Yoga Pants…and Hypocrites

Today’s topic: yoga pants.

I think I’ve heard more and more people weigh in on the subject (no pun intended) the past few weeks than ever before. I’m not sure I knew what yoga pants were before a few months ago, but now every time I click on a social media site, someone is discussing the do’s and don’ts, and oughts and shoulds and ought-not’s, of yoga pants.
I don’t know exactly what set it off–maybe there’s a new fashion trend, or a sudden recognition of the need for modesty, or maybe it’s just the weather. And I’m sure that in some ways, I am treading on dangerous ground to even go there, except that my contribution to the discussion may be a little different than what others are talking about.
There was an article in the Wall Street Journal last August, entitled “Yoga Poseurs.” (I know, that’s two straight weeks with references to the WSJ; don’t judge me!) The article asked the question, “Why work out when you can just buy the clothes and look like you did?” The writer explored a growing trend in the athletic apparel market. People all over America are buying sports clothing without actually practicing the sport.
The article noted “the U.S. athletic apparel market will increase by nearly 50 percent to more than $100 billion at retail by 2020, driven in large part by consumers snapping up stretchy tees and leggings that will never see the fluorescent lights of a gym.” As an example, sales of yoga apparel increased by 45 percent even though yoga participation grew by less than five percent.
The trend isn’t limited to yoga. Outdoor and camping retailers have debuted new lines of hiking boots and flannel shirts for people who probably have no intention of actually hiking and camping. Retailers are also rolling out jogging pants and preppy, $90 men’s running shorts for men who may never jog.
What’s the point? Even yoga-pant-wearers are inclined to pose as something they’re not. All of us, if we are not careful, will find ourselves more concerned with what it appears we are doing, than what we actually are. And so, in a world of “image management,” we wear our exercise apparel even when we have no intention of ever working out. “Woe to you, you hypocrites…”
The parallels to our spiritual lives are obvious. How often are we more concerned with the appearance of spirituality rather than the condition of our hearts? How much are we inclined to try to look religious than actually living it out behind the scenes?
So, whether your costume of choice is yoga pants, hiking boots or a religious mask, may I encourage you to resist the subtle temptation to try to make an impression, and just seek the Lord for an authentic life in Him. There’s freedom in being real, and God will use your sincerity as you live your life for Christ.
I look forward to seeing you Sunday.
–Pastor Ken