“When they told it unto David, he sent to meet them, because the men were greatly ashamed: and the king said, Tarry at Jericho until your beards be grown, and then return.” (2 Sam. 10:5)
The age we live in, the nation, the generalized culture, are all, for most people, a trap that they willingly dive into, and apparently not having a beard at the time of this account was seen by some as embarrassing, as perhaps an indication of less virility. The attire we wear, the physical appearance that we project towards others has always been to a degree the driving force of how many people within a certain area are either accepted or rejected by those people, those who are attempting to do the same.
In the animal kingdom, the strong are the ones that survive, and in many cases, the young, weak and older animals are killed, for in the herd sense, they pose no profit to the group. A male lion will sometimes kill cubs to ensure no challenger to his position of authority. It is no different in what we like to call the “civilized world,” a man’s supposed authority is valued by others by what he owns, how fast he can run down the playing field, how fit and trim he is, or how beautiful the woman is seen by others, those that meet the standard set by the world are the ones the world lifts up as examples to others.
Advertisers noticed an enmity growing though in the “average” class, as we will call it, some years ago, and changed their structure to a degree, one that would match what the general population truly is, low paid, out of shape, television watching people who will never be those of a higher rank, so to speak. “But the LORD said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the LORD seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart.” (1 Sam. 16:7)
This phenomenon of ensuring that we fit in, no matter the class that you associate with, is only particular to mankind, and while there are exceptions, most generally people do not enjoy being ostracized, being set apart as individuals, they want to fit in. Here then is the problem, not only with those that claim Christ as Lord, but with the church as a whole, they want to fit in, and they cannot or will not see that who they are desiring to fit in with is the world, the one that is against the Lord God. “Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.” (James 4:4)
It is so prevalent today that many do not even see it as a sin, it has become a normal part of their everyday life, pastors preach on the ones they believe are the best to vote for, or whether or not the congregation should approve the school bond, on the things of the world, and attempt while doing so to make it seem that the Lord cares about these things, and therefore, so should they. Many reach out to the cults, the places that do not serve Christ as Lord, yet have a cross in their building, claiming that they seek the Holy Spirit of God for guidance. They refuse to see it as being part of the world, and instead will use Mark 16:15, “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature,” as a reasoning for these actions.
Those who sit in the pews see no problem with this, in fact, if the one behind the pulpit is not wearing the symbol of the world, a suit and tie, or one of “The Church,” a robe, sash or other accoutrements, they will not see him as fitting to that position, no matter what words come out of his mouth. They are doing the same, the finest clothes they own, clean and pressed, dressed for the occasion, always, whether they will admit it or not. “For they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God.” (John 12:43) “For if there come unto your assembly a man with a gold ring, in goodly apparel, and there come in also a poor man in vile raiment; And ye have respect to him that weareth the gay clothing, and say unto him, Sit thou here in a good place; and say to the poor, Stand thou there, or sit here under my footstool.” (James 2:2-3)
Try it sometime, no matter how long you have been attending your church, wear some clothes with holes, that are stained, make sure they’re clean so as not to be offensive to the nose of those in attendance, and you will see the most minor of these truths. John was clothed in camel’s hair, (Mark 1:6) and the people flocked to him, many of the prophets of God were not “dressed appropriately,” Isaiah wasn’t dressed at all for quite some time, (Isaiah 20:3) God looks on the heart, and He hates the things of this world, and those that love them, that try to fit into this world, no matter if it’s even in the smallest way, are at enmity with Him, He allows for no excuses in this area.
If you are hoping that people of this world will like you, then you are not portraying Christ, you are wanting to fit in, you have placed not only those things of this world above obedience to Christ, but yourself as well, there is no way around this truth. Even many of those that claim Christ as Lord will begin to gravitate away from you, for they do not see what they are doing as sin, and they will offer numerous excuses and reasonings, even quoting not only the aforementioned 1 Samuel 16:7, but others that will attempt to prove that to be in the world does not mean, at least in part, to be of the world.
Those who have been crucified with Christ are travelers from a foreign, distant country, a land who value system has not one thing in common with anything in this world, their ways are detestable to our King, and so they should be to us. “Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.” (James 1:27) If you are not despised and rejected by this world, if you are not standing at all costs to yourself against it, then you are not behaving properly in the eyes of your King.