By Patricia W. Qualls
There are as many opinions about how Christian women should dress as there are women in the Body of Christ. If our hearts are submitted to the Father, then we will be open to the voice of the Holy Spirit when He puts His finger on areas of concern in our lives. One of those areas is how we as women (and men) represent our faith in the manner in which we dress.
Why is that important? you may ask.
God does care about how He is represented in the earth. Paul speaks clearly in 1 Corinthians 8:13 about doing things that will cause our brother to fall into sin. He continues his admonishment in 1 Corinthians 10:23 saying, “I have the right to do anything,” you say–but not everything is beneficial. “I have the right to do anything”–but not everything is constructive. (NIV)
If we love and care for our fellow man, then we should be mindful not to willfully put a stumbling block in their way by the way we dress. Yes, as women we have the right to wear anything we want, but as Paul said, everything is not beneficial.
If you are looking for an exact dress code, down to lengths of clothing and what parts of your body should be covered, you won’t find it in the Bible. However, there are biblical principles that can guide you as a Christian woman in how to dress.
So let’s get down to business. The summer months are upon us and the temptation to “let it all hang out” is tempting. The following are some practical tips for mature women and younger women in Christ. The advice is the same for both age groups. Modesty and common sense. As you try on clothes and make your selections, your physical beauty and how you present it to the world is symbolic of the spiritual beauty of the church. Let’s represent our Lord with dignity and holiness.
- Know Your Body Type. I’m not suggesting that you dress like you’re auditioning for Little House On The Prairie. There’s nothing wrong with wearing fashionable age appropriate clothing that compliments your body. Just be modest and don’t try to squeeze into clothing that is not designed for your body just to be fashionable.
- Don’t Dress To Distract. Choose clothing that covers your cleavage. If the top is so low that your “girls” are spilling out, then it’s too low. By wearing attire like this, you can cause others to take their eyes off God to look at you. Although many argue that saved people won’t be distracted, that is not always the case. A believer that is not mature or still struggling in their flesh, can easily be distracted by sexually suggestive clothing that reveals more than should be seen. Also, it may be trendy, but don’t let your underwear peek out of your pants and tops.
Wearing four inch heels is not a sin. However, when you wear exceptionally high heels (especially with a tight dress) it automatically thrusts your behind out and up and this can cause a major distraction when you walk into a room. If that is your goal, you will accomplish it. But if your goal is to honor God in your choice of garments, you might want to rethink that choice.
- Liberty vs. Legalism. Wear clothes that represent your God-given sense of personal style. If the color yellow makes you feel good when you wear it, don’t let others tell you it’s not your color or that it’s not “Godly.” God did not intend for his daughters to be put in spiritual bondage with legalistic, unbiblical rules (such as not wearing red). He made the rainbow so pick your happy color and work it!
There is no shame in a woman displaying her beauty, and there is no shame in men appreciating the beauty of the female form. But be diligent to pray and ask the Holy Spirit to help you select clothing that honors Him.