Honoring God With Style
The fact that I am a woman does not make me a different kind of Christian, but the fact that I am a Christian makes me a different kind of woman. – Elisabeth Elliot
We live in a world where being a follower of Christ is not only difficult but ridiculed. Being a woman, specifically, a Christian woman is even harder. I’m not saying that Christian men have it any easier, however, women must confront the world’s harsh criticism on female apparel that men don’t. In a society where Jezebel is admired, the Christian woman must be a Mary.
One does not have to leave the house to notice the influence and allure the world has on society. By nature, we women are more sensitive to fashion and self-conscious about our appearance, and now thanks (but not really thanks) to pop culture and the media, ladies struggle with the pressure to want to follow the latest fashion trends in an attempt to be deemed “beautiful”, “sexy”, and “accepted.” Is looking “sexy” even something godly women should strive for? As Christians, the charm of the world shouldn’t entice or dictate the way that we should carry ourselves. Our hearts, souls, and minds should be founded on the Word, and that’s the direction we need to follow. The Bible is our guide on how to live a godly life in reverence to the LORD, it is the gold mine of godly wisdom so that we may not live in confusion.
2 Timothy 3:16-17:
All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in rightousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.
The Bible does not only equip us with the right doctrines but teaches us the right way to LIVE. I think the question we may have right now is, “does the Bible teach women how to dress?” The answer is yes! Does God care about the outside as well? You bet! Instead of grabbing Vogue magazine or Seventeen, let’s take a look at what the Scriptures have to say about apparel.
1 Timothy 2:9-10:
…in like manner also, that the women adorn themselves in MODEST apparel, with propriety and moderation, not with braided hair or gold or pearls or costly clothing but which is proper for women professing godliness, with good works.
The text above does not mean that we cannot braid our hair or wear accessories, but rather present ourselves with control and without extravagance. Modesty, on the other hand, bespeaks gentleness, purity, and beauty. In Latin, modesty is modus meaning “measure.” There is a standard/measure that Christian women NEED to follow in the way that we dress. We have free will to decide who will influence us; God or the world.
According to dictionary.com, propriety means, “conformity to established standards of good or proper behavior or manners” (emphasis are mine). This tells me that there is a wrong and a right way to dress. Too much we hear that God only cares about the heart and that He pretty much turns a blind eye to the outside. This is a lie (and I daresay, a lie from hell) that has infiltrated our churches. It claims that God doesn’t mind how we look from the outside as long as our hearts are surrendered to Him. This is simply unbiblical and a “safe encourager” used by believers afraid to be charged with legalism. The truth is that God cares quite a lot how we dress.
Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain but a woman who fears the LORD, she shall be praised.
How does modesty honor God, and show respect for myself? Click To Tweet
Who is Your Modesty Model?
Immodesty is a sign of a heart problem. The way that we dress says so much about our inner person. If our hearts and minds are not set on what is pure and lovely (Philippians 4:8) but instead worry about chasing after the latest fashion, it will be reflected in the way that we dress, and it won’t be very modest. The fashion industry does not care about the ways of God, if anything, it scoffs at everything that is godly. Should a Christian woman be looking at fashion magazines or watching the VMAs for inspiration on how to dress? Absolutely not! The way of the world is darkness and pop culture is saturated with lust and sensuality. A young lady professing Christ in her life should not be entangled with anything promoting the lust of the flesh. A Christian’s role model shouldn’t be a celebrity.
Why is modesty such a controversial topic to talk about nowadays? Christians in leadership roles avoid it completely for fear of being viewed as legalists or being judgmental. Christians in those positions have the biggest opportunity to promote, inspire, and encourage modesty within the body of Christ. But with time, modesty has been thrown in the back burner and utterly forgotten. What is more disappointing is the fact that mothers are to teach their daughters to dress in a way that bespeaks purity, holiness, humility, reverence to God, a gentle and quiet Spirit, but such a sight is a rarity!
…that the older women likewise, that they be reverent in behavior, not slanderers, not give to much wine, teachers of good things- that they admonish young women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be discreet, chaste, homemakers, good, obedient to their own husbands, that word of God may not be blasphemed.
Instead, we see mothers taking their daughters bikini shopping for the beach, and buy them skimpy dresses in an effort to be “fashionable” as their friends. No wonder the younger generations are so used to semi-nudity in the media- it no longer provokes them to shudder with embarrassment. The conviction is simply not there! We have taken away that conviction from the children at a very young age! It doesn’t come as a surprise that we see young Christian women clad in articles of clothing that are better fit for the club or a bar. Let me ask you this, do you dress in such a way that when people see you, they see something different in you? Yes, character and virtue are the biggest testimonies, but when you go out in public in a mini dress, what does that say about you? Because the way you present yourself to the world is the first thing they will read.
Christian mothers are in the best place to teach their daughters how to glorify God, but if holy conviction is not in the heart, they will find this post quite offensive.The way you present yourself to the world is the first thing they will read. Click To Tweet
1 Peter 3:3-4:
Do not let your adornment be merely outward- arranging the hair, weraing gold, or putting on fine apparel- rather let it be the the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God.
The way we choose to dress is part of our testimony. A daughter of God should seek to be pure, not sensual. But if you’re finding it difficult to stop admiring fashions this world promotes, then it’s time to examine your relationship with Christ. Because a woman professing Christ in her life won’t struggle with wanting to please God.
What Makes ‘Modest,’ Modest?
You may be asking yourself, “Okay, but what exactly IS modest apparel and what is not?”
1 Corinthians 6:19-20
Or do you not know that your body is the TEMPLE of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are NOT YOUR OWN? For you were bought at a price; therefore GLORIFY GOD IN YOUR BODY and in your spirit, which is God’s.
If you are looking for a fashion list of dos and don’ts, you will be disappointed. The Bible does not say dresses and skirts must be a certain length in order to be considered modest. The Bible does say, however, that we must glorify God in our bodies. If the dress you’re wearing accentuates all the curves in your body or if more skin is exposed than is covered, then it is your flesh that is being glorified, not God! If the clothes you wear draw attention to your body and not the holiness of God reflected on your face, then it’s immodest, it is that simple. A godly woman must never compromise her purity.
Let your garments always be white.
A gracious woman retains honor.
The godly lady must be driven by holy passion. Wouldn’t it be beautiful if more Christian women took a stand for modesty? To drown the voices of the media in a sea of gentle purity. I know that it can be difficult to find modest apparel because the fashion industry does not cater to holiness but if you truly seek to honor God, you will make no compromises.
There is modest clothing out there, it will take a bit of searching, but they still exist. The problem may be that you might be looking in the wrong places. When we stop looking out for the latest fashion, our eyes will find what our souls have been craving. You don’t need to dress like a nun to be modest, you can still dress with a quiet elegance that glorifies God. There is something about modesty that makes a woman look beautiful, pure, classy, and elegant. The most attractive accessory statement that a woman could ever wear is her virtue.
It’s been about 5 years since the LORD opened up my eyes to modest dressing. And let me say that it wasn’t easy at first to part from some of my clothes and completely remodel my wardrobe but I don’t regret a single item that I got rid of. Something that has helped me not to make compromises when shopping for clothes is asking myself if said garment will bring God glory or if I’m simply buying it because it flatters my body and it’s cute. Before shopping we need to pray and ask God what clothes please Him, to guide us in dressing modestly, to teach us to glorify Him in the way we dress.A godly woman will never compromise her purity. Click To Tweet
Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us have grace, by which we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear.
What Role Do Clothes Play and Why is it So Important to Dress Right?
God invented clothes to COVER the body, NOT TO UNCOVER it. When Adam and Eve discovered their nakedness, they sewed fig leaves to cover themselves. But God made them clothes from animal skins. On his own, man, does not know the right way- God alone does. When we don’t seek God for guidance, we do things in the way we think is best for us. Man relies on his own worldly wisdom. Humans are stubborn, and stubbornness blinds us to the truth- it is only through Him that we can learn to live right.
With time, man has done away with shame. In the Garden of Eden, we see that nakedness was shameful. In Biblical times, to publically undress a person was the highest form of shame (Isaiah 47:3). During ancient times in Israel, the priest had to be completely covered up, not even his ankles could be exposed before entering the tabernacle and later the temple. The children of Israel displayed their respect toward God through their obedience through their clothing. Are we exempt from this? Immodesty is not only indecency but a direct disobedience to God as well.
We don’t have to look thousands of years into the past to realize how fast moral decay has progressed. People were more aware of shame and to expose an inch of your ankle was considered lewd. Women wore several layers of clothing to hide their bodies and were careful to remain modest. How much more should we, who profess godliness, keep modesty alive? But instead, the church has blended with the world! The everyday clothes that are worn today by women would have landed them in jail for indecent exposure a hundred years ago.
My mom has this saying that uncovering the body used to be shameful, now, covering it up is embarrassing. It’s sad how true this is. As Christian women, we need to be the exception to “rules” of society. We need to be the example, the light shining brightly. You do not change the world by blending in but by standing out. How can we be a beacon in the darkness it we blow out the candle?
Laws may have changed, the way of life may have altered alongside modern technology, morals may have been thrown out the window, everything the Bible stands for, labeled “old-fashioned and inapplicable” by sinful minds, but the Word of God stands firm. Some may say “But those laws were directed only at the Jews” or “That’s old testament law” and even some, “that’s legalism” but modesty never send anyone to hell and last time I checked, holiness didn’t have an expiration date.
What Modesty is Not
There’s one argument I hear quite often that I must disagree with. I’m not partial with the argument that states that women should dress modestly to prevent the brothers from sinning. Such statement makes it okay for men to lust and objectifies women. I also, don’t agree that “modest is hottest.” Dressing with the intention to look “hot” causes lustful and vain thoughts. We don’t dress to impress anyone, we dress in such manner that brings God honor and in so doing, we walk in obedience.
1 Timothy 4:12:
Let no one despise your youth, but be an example to the believers in the word, in conduct, in love, in Spirit, in faith, in purity.
He who loves purity of heart and has grace on his lips, the king will be his friend
Modesty is a Mirror
How will you choose to dress today? Will you make a stand for purity? God will honor you, shower you with blessings, for you are His most precious treasure. Do not be allured by the serpent, but step on its head. It will be difficult at first to bypass all those cute tops, but I guarantee you that with time, modesty will be second nature and the fashion of today will no longer have a hold on your heart. And if the clothes you wear are not very 21st “centurish,” who cares? We don’t owe anything to the world, we don’t own anything to the flesh. It is our heavenly Father who we are trying to please.
You are loved, you are God’s beloved. What you wear does not create your identity but rather is a reflection of who you are. And if you are loved by the King of kings then you will walk with dignity and honor.
Orthodox Judaism teaches that women must dress with modesty because the body is so sacred, it mustn’t be exposed freely and cheaply. And if the King is your Father then that makes you royalty. I don’t know about you, but I’d rather follow the royalty’s fashion. That is one fashion that will never fall out of style.