Family, Personal Growth
Comments 8

The Belt Makes The Man

-written by Joe Bradley

Recently, I started to use a belt to help me raise my boys.  Let me explain how.

“Vestis virum facit” means “Clothes makes the man.”  Mark Twain put it a little better when he said, “Clothes make the man.  Naked people have little or no influence on society.”  My son Jack was the one who really brought this saying home for me.  

One day we were getting ready to go to church and Jack ran in my room, poked his chest out, and loudly proclaimed, “Look Daddy!  I’m wearing a belt and a tucked in shirt just like you! Don’t I look handsome?”  It didn’t hit me until a few days later what Jack was really saying:

“Daddy, I’m watching you.”

My oldest son is watching my every move, my every action, my every word. Even though he doesn’t always follow directions when I tell him to clean his room or to be nice to his brother, he is always paying attention.

This realization was scary and made me evaluate my daily life. Does he see me getting dressed spiritually? Am I telling him to clothe himself in a Godly manner?  

I don’t teach Jack to get dressed by going to the trash can every morning and picking the least offensive piece of garbage to wear.  I want his appearance to be neat and clean.  But many times my actions are teaching him that, spiritually, I’m doing no better than wearing the best garbage I can find.

I need to be showing him that God has something better in mind.  God wants us to be pure; Psalms 51:10 says “Create in me a clean heart, O God. Renew a loyal spirit within me.”  God tells us in Ephesians 6:10-19 to put on our spiritual armor: the belt of truth, the breastplate of righteousness, shoes of peace, the shield of faith, the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the spirit which is the word of God.

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The belt I wear everyday now serves as a reminder that eyes are watching me.  Not just the eyes of my son, but the eyes of everyone around me.  I’m wearing more than just clothing to cover my body, I’m supposed to be wearing the glory of God.  Isaiah 61:10 says, “I am overwhelmed with joy in the LORD my God! For he has dressed me with the clothing of salvation and draped me in a robe of righteousness.” 

I’ve been spending every day of my life getting dressed; sometimes (many times) I clothe myself in my own pride and arrogance.  Now, when I get dressed and put on my belt, I remember to ask God to clothe me in His grace.

What are you going to wear today?

-Joe Bradley serves at SoHills as a Fusion Life Group leader and he works at Tanner Hospital as the Stroke Care Coordinator. Joe enjoys reading, going on dates with his wife Melissa, playing with his two boys, eating good food, and wrestling polar bears.


  1. Thank you for sharing. My kids are now adults, but they are still watching their dad and I. I can tell by little things that are said. So, buckle up, they will always be watching you and Melissa.

    • Joe Bradley says

      “So, buckle up, they will always be watching you and Melissa.”

      I so wish I’d thought of that! “Buckle up” is a great way to put it!

  2. Really great article Joe, and SO true! There have been so many times over the years as our boys have grown into young men that I’ve heard or seen things in them and recognized the source as us. Many times that’s made me smile, at other times it’s made me wince. There really is no second chance to impact your children or those around you for God’s kingdom, every missed opportunity is a moment in time forever lost. I’m so thankful for God’s grace for the times we haven’t gotten it right!

  3. Pingback: Are You Disciplining to Punish or Teach? |

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