I have just come off of several days on jury duty. This was my first time, so it was an interesting experience. The hours were long and sometimes mind-numbingly boring, but overall it was interesting to see our legal system at work from that perspective.

One very interesting fact was that the guidelines given to us as jurors actually included a dress code. We were to avoid wearing things such as shorts, halter tops, and immodest or overly-casual clothing. Why? We were to dress appropriately in order to show respect for the judge, the court, and the judicial process which goes on in the courtroom.

On the jury-selection days, there were 140 prospective jurors present. Not one complained about the dress code. Everybody seemed to intuitively understand the importance of dressing in a respectful way in the courtroom.

So, why is there so much resistance to being dressed respectfully in church?

Surely, our respect for God, the ultimate Judge, should exceed that which we have for any earthly judge.

Surely, our respect for what goes on within the God-ordained church should exceed that which we have for any earthly courtroom.

Our nation is nearly overcome with an epidemic of what I call “casual Christianity.” People no longer take God and the things of God seriously. As many folks have said, “there is no fear of God today.” Folks show it in the way they talk and dress at church.

“Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep His commandments, for this is the whole duty of man.” (Ecclesiastes 12:13)

That old word, “fear,” doesn’t have the same one-dimensional meaning as our dumbed-down modern word. It implies reverence, as a subject would have for his king. That includes “fear” of what the king might do if you anger him, but also includes a deep and abiding love and respect.

Do we show our reverence for God when we dress for church? Does our mode of dress show respect for God’s people? Does it show respect for what goes on in the church? Does it show that church and the preaching of the Gospel and godly worship are important to us?

Or does it show that we take it all so very casually. Does our dress show that it really means very little to us? Does it show that we are too proud to show respect to our brothers and sisters?

Or, does it show that we just don’t take church, the Gospel, and the preacher seriously?

Is there no longer anything holy or sacred? Not even church meetings?

Think about it next time you go to church. Consider the message that your mode of dress is sending. What does it say to people about how important God is to you? What does it say about how important church is to you, or how much respect you have for the preacher and your brothers and sisters in Christ?

People see that – and your dress and speech and actions speak way more loudly than your words.

Words are cheap. You can say “I love God” all day long, but do you mean it? It is easy to pay lip service to the King of Kings and the Judge of the whole earth, but do you show respect?

Those people you want to reach for Christ will pay a lot more attention to the sermon you walk than the sermon you talk.