I, like many of the women today, love to go shopping—yes, even window shopping. In my undergrad years I was always at the mall, mainly because I had a part-time job in one. But even on my days off, I would love to hang and check out the latest fashion trends. However, lately it has been dreadful to find anything to wear, let alone purchase.
I understand that society is evolving once again, but I don’t think it should dictate how we are to live. Compared to a few years back, women now are barely wearing anything at all. I want to be candid here and I apologize if it offends you but that’s not my intention. I’ve seen ‘the fit’ and ‘the not to so fit’ all trying to wear the same size and sadly, it seems they have purchased their outfits from the toddler section of the store they shopped at. If it’s really short, really tight and I can see cuts and outlines of all the things I wish I hadn’t, then yes it’s not appropriate attire (unless you plan to go sleep in it-good luck trying to get comfortable!)
I come from a South East Asian descent where even wearing a saree is meant to portray the beauty and class of our ethnicity and rich heritage but in today’s culture some of our girls wear it ‘exposing everything, no matter how big or small’ and it has ruined the outlook on that apparel.
Why am I saying all of this and what’s my point? As a woman, I understand that girls at a young age are being bombarded with ‘what’s hot and what’s not’ in fashion. So I wanted to address a few things, especially to our women of faith regarding modesty and how expressing yourself through your outward appearance actually speaks louder than your words. When it comes to the subject of modest clothing, the first question we should ask ourselves is: What am I trying to accomplish by what I wear? What kind of attention am I seeking when I wear the things that I do? So many women are ready to defend their profile photos on social media of their half-dressed bodies quoting ‘only God can judge me’ and while I couldn’t agree more with that caption, I don’t seem to understand the real motive behind the post. We live in a self-centered generation, always taking selfies to get all the attention we can and yet some of us are in denial. Some women live their life in such a way to feed the fleshly desires rather than seeking God for what He wants or desires. It’s true, God loves you for who you are and yes He doesn’t judge you by your outward appearance as man does, God looks at your heart (1 Samuel 16:7). So if God is looking at your heart, then my friend, you very well are aware that He knows your intentions and the reasons why you wear what you do and why you’re seeking the attention and approval of others the way you do. There could be a number of reasons, one of which may also include insecurities ( a completely different topic in itself). But remember that your outward appearance communicates a message to those who see you about what you value- it is the image you leave behind and in the end, that image should reflect God, and if it doesn’t then some things need to change.
When it comes to modest dress, we can follow Paul’s statement quite literally: Do not present the members of your body to sin as instruments for unrighteousness, but present your members to God as instruments for righteousness (v.13). Paul wants Christian women to have self-mastery in their wardrobe choices, to be totally free from worldly ways of defining worth, beauty, and sexiness. Paul puts his finger on the trigger of the problem. In Ephesus, the original destination of this letter, the cultural elite were known for their gaudy and extravagant wardrobes, their elaborate hair styles, and their expensive clothing that communicated extraordinary wealth. Paul paints a picture of this for the Ephesian Christians and says, “Don’t mimic that. When you come to church, come dressed in a way that shows you desire the attention to be on God, not yourself.”
The world screams less clothes is sexy and it will definitely get you the attention (the wrong kind), and it will get you the man or the date but I can tell you from now it definitely isn’t going to get you a husband. If a guy wants to date you because of the way you dress, then what does that really say about him? What does that say about your self worth? Think about it. God is not against fashion or creative expression through what we wear but rather He wants you to present yourself in a way that represents Him well. If it’s not something you would wear to church on a Sunday to worship God, than why bother wearing it at all? (And yes of course you won’t wear a bikini to church, which is obvious-but in this context I’m referring to everyday wear and not the beach itself).
I encourage you to be mindful of those around you, especially the men who struggle with their own personal sins of lust and temptation. Dress in a way that is tasteful, classy and respectful. Let your outward appearance be a reflection of a heart that loves, reveres and shines light on God.
– Jasmin Edward-Sribavan