As we think about putting costumes on, it is a great time to consider the difference between wearing a costume and wearing a uniform. Is there a difference? Most of us would like to think that we go through life wearing uniforms, not costumes. As Christians, we ought to know the difference and why it matters.
In ancient Greece, the word Hypocrinomai meant “to answer” or “interpret.” So an actor, a “hypocrite,” might “interpret” what a poet or playwright had written, and then act it out to the audience. Eventually, the word was applied to something much worse. A hypocrite became one who was presenting a false face (play acting) to the world.
Those who wear costumes in life are “play acting,” whereas those who wear uniforms should be presenting a truth about themselves. The Christian’s uniform consists of: a belt of truth, a breastplate of righteousness, feet fitted with readiness, a shield of faith, a helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God (Ephesians 6).
I have identified 3 basic differences between a uniform and a costume.
1) Uniforms identify what kind of work we do. Those wearing costumes aren’t required to do anything. We wouldn’t want to have surgery from the doctor who says, “I’m not a doctor, but I play one on T.V.” No one expects a “play actor” wearing a costume to be competent at that trade.
2) Uniforms identify who our employer is. Those wearing costumes aren’t answerable for their behavior. If a house were burning down, no one would run up to a child dressed in a fireman’s outfit on Halloween and ask them why they were trick or treating instead of stopping the fire!
3) Uniforms identify that we have made a decision. Those wearing costumes can change on a whim. You might already be considering what you will dress up as for next year. But the Christian doesn’t change their uniform.
What about you? Are you wearing a costume or a uniform? Do you present one face to the world while secretly hiding your true identity from others? Do you merely wear a costume of Christianity or the real uniform? If you are a Christian, consider what kind of work you do, who your “employer” is, and whether your decision to wear that uniform is final.