For the past few months I’ve been attending Bible studies on Sunday evenings. They’ve been enlightening and fun, but sadly, they finished last weekend. We ended on a high: the subject was Christian dress and humility. The title was: THE ONLY OUTFIT TO WEAR TO HEAVEN.
We as Christians are called to be different: we’re a chosen generation; a royal priesthood, and this should be reflected in what we say, what we do and what we wear.
My issue once was the unfair pressure put on women to mind how they dress, whilst the men always seemed to be ‘let off’. But after this study, I now see that ‘dress and humility’ work differently for men and women. There are of course some things that wouldn’t make sense for Christian guys to wear (such as trousers swinging by the ankles), but I think with men the issue is HUMILITY. That macho behaviour and big ego are seen in Isaiah. God talks about the women and the men:
Therefore the Lord will bring sores on the heads of the women of Zion;
the LORD will make their scalps bald.”
In that day the Lord will snatch away their finery: the bangles and headbands and crescent necklaces, the earrings and bracelets and veils, the headdresses and anklets and sashes, the perfume bottles and charms, the signet rings and nose rings, the fine robes and the capes and cloaks, the purses and mirrors, and the linen garments and tiaras and shawls.
Your men will fall by the sword,
your warriors in battle.
(Isaiah 3:17-23 & 25)
Even though things are changing in our post-modern society, generally, there is more pressure put on women to look good and to conform to an appearance that panders to the sexual desires of men. Look in most shops on the high street: the skirts are shorter and the tops are cut lower. I would always defend a woman’s right to wear whatever she wants without being an object of lust, but sadly, the lust will happen. And even if you do dress ‘appropriately’, there are some men that will lust after anything that moves! But I’d hate to conform to the world’s standard of how a woman should look. I’d prefer to take the example found in Revelation 12:
And there appeared a great wonder in heaven; a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars:
A natural beauty! The attention given to that type of woman is thankfully more respectful—and welcome. There’s nothing worse than hearing an inappropriate comment from a sexist male. I wish women could walk the streets without harassment, but sadly that’s never going to happen. And let’s not forget the inappropriate comments from church men! As in:
“Oh my God! Sister so-and-so’s dress was so tight I was reciting the Lord’s Prayer to take my mind off it. Mercy!”
These statements are offensive. To hear a man, or even a group of men saying things like this about women just isn’t nice. Just because you threw a Bible reference in there doesn’t make it any less appropriate than the guys on the street. Comments such as the above only cause shame, self-consciousness and humiliation for the woman involved. And I don’t think God appreciates a sexist comment haphazardly cloaked in ‘Holy-Jargon’.
The thing with dress is that it takes a personal conversion, a real experience with God for it to have any meaning to the individual. When I was a Goth, I was so angry and hurt whenever someone at church gave me a lecture about my clothes. At one stage I was told I was inviting evil spirits into my life, and that my outfits were giving me mental illness! But now that I’ve grown spiritually, I can see that those particular clothes automatically made me a part of a lifestyle that wasn’t of God, regardless of my heart. It was a bad witness: whenever I went door-knocking, people didn’t take me seriously because they thought my clothes were in contradiction with what I was saying.
So what is the only outfit we’ll wear to Heaven?
I delight greatly in the LORD;
my soul rejoices in my God.
For he has clothed me with garments of salvation
and arrayed me in a robe of his righteousness,
as a bridegroom adorns his head like a priest,
and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.
(Isaiah 61:10, NIV)
Righteousness and salvation. Something to think about : )