I’m not a big clothes hound….at least not now. Time was when I “needed” matching purse and shoes, appropriate jewelry and properly painted nails to feel put together. A teenage friend years ago called me “princess” because of it. Funny. These days it’s all I can do to find a mate to my shoe. Life has a way of knocking the princess out of you.
Easter is around the corner, and here again I’m faced with the decision…what to wear. Even people who don’t care much about fashion want to get spiffed up for the holiday. I pretty much know who at church will don a large lovely hat and I wish I had the courage to do so. But the reality is, it honestly doesn’t matter that much to me anymore and I know the Lord couldn’t care less as long as I show up that day. Still, sometimes the right clothes do make a difference.
I read a book not long ago that talked about the Revolutionary War from both the British and American perspectives. When I think about how little we were actually taught about that pivotal time in history, it’s shocking. I had no idea the British had paid the Germans to come fight for them. The Germans, or Hessians as some called them, were to set sail and come join General John Burgoyne’s forces against the Colonists in America, but they didn’t have proper shoes for America’s harsh and unpredictable terrain.
Their departure for America was held up for months as they awaited a shipment of marching boots. When a shipment finally arrived and the long-awaited crates were opened, they discovered not marching boots, but 5000 pairs of dancing shoes. So….more waiting before they could aid the British in the war effort. Wrong footwear….and don’t tell me God doesn’t have a sense of humor.
The British made much of their own snazzy redcoat uniforms….using the sight of them to entice would-be recruits to sign up. But the truth was, once the recruit was snagged for service, he quickly discovered the thick wool uniforms were tight, scratchy, ill-fitting and remarkably hot marching under the South Carolina sun; and although their hats were quite smart looking, the mandated greased and powdered pigtail wigs were miserable. Unaccustomed to the heat and humidity of the American South, the British dropped like flies from heat stroke. Again, wrong clothes.
The enemy was not alone in its deficit of appropriate clothing. One chaplain noted that the American troops were “most wretchedly clothed and as dirty a set of mortals as ever disgraced the name of a soldier.” He went on to point out that they had no women in camp to do the washing and that the men preferred to let their clothes rot upon their backs than to launder it themselves. Hmmm. Some things have not changed since 1776.
Some wore rags or flour sacks tied around their feet in place of shoes and others stood on their hats to keep their bare feet off the ground while standing inspection. I’m more amazed now than ever that we actually won that war.
Although clothes do not make the man, they certainly make a difference for the man…or woman… headed into battle. This is especially true in the spirit realm. Ephesians 6 tells us to “Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil”. Then the apostle goes on to tell us what the armor consists of. We are to be covered with truth and wearing a breastplate of righteousness. The feet are to be covered with the preparation of the gospel of peace and we are to wear the helmet of salvation.
All of these references to Roman military gear have little meaning for us in these days, but we can all picture the modern day soldier with his helmet, his body armor vest and his laced up boots. His helmet helps protect his head, his vest the heart, and his laced up boots say he’s ready to leap into action at a moment’s notice and travel over some rough ground.
As Christians we must protect our thoughts and our hearts and be ready to take the message of the Good News to the world, even if it’s not popular. This is a battle and clothes really can make the difference. So…what will you wear…boots or dancing shoes?