Before I begin this post, I want to assure you that I am not judging you or your household. I am simply answering a question that I know some people have regarding why our household or any other household for that matter would dress up for church.
First, for those who don’t know me, let me tell you how we dress.
The guys wear either complete suits or an outfit consisting of dress pants, dress shirts, ties, and sports jackets. My wife wears dresses or skirts that come down to her knee and that don’t reveal any cleavage whatsoever. We don’t only dress this way on Sunday mornings, we dress this way every time we go to church.
What about if it’s not a regularly scheduled service? Like a revival or a youth rally? It’s still church. It’s still God’s House. We still dress the same way!
Does everybody else in your church hold to that dress standard? No, they don’t. I’m not talking about the way other people dress. I’m just telling you the standards that have been set for our home.
Let’s start with the guys. The Word of God says,
“But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light:” – I Peter 2:9
So? What does that have to do with the way the guys dress? Well, let me ask you, when you think of Biblical priests, who do you think of? Men or women? Well, duh. Men, right? Did those men dress the same way the common folk dressed? No. They most certainly didn’t.
Speaking of the first high priest, Aaron, God said,
“He shall put on the holy linen coat, and he shall have the linen breeches upon his flesh, and shall be girded with a linen girdle, and with the linen mitre shall he be attired: these are holy garments; therefore shall he wash his flesh in water, and so put them on.” – Leviticus 16:4
No, the guys in my household do not wear the exact fabrics and designs of clothing that Aaron wore. However, we follow the same principle. As the royal priesthood, we believe we ought to dress in garments that set us apart from the general population made up of unbelievers. Yes, we understand that businessmen in our society wear suits as well as dress shirts and ties. That is wonderful; we have no objections to that and take no offense that businessmen choose to look their best to impress their clients. As a matter of fact, we want to impress God by showing Him we reverence His House. We want to look our best when we walk into His sanctuary.
Have you ever noticed how football players dress when they go to a game? Like football players, right?
How about how police officers dress when they’re on duty? They wear a blue uniform, a badge, and a gun, right?
Do you see army men wearing clown costumes to fight their battles?
Isn’t it interesting how people expect everyone of every occupation and of every sport to dress in certain ways? When is the last time you heard someone say,
“Well, just because I’m working at McDonalds doesn’t mean I should have to wear a McDonalds uniform!”
Never, right? How about,
“That guy is so weird. He’s a lawyer and actually wears a suit to the courthouse. Why doesn’t he just go in wearing jeans and a t-shirt?”
No one gets criticized for dressing in accordance with their beliefs except for the Christian who chooses to dress different than the world or even the Christian who believes in dressing up for church.
Point made. Time to move on!
Let’s talk about the way my wife dresses and the way our daughter(s), if God ever blesses us with daughters, will dress in the future. The Bible says,
“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.” – Deuteronomy 22:5
Obviously, here I’m referring to a woman wearing dresses and skirts as opposed to pants. What you do in your household is between you and God. In our household, we choose to set our standards by what we believe the Bible teaches. What you set your standards by is up to you. We have heard many arguments and objections to women always wearing dresses and skirts.
A couple of years before I met my wife, I was talking to a single lady I went to church with; we were trying to decide if we were romantically interested in one another. We discussed a variety of things and one of the topics that came up was dress standards. This young lady said she believed in the Bible, but she felt this verse was not talking about pants because there are pants that are designed for ladies.
That same evening, I saw her out in public wearing a pair of her brother’s army pants. I’m not judging her. I’m simply saying, her reasoning was not backed up by the clothing she wore.
A lady that visited us once said she had no problems wearing dresses and skirts to church, but she couldn’t wear them if she had to perform any kind of manual labor. To that, I would have to encourage her to look at old pictures – women used to do gardening, farming, and all kinds of other chores wearing long dresses. It can still be done today.
(As a bit of a side note, I have linked a video to the bottom of this blog, where a preacher makes an excellent point about men’s and women’s clothing. He makes a chart and asks the congregation to help him organize articles of clothing into proper columns. There’s a column for men, a column for women, and a column for both. He asks them to choose articles of clothing that people wear every day and then they vote on what column to place each item in. People choose items like dresses, skirts, panty hose, pants, belts, ties, shoes, shorts, etc. In the end, the “both” column and the “women’s” column are full, but nothing is listed under the men’s column. The preacher says something like, “Why would the Bible say women are not to wear that which pertaineth to men, if nothing is only for men? Isn’t it obvious that from the waist down the skirt or the dress was for women and the pants were for men?”)
Okay, I’m supposed to be talking about the way my wife dresses in church; not the way she dresses every day. So let’s get away from the pants versus dresses and skirts topic.
When it comes to women’s dress standards, God’s Word also says,
“In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with broided hair, or gold, or costly array;” – I Timothy 2:9
My wife doesn’t try to find the most eloquent looking dress she can find to wear to God’s House. She is not supposed to look like she just stepped out of a fashion magazine or like she’s trying to make every eye in the room be glued to her dress. God is supposed to get the glory at church; not the woman wearing the expensive, fancy clothing.
There’s also a reason why my wife’s dresses aren’t too low cut around the neck and why they come down to at least her knees.
“Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery: But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.” Matthew 5:27-28
I was in a church several years ago when an older evangelist came in and stood behind the pulpit with a little bit of righteous indignation going on. He told the church it was a shame that a visiting preacher could not walk down the aisle and fellowship with people on his way to the pulpit without seeing the cleavage of several women hanging out. He said he couldn’t decide which was worse – the women who chose to dress that way, or the men who didn’t mind their wives letting all of the other men see them that way.
My wife is a Godly lady. God created her for me. Her body is not to be gawked at by other guys and if you didn’t know this already, guys have a tendency of allowing their eyes to wander. My wife dresses in such a way as to not encourage lustful guys to look at her body. She has no desire to have a guy lust after her in his heart – therefore committing adultery. She keeps herself pure. Not only does that make her more comfortable, but it makes me proud of her as well.
I know some readers have probably already gotten frustrated with me by now. That’s okay. I’m not telling you or your household how to dress. I’m explaining the reason our household dresses the way that we do as I know sometimes that causes some confusion in people’s minds. We do not think we are better than folks who dress differently than we do. We try to set our standards on the Bible and we hope that Christians everywhere set their standards by scripture as well.
WARNING: If you are already mad at me, you might want to stop reading now. I’m getting ready to offer a couple of suggestions for those who might be wondering if their style of dress is acceptable to God. If that’s just going to upset you, please hit your browser’s back button now or just x off the window you’re on. The remainder of the blog is for those with open hearts and minds who are sincerely interested in aligning themselves with God’s will.
For those who read the warning and decided to continue reading, here are some things you can do to figure out whether or not your attire for church, or for the neighborhood for that matter, is pleasing to God:
- First, you must realize that when Adam and Eve sinned, they attempted to cover up their nakedness. Still, they realized they were naked when God walked in the garden to meet with them. They were ashamed. God made coats for them to cover up their nakedness.
- Ask yourself if the clothing you are wearing could possibly make someone of the opposite sex look you over like a lustful teenager might look at an inappropriately dressed actor or actress on the front of a magazine in the checkout line. If so, you should probably find something else to put on.
- Ask yourself why you chose that particular item of clothing. Was it because of the brand name? Did you choose it because it’s popular or because it reeks of being expensive? If so, that does not reflect the humble spirit God wants the Christian to possess.
- If you’re a man, it is masculine?
- If you’re a lady, is it feminine?
- Lastly, find a full length mirror and stand in front of it. Look yourself over. Now, bow your head, close your eyes, and ask God if what your wearing pleases Him.
- Give yourself another look over. If you’re still comfortable, you’re probably okay.
- Just to be on the safe side, if you have any doubts whatsoever, you might want to change.
For those deeply interested in the subject, I have found a video on women’s dress standards – it also speaks to men, but more-so to women. It’s a long video, but very informative, and it has a lot of scriptural references.
Click here to watch the video. (Keep your Bible handy and follow along)
Disclaimer: Please be advised that I will not be engaging in any debates regarding this blog. I understand that my household is in the minority on this issue. If you do a simple search on bing or google for how to dress in church or for Christian dress standards, you won’t find much of anything that agrees with my blog. I don’t set my standards in accordance with “what everyone else does.” We set our standards based on what the Word of God says. If you contact me or comment below telling me all of the reasons I’m wrong, I will pray for you, but will not engage in debating the Word of God or its interpretation.