Does the Bible have anything to say about how we as Christian women should dress? Should we go without makeup? Should we wear only long dresses? Should we not wear pants? Should we not wear jewelry? Can we, should we try to dress with sex appeal?
At one time, I did stop wearing makeup, pants, and yes, my dresses came down to my knees. Why? Well, I was just about 18 years old and was devoted to Christ. I now know that the women around me most likely influenced my dress because of how they dressed, old and young. But as I grew in my relationship with the Lord, I also grew in recognizing what the Bible was saying and understanding my liberty in Christ. The Apostle Paul describes my self-restricting activity as a show of will-worship which he warned against in Colossians 2:20-23. I learned that it produced in me pride and judgmentalism.
However, I do believe the Bible is our guide; and yes, it does have something to say about how we dress.
“In like manner, also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with |godly fear| and sobriety, not with broided hair, or gold or pearls, or costly array, But (which becometh women professing godliness) with good works.” I Timothy 2:9-10 KJV
“Do not let your adorning be external-the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear-but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious. I Peter 3:3-4 ESV
Last week when I was in Oceanside with my husband celebrating our anniversary, we both noticed the clothing of the News Channel Weather Reporters who were women. They wore dresses, but they were all very tight, fitted, short, and above all did not look professional. I was tempted to write to the news station, but I didn’t.
What happened? There used to be a professional decorum. Yes, we may have moved away from business suits, but how did we get here?
Sadly, I have observed that it has not just infiltrated the news shows and the culture by and large, but has infiltrated our churches.
I don’t believe that the scriptures cited means that I have to wear a sack or muumuu, but that I should dress as though I have a godly fear and desire to please him.
Although the Apostles Paul and Peter addressed this in their day, it is still a hot topic for today.
A couple of years ago, gospel artist, Erica Campbell came out with her new album and her cover showed her wearing a fitted white dress which brought with it a lot of chatter. Inside Edition covered it in an article and interview, Gospel Singer Erica Campbell’s Sexy Image Stirs Controversy.
In it, she defends herself saying she was showing no skin, but that she has a lot of curves and sees nothing wrong with her picture on the cover. I personally don’t think our shapes have anything to do with it. I believe it has everything to do with who we represent and serve. As Christians, the Bible says that I am no longer calling the shots, but I submit to him because he has bought me with a price, I am not my own.
There is a quote I found, not certain of the author, but it’s been cited in a sermon I heard on modesty:
“Your clothes should be tight enough to show you’re a woman, but loose enough to show you’re a lady.”
I believe the scriptures cited above are still relevant today because modesty is a condition of our hearts. We reveal our true heart by what we choose to wear. Proverbs 7 warns against women that will entice with the attire of an harlot, and scheming heart. The attire of an harlot is designed to attract male interest sexually; whereas, the Apostle Peter emphasizes that the Christian woman’s true adornment is the hidden person of the heart that seeks to please God even through her attire.
We are called to not be conformed to this world. The world makes us want to pursue being sexy, being referred to as Divas. Christ wants us to pursue being holy.
I believe we can look our best and glorify God in our dress at the same time by letting it not be the driving force, but Christ and his work in us. I believe that our dress should not be a distraction.
What do you think?