THE ATTIRE OF A CHRISTIAN
Introduction: In view of the fact that we cannot help but have a certain amount of influence on others, and in view of the fact that God expects us to have a positive influence, how should we dress as we go about our day-to-day lives? Should we blindly follow the fashions of the world, or is there a higher standard by which we should determine what to wear? It is true that Jesus said, “Do not worry…about your body, what you will put on” (Matt. 6:25), but did He mean, “Do not worry about whether you influence people for good or bad in the way that you dress?” Surely, He did not mean that.
THE PURPOSE OF CLOTHING
A. The way some people - even some Christians - dress, you would think that the only purpose for clothing is protection from the cold. Because the warmer the outside temperature, the less they wear, especially when engaged in recreation.
B. Consider, however, what one atheistic sociologist had to say. “If clothing were simply a matter of comfort and protection, then there are many occasions when we could all abandon our costumes, thanks to modern technology. We have air-conditioning, central heating and soft furnishings in our homes and could easily wine, dine, entertain and relax in the nude without any protective problems arising. The fact that we do not do so leads on to the second basic function of clothing, that of modesty. In this role, clothing acts as a concealment device. Garments are worn to switch off certain body signals. Ever since man went upright and walked on his hind legs he has been unable to approach another member of his species without giving a sexual display…. The human body is a mass of gender signals, and every curve of flesh, each bulge and contour, transmits its basic signals to the eyes of interested onlookers. The female breasts, the buttocks, the hips, the thighs, the waist, the slender neck, the rounded limbs, and the male chest, the body hair, the broad shoulders, the muscles of the arms and legs, all these visual elements are potentially arousing to the opposite sex. If their messages are to be reduced, then they too must be hidden by enveloping garments” (Desmond Morris: Manwatching: A Field Guide to Human Behavior, pages 215,216).
CHRISTIANS AND THE WORLD
A. We are to be “in the world” without being “of the world” (John 17:6-18; Rom. 12:1,2).
B. The world hates those who are not of it (John 15:18,19).
C. We are not to love the world (1 John 2:15-17; 2 Tim. 4:9,10).
D. We are not to be friends of the world (James 4:4).
CHRISTIANS AND RECREATION
A. “Proper recreation is a good and wholesome thing. Everyone needs to take a break – an outlet from the day-to-day grind. We need good ways to relax and renew our minds and [bodies]. Think about the root word in recreation – we recreate ourselves and come back with a renewed vigor and attitude” (John N. Evans, The Preceptor, Volume 51, Number 3, page 17).
B. God gives all things for enjoyment (1 Tim. 6:17; but see James 4:3).
C. Bodily exercise is profitable (1 Tim. 4:8).
D. There is a time for rest and relaxation (Mark 6:30,31).
E. Godly principles must be remembered (1 Tim. 4:8).
1. Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness (Matt. 6:33).
2. What we do influences others (Matt. 5:14,15).
3. Lewdness should never characterize a child of God (Col. 3:5; Gal. 5:19-21; 1 Thess. 5.22).
4. Avoid evil companions (1 Cor. 15:33).
CHRISTIANS AND CLOTHING
A. Man and woman, initially, were unclothed and unashamed (Gen. 2:25).
B. Sin led to sexual awareness and shame (Gen. 3:6,7).
C. Their attempt to cover their nakedness was unsuccessful, even in their own judgment (Gen. 3:8-10). “Aprons” (KJV); “Girdles” (ASV); “Loin coverings” (NASB); “Loincloths” (ESV).
The clothing provided by God was far more substantial (Gen. 3:21). “Coats” (KJV/ASV); “Garments” (NASB, ESV).
D. Clothing makes a statement (1 Tim. 2:9,10; 1 Peter 3:1-6). What does your clothing say about you?
Conclusion: It is interesting that Eve apparently made no attempt to cover the upper part of her body. Many men, today - even some Christians - will go outside without covering the upper part of their bodies. But it is doubtful that they would want their mothers, wives or grown daughters to do so. If a woman is naked with the upper part of her body exposed, so is a man. Why would this not be the case?