Clothing: Does it really Matter?
“The woman shall not wear that which pertaineth unto a man, neither shall a man put on a woman's garment: for all that do so are abomination unto the Lord thy God.” Deut 22:5
When Balaam blessed the children of Israel he told their enemies that if they wanted to destroy Israel all they had to do is cause them to compromise. As a result Israel, sinned before the Lord and God sent a plague against Israel that killed 24,000 Israelites (Numbers 25).
It’s has been said that if you put a frog into boiling water, it will jump out. But, if you put it in cool water and slowly heat it up, you will cook the frog. Is clothing doing the same thing?
Just after World War II, the United States was testing the effects of the Atomic Bomb in a group of islands in the Pacific Ocean called Bikini Atoll. Something in Paris was getting ready to be unleashed that would have a greater effect than the bomb itself. It was called the Bikini. The Bikini was to be modeled in Paris that same year, but there was a bit of a problem. They couldn’t get a model to wear it. Why? It showed too much of a woman’s body. So, they hired a stripper to model the new design. Now, the majority of women today have no problem wearing them.
This is a very touchy subject even in churches today. Pastors, as a whole, have refused to preach God’s standard of clothing in fear of being chased out of the church. Some don’t even know what the Bible has to say about this subject. If we, as the salt of the earth, can’t get it right, how can we expect the world to get it right?
God’s view on the subject of clothing:
In Genesis 3, we find that when Adam and Eve sinned they realized that they were naked and made aprons. An apron was a loincloth or a girdle which covered only the loins or the front of ones body and was made of fig leaves. This was their attempt to cloth themselves.
When God appeared in the cool of the day they realized that they were still naked and hid themselves. God made them coats of skin. God’s clothing standard covered from the neck to below the knee. This was for both men and women.We find in Isaiah 47:2 & 3 that when a man exposed his thigh he was revealing his nakedness.
Deuteronomy 22:5 confirms that there was to be a distinction between men and women. There has been a constant problem throughout history in this area. In Matthew Henry’s Commentary on this verse, he wrote that just as nature teaches there is a difference in hair between men and women so there should be with clothing.
One of applications was when the gentiles worshipped the goddess Venus. Women would wear armor and men would wear women’s clothing. When they wore the clothing, it caused them to seek opposite roles. This was clearly an abomination to the Lord.
In Proverbs 7:10 King Solomon describes the harlot. In the area of clothing, a woman was described as a harlot by what she wore. This verse implies that her clothing was tight in a way that reveals the contour of her body, which in turn leads a man to lust. Jesus also states that a woman has a responsibility to dress in a fashion that does not cause a man to lust. In Matthew 5:28, when a man lusts after looking at a woman he has committed adultery with her already in his heart. God holds her responsible also.
In New Testament time modesty was also an issue. The Roman women were cropping off their hair to be like men. They were also wearing clothing similar to the swimwear of today. Why? They had no standard of modesty in their life. Even Paul speaks of what women should wear (I Timothy 1:9).
The words “modest apparel” means that one should exhibit a clothing standard that does not violate God’s standard. Our behavior should be consistent with our clothing.
In the area of pants vs. dresses, pants were only to be worn by men. This is taught in Exodus 28:42. The purpose was to cover their loins and thighs so that their nakedness would not be revealed. God ordained them to be worn by men. Pants were considered a sign of authority, even the natural man can see this. Why do you think that when a woman challenges her husband’s authority people say, “I know who wears the pants in that family”?
Women in pants did not become a serious issue until the 1960s. This is about the time when America allowed godless men to remove the influence of the almighty from our society.
Once when I was studying this topic I asked my mother who went to a public school, what was the standard of dress in her day? She replied there really wasn’t one. Everyone naturally knew what was to be worn. One of these standards was that women did not wear pants.
Men of the world like their women to show off what they are made of so that other men can see what they are missing. The sad thing with this is many Christian men are putting pressure on their wives to dress in the same fashion. There are women, even Christian women, who cannot see this. Women are not affected like men are in this area. They will either ignore it or they will become angry with those who would dare to bring up the subject. We, as Christians, should be able to talk about any subject without getting angry. When we do get angry, we indicate that we have not surrendered that area to the Lord.
Men who are committed to the Lord and purpose to set their eyes on the Lord, are given greater sensitivity. The good thing that comes from it is that they can see things of the spirit where others can’t. They become sensitive to the things of the world.
If we were to travel back in time to the late 1800s and we asked D.L. Moody to visit some of our churches today, what do you think he would have to say concerning the matter of modesty in our culture? He would probably challenge the men to stop following after the world and get their eyes on Jesus. Men would then see how they have allowed their women to dress. Moody dealt with this issue during his day, but it wasn’t as bad then as it is today because of the godly influence.
A godly man will struggle with his eyes by the way women wear their clothing. It doesn’t mean he is a pervert, it means he is sensitive to the things of the spirit. Remember that lust is never full but cries for more. That is why men can’t see this. They have been conditioned just like the frog. So, how do we correct this problem?
When preachers start having the fear of God instead of the fear of man and start having a love for their congregation, then will we see God start to turn the hearts of our country back to Him?
Why am I nailing preachers? They are partly to blame for the fact that America has lost their godly influence. They will be the ones that will be first in attacking tracts and books like these. They are the ones that are to be an example to the flock. But, we as men will have to take responsibility for ourselves.
Years ago I confronted a pastor on this issue to see how he would respond. I asked him if a father came to him and told him that his daughter defrauded him, as well as his son, in the manner in which she dressed, how would he handle it? His reply was that if he felt his daughter was not defrauding, he would counsel the father and son about their lust problem.
In most cases, men who don’t complain, actually struggle the most. They, who do struggle with lust, usually have a lower standard than that of their wives. What the pastor failed to consider was what if his daughter did defraud these men? That was never discussed.
The most important question is: What is your biblical conviction on the issue of clothing? Does it really matter? Yes, it does.
You may be reading this and you really have not settled a more important question, which is …
How does anyone get to heaven?
First realize that they cannot get to heaven on their own merits. The Bible says that “For all have sinned and come short (that means everybody can’t get to Heaven on their own) of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23)
Jesus Christ (who is the Son of the living God) came to earth and was born of a virgin woman (therefore he was not born of the curse of mankind) he lived a sinless life and died on a cross for all the sins in the world. Three days later, God the Father raised Him from the dead. He was seen of 500 witnesses and returned to heaven. God’s word says that if we believe these things and call upon the Lord, we will be saved. Romans 10:9 - 13