I recently watched a video that was addressing the issue of the inappropriate manner men and women dress for church. It showed multiple images of people in church dressed in what the preacher termed “the same way they would dress to a nightclub”. The images showed such outfits like mini-dresses/skirts, plunging necklines, excessively ripped jeans, and pants worn so far below the hip they reveal the underwear.
The preacher in the video even went to the extent of stating that women should not wear any make-up, pants/trousers or hair extensions because it is bad and demonic. Even wearing jewellery was unacceptable.
As a woman that wears make-up, pants and hair extensions, I soon found myself resisting their teaching. I started to feel uncomfortable when I began to see myself in their statements.
Is there really a problem with wearing make-up and jewellery? Is it demonic for women to wear pants and hair extensions? What should Christians consider inappropriate and should there be guidelines for the way we dress for church?
No common sense, but godly guidelines
I've heard it said that what we wear to church doesn't really matter. We should be able to wear whatever we want. In a world were 'common sense' isn't really common sense any more, it can be difficult to distinguish what is appropriate and what isn't.
In the Apostle Paul's letter to the Corinthian church, he talks about how the Corinthians believed they had the right to do anything. He reminds them that even though they did have the right to do anything, not everything is beneficial or constructive. “No one should seek their own good, but the good of others” (1 Corinthians chapter 10, verse 23-24).
Sure we have the freedom to wear whatever we want, but shouldn't we be considerate of those around us? Just because we feel comfortable in a mini-skirt or 'short shorts' doesn't mean that others feel the same way. We shouldn't be so inward focused that we forget about others. We should instead be careful that the exercise of our rights doesn't become a stumbling block to the weak (1 Corinthians chapter 8, verse 9).
Moreover, the way we dress shouldn't be a distraction from worship and we mustn't allow it to attract attention to ourselves rather than drawing people to God.
It's not about legalism, but about modesty
Early in my Christian walk, I remember feeling offended when I was told the long, figure hugging slit skirt I wore to church was inappropriate. My immediate response was to get defensive. But with biblical guidance and help from other mature believers, I came to understand that I needed to truly ask myself whether the way I dress is respectful to others and honouring to God.
This doesn't mean that women have to wear dresses to their ankles and men should always wear suits (nothing wrong with doing so either). Neither do I believe that wearing make-up or pants (by women) is demonic (quite an extreme view I believe). We all come from different cultures or backgrounds and what is acceptable in one place may not be acceptable in another. We need to be considerate.
It's not just a matter of the way we dress to church either. What about how we dress for work, to the beach or even to a friend's house? Living according to God's word doesn't stop at the end of the church service. As Christians, we are called to be Christ's representatives wherever we are. Every aspect of our lives should be a good testimony of what Christ has done in our lives.
So maybe instead of responding with a “who are you to tell me what to wear?” attitude, we should consider the advice given to us in love by a Christian brother or sister and sincerely seek godly wisdom in this area of our lives. We are all on a journey and I'm thankful that we have the Holy Spirit to help and guide us through this journey.
We all have our shortcomings, but we should still strive to be good ambassadors for the kingdom of God. If we allow anything to take precedence over God in our lives, then we may become guilty of idolatry. As Christians our aim should be to please God and to glorify His name so that others are drawn to Him. So whether we eat or drink or whatever we do, we should do it all for the glory of God (1 Corinthians chapter 10, verse 31).
Kandima Awendila was born in Mozambique and lives and works as an IT Service Desk Engineer on the Gold Coast. She is passionate about the Word of God and hopes her life testifies of the amazing love of Jesus Christ.
Kandima Awendila's archive of articles may be viewed at www.pressserviceinternational.org/kandima-awendila.html
Kandima Awendila was born in Mozambique and lives and works as an IT Service Desk Engineer on the Gold Coast.'Kandi Awendila's archive of articles may be viewed at www.pressserviceinternational.org/kandima-awendila.html