Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Some thoughts on dressing

Image source: pinterest.com

Seriously, there is nothing impressive about someone dressed indecently, though people may look at such one with admiring glances. Actually, it’s not admiration. What is happening is that those people who “admire” you imagine you as an object that can satisfy their lustful passions (this applies to both guys and girls).

I know people say how you dress does not really matter, that what matters is the state of your heart. Well, I agree. It’s true, the state of your heart (your inner man) is what really matters, much more than your physical appearance. The inner man (the spirit) is what is renewed and edified by the Word of the God, not the physical flesh. Indeed, it is the inner man that will survive/live on beyond this world.

But. Truth is, when the heart (our storage tank) is full of something, it will “pour” out; it will certainly find expression. As Jesus said in Matthew 12:34, the things we say and do come from the abundance of our heart.

Also, the Bible says in 1 Samuel 16:7, “For the Lord does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart”.

What does this teach us? Well, a number of things. One is that if we only have to deal with God in this life, we would have fewer problems because He sees our heart and knows us more than we can ever know ourselves. But then, as we know we have to deal with people also, and as the text explains, man looks at the outward appearance. And what man sees as he looks at outward appearance affects his thoughts and judgment, even his emotions – it affects everything.

This tells me that the way I dress is not just about me, and that I must consider others as I decide what to wear. Granted, what I wear is entirely my business. It’s my body, after all. But I am not Mr Invisible! I don’t go about in an invisibility cloak, such that people can’t see me, and thus, can’t be affected by what I wear. They will see me and they will be affected, whether I am aware of it or not, by what I wear. I can make them start thinking unholy things, or I can do otherwise.

It is important we know that how we dress is more than covering our bodies and fashion, dressing is communication. So cover up, bro; cover up, sis. Dress decently. Be mindful of how it affects others, it communicates a message about you to them. 

Interestingly, when you dress decently, you kind of “force” people to appreciate/admire you not for your curves, abs, figure, or any other physical feature (regardless of how aesthetically appealing those features may be), but for your character – for who you really are! People will be “forced” to see you as a human being (a creature that is more spiritual than physical), not as an object to fulfil/satisfy their unholy passions. They will be forced to pay attention to the person behind all the makeup, jewellery and accessories, body-hugging dresses, and all.

Don’t get me wrong. I am not saying we should not look good. I am not saying we should not wear nice clothes. By all means look good. Look great, even! Wear nice, trendy clothes and pieces. Accessorise. Look great! Go for it!

But. In all these, be decent! (This doesn’t really apply to you if you can go “invisible”. Lol).
Sis, don’t let your dressing be the reason some guy starts having immoral thoughts and imaginations, thereby committing sin in his heart (Matthew 5:28) as you walk by.
Bro, don’t, by your dressing, be the reason some lady begins to imagine unholy things.
Don’t present yourself as an object – as an avenue for someone to let off their lustful passions.

Dress nicely? Yes. Look trendy? Absolutely! Accessorise? Go ahead! Be fashionable? By all means! But. Ensure you look absolutely decent.

What does mean to dress decently?
I’ve been talking about dressing decently, but what does it mean to dress decently? You may be wondering. Well, truth is, there is no singular, all-encompassing definition of what it means to dress decently. What is considered decent in one setting/culture, may be considered outrageous in another. 
For instance, what is considered modest in the United States of America (USA) and other Countries of the West could be seen as offensive in African culture.

Despite this, we can reach an agreement on what decent dressing is. Here’s where the Holy Spirit comes in; He is given to us to be our guide and our teacher, leading us into the truth. You can’t go wrong if you walk in the Spirit!

Some questions we can, and should, ask ourselves concerning what we wear
Do what I wear, and more importantly how I wear them, please God, knowing that He is perfectly holy?
Do what I wear and how I wear them show that my heart is inclined towards God?
Do what I wear and how I wear them show that I am focused on, and preparing for, the unfailing Second Coming of Christ?
Do what I wear and how I wear them show that I am conscious of, and walking in, the Holy Spirit who indwells me?
Do what I wear and how I wear them offend the sensitivity of others, feeding their minds with negative thoughts?
What would the majority of people think about what I wear and how I wear them? (I know we shouldn’t live to please people, but then you can’t bin all people say. God speaks through people sometimes. Remember, Jesus grew in favour both with God and with men – Luke 2:52).

Scripture teaches us that we can cause others to fall through our actions (1 Corinthians 8:7-13), dressing is most certainly one of such actions! Yes, your dressing doesn’t justify you before God, neither does it make you lose your salvation, but like Paul said: “Therefore, if food makes my brother stumble, I will never eat meat, lest I make my brother stumble.” (1 Corinthians 8:13). If what you wear and how you wear it will make someone to sin, then make a change. Be mindful of how you dress. Be decent.

A new way of dressing
Dress like the image of God – because that’s who you are!
Dress like a child of the Most High – because that’s who you are!
Dress like someone who has been called out of darkness into God’s amazing light – because that’s who you are!
Dress like someone who, though is in this world, is not of this world – because that’s who you are!
Dress like someone who has the Holy Spirit dwelling in him/her – because He actually lives in you (unless, of course, you are yet to accept Jesus’ proposal which you should do now…He’s waiting.  Believe He died and was raised to life for you and confess Him as your Lord and saviour).

I will conclude with a quote from Gotquestions.org on the topic of dressing decently (emphasis mine):
"Modesty in the way we dress is not just for church; it is to be the standard for all Christians at all times. The key to understanding what constitutes modesty in dress is to examine the attitudes and intents of the heart. Those whose hearts are inclined toward God will make every effort to dress modestly, decently, and appropriately. Those whose hearts are inclined toward self will dress in a manner designed to draw attention to themselves with little or no regard for the consequences to themselves or others."

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