I am not a legalist. However, as much as I am against pharisaic legalism, I have an intense desire to honor and please the Lord. I will fight against rules ‘for rules’ sake’, but at the same time I will be obsessive about following my Father’s loving direction.
If you’ve been a Christian for any amount of time – the ‘issue’ of dress has come up. What to wear? If you’re still reading, (God bless you by the way,) don’t worry – this isn’t going to be a list dos and don’ts. I cannot answer this question for you, but Jesus can. God did not give us the 10 commandments, or any of his commands/direction in the Bible, so that we can live under His thumb. Rather, He loves us so much and cares for us and gives us guidelines for our own good, to help us out. The Bible is a love letter to us, and even the (seemingly) restrictions are undergirded with love. (Did I just say undergirded?)
We are raising two young ladies, tweens if you will. This transition from kid-hood to young adulthood has driven us to pray together, research and study together and “work out our salvation” in regards to the matter of dress. Again, not so Miss Julia and Miss Emma (and Miss Kendra) can have more rules… but with the goal to pleasing the Lord in this area.
Some questions we ask ourselves… Is it too short? Is it too tight? Is it too low? I have a bathing suit that I bought online while living in the Dominican Republic, so I couldn’t try it on ahead of time. When I did, it revealed that it was indeed quite low and quite revealing of zee ta ta region (French accent). Recently, I put that suit on to see if I would be comfortable in it at the pool. I was not. It was low. But, what answered the question with even more clarity was when one of the girls came into my room, and her eyes about popped out of her head because the suit drew attention to that area. I didn’t wear it. You can feel when eyes are drawn to you. Ever talked with someone who was having a hard time maintaining eye-contact?? You know what I mean! I think sometimes we know when we’re wearing something, if it’s going to draw attention or not. Christian Ladies, we have the Holy Spirit living in us. If we’re sensing that something is not appropriate – CHANGE!
Because of my love for Christ and for my brothers and sisters in Christ, I do not want to be a stumbling block. We have the right and freedom to dress however we want… but “be careful that this right of yours in no way becomes a stumbling block to the weak.” 1 Cor. 8:9. As we decide what to wear, why don’t we also “decide not to put a stumbling block or pitfall in your (my) brother’s way.” Romans 14:13.
One can argue that it’s not our fault if guys can’t control their eyes! Really? It is no secret that most men struggle or have struggled with “lust of the eyes” at some point in their live. (Read Every Man’s Battle). Do we want to build up our brothers or tear them down? Anne Jackson recently blogged about this very topic. One thing that was humbling, convicting and eye-opening were the comments that men left answering the question, “Do women dress too sexy?” Here are a couple of them:
“My sister, when it comes to being tempted visually, I am your much weaker brother. I would humbly ask, as you exercise your wonderful freedom in Christ, you would demonstrate grace and help me in my quest to live a life that honors our great God. YOU can help ME in my weakness.”
“Dressing modestly is a way to love and cherish our brothers and sisters in Christ…”
For more on what men had to say – see Anne’s blog.
So many times ladies coming out of legalism – ankle long skirts, pastoral robes to swim in 😉 – swing to the extreme of the pendulum in exercising their “freedom” – butt-hugging, SHORT shorts, protruding cleavage… Let’s find a happy medium here ladies – and the Holy Spirit is that fantastic guide. It’s not black and white. Let Him guide you through the grey area. That’s His specialty.
“Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do (or wear), do everything for God’s glory.” 1 Cor. 10:31