What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him?
There are many religions in this world, and with each religion norm there is a dress norm. When you see a Southern Baptist, you know it. When you come across an Amish, you need no second glance. When you watch a Hindu woman walk across the street, it is seen. When you witness a true Jewish family, it is obvious. And when you spot a muslim, there is no question. Do any of these people have to open their mouths to convey to you their religion and their dedication to it?
Let's take a look at another spectrum of religions - Atheists, Agnostics, Humanists - You cannot tell any of these apart, the only thing thet have in common is their belief that there is no God. That is the world's point of view- the human is God, pleasure is king, fashion and money move you up in rank. They all dress the same, according to what's popular, with no limits, nor guidlines, nor convictions - Because they are God, they set their own limits, their guidelines, they are numb to convictions.
So let's put this in perspective, religious people dress according to their religion. Non-religious people dress according to the lack thereof. Who are we, as Christians, dressing like?
What is the difference between their religion and ours?
The difference is who we serve, we are the only religion that serves the one true God, the trinity, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost. The Lord has set us apart as His own special children, so why aren't we dressing like one?
Why are we as Christians, the Children of the only true God, blind to the fact that we dress exactly the same way a Godless world does?
"You are the light of the world. A city located on a hill can't be hidden. " Matthew 5:14
How are we as Christians to be a light on a hill in the darkness of the sinful world, when we are drowed out and camoflaged amongst the Godless and outshined by those who dress faithfully according to their religion? You say you are a person of faith, but where are your works my fellow breathren?
Ok, so what does our Christian religion say about how we dress? Let's first think about something that is rarely addressed! The gander gap...
A Two Way Street
Both man and woman are created after the image of God, there are many differences between women and men but this fact goes unchanged. There is nakedness in both men and women, and regardless of what we have all been told over and over again - both men AND women are VISUAL creatures! Most women will not admit it, because they feel odd and maybe as if they are the only ones. But you are not, because we all are made after His image. Do you not realize how women's lives revolve around beauty? They take to their homes and embark on making it beautiful. They are attracted to a beautiful pattern on a dress, or a stunning flower in a garden, or that chubby beautiful baby someone was just blessed with.
Our God created both genders to appreciate beauty, for when He created us He looked upon us and said that we were GOOD. He looked, and proclaimed. If we are our Fathers children, we are like him. We love to look upon His beautiful and good creation.
With that being said, Men, who are reading this - this issue is just as much a responsibility to you as it is to women.
Yes, your pants can be too tight and show off your muscular legs. Yes, your shirt can be too tight and show off your back and cause a sister to stumble. Yes, your gym shorts can fall back when you sit down and bare a little too much. Yes, you ALSO can sit, stand, or walk in a provacative manner and cause a fellow sister to struggle. God made you beautiful too, in your own way - you are a mirror of Christ. How is that not any more beautiful than a woman in God's eyes? We are both fearfully and wonderfully made.
What are Christ's standards for dress?
Here's a very popular verse that is quoted with this issue...
“I desire…that women should adorn themselves in respectable apparel, with modesty and self-control, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly attire, but with what is proper for women who profess godliness—with good works.“ 1 Timothy 2:8-10
Christian women and men should concern themselves with modesty because the Bible does. This text is a primary example. Though this verse primarily speaks to women, men should also embrace this message of modesty. Modesty is neither anti-beauty not anti-handsome.
And on that road, we should take note that Paul is neither anti-adornment. His statement is positive: “they should adorn themselves.” These are not the instructions of an anti-fashion prude. The same word “adorn” is used to descibe a bride beautifying herself for her husband (Revelation 21:2). It is a term that expresses being ornamented, well-kempt, and put in order.
The question for Paul isn’t about whether a woman should ornament her body, but how?
Paul is speaking on how women should prepare themselves for gathering at church. Women are commanded to adorn themselves in a way that is fitting for worship. If they “profess godliness”—that is, they desire to show God honor and reverence—how should they dress?
Paul hits the nail on the head. In Ephesus, the original destination of this letter, at that time the elite were known for their gaudy and extravagant wardrobes, their elaborate hair styles, and their expensive clothing that communicated extraordinary wealth. Paul paints a picture of this for the Ephesians Christians and says, “Don’t mimic that. When you come to church, come dressed in a way that shows you desire to the attention to be on God, not yourself.” The way a person dresses, or even their obsession with clothing itself (Matthew 6:28-30), is often showing a heart that loves self more than God.
Bravery vs Bondage
Paul says women should adorn themselves in respectable apparel with “self-control.” This might be better understood as self-mastery, being of sound mind or sober, being in control of one’s self. Immodesty is often, though not always, a kind of slavery. A woman may be enslaved by her desire to attract a man. She might define her worth by her fashion sense, her appeal, her image, her size, her weight, or the brand names she wears. This kind of slavery is wide spread because sin impacts us all, and in today’s media-saturated culture, many women fall prey to this kind of slavery.
But as Christians we are free from the slavery of sin because we are united to Christ. Paul exhorts us to live out this freedom:
“Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, to make you obey its passions” Romans 6:12
When it comes to modest dress, we can follow Paul’s next statement quite literally: Do not present the members of your body to sin as instruments for unrighteousness, but present your members to God as instruments for righteousness (v.13). Paul wants Christian women and men to have self-mastery in their wardrobe choices, to be totally free from worldly ways of defining worth, beauty, handsomness, and attractiveness. Women nor men's worth should never be measured by their attractiveness though the world should lead us to believe so. I want to be loved for my inward beauty, and respected by my outward.
Interestingly enough, it is not just those who are scantily dressed that are enslaved, but even those who pride themselves on their modesty. “Modest is hottest,” they say, unaware that in their own hearts, they are still enslaved to a preoccupation with their physical image, still defining their worth by their outward adornment... is it the inside that is modest, or is it just the outside?
Why is it my problem?
In this text Paul says the word modesty but other translations opt for the word “decency.” The King James Version translates this as “shamefacedness,” which gets more to the heart of the word. It is talking about a demeanor of reverence, showing respect to oneself and a regard for others. It even carries the connotation of “bashful.”
Connected to the term “shame,” the word implies the idea of grief over sin that is in the world—that a woman would be so sensitive to sin, knowing that sin is offensive to God, that she would never come close to trying to provoke it in others.
You can be guilty of a lack of shamefacedness, for treating sin lightly. A heart of modesty is motivated by a love for one’s fellow man.
A Great Responisibilty
So should we dress like frumps and cover oursleves in shame? In no way, shape, or form should we feel we should do this. Another popular scripture tells...
Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own. 1 Corinthians 6:9
Why would the Lord, or ourselves, be ashamed of something He made? Solomon did not hide the temple, he set it on a hill and dressed it in beauty... and so should we. We do not have to dress in old fashioned clothes, nor clothes that do not flatter us. We can choose to dress with wisdom, to show the world that we are a light that is beautiful, worthy of praise. We can still be fashionable and attractive in this day, and it is our responsibility to be that example to the world that as Christians we can be modest and still a thing worthy of being called a creation of God.
So let us not feel resistance toward modesty, let us find it our great and honorable privilege before the Lord who has blessed us with such a thing! We have been given the gift of life through Christ, let us be vessels of that gift. Let us be beacons of light for those who are looking for it. Let us be set apart, and a safe place for a brother or sister to go in a world with images and flashes of promiscuity. Let us be a precious thing to our Lord, let us thank him in all we do everyday for the gift He has given us.
"Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing."