Sunday, February 18, 2018

Spring is coming soon and what will you wear?

Far Away Thoughts
Charles Courtney Curran
What a picture of a blissful moment with a warm spring breeze and fond thoughts running through the mind while gazing out at the vast domain of God's natural world. The young lady is wearing a very feminine outfit which in present time would be considered out of place as young ladies do not "dress up" to go on scenic walks instead it would be more like the one pictured below.  Dresses like the above are mostly worn at a prom or in the wedding anymore.  We have come a long way from looking and dressing femininely.  Maybe we can help change that!  Bear with me in the thoughts ahead., because:

We are a T-shirt generation - everyone is included - and we need to search out what God expects of us in our clothing.

What comes to mind when you think of T-shirts?  Casual, comfortable, under wear, outer wear, wear anywhere, wear tight, wear loose, wear to the floor, wear to the store, wear to the church, wear to events, peeking out low-necked from under an unbuttoned shirt?  What pictures and feelings come to mind?

Basically, stretch knits have taken over most of the fashion industry.  So where does that leave us to find modest clothing that doesn't give physical anatomy lessons to all who see us?  God has made provisions for our needs and modest clothing is definitely a need.  One has to look beyond what is promoted by the fashion industry and look for items that would reflect the glory of God rather than call attention to ourselves or make us look like everybody else because everyone else wears this style.

Let's examine where  covering the body originated from.  Who designed the first clothes?  Were they comfortable?  Let's go to the beginning of life and find out what did happen.

When Adam and Eve found they were naked after eating from the tree of knowledge of good and evil, what did they do to cover themselves?  The apron-girdle-loincloth- of leaves didn't do the job and was probably very uncomfortable, so God went to great means to show that it would cost to cover them by taking the skin of an animal, which means the animal was sacrificed-killed to cover man's nakedness, and God covered them with coats-tunics of skin  The end result was not just covering a certain area but that the  body was covered--the first Designer clothing. This is actually the first lesson on what sin costs and foretelling that Christ would pay the price for our sin-shame and clothe us in robes of righteousness.

Adam and Eve made aprons which indicates that they mostly covered  their reproductive organs (Gen. 3:7) yet God covered their bodies with a coat of skins which many state is a tunic which covers from neck to below knees and long sleeves with some variations of modest amounts.  What was God showing them?  His clothing covered their bodies. Apparently, the first couple enjoyed a very comfortable climate to walk around in yet when they sinned and God told them what life was going to be like from then on, covering their bodies did make a difference in order to survive and do the work laid out for them.

The world definitely does not have a modest mindset so what can be expected from the commercial clothing designers other than to emphasize areas, be outlandish, or androgynous, showing a lot of skin, or anything that doesn't reflect the honor and  beauty of modesty that God wants to see in his people.

This is one example of the knit industry that reveals more than it hides: Target ad for the high-school-age young ladies.

"The Colorblock Raglan Arm-Stripe Dress from ALMOST FAMOUS® gives you casual and sassy all in one piece. This bodycon-meets-T-shirt dress flatters your figure, but the longer length allows you to be tastefully sultry. Pair with a denim jacket and combat boots for an edgy look, or soften your ensemble with flats and stud earrings. Transition this look to colder months with tights and boots, and you’ll be ready to hit up that local concert or hang out with friends in any season."

This ad speaks to what is prevalent in the minds of young people - present the right image!  Where is the desire to do anything other than one's own pleasures?  Unfortunately this is the "instruction for life" that many live by and will take many down the road to a very sad life in the end.

Therefore I propose that we get going God's ways in our clothing so we won't be so concerned with our image but with the image and glory of God that we are to reflect. Our concern should  run along the lines of Romans 12:1-2. We also have to realize that we are not going to be trendsetters in style, yet we can still  look beautiful and pleasing to God in what we wear. We are not to be of this world.  (1 John 2:15-17)  We do want to make a difference, not in the world's ways but seeking to  please the Lord in everything we do (Col. 3:23); how we act, what we say, our postural attitude, our hope and joy, and what we wear.  "Actions speak louder than words", first impressions make a difference,  and  our clothing reflects our heart attitude.

So the question for the believers is how can I dress so I  do not reflect the world's standards yet without looking like a prude, old-fashioned, out-dated, in-secure, holier-than-thou, too loose or baggy,  or not-well- thought-out? I  use the United States of America as the clothing standard--use what country you live in for your base as some cultures dress differently than our western fashions. However, don't assign guidelines for yourself until you have studied the scriptures, prayed with an open heart and mind to God's will, asked for wisdom and then resolve to follow Christ with your WHOLE heart and being.

Our purpose is to bring glory to God in everything we do. (1 Cor. 6:20)  Therefore we ought to dress as He designed us--to be women who are glad to look and act and be feminine!  This may take some doing if you have been accustomed to wearing pants.  Skirts require us to watch how we use our legs--bending or kneeling, high stepping, kids hanging onto us, etc.. Also tops and blouses that don't cling to our bodies or expose us, but have an air of feminine lightness, details (if any) at the neck close to where our neck actually starts, and dainty sleeves help us feel feminine. These are just a few suggestions and each woman will pick her own style she is comfortable with.  There are no rules just guidelines to help you with.  For clothing ideas check out previous postings on clothing.

Amy Barickman from her Vintage Made Modern Series, page 22, from Episode 1,  has an excellent quote that exemplifies what our aim is in dressing modestly; she says:  "One of the greatest virtues of right clothes rightly worn is that it enables us to forget them and ourselves. When they are right enough for us to do this, we become our most likable and most natural selves."  That should be our goal as we seek to glorify God. (1 Cor. 6:20)

I do encourage you to make a difference in the world by starting in your family with modest clothing because we do belong to God and our family is our biggest and most important field of service,  for training children, being examples to them, and teaching them the things of Christ.  So, if you find yourself  dressing  other than to the glory of  God and are now interested in dressing modestly and femininely, ask God to guide you to that end.  We are to be light and salt.  There is a special comfort in knowing that since God clothed the lilies ( Matt. 6: 28-33) that He has direction for your life in all things--clothing being an important part of it..

1 Corinthians 6:19-20

19 What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?
20 For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's.

There are many sources of information in books, booklets, as well as the whole gamut of the internet offerings and it can be easy to support a specific view of modesty by choosing certain people or articles that conform to our desires, but this is where we have to decide what our motives actually are.  Just be careful of being too close to the world's styles and "gender blending" clothing ideas.

 Quick read article: Modesty Misunderstood:  What Men and Women Need to Know

Sermon Audio has several sermons on Modesty and the Christian:   Scott T. Brown  has 4 excellent sermons well worth listening to.  Information gleaned from the sermons on modesty will give insight for perusing styles and deciding what will work for your wardrobe.

"Decidedly Modest and Distinctively Feminine," an Al Martin sermon on  ladies and dressing modestly.  He is very pointed and explicit and if you have young daughters or sons it might be best for you  to listen first.  He is a pastor who is very concerned about the dress of women professing to be Christians.  It deals with the effects of dressing immodestly as well.
John Piper has this to say from his article "Bikinis and Modesty":  I will just say this to any woman, any man who dresses inappropriately: Until God has become your treasure, until your own sin has become the thing you hate most, until the Word of God is your supreme authority that you feel to be more precious than gold, sweeter than honey, until the gospel of Christ’s death in your place is the most precious news in the world to you, until you have learned to deny yourself short-term pleasures for the sake of long-term joy and holiness, until you have grown to love the Holy Spirit and long for his fruit more than man’s praise, until you count everything as loss compared to the supreme value of knowing Christ, your attitude towards your clothing and your appearance will be controlled by forces that don’t honor Christ.
This statement sums up the whole crux of the issue of why we dress the way we do.

Some books worth reading:  
Available as a download or from Sermon Audio.  Excellent resource. 

Whatever sources you read, just be sure that you check with the scriptures to see what God's view is and not just accept an interpretation by a writer.  May God guide you as you seek to please Him.