Does Dressing Or Appearance Matter For Christians? | What Does The Bible Say About Decency In The Church?
Many people keep wanting to know, if, how you dress really matter. Does appearance matter? Why the rave about dressing decently. Why should anyone care about how I dress? How does my appearance or the way I dress affect anyone? Is it that important? Is my dressing a prerequisite for heaven? Why should anyone bother about my mode of dressing? Why can’t I live and dress the way I choose to?
Well in this post, you’ll find answers to all these questions, and why your appearance, and the way you dress really matter.
Dressing is the process of covering the body or one’s nakedness with clothes.
Biblically, dressing started in the garden of Eden after Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit and realised that they were naked. They started covering their nakedness with what they could lay their hands on. They therefore, made leaves of apron to cover their nakedness. (Genesis 3:7). After God met with them in the garden, He sewed them coats of skins. (Genesis 3:21 KJV)
Why did God have to make them coats when they had already covered their nakedness? Probably God saw that what they had used to cover their nakedness was not sufficient or fit enough to cover them properly.
As goes the popular saying “how you are dressed is how you will be addressed”.
How true is this saying? Is it correct at all?
Now let us analyze to see its degree of veracity.
Assuming you go to a popular club in your town on a Friday, you’ll probably go with the expectation that all ladies you’ll meet when you arrive will be dressed with the attires of a night club – probably in skimpy dresses and skirts, showy gowns, transparent tops, spaghetti blouses, tight trousers to show all their shapes and cleavages, bumshots, etc, and the guys in similar kinds of dresses for the male folks.
As you enter the dance hall, you see a young lady dressed in suit sitting in front.
What will be your conclusion about this young lady?
You may assume that the lady is probably the club manager, a worker of high repute there, isn’t someone prepared to do what others were there to do, or probably missed her way.
You could arrive at all those judgements and conclusions despite the lady’s location – her presence at the night club. If you were to address her, you would then address her based on the perception you already have about her.
Let us look at another scenario.
A police comes to a crime scene where everyone is a suspect. While some are dressed decently from the crown of their heads to the soles of their feet, some look tattered, haggered with unkept outlook or appearance that suggest them to be hoodlums.
Who do you suppose the prime suspects would be?
Even if everybody was decently dressed up in the above scenario, there are still aspects or elements of the way you dressed that the detective may still use to arrest you as the crime suspect.
You may not be the one who committed the crime, and the detective may have arrested you in error. But you caused it because your dressing sold you out as a rugged tout who could commit the crime.
Another reason why appearance matters is that your dressing tells really much about you, your personality, what runs in your mind, what you approve of, and what you value, as well as your way of life.
I have encountered both old and young who from their appearance, it was very easy to tell how they lived while they were younger, where they will gladly go to, what they would gladly accept to do, and what they will approve of.
How do those who hire prostitutes know that they are prostitutes? They don’t carry microphones announcing that they are one. There are other people at the same place where they are picked up from but their dressings tell of their personalities and what they do, therefore their customers address them based on whom their appearances tells about them.
When you enter a church, how are you able to tell who the priest is from the congregation?
The dressing right?
Yes! that’s the first thing you’ll notice when they are all seated probably in a meeting or gathered for worship on Sunday.
Can you tell whom the students are from the teachers when you enter a school premises?
How were you able to do that? Through their dressings right?
Can you be able to distinguish the referee from players in a football field?
If the referee drops the whistle from his mouth can you still tell the difference?
Of course! It is simple to tell because they dress differently.
So does my dressing or appearance matter at all? Do I need to dress decently to be seen as a believer?
I don’t need to tell you much about this.
But supposing you go out to preach the message about the gospel of Christ and you put on the attire of an harlot
(Proverbs 7:10), how will people see you? How will they address you, and what is the first message you pass across even before you open your mouth?
And there a woman met him, With the attire of a harlot, and a crafty heart. (Proverbs 7:10 NKJV).
If 70-93 percent of communication is nonverbal, then it is equally important that you communicate your way of life which is your faith through the way you dress and live as a Christian.
Scripture describes something as the attire of a harlot. Now if there is the “attire of a harlot” and every profession is identifiable by their dress code, what then is the dress code of the recruits of the army of the kingdom?
It is that of decency that becometh the good man of the heart.
And I want women to be modest in their appearance. They should wear decent and appropriate clothing and not draw attention to themselves by the way they fix their hair or by wearing gold or pearls or expensive clothes. (1 Timothy 2:9 NLT).
But it’s not possible for anyone to change the way you dress. You can not change it either unless you first work on your mind. (Romans 12:1-2)
I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. (Romans 12:1-2)
In 1 John 2:15-17
, the apostle John admonishes Christians not to love the world for the world and the lust thereof are passing away:
Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.
16 For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.
17 And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.
The mind is the most important thing in this discourse because that’s where everything you do as a person comes from. Out of your mind proceeds the issues of life.
Keep thy heart with all diligence; For out of it are the issues of life. (Proverbs 4:23 ASV; KJV).
If you don’t change the way you look at things, your outlook to life, and your core values, then trying to change the way you dress is a total fiasco.
Your dressing is secondary, and it is only a reflection of what goes on in your mind.
Render your heart to God, allow Him to work and transform you, and you’ll see no more value in those earthly things that you cherish very much.
Back to the question posed earlier – why should anyone care about how you dress, and how does your dressing or appearance affect anyone?
Have you forgotten that as Christians we are not only living for ourselves, but for the good and edification of others, and that others may see the goodness and glory of God in us. Why should our dressing make people ask questions about the kind of God we serve? And why should the same freedom we have to dress and to do anything become a stumbling block for others?
“You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot.
14 “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven. (Matthew 5:13-16 NIV).
Paul speaking in 1Corinthians 1:8-13
says if the freedom he has to eat anything anywhere (his freedom to eat meat) will cause his brother to sin, then he’ll rather desist from eating:
But food does not bring us near to God; we are no worse if we do not eat, and no better if we do. Be careful, however, that the exercise of your freedom does not become a stumbling block to the weak. For if anyone with a weak conscience sees you who have this knowledge eating in an idol’s temple, won’t he be emboldened to eat what has been sacrificed to idols? So this weak brother, for whom Christ died, is destroyed by your knowledge. When you sin against your brothers in this way and wound their weak conscience, you sin against Christ. Therefore, if what I eat causes my brother to fall into sin, I will never eat meat again, so that I will not cause him to fall.
Of a truth, we misrepresent the personality of God each time we dress indecently, for God is holy in all ramifications and there is no unrighteousness in Him.
For the Scriptures say, “You must be holy because I am holy.” (1 Peter 1:16 NLT).
To declare that the LORD is upright; He is my rock, and there is no unrighteousness in Him. (Psalm 92:15)
Because the Lord takes delight not just in our souls but our bodies also, we are admonished to glorify God with our bodies, and to offer them as a living sacrifice, who according to the good pleasure of His will, has been pleased to make our bodies the temple of His Holy Spirit, and has set us apart, that we should be holy and acceptable unto Him.
Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body. (1Corinthians 6:19-20).
Dearly beloved in Christ! Permit me to leave you with these few questions.
Now if we are to glorify God in our body, how may we do this? How are we to glorify God in our bodies? Is this glorification partial or in totality? If it does not matter how we dress, and if decency and modesty is not important in the life of a Christian, what then are the ways by which we must glorify God with our bodies?
If our bodies have been privileged to be made the abode of the righteous and Holy Spirit of God, does it not behove us to keep these temples pure, holy and in order for God to dwell?
This is not something you can do on your own for as scripture says, by strength shall no man prevail.
He will keep the feet of his saints, and the wicked shall be silent in darkness; for by strength shall no man prevail. (1 Samuel 2:9).
Then he answered and spoke unto me, saying, “This is the word of the Lord unto Zerubbabel, saying, ‘Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,’ saith the Lord of hosts. (Zechariah 4:6).
If you’ve not given your life to Christ, you’ll merely be living in self righteousness which can not save you even after you do all these.
If you have not yielded to the Holy Ghost, and given Him the chance to let Him transform you, and change you from the carnal man, the old nature to the new man in Christ, you’ll see yourself struggling to live right, but not working out.
There is always an opportunity, and grace is available with Jesus to always welcome purge, cleanse and give you a new heart. (Ezekiel 11:19; 36:26), (Hebrews 8:10), (Jeremiah 31:33).
Prayer: Lord Jesus, thank You very much for the light of Your word today. Help me to live a transformed life. Renew my heart and conform my will to Yours. Let me desire to please you above all things. Help me not to love the world for this world is passing away. Give me the grace to live a life that will show You to the world, that others may see Your glory by the life that I live. In Jesus name I’ve prayed. Amen!