I grew up in a time when kids didn't have a lot of "say-so" about what we wore. Almost everything I wore was hand made, but, many of my friends from school wore clothes their Mom made for them, too, and clothes weren't the issue then like they are today. Yes, they were important, and yes, the girls enjoyed shopping, buying and wearing them, but our Mom was the final authority on what we wore, and she set the example. I have a friend whose Mom was such a skillful seamstress that I, nor anyone else knew but that her clothes came from one of the many retail stores that were prevalent in our town back in the 60's and 70's. Then came the mini-skirt and my great act of rebellion against my Mom's authority was that as soon as I got out of sight of our house, walking to the school bus, I rolled my skirt up at the waist band!! It wasn't a mini by any means, but it was shorter than my Mom would have allowed me to wear it!! Every generation is the same; there is always that "daring" that need to be provocative, to catch the eye of a man and cause him to take a second look. A short skirt, a revealing shirt, a way of presenting ourselves that cries out, "look at me."
Clothes are a big deal for women. Most of us actually love clothes and we love to shop. We feel good when we wear something new, and clothes get us noticed more than our hair, make-up or even jewelry. The Bible tells us in Genesis that clothes are important and God made the first garments for our first parents Adam and Eve. The Bible also tells us that Sarah, Rebekah, Lydia, the woman in Proverbs 31 and others had beautiful clothing. And I believe God has placed within the heart of women a desire to look good. But this post is not about that; this is not a post for women who are unbelievers; this post is not about what we wear to the beach, mowing the yard, or just hanging out at home. This post is about what is appropriate for Christian women to wear to church. Because you see, I believe with deep conviction that when we dress appropriately for church, it will be a natural thing to dress appropriately when we go to Kroger, when we go to our kids soccer game, when we have friends over, when we're at home and when we're on vacation, even at the beach.
Something else I believe with strong conviction is that many women who are new believers simply haven't been taught about modesty and dressing appropriately when they go to church. That's where Titus 2 women come in and lovingly, patiently and with grace mentor her in modesty, discretion, etc.; not ridicule her behind her back or be un-Christ like in what we say, but in a spirit of grace and mercy and by example teach that new believer what is appropriate. But I also believe that if a woman is a Christian, she will feel the conviction of the Holy Spirit and she will not dress inappropriately for long. She will want to please her Heavenly Father.
So let's start with the basics and it doesn't get any more basic than this; my body is the temple of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit of God lives within me. I take Him with me everywhere I go and I dress Him every day. Because you see, as Christ lives out His life through me, it means His influence and life are represented by how I dress, by how I present myself. What people see of me, they see of Christ.
It seems that this summer, more than any other, I have heard concerns about the suggestive clothing that women are wearing to church, even women's ministry leaders. And though I am writing this at the risk of being misunderstood and labeled as "old fashioned" and "out of touch", I still feel it must be said. I cannot control what anyone else may do or wear but me, and there have been times when I, too, have worn something that was inappropriate, but my prayer is that you will read this with an open mind and heart and allow the Holy Spirit to guide your thinking. And as always, I love to hear your responses to the blog. You are always welcome here to express your feelings and concerns, even if they differ from mine.
I believe going to church is a special privilege, not to be taken for granted, and the focal point of our week.. Church is the one place that Christians should be able to gather and not have to worry about the influences of the world, especially in the way women dress. Here are a list of questions that will determine if you are appropriately dressed for church. I'm sure there are others, but this gets us started.
1. Does what I have on say, "I am going to church"? I enjoy dressing for church and as Dr. Charles Stanley often reminds us, "do your best, look your best, be your best." How we dress when we go to church conveys to others how we feel about the house of worship. How we dress for church shows our level of respect for our church, our pastor, our teacher, friends, co-worshippers, but more importantly, ourselves.
2. Before you leave the house ask your husband: Are you comfortable with what I am wearing? Does this draw attention to areas of my body that might cause a man to lust? When husbands love their wives as Christ loves the church, he will not want her (or his daughters) to be the object of other men's comments or lust.
3. Can I bend over in what I am wearing to pick something up without revealing my backside or my front, or.....go to the altar in prayer, on my knees and get up gracefully without displaying anything inappropriately?
4. Is strapless appropriate? If your answer is yes, why?
5. Is a plunging neckline conducive with worshipping in the Spirit?
There is a class, dignity, self-respect, submission to the Holy Spirit that is evident in a woman when she allows God to dress her for church. And that brings me to this question:
6. Why? Why wear to church those things that draw attention away from our face, away from our identity with Christ, away from intimacy with a Holy God Who deserves our best? The answer may not be what we want to hear, because many times the answer is......I like the attention of men; it feeds my ego; I am more concerned with the attention I get than I am in truly worshipping a Holy God. In other words, "It's all about me."
Be brave dear sister in Christ and ask Him if what you are wearing is acceptable to Him, appropriate for His house, and something He is proud of. Trust me, if you ask Him, He will tell you.
Our enemy Satan works tirelessly to place "stumbling blocks" in the path of unbelievers, as well as immature believers. As unbelievers gather in our sanctuaries this Sunday, will they be distracted by how we are dressed and miss the message of the Word? I hope not. God is so good, He is so faithful, He deserves our best. What you wear to church reveals your level of spiritual maturity and submission to the Spirit.
Please check out Life Way women's newest blog post; Teaching Modesty to our Kids. Well worth the time to read it. One more question and I will put this to rest:
7. If you are wearing strapless, short, and sheer, what will your daughter wear? What will she think is appropriate to wear to church? What one generation tolerates, the next generation embraces. We are daughters of the King. We represent His kingdom. We are called to "come out from among them and be ye separate." (2 Corinthians 6:17. Please read this verse)
Ladies we are role models, the younger women in our churches will take their cue on what to wear from us. Be appropriate; be modest; dress for God and your husband.
I am finished and climbing down from my soap box. We may discuss "booty shorts" in another blog. Come on girls, really? Do you think they are appropriate for a Christian lady...especially at church?