I thought I might share a little about dress/clothes. This can be a touchy subject, along with women's hair and make-up! But I will start with God and what I think He has to say about it.
In the beginning nakedness was not a sin. However, when sin entered the world we had to cover up. Why? Because our way of thinking is now perverted and corrupt and we are unable to look at the human body in the way we used to, without sinning. How do we sin? Well, I suppose the most obvious way is when a man lusts after a woman. A husband may desire his wife but a man who lusts after a woman is sinning. Women too can lust after men but, to be honest, we're just not in the same league as the men! However, we don't get away that easily, we can be envious of how other women look and that's sin.
Clothes can be worn to cover the body, to be comfortable and to keep you warm, and then they can be worn to cover the body but accentuate certain parts and draw the eye of the opposite sex.
Before I became a Christian I wore clothes for different reasons. Jeans, tracksuits etc just to hang around in and to work in, to keep warm and to be comfortable in. I also wore clothes that would draw the attention of men towards me, and then I wore clothes to impress other women... peer pressure! Other times I wore clothes as a kind of armour, power dressing. If I were going somewhere important and meeting somebody who intimidated me, I would put on the smart trouser suit, make up and hair... my armour!
When I started going to Church services I began to look at the way other Christian women dressed. Some, most, wore clothes that were not expensive. Others wore outfits that were put together with a little thought but again, not expensive and others didn't seem to mind what they wore so long as it covered them!
There were some young women in out Church and they really surprised me by how they dressed. They looked great! Trendy, modern, up to the latest fashions and discrete! They wore some of the same kind of tops that were out there in the boutiques but instead of wearing it low cut, they would put a t-shirt under it, or they altered it by sewing it and still looked great!
As I got to know the women in the Church, one by one, some of them told me that they shopped in second hand clothes shops as well as the regular shops. One woman, who was quite short, got almost all her clothes second-hand, gave them to a dressmaker to alter them and looked fantastic! You would never know she did this! Another woman I know in the Church dresses herself and her kids from the second-hand shops with the best of clothes, good labels and all, you'd never know!
I had thought nothing of wearing tops that didn't leave much to the imagination, skirts that were too short and clothes that were too tight. But how do we know what is too short, low and tight? What do we gauge it all against?
I came to realize what I was doing was wrong when I read in the Bible that when a man looks at a woman and lusts after her in his heart, he commits adultery...
When I go to church wearing something that is used to draw the attention of men to my figure and attract them to me, I may be stumbling them and possibly tempting them to commit adultery in their hearts with me and sin against God. Tough stuff.
Some would say that surely it is up to the men to mind themselves and just look away.
Well, yes it is, but it is also up to me to consider my brother, to esteem him higher that myself, to protect him and not to stumble him. Personally, I didn't know a lot about the Bible at the time, but I knew enough. The fact that somebody looking at me with lust caused him to sin. I didn't want to be a part of it, so I changed. It didn't happen straight away. It took months initially and a few years to iron out the finer points and if I am honest, even now I still find myself tempted to slide back into the ways of the world, but then God gives me a gentle nudge and pulls me back.
It can be a fine line sometimes. You can go too far one way or the other. It is up to you to love your brother and not stumble him so you can't go around wearing certain styles of dress. However, we are not called to cover ourselves from top to bottom.
Let's use a bit of wisdom here ladies and consider what we wear. Do we want our brothers to be talking with us after the service while trying desperately not to look at our cleavage, or can we give them one less thing to struggle with in the world that day..? We don't have much choice in what we have to look at from day to day in the high street and work place, but we can make out Church services a restful place to be, where our brothers, husbands and sons can rest from temptation in this area, even if it is just for a couple of hours.