When you get up in the morning and look in your mirror, what goes through your mind? Do you see the finished product staring back at you? Are you unsatisfied with your appearance without make up and a finished hair style? Would you allow others to see you in this state? When you dress, is your motive to look the best that you can to others? Are you interested in being appealing to others? What are we appealing to?
At the end of time, we will all stand before God and give an account (I Peter 4:5). Every secret thing will be brought out to be judged (cf. Ecc.12:14). Would it not be wise to evaluate our motives now, so that we have nothing to hide? “All the ways of a man are clean in his own sight; But the LORD weighs the motives.” (Proverbs 16:2, NASV)
Is there any competitiveness in our spirit when we dress? What are we competing for? When we look at another woman, do we notice her hair style? Do we then feel that we need a new hairstyle; One that will measure up? How about her clothes; Do we feel the need to wear clothes that will display our body as well as hers is displayed? Whose attention are we competing for? Why does it matter if our body looks appealing? To whom are we appealing? Is God concerned with the attractiveness of our form?
When we make an appeal with our dress, we are asking for attention from others. We want them to notice us. We want to appear at an advantage over others, enough to be noticed. Does God want us to be noticed in this way? “Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 5:16).
We teach our children to sing “This Little Light of Mine”. Will our children see us as a hypocrite? Are we shining our light or hiding it under a short skirt, low-cut blouse, attention seeking hair, seductive makeup, or unchaste behavior? “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lamp stand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven (Matthew 5:14-16).
“But I dress modestly! I never show my top or my bottom!” Is modesty, solely outward? Does modest dress constitute a modest woman? Isn’t our behavior also a part of modesty? Isn’t the motive behind our behavior a part of modesty? A woman is important to God because she humbles herself, putting herself in subjection to her husband; thereby being exalted by God. Any woman, who has submitted to God, understands James 4:10, because she is exalted by God, through her husband and children. “Humble yourselves in the presence of the Lord, and He will exalt you” (James 4:10).
When we dress to appeal to others, or when our behavior is not chaste, we are choosing ourselves above God. We are saying, “I will not submit!” We are refusing to humble ourselves before God. In order to submit, we must look at our motives. We must ask ourselves, “Why am I doing this?” or “Have I asked God what He thinks of this?” “In all your ways acknowledge Him; And He will make your paths straight” (Proverbs 3:6).
My husband asked me a very wise question. “Why do women wear high heels? I mean, do they wear them inside their homes? Are they comfortable?” Why do we wear high heels, ladies? Would we prefer them over any other shoe? Do we wear them at home? I’m not saying that every person who wears high heels has an evil motive, but we should stop and ask ourselves why we are wearing them. Men and women alike find heels very sexy. They make a woman appear taller. They bring out the curvature of the leg muscles. High heels are most often equated with sexual innuendos. So why do Christians wear them?
We women, in order to be pleasing to God, must have compassion for men. They were created to procreate. They see things more sexual than we do; therefore we are under obligation to avoid being a stumbling block (which takes effort, because we are curvy!). (cf. 1 Corinthians 8:13, Romans 14:13-23, Mark 9:42, Matthew 18:6, Luke 17:2)
“…love does not brag and is not arrogant does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own…” (1 Corinthians 13:4, 5). Do we love the men around us? Do we love our neighbors? Do we have compassion for them and for what tempts them? Or do we mercilessly/unrelentingly pursue our “own” wants and wishes. For judgment will be merciless to one who has shown no mercy; mercy triumphs over judgment. (James 2:13) Is it that important to be attractive?
“Let no one look down on your youthfulness, but rather in speech, conduct, love, faith and purity, show yourself an example of those who believe.” (1 Timothy 4:12) Is our conduct and example of those who believe? Do we show purity in our dress?
Older women, lead by example:
“Older women likewise are to be reverent in their behavior, not malicious gossips nor enslaved to much (i.e. around or by) wine, teaching what is good, so that they may encourage the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be sensible, pure, workers at home, kind, being subject to their own husbands, so that the word of God will not be dishonored.” (Titus 2:4) Are we dishonoring God by our conduct or dress?
Some of us just don’t understand that we are being immodest. Stop and ask a man close to you. Ask your husband. Ask your brother. Ask your father. Ask your son. Don’t make excuses, thereby deceiving yourself. Satan loves deceit.
To “love” is to “give.” “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. (John 3:16) If we do not become unselfish (give) towards others, we do not love them. “Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love. By this the love of God was manifested in us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world so that we might live through Him.” (1 John 4:7-9) God loved us by giving. We must love by giving. Love others by putting self second.
It is human nature to excuse our behavior and say to ourselves, “Oh, it isn’t that bad. I’m still a good person. Everyone else dresses this way. I’ll be weird if I don’t. Christ died for me. I’m saved.” “All the ways of a man are clean in his own sight, But the LORD weighs the motives.” (Proverbs 16:2) If God weighs our motives, then shouldn’t we be evaluating our motives a little more closely? Shouldn’t we put a little more emphasis on weighing our motives?
“Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal
life. Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary. So then, while we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, and especially to those who are of the household of the faith. (Galatians 6:7-10) If we sow to our own flesh, we will not “reap eternal life.” Sow to the Spirit!
Do I love God?
When you are selfish towards your brother, you do not love him. If you do not love your brother, you do not love God. (cf. I John 4:7-9, John 3:16, I John 4:20, 21)
If someone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for the one who does not love his brother whom he has seen, cannot love God whom he has not seen. And this commandment we have from Him, that the one who loves God should love his brother also. (1 John 4:20, 21)
Unselfishness is love. You do not love others unless you are unselfish towards them. If you do not love others, then you can not love God! Women, let us love! (cf. 1 John 4:7)
Let us return to the mirror. What do we see? Let us ask ourselves:
Do I love God? Do I love my brother? Is my motive to be unselfish? Am I a stumbling block?
”Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it—he will be blessed in what he does.” (James 1:22-26, NIV)
By Jennifer Hallenbeck
Andrew and Jennifer Hallenbeck live in Arlington, Texas. Andrew works a secular job full time, writes and preaches for the Lord’s church. He has recently authored a book entitled, Praying to Jesus: An Examination. Jennifer Hallenbeck home schools their two girls (Alanna 14 and Cana 12). She is the daughter of Dave and Debbie Miller. The Hallenbecks attend Hawn Freeway church of Christ in Dallas, Texas.