“Women are to be modest in their appearance. They should wear decent and appropriate clothing and not draw attention to themselves by the way they fix their hair or by wearing gold or pearls or expensive clothes. For women who claim to be devoted to God should make themselves attractive by the good things they do.” (1Timothy 2:9) – paraphrased.
As Christians our behavior and the way we dress, set the tone for how others see us and value our faith. Being modest in our appearance is just as great a witness to those around us as are our actions and our words. One problem many non-Christians have with believers is that they see them as hypocritical especially if they are preaching purity and modesty to others while wearing revealing and inappropriate clothes. By being modest we take the focus away from self and allow people to witness our inner faith rather than our outer appearance. This is applicable both for men and women.
Discernment is always necessary when shopping for clothes. One way to discern if an outfit is the right one is to ask ourselves why we are buying it. Is it something we like or is it designed to draw attention to ourselves? Is the person buying the outfit to attract the opposite sex? What type of attention are they seeking?
People need to remember, that it is not being Christ like to tempt others through the way they dress. There is plenty of great clothing available for Christians of all ages that are both modest and fashionable. It is not a sin to like nice clothes, but it is a sin when that desire for fashion becomes more important than our faith.
The Christian woman’s primary desire is not to put her body on exhibit, but to reflect her Christian values. Her appearance and dress should not say, “Look at me, admire me,” but rather, “Christ lives in me and has changed me from the inside out. If that change has occurred, then there is no need to draw improper attention to the outward appearance. 1 Peter 3:3-4 tells us that: “Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.”
People focus on the outer appearance; however, to God what is on the inside is what matters most to Him. God’s focus is on developing our inner beauty so that it can be reflected in everything we think, say and do for His honor and glory. 1 Samuel 16:7 says: “The Lord does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” If God looks at the heart, what does He see when he looks at us? Does He see someone who is seeking Him or does he see someone seeking the world?
Virtually all of us are influenced by appearances, yet we need to keep appearance in perspective. It is important that we remain aware of why we dress the way we do. We need to ask ourselves if our focus on our appearance leads us and others to take our eyes off the Lord. If the answer is “yes” then we need to take a closer look at our priorities. Colossians 3:17 says: “And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.”
We cannot seek God and also seek the world; we must choose one or the other. The Bible tells us in Matthew 12:30 – “He who is not with Me is against Me…” And also in Revelation 3:16 it talks about the lukewarm church: “So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth.”
Here are some questions we can ask ourselves: Are we trying to portray something that we are not? Do we spend more time worrying about how we look externally in front of others than about how we look internally before God? Do we sometimes dress or act in a certain way in order to fit in with those around us? Or is it to get their attention?
We need to realize that not only does how we dress and act affect us; it also affects those we come in contact with. Women of any age need to think about how they dress and the way that they interact with those around them, especially men. Is there anything about their behavior or way of dressing that might be a stumbling block to them? What message are they sending to the world, their friends, their church and especially to their kids?
Men are stimulated by sight. This is why Jesus told the men of His day, “I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” (Matthew 5:28).
In a culture that promotes immorality and promiscuity, it is our obligation as Christians to show the world how to be truly respected and that comes by us respecting ourselves by the way we dress and act.
As Christians our heart’s attitude should be to seek after God because: “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; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.” – 1 Corinthians 6:19-20
Here are some verses for us to think about:
Jesus warns of offenses: “Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to sin, it would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were drowned in the depth of the sea. Woe to the world because of offenses! For offenses must come, but woe to that man (or woman) by whom the offense comes!” – Matthew 18:6-7
Submit to God, resist the devil: “Likewise you younger people, submit yourselves to your elders. Yes, all of you be submissive to one another, and be clothed with humility, for “God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time.” – 1 Peter 5:5-6
“As a ring of gold in a swine’s snout, so is a lovely woman who lacks discretion.” – Proverbs 11:22
“Charm is deceitful and beauty is passing, but a woman who fears the LORD, she shall be praised.” – Proverbs 31:30
“There is a way that seems right to a man (or a woman), but its end is the way of death.” Proverbs 14:12 & 16:25