Most of the United States has been experiencing a heat wave. With the heat wave comes tube tops, short shorts, and swimsuits. As a general rule, I do not wear shorts and I don't even own a tube top. Many Christian mother's bemoan this season of the year because most of the clothing for young women is completely immodest. Much of what is worn these days in public is immodest and far too revealing.
There is something to be said for appropriate dress in specific circumstances such as a wedding or funeral but many a woman would tell you that how she feels in the morning is what dictates her attire.
The church has standards for what is appropriate to wear when gathering to worship. It is to be modest and not to bring attention to the exterior of the woman, but to be a reflection of what lives within. It should reveal a heart of modesty.
What comprises the heart of modesty in a woman? Is the problem what she wears or is it the heart behind the selection?
What we wear is a revelation of what is going on inside, in the inner man. Our thoughts, beliefs and desires take place in the inner man, what the Bible refers to as the heart. Scripture tells us that God looks at the heart.
"But the LORD said to Samuel, “Do not look at his appearance or at the height of his stature, because I have rejected him; for God sees not as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.” 1 Samuel 16:7
This means that God is most concerned with what goes on inside, rather then the exterior package.
We tend to think that a person who is well dressed in expensive clothes is blessed and well to do, and somehow spiritually superior to the person who is dressed in tattered, ill-fitting clothes. In fact the less polished person may be a spiritual giant and be living a life of sacrifice for the sake of others (James 2:1-5).
Conversely what a person wears can be a reflection of their spiritual life and condition. The scantily clad woman is revealing much about her heart and her character.
And behold, a woman comes to meet him, Dressed as a harlot and cunning of heart. Proverbs 7:10 (NASB)
Clothing sends a non-verbal message about you. A woman who dresses in clothes that are too tight, skirts too short, tops to skimpy she is revealing an aspect of her character. It tells others who see you what you think about yourself and about your body.
What many young women (and some older ones) see as comfortable, fashionable and chic are revealing heart attitudes and character flaws. Often I am amazed that women do not realize their clothing choices reveal a prideful or lustful heart and their desire to be noticed.
The Corinthian church had a huge problem with women dressing in such an outrageous manner that it was disrupting the church services. So much so, that Paul addressed it in his letter to Timothy.
“I also want women to dress modestly, with decency and propriety, not with braided hair or gold or pearls or expensive clothes” (1 Timothy 2:9 (NIV)
And Peter also encountered this same problem among the converted Jewish women.
Your adornment must not be merely external—braiding the hair, and wearing gold jewelry, or putting on dresses; 1 Peter 3:3 (NASB)
Your clothes should not be distracting to those who have gathered to worship.
I have been in church services over the years where a young woman has distracted the preacher as he was delivering his sermon as she walked to the back of the auditorium. It is inappropriate to wear short skirts and plunging necklines to worship.
Church is a place that requires a certain level of reverence and respect. To determine to do otherwise out of a spirit of "wearing what I please" is an indication of a prideful and idolatrous heart. When you go to church for corporate worship you are not there to please yourself, you are coming into the presence of God with fellow Christians for the purpose of singing praises to God, and learning from His Word- for the purpose of worship.
Think about these things women of God, and determine to worship Him in your heart first and let your clothing be a reflection of the Christ-life within you!