Enslaved to an outward appearance

I have talked with a few people this week about Satan can use what people think about us to rule our actions. These conversations stemmed from childrens’ clothing; as banal as it sounds, we fear what other people think about us because of what our children wear. This fear is an idol that keeps us enslaved to this life. Pastor Mike Smith taught last week about idols we make to rule our life. (It’s a great teaching that you can download at the Vista website).

How do the clothes our children wear become an idol? When we get our identity from it. When we desire that they are known for it and get attention from it. Maybe if we can present a picture of total confidence on the outside, people will think our families have it all together. This false identity can take two forms: fashion and thrift.

Fashion identity desires the newest shoes, clothes and backpacks in order to bring a acceptance and awe from those around us. It is even better when we can scrapbook those outfits or post them all over facebook.  The need to shop “to make themselves feel better ” is an escape. What we choose to spend our money on is observed by those around us and by our kids. We put our money into what we value.

Thrifty identity desires superiority by flaunting used and reused apparel in hopes that people will see how green or disciplined we are. So much time is spent talking about how much we saved or did not spend in hopes that people will think highly of our morals and values.

Neither shopping at the mall nor thrift store is wrong. When our identity comes from these things, we start heading off track of who we are in Christ. We then pass those values or habits on to our children. I have one friend who can fall into the fashion identity trap because her family flaunted “homemade clothes” when she was younger. I myself can easily fall into the self-righteous thrift trap. Intentionally searching our hearts to determine where we get our identity reveals the idols in our lives. Confessing these idols before God allows us to become a new creation in Him. Freedom from identity fear comes from our trust in His love for us. Can we see ourselves as His beloved children and set our hearts to match His vision?

Family Connection: Do you give your old clothes away to someone who needs them? Drop them off at the thrift store together or better yet, look for someone in your circle who would be blessed by them. The value of reuse with in reason is a good value to practice. Have your kids pick out clothes and toys to give to younger friends to make sharing real to them. Take them with you when you donate, recycle or give away and make it a family life lesson. It teaches them we do not always have to get something for what we give.

Personal Connection: Are you willing to help others or take help from others in the form of clothes? What hinders this in your heart? Do you have a selfish attitude or a wasteful attitude toward this idea? Just because we have the money does not mean we need to spend it. Just because we are willing to receive used things does not make us morally superior.


  1. Amazing post. Love it. I’m going put the quote, ” Intentionally searching our hearts to determine where we get our identity reveals the idols in our lives” in my kitchen. Thank you Cindy!