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Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Biblical Dress: The Outside Picture

Photo by: photostock, Free Digital Photos

Yesterday, we explored the biblical teaching about our “heart clothing.” Today, we’ll look at the same Scriptures and notice what God says about our outside clothes.

  • Proverbs 31:22, 25She maketh herself coverings of tapestry; her clothing is silk and purple. Strength and honour are her clothing; and she shall rejoice in time to come.
  • 1 Timothy 2:9-10In  manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with broided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array; But (which becometh women professing godliness) with good works.
  • 1 Peter 3:3-5Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel; 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. For after this manner in the old time the holy women also, who trusted in God, adorned themselves, being in subjection unto their own husbands.
I am always struck by the balance in Christianity. God’s dress guidelines are no exception. In the Proverbs passage, we’re reading about the Virtuous Woman, the lady who’s the highest example of godly womanhood. She dresses in—get this—tapestry coats over silk and purple clothes. This is not a woman who looks like she crawled out from under a rock. This lady has class. (Notice, she makes the coat herself!)

Let’s go to 1 Timothy. What characterizes the Christian woman’s clothes? One adjective: modest. What does modest mean? The dictionary defines it as “in a way that is considered proper or decorous, decent.” So, we’re to dress properly, appropriately, and decently.

From the same passage, we read that women shouldn’t be too showy. We shouldn’t call undue attention to ourselves. So far, we see that women should look nice and be modest and not too showy.

Don’t forget the inner adornments: strength, honor, respect, humility, self-control, and good works.

Read the 1 Timothy passage again. Look for the answer to this question: who are our clothes models? Are they very tall, thin young women? Possibly. The Bible describes them as women professing godliness. According to the 1 Peter passage, who are our models? Holy women . . . who trusted in God. Hmmmmmm . . . . Maybe we need a rethink.

Biblically, the women we’re supposed to copy when it comes to clothing (and attitude) are godly women.

Do you know a godly woman?

How does she dress?

How does she act?

What does the 1 Peter passage say about clothes? It has the same idea as 1 Timothy—not too flashy, not calling attention to oneself.

Where does God say our emphasis should be: on the inside, or on the outside?

What is more important (hint: of great price) to God: a snazzy outfit and fabulous hair, or how we act and the condition of our heart?

You got it. It’s the heart attitude.

Does God care what we put on?

Yes! And, there’s the balance. We need to look nice, modest, and to honor God.

(Tomorrow, I’ll share some practical hints on how to check your clothes for modesty and propriety. Then you can decide if your dress truly honors God.)

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