Does God Care About What I Wear?
It is an exciting time in this part of the country as football season begins. The large crowds gathered for a game reminds us of the unique culture in this part of the country. I still have memories of my father taking me to games and explaining what was taking place on the field. These family memories and school ties run deep with many and can be a source of clean entertainment.
As with any large gathering in our culture, the values of that culture will be displayed. On a warm day the world has no standards concerning clothing, alcohol and the use of their tongues. How should a Christian react to the standards of the world when the world scoffs at those who dare try to live a standard that differs from theirs? “For we have spent enough of our past lifetime in doing the will of the Gentiles -- when we walked in lewdness, lusts, drunkenness, revelries, drinking parties, and abominable idolatries. In regard to these, they think it strange that you do not run with them in the same flood of dissipation, speaking evil of you.” (1 Peter 4:3-4)
Christians and the Dress of our Culture
Many young are naive concerning the message that their attire communicates in this culture. There are some truths that transcend culture. One such universal truth is that God made woman’s body to be sexually attractive to men. God has also ordained that the fulfillment of that attraction be only fulfilled in marriage. “Marriage is honorable among all, and the bed undefiled; but fornicators and adulterers God will judge.” (Hebrews 13:4)
The culture of this country has changed radically in my short lifetime. On a college campus it is common for students to openly live together with no remorse concerning the loss of sexual purity. It is no surprise then to see a universal approval to young women that display their bodies by low-cut tops, short skirts and tight revealing clothing. In the modern fashion world, in popular characters played on TV and in the cheerleaders on the field the world boldly proclaims that there are no standards! It is also common to see some Christians conform to fit in with the dress of the crowd.
Brethren, this is a battle that we cannot afford to lose by being silent. What does God’s word teach us concerning alack of clothing in public settings?
The Bible Condemns Public Nakedness
It is assumed in the Bible that public nakedness is a shame. The image of public nakedness is used in the Bible to convey to the readers a need for shame in other areas. The arrogance and self-sufficiency of the Laodiceans blinded them to their real condition before God. When the Lord showed them what they really looked like spiritually they found themselves in need of correction, illustrated by correcting nakedness with proper clothing. "Because you say, 'I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing' -- and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked -- "I counsel you to buy from Me gold refined in the fire, that you may be rich; and white garments, that you may be clothed, that the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed; and anoint your eyes with eye salve, that you may see.” (Revelation 3:17-18)
In the Old Testament there are numerous examples showing that nakedness is not just complete nudity but also a lack of clothing. In the case of Adam and Eve God replaced their “fig leaf” coverings (the equivalent of men’s swimming trunks) with tunics (garments that covered from the shoulders to the knees) because they needed adequate clothing to cover their nakedness. (Gen 3:7, 10-11, 21)
Later we see the consistency of instruction when God gave told the priests to have clothing to cover the waste to the thighs so that their nakedness would be covered. “And you shall make for them linen trousers to cover their nakedness; they shall reach from the waist to the thighs.” (Exodus 28:42)
There is a General Lack of Teaching on Modesty
I am finding that our young Christian women struggle in understanding what their dress communicates. While modesty applies both to men and women, it is women who often fail to see how their dress impacts a man. This is why you see instruction directed to women in the area of clothing. “In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with broided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array; But (which becometh women professing godliness) with good works.” (1 Timothy 2:9-10 KJV)
I commonly see young ladies dressing in public events in revealing clothes that communicate a very understandable message to men that these young Christians would never want others to think. When I see this, I know that there has been a failure in the home and in local churches to teach on these things. As a father God has placed me in a position of leadership and I must lead my home. Both my wife and my daughter do not see women’s clothing in the same way I do. Here is where consistent instruction and practice will make a world of difference with my home!
Real leaders, both in the church and in the home, must be willing to consistently teach and lovingly communicate what God’s word teaches about modesty. I know that our young ladies are teachable and simply need the leadership and instruction to know better.
Please be willing to ask older, spiritual Christians about these things. It is my prayer that this article might cause us to more freely talk with other Christians about this sensitive issue of what we wear.
Do not Let Fear Silence Us
We will never win the battle against the world by being silent so as to not offend another. The current practice of our “non-traditional” preachers is for them to simply wave their hands and call these issues “cultural” and then refuse to lift a finger to teach our young. A genuine faith is not afraid to stand against the current culture and boldly teach God’s will that applies to every facet of our lives. “For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome. For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world -- our faith. Who is he who overcomes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God? (1 John 5:3-5)