity to explain the Great Commission and to explore the lives of missionaries. Even passing out candy and “Jesus Loves You” stickers or tracts may be a good ministry and witness opportunity.

But while we’re considering how or whether to dress up our children on October 31, we should address the deeper question of what to wear each day to honor Christ. Dressing modestly in attire that He would find pleasing and that would set us apart from the secular world goes without saying. But we need also to consider our countenance – are we so busy with worldly cares, or so preoccupied with physical beauty, that we neglect to let His light, peace and joy shine through us? (Matthew 5:14)

Our Bible study class verse is Proverbs 31:30: Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman that feareth the LORD, she shall be praised.

If our relationship with Christ is foremost in our heart, others will see it on our face, even if they don’t recognize the source of that inner beauty. To be told “I want what you have in your life, even though I don’t understand what it is or how to get it,” is not only a great tribute to the Savior Who changed us, but an open door to witness about His love.

So as we look in the mirror October 31 or any other morning, let us remember 1 Peter 3:3-4, which tells us not to beautify ourselves with “that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel; But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price.

Praise God that His blood has washed away the stains of sin (Revelation 1:5) from the filthy rags of our own attempts at goodness (Isaiah 64:6), and that now we are clothed in the beauty of His salvation and righteousness:

Isaiah 61:10 I will greatly rejoice in the LORD, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for he hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, he hath covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decketh himself with ornaments, and as a bride adorneth herself with her jewels.

Instead of putting on a costume or other outfit meant to impress, let us put on the whole armor of God to fight off the attacks of Satan (Ephesians 6:11-17). For those who don’t know Christ, Halloween may be especially scary or just an excuse for drunken partying and sexual sin. But Christians should remember that on Halloween as on any other day, we must watch out because Satan is prowling about as a roaring lion, seeking whom he can devour (1 Peter 5:8).

Praise God that we have victory in Christ (1 Corinthians 15:57), and that He Who is in me is greater than he who is in the world! (1 John 4:4)


Frank E. Blasi said...

A very thought-provoking post.

Laurie Collett said...

Dear Frank,
Thanks so much for your comment. May God richly bless you and your ministry.

Donald Fishgrab said...

Too many times people get upset about something like celebrating Halloween and ignore their daily life with Christ, literally choking on a gnat and swallowing a camel, as Jesus put it.

Laurie Collett said...

Good point, dfish. Or, as Jesus also said, like being concerned about the speck in your brother's eye when you have a log in your own.
Thanks as always for your thought-provoking comment, and may you have a blessed week!

Nadwrażliwiec said...

In Poland some people celebrate Halloween (especially children and teachers in some schools) - but most Polish people say that it is holiday not from our culture, but American. I don't think about this day in this way, but I can give You answer on question: What to Wear for Halloween? Nothing, because I'm Christian :)
Heartly greetings for You. God bless You.

Laurie Collett said...

Dear Zim, Thanks for your comment! The pagan festival that was the beginning of Halloween started with the Celtics and Druids, so actually in England, before America celebrated it. It's interesting to hear what Poland does -- I'm glad it's not a big holiday there!
God bless you too!

Karen Kyle Ericson said...

This is a great post Laurie. I agree our countenance and time with Jesus is always the best thing to wear. Faith sparkles outshine make-up any day : )

Laurie Collett said...

Thanks, Karen! And Amen to your comment!
May you have a blessed week in Him!

a joyful noise said...

Take off the mask and discover that it is really me. . . . or would you see Jesus instead? :-)
My halloween post is about not opening the door - - - - cause you don't know who will push their way in!!!

Saleslady371 said...

Great suggestion of wearing the armor on Halloween. I'm stealing that one!!!!!

Laurie Collett said...

Dear A Joyful Noise, Thanks for your comment! May Jesus be visible in all believers! Physical safety on Halloween is important, guarding our homes against intruders, and equally so in the spiritual realm (evil influences on TV and the Internet, ungodly friends, substance use, etc.).

Dear Saleslady371, Thanks! You might also want to check out my September blog post that covers the armor of God in more detail:

God's blessings to you both!

Anonymous said...

Excellent post!!! You gave us a lot to think about.

Laurie Collett said...

Thanks, Whidbey Woman! I appreciate the positive feedback. May you have a blessed week!

RCUBEs said...

I've been having problems visiting blogs and leaving comments. I just want to thank you for coming by and encouraging me. Nice to meet you.

As my family and I accepted the Lord, so grateful that with the help of the Spirit and His gift of discernment, this holiday was the one to go among the first when we prayed to purge what would never please Him. How can anyone fool the Lord with any mask? Great reminder that He sees through our hearts. God bless.

Laurie Collett said...

Thanks so much, RCUBEs, for following and for your comment! Nice to meet you too! God will bless you richly for your prayer and for your desire to do only what would honor Him. May we all follow your example!
Love in Christ,

Frank King said...

Excellent post. God looks beyond the facade and sees the real person.

Ian Curtis said...

Halloween seems to have become a commercialized celebration of death and occultism; which is in vogue any day of the week as awalk through the local video store would tell you.
This holiday is an excellent chance to witness for a Christ when many have their thoughts focused, for real or jokingly, on all things supernatural. A silly conversation about ghosts might give us the chance to speak of God's Son and the gift of salvation. I've had it happen before. Halloween might just be an excellent "open door."

Laurie Collett said...

Thanks, Frank, for your comment. There is nothing that can be hid from God, even if we successfully hide our true self from others.

Laurie Collett said...

Great point, Ian! Halloween could be as much of a witness opportunity as Christmas and Easter, and could reach a different group of lost souls altogether. May God give you open doors to witness tonight!

Breathing In Grace said...

Thanks for following me at Jeremiah 29:11....I'm your newest follower, too. This is a great post. Halloween isn't one of my favorite holidays, as I mentioned yesterday. I know that most of us don't celebrate the real meaning behind it...but as a CHRISTian, it's difficult not to realize that's really what we are buying into!!! HOPE you have a great week!

Laurie Collett said...

Hi Deb,
You're very welcome, and thanks so much for the kind words, great comment, and for following! I'm glad Halloween is over for this year and that we have Thanksgiving and Christmas to look forward to.
May you have a blessed week in Him!

Charlotte said...

I can remember when I was younger that when people criticized Halloween I thought it was just silly. The older I get and the more I see that goes on at Halloween the more convinced I am that it is not a good thing for Christians to be involved in. I'm glad you shared how it can be turned into a good thing. I am not at all comfortable with dressing up as witches, devils, etc. I have the feeling that Halloween is Satan's favorite holiday.
Thank you for sharing your insight.

Joan Hall said...

Hi Laurie:

Thanks for visiting (and following) Reflections of His Grace. I am pleased to follow your blog, also.

You have made some very good points - often we Christians put on masks. (I'm guilty of doing it all too often.) But you are right - what we should put on is the armor of God. We do have a very real enemy who would like nothing more than to devour us.

Many blessings,

Laurie Collett said...

Dear Charlotte, Thanks as always for your thoughtful comment. I think that is one of Satan's strategies -- encouraging people to make light of him and his demons, trivializing him by portraying him as a cartoon character with horns and a tail so they won't take him seriously and recognize him for the deadly threat that he is.
God's blessings to you!

Laurie Collett said...

Hi Joan! You're very welcome, and thanks so much for following and for your comment! Praise God that He so lovingly yet powerfully equipped us with the armor we need for spiritual warfare.
May God richly bless you and your ministry.

peggy aplSEEDS said...

this is a really really good post. i was really blessed by your insights about how we should dress and how it is not only at halloween that satan is prowling around. yes, i'm wearing that armor!

Anonymous said...

We can't hide anything from God. Everything is open before Him. So to try to wear masks will not profit us at all. But to be clothed with humility and to live in holiness, walking after the Spirit and not after the flesh - this is what's pleasing to Him.

Halloween costumes and masks about evil and death and the like and celebrations thereof have no part in a true Christian. Thank you for discussing this.


Laurie Collett said...

Thanks, Peggy and Rina, for visiting and for your thoughtful comments! Praise God for His giving us His armor to protect us and His righteousness to clothe and beautify us every day.

May God bless you and your ministries!

Anonymous said...

Hi Laurie - I'm glad you tackled this topic. You covered many bases and I'm glad that at the end of it all, the point is made that what would Jesus have us 'wear' or do? Whatever it is, it should bring honour to Him and not anything or anyone else.
God bless
And Laurie - thank you for linking with me on Winsome Wednesday. I appreciate it and would love to see you there again next week

Laurie Collett said...

Hi Tracy, Thanks as always for your thoughtful comment. May all we do be to honor Him and bring Him glory.
Thanks also for hosting Winsome Wednesday. I'll be back!
Love in Him,

Ngina said...

Hi Laurie,

Lovely first time here..i have found your link from faithful bloggers :)

I am just new to America and have been amazed by how big haloween is here. The more surprising thing though has been the "debate" amongst Christians - whether or not they should celebrate it. Where I come from (Kenya, Africa), its a non-issue - Christians do not celebrate haloween. Majority of the population does not either.

I did a post on this on my blog:)

thanks and God bless

Laurie Collett said...

Hi Ngina, Thanks so much for visiting and commenting! It is interesting to get your viewpoint, coming recently from Kenya. I enjoyed your blog post on this and am now following your blog! I hope you'll consider following Saved by Grace also!
May God bless you richly!

Joan Hall said...

Hi Laurie - just wanted to say thank you for sharing this week at the Grace Cafe.

Many blessings,

Laurie Collett said...

Hi Joan! You're very welcome, and thanks for visiting!

May you have a blessed week!