From the Editor’s Notebook: How Well-Dressed Are You?

From the Editor’s Note Book

W. Ross Rainey

How Well-Dressed Are You?

According to an article which appeared last fall in U.S. News & World Report, entitled, “Does What You Wear Tell Where You’re Headed?”, clothes can make or break one’s chances for moving up the management ladder. At least this is the opinion of Mr. John T. Molloy, 42, a consultant who has devoted his career to studying the role of apparel in business success.

In summarizing tips for executives, Molloy maintains that dark blue or gray clothing implies power and prestige. Leaders should wear something that makes them stand out. Beige raincoats show more class than black ones do (and to think, I just bought a navy blue “London Fog” all-purpose raincoat to replace my tattered beige coat!). Women executives should wear appropriate clothes to work. Gaudy ties have a lower-class look. For businesswomen: carry an attache case instead of a purse. And finally, bow ties show unpredictability (I always did wonder about those two preachers I know who wear bow ties almost exclusively!).

To a degree, clothes certainly do make a man or woman. Reflecting on this fact in the light of Molloy’s comments, my thoughts turned to the Christians’ wardrobe as set forth in the Word of God. For instance, we are commanded to decisively and permanently “put off,” or as A. T. Robertson says of Colossians 3:8, to “lay aside like old clothes”1 the garments of the old nature, and “put on, therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, tender mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, long-suffering; forebearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any; even as Christ forgave you so also do ye. And above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfectness” (Col. 3:12-14).

As to style, Christian women are to “adorn themselves in modest apparel, with godly fear and sobriety…” (1 Tim. 2:9-10; see also 1 Pet. 3:3-6).

Then, too, let’s not forget the believer’s military wardrobe described in Ephesians 6:11-18, wherein the Apostle Paul exhorted: “Put on the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore, take unto the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand, therefore, having your loins girded about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness, and your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith, with which ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God; praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints.”

While Paul does not specifically mention the piece of armor known as the greaves, which covered the knees and lower limbs, they are at least implied in his reference to prayer.

Peter exhorted believers “to be clothed with humility” (1 Pet. 5:5), while Paul further commanded believers to “put on the armor of light” (Rom. 13:12), and best of all to “put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfill the lusts thereof” (Rom. 13:14).

Most true Christians over the world fall far short of the standards set by the fashion designers of New York and Paris. Many have precious little to wear in the way of clothing, particularly those in so-called third world countries, since most of their meager livelihood must be spent on food (if it is attainable). As to outward appearance, there is little excuse for the believer — no matter how few clothes he or she may have — not being neat and clean. As for our spiritual garments, there is no excuse at all for not being well-dressed.

We should be far more concerned about the standards and fashions God has established for us in His Word than with those set by the world, remembering that “the world passeth away, and the lust of it; but he that doeth the will of God abideth forever” (1 John. 2:17).

I wonder as we go about our daily tasks, seeking to fulfill our responsibilities in the home, the office, the factory, the school, the community, yes, and in the local assembly, just how well-dressed we are in the sight of God? Will people remember us more for our keeping up with the world’s latest and everchanging fashions, or will we be remembered more for the way in which we adorned the doctrine of God (see Tit. 2:10ff.)?

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Tidings From Timna

A reporter for The Jerusalem Post, Abraham Rabinovich, writes that more remains have been uncovered at Timna, the town and area in which Samson raised havoc. Located in the middle of the Sorek Valley and near to today’s rail line to Jerusalem, it seems evident that the purpose in having built ancient Timna was to guard the old trade route between the coastal plain and Jerusalem that roughly followed the same path.

In modern Arabic the site of Timna is called Batash, scholars having assured us that this is the Biblical Timna where Samson slew a lion, picked a Philistine wife, and caused no little stir when his father-in-law passed the bride along to someone else during Samson’s absence. Samson’s exploits in the area symbolize the power struggle between the Israelites and the Philistines. The same struggle had been waged earlier between the invading Israelites and the resident Canaanites.

It was not until David’s time that Timna and the surrounding area came under Israelite control. Later, in the period of the divided kingdom, it became a border town along the northern perimeter of Judah.

Sennacherib, a cruel and boastful Assyrian king, destroyed Timna around 701 B.C. The city was rebuilt and then destroyed again by the Babylonians. Archaeologists have found signs of sparse settlement dating back to the sixth and fifth centuries B.C. when some Jews returned from the Babylonian exile.

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Henry C. Spence

For some time I wondered why I had not heard from Henry S. Spence of Bournemouth, England. Then, while reading a little bi-monthly paper entitled, “Wholesome Words,” which I receive from New Zealand, I saw a note beneath a brief article from his pen, informing readers that this dear brother had recently been called into the presence of Christ.

Although we never met face to face, I feel in some measure, at least, that I knew brother Spence personally. Occasionally he sent me short devotional articles, a few of which have been published in Focus. He was enthusiastic about the magazine and his little personal notes, generally written in longhand, were always a source of encouragement.

As a little tribute from this editor to the fragrant blessing of his memory (see Prov. 10:7a), I felt it would be in order to publish what was probably among the last devotional articles he wrote. The following thoughts on “Friendship” have been taken from the March-April 1978 issue of “Wholesome Words,” beneath which article appeared the note that he had then recently been called “into the Presence of this Friend whose Name he ever sought to exalt in his writings”:

Friendship is a union between individuals for mutual help; and the longing for friendship is universal. There are trials which are the common lot of humanity. Loneliness —from this great solitude refuge is sought in the companionship and understanding of a friend. The second is sorrow — when this comes the human heart longs for sympathy which is sought in the heart of a true friend. The third is perplexity —and we long to have someone to confide in — and in whom we can trust for guidance. The fourth is weakness — in times of temptation we need more than advice, and sympathy; we need succour (encouragement). A friend’s sympathy lightens sorrow, a friend’s advice will often remove perplexity, and a friend’s succour will save ruin and hardship.

But while friendship can do much along life’s journey, there arise situations in life when the best earthly friends fail by the call of duty, as also by death our dearest friends might be removed, so there always arises a longing for a companionship that will never be broken, for a sympathy that will never be misunderstood, for a wisdom that will never be baffled, and for a strength that will never weaken.

This companionship is found only in the Divine Person of the Lord Jesus Christ, for He is truly “a Friend that sticketh closer than a brother” (Proverbs 18:24). The Lord Jesus is the “eternal Lover of our souls,” for He has said, “I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. So that we may boldly say, `The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me’ “ Hebrews 13:5-6). For “Who can separate us from the love of Christ?” (Romans 8:35).

Dear friend, can you say with the hymn writer?

I’ve found a Friend, O such a Friend!
He loved me ere I knew Him;
He drew me with the cords of love,
And thus He bound me to Him.
And round my heart still closely twine
Those ties which naught can sever,
For I am His and He is mine,
Forever and forever.

“Unto Him that loveth us, and washed us from our sins in His own blood, and hath made us a kingdom of priests unto God and His Father, to Him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen” (Rev. 1:5b-6).

* * *

“There is much in the world to make us afraid. There is much more in our faith to make us unafraid!”

—Frederick Cropp

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“He should not preach about hell who can do it without tears.”

—D. L. Moody

* * *

“What? thought I, shall I be proud because I am a sounding brass? Is it such a great thing to be a fiddle? Does not the person who has the least of the life of God in him have more than these instruments? Besides, I remembered that these instruments would vanish away, though love would never die. So I concluded that a little grace, a little love, a little of the true fear of God are better than all the gifts. I am convinced that it is possible for an ignorant soul who can scarcely give a right answer to have a thousand times more grace and to be more in the love and the favor of the Lord, than some who have marvlous gifts and can deliver themselves like angels.”

—John Bunyan

1 A. T. Robertson, Word Pictures in the New Testament, IV, p. 501.