Whether or not we have given much thought to what our clothes say- not only about us, but about themselves as well- makes little difference in how loudly they address those around us if we have not already initiated a change or upheld our standards of dress.
Our clothing speaks. What does yours say?
I recently read a couple of articles on this topic, both of which were excellent, one of which the writer had been convicted of wearing jewelry. My post is simply to give my own color to the subject, in my own opinion and convictions, and not to condemn or cast judgment upon anyone.
Having never worn jewelry on the same principle, I don’t have to worry about giving it up after having become attached, but I must say that I certainly respect someone who will follow their own convictions after having done differently for many years. Jewelry especially, can speak louder than the loudest voice or greatest works, and drown your own words in the sea of “bling.” But what of our clothing? Our accessories? What do they say to others?
“Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel…”
Of course this scripture does not mean that we are not to plait our hair, wear gold, or put on… clothes? It’s not speaking about wearing… but adorning... one article pointed out.
Our convictions must be our own. Our inward self should speak through whatever we wear. Our clothing and accessories should not be so garish as to mask the One who resides within us. Our spirit should be the showstopper, not our apparel. Naturally, we want to look and dress nicely, receive compliments once in a while, etcetera. There is no sin in desiring to look nice. How can we expect to win someone to Christ if we look less than pleasing, clean, and well-dressed? We are the King’s children, after all. But let our works speak louder than our clothing.
The other article pointed out the relief that was felt when the writer – a gentleman in a world of half-clad females- viewed a beautiful young woman, dressed modestly, and wearing the beautifying agents of Purity, Salvation, Integrity, Joy, and Humbleness.
Her clothing spoke, though her tongue did not.
“But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price.”
I admit that I have sometimes been overwhelmed by someone’s outward adornment so much that I didn’t even hear what they were saying to me. I was too busy trying not to appear distracted by their shining jewels, discolored hair, purple eye-liner, and tight mini-skirt. Their words, no matter what they were, meant nothing… held no substance, in comparison to their dress.
I enjoy dressing in pretty clothing. I just need to be sure I am dressing primarily to be pleasing in His sight, not the world’s. Women don’t necessarily require diamond rings and pearl necklaces to be beautiful. Simplicity is beautiful. But at the same time, we ought to look into the scriptures for our examples. God dressed his people well, that much is sure. They dressed for the occasion, in accordance with their status. But this also, is where things can get tricky:
“But if thy brother be grieved with thy meat, now walkest thou not charitably. Destroy not him with thy meat, for whom Christ died… It is good neither to eat flesh, nor to drink wine, nor any thing whereby thy brother stumbleth, or is offended, or is made weak.”
To apply this properly, I would have to say that if our apparel causes our brother or sister to envy us, or become bitter, we then are in the wrong. This is where “keeping up with the Jones’s” comes into play, though it shouldn't.
“I know, and am persuaded by the Lord Jesus, that there is nothing unclean of itself: but to him that esteemeth any thing to be unclean, to him it is unclean... For one believeth that he may eat all things: another, who is weak, eateth herbs. Let not him that eateth despise him that eateth not; and let not him which eateth not judge him that eateth…”
It is good to have scriptures such as these to turn to for guidance when needed. They can be applied so many ways, yet never twisted to our own ways of thinking. The truth is clear. So many problems can arise when we look around us. If we would keep our eyes on God, our hearts will remain pure, our flesh crucified unto Him, and our outward appearance modest and tasteful.
There is so much to be said on the subject of modesty-inward and outward, keeping ourselves covered (the primary reason clothes were created; now only used as a fashion symbol), and keeping our choices tasteful and reserved. Our personal convictions must rule.
May our dress always be unto Him, for His glory alone.
The two articles I referred to are listed below. They are both excellent and insightful reads, and I highly recommend taking some time to peruse them both.