We are going to be looking at a really sensitive topic, and before you begin to eat me raw in the comments section, you need to understand that I am not supporting any group or denomination, but airing my views from things I have personally seen in scripture. If it sounds like I am supporting anybody, don’t be offended, but read through objectively, you’ll get to learn a thing or two, or three, the aim is to put Christ forward in how we make these types of decisions, and to ensure that we actually gain some positive perspective on this.
An experience at a church
A friend of mine, a girl (now this happens to boys too), narrated an ordeal she had at a church she wanted to attend on a Sunday morning, she walked up to the church gate, were she met with some stern looking faces who studied her from her toes to her head and harshly refused her entry into the building, citing that her dressing wasn’t good enough to let her come into the church building. She recounted her embarrassment and anger as she walked away from the gate trying to ignore the stares and side-comments in which she was obviously the subject. She was upset, and so was I when I heard, to be honest. During our discussion, however, she turned to the Bible for solace and used some scriptures to comfort herself and put blame on the church. So this scripture came to mind Luke 18:16 (Then Jesus called for the children and said to the disciples, “Let the children come to me. Don’t stop them! For the Kingdom of God belongs to those who are like this children.), and the argument was that Jesus never turned anyone away, and honestly that’s very true, in fact there is a portion in scripture that talks about notorious people coming to listen to Jesus speak and I don’t think He ever sent anyone away (you can find that in Luke 15:1, or read this digest, we speak about something similar here). In essence she had a valid point, it doesn’t appear that Jesus would want people turned away from Himself, but the people at the church thought it was very necessary to do so, and I believe they had valid reasons too, so I did some study and meditation of my own, so that I could help myself, my friend, and hopefully you guys understand better.
The bible doesn’t really speak much about specifics when it comes to dressing, except for some scripture in the Old and New Testament.
I was able to pull up a couple of those scriptures just for reference.
- Deuteronomy 22:11 – You must not wear clothing made of wool and linen woven together.
- Deuteronomy 22:12 – You must put four tassels on the hem of the cloak with which you cover yourself—on the front, back, and sides.
- Leviticus 19:19 – You must obey all my decrees.“Do not mate two different kinds of animals. Do not plant your field with two different kinds of seed. Do not wear clothing woven from two different kinds of thread.
- 1Peter 3:3 – Don’t be concerned about the outward beauty of fancy hairstyles, expensive jewelry, or beautiful clothes.
- 1Timothy 2: 9 – 10 – I also want the women to dress modestly, with decency and propriety, adorning themselves, not with elaborate hairstyles or gold or pearls or expensive clothes, 10 but with good deeds, appropriate for women who profess to worship God.
Bear in mind I intentionally omitted the kind of dress my friend wore, I believe that it would further help with the objectivity of my inferences. Looking at those scriptures I see a clear path in where God is going with dressing; first of all, it also shows that God actually does care about how we dress, I’ll speak about why later on, so stick around, but we will first of all need to put some things into perspective. It’s a bit obvious that God wants us to be good modest dressers, but just so the extremists can relax and not go around ripping off people’s clothes they deem not fit under the eyes of God, we need to understand that those laws in the Old Testament don’t apply to believers today. Here are a couple of scriptures to back that up.
- Romans 7:6 – But now we have been released from the law, for we died to it and are no longer captive to its power. Now we can serve God, not in the old way of obeying the letter of the law, but in the new way of living in the Spirit.
- Galatians 5:18 – But when you are directed by the Spirit, you are not under obligation to the law of Moses.
- Ephesians 2:14 – For Christ himself has brought peace to us. He united Jews and Gentiles into one people when, in his own body on the cross, he broke down the wall of hostility that separated us.
- Romans 3:28 – So we are made right with God through faith and not by obeying the law.
Is the law of any relevance?
Now am I saying that the law is irrelevant and useless, of course not, in fact scripture says otherwise (Lookup Romans 7:12 – But still, the law itself is holy, and its commands are holy and right and good.), but then what are we supposed to do with the law today, Jesus said at one point to top religious leaders that were supposed to know the law that none of them kept it (Lookup John 7:19 – Moses gave you the law, but none of you obeys it! In fact, you are trying to kill me.). Well, today we seek to see revelations of Jesus from the Old Testament. That’s what we do with the Old Testament; here are a couple of scriptures you may want to check out.
- John 5:39 – You search the Scriptures because you think they give you eternal life. But the Scriptures point to me!
- Matthew 5:17 – Don’t misunderstand why I have come. I did not come to abolish the law of Moses or the writings of the prophets. No, I came to accomplish their purpose.
- Romans 10:4 – For Christ has already accomplished the purpose for which the law was given. As a result, all who believe in him are made right with God.
- So we study the scriptures and see revelations of Jesus in them just like the early church did. So I guess we can rule out those Old Testament laws that tend to form a hook in people’s throats; now don’t get me wrong again, God still cares about how we dress, and instructions were left for the believer addressing this in scripture. I listed them above, but I’ll just do so again so we are on the same page.
- 1 Peter 3:3 – 4 – Don’t be concerned about the outward beauty of fancy hairstyles, expensive jewelry, or beautiful clothes. 4 You should clothe yourselves instead with the beauty that comes from within, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is so precious to God.
- 1 Timothy 2:9 – 10 – I also want the women to dress modestly, with decency and propriety, adorning themselves, not with elaborate hairstyles or gold or pearls or expensive clothes, 10 but with good deeds, appropriate for women who profess to worship God.
Looking at what Peter says throws more light on the purpose behind dressing, now don’t get the scripture wrong, it’s not saying don’t look good, but it’s saying your focus, your priority should not be on outward appearance, but on who you are on the inside. So God is basically saying “hey, spend more time and energy developing your Spirit and getting closer to me rather than focusing energy on outward appearance“, why would God want this you may ask, well to be honest and am pretty sure you’ll agree with me, outward beauty fades and would never really last forever, but relationship with God is going to last forever. I hope you see the point I am trying to make; spend time looking good, and also put on quality products, but don’t let it become a primary focus so much so that it goes above your desire to actually want to grow in your knowledge of God…now that we can call a problem, well if you are looking to grow spiritually, you can do so here on preachdigest, be sure to subscribe to our email newsletter by entering your email in the form below.
Again for the extremists out there, who would want to go all out and decide to put on huge sacks as clothes, let’s see what’s in Timothy (1 Timothy 2:9 -10). Now the passage there speaks about being modest and dressing in moderation, in easy to grasp English, don’t do too much, you can put on nice hair, jewelry, and clothes, but just like Peter said, our focus should be on our insides, we see here that it’s were true beauty lies, and we need to note that. Remember I said I was going to tell you guys the reason why God cares about dressing, so here it is, checking out those two scriptures, you see something similar, I pointed it out earlier, and it’s that true beauty lies on the inside. God wants us to realize this and live with that consciousness, which helps a lot in how we relate with people. Also, in trying to adorn your inner beauty, you get to spend more time with God. God just wants to spend time with you. He always has and always will want to, that’s why He lives in you. God cares about how we dress mainly because He wants us to focus more on growing in Him, and as we grow, how we relate with people becomes better, a whole lot better. We have a digest that speaks about how God would want us to relate with people, it’s titled “what’s the gospel way”, be sure to look it up here.
The Church and dressing
How about the church, what role does it play in all this? After all, my friend got turned away from a church. Before we go too deep, we need to understand what the church is. It isn’t the building, the building is just the place where we gather to fellowship together, the church is the people, or we can say the people make up the church (lookup: Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself,), that’s why in the early church the believers met at different places; houses, caves, you name it. The gathering of believers however is very important, in fact in scripture, we are asked not to forsake it (lookup: And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near.), and I believe we are to honor it, and this would include in the way we dress. So is it right for a person to be turned away from a believers meeting for not being moderately dressed, well I don’t think there’s anything wrong with doing that, I believe it simply does a good job of not distracting other believers in a believers meeting, and also, younger believers don’t get influenced negatively believing it’s okay to dress immoderately. However, in my opinion, turning someone away is not the sure-fire solution to correct a person who is being immoderate in dressing, the person needs an explanation, the reason why such action is being taken, and there should be follow up too to ensure that the person understands and adheres, and even tells others as well. That’s how we grow; get them to come for a bible study class and teach this properly to them, so that they learn and grow…hey, you could even refer them to this article. Don’t just shove people out of a church gathering for instance, especially if they aren’t really mature enough, or don’t know a lot about church ethics. Teach them, and guide them, the results would be far better…just so you know, my friend didn’t really feel the “vibe” to want to go to church anymore, but that’s history now.
Dressing is a very integral part of life, since the days of leaves and animal skin. God cares about it just as much as we do, and I already said why, you can head back up this article if you missed that. Well, my conclusion is, be moderate and let your motives for putting on clothes be good, no funny stuff okay; and for ministries that own buildings, if you are going to turn people back for dressing that isn’t modest (modest dressing is still subject to some other things like region, culture etc…but we won’t go into all of that), at least let them know why, and if possible, take them through a church organized training, it’ll create a beautiful ecosystem around your ministry and community.
Thanks for reading guys, be sure to leave your opinions, suggestions, and experiences in the comments section, I’ll really love to hear what you guys think. Check other articles on the blog too, or you could read some of our devotional posts; and yeah, subscribe to our email newsletter and to web notifications so you never miss another post, thanks and keep growing in Christ.