A golden image stood towering in the sky above the crowd. Everyone in society bowed to the image—except three young men. Today God is being honored by believers who will not bow to the worldly image. Yet the question remains, “How should a Christian dress?”
How should a woman dress?
Western society has enslaved women to be socially acceptable only with immodest clothing. If it is tight, shows skin, or somehow stimulates testosterone, it is “in.” If it fits loosely, hides curves, or creates a farmer’s tan, it is too old-fashioned or “Puritan.”
God did not intend for women to seduce anyone but their husbands (after marriage). A God-loving woman does not bow to the image sin-loving men want to see. A person devoted to worship the Lord Jesus will dress in a way to conform to His image of humility, not flirtation. She can honor God by being attractive, but not by making herself an attraction. If it is not for sale, don’t put it in the window.
Someone said the problem with our society is that we redefine falling as flying, forgetting that falling ends in pain or death while flying defies gravity. So, to make our definition work, we outlaw hitting the ground. Scantily clad women push men over the edge into lust. Then we outlaw the expression of that lust: sexual harassment or rape. If a guy makes an advance toward the gravitational pull of her lewdness, he is called a creep, pervert, or social outcast.
Young girls go out in public wearing less than what modest folks wear to bed, but if a man responds to her advances we lock him up because he has the problem (and I am not excusing pedophiles). Why don’t we stop the “falling” and we would find fewer men “hitting the ground” in our society. Scanty clothing can only fly within a marriage where passion may land with grace, not crash on the rocks of obsession.
Another of the social requirements pushed on women is that her face and hair are not good enough. Although most women do not think about it, society makes them feel they must paint their faces with toxic, lead-based makeup to be beautiful. They are told beauty is something you put on. A God-loving woman discovers a fountain of beauty coming from deep within. She does not want to cover that up with a man-made image.
A believer should not be ashamed of the hair God gave her—why change it? Let its natural length and beauty testify to God’s glory. Social stigmas have beaten some women down so badly they are ashamed when their hair goes gray—as if old age were a curse. God puts a high value on white hair, however, when a person walks in biblical wisdom (Proverbs 16:31).
Image of the modern guy
Look back through high school or college yearbooks and you will see some silly looking guys. Some of them had bushy sideburns, afros, or mullets. Why did they do this to themselves? Popular culture. Elvis, for example, decided what many men did with their beards—ridiculous looking sideburns. Today, popular culture is decorating men silly again, they just do not realize it yet.
The style of the foo-man-choo beard will be something we look back at in a decade and admit this redneck art form makes a guy look like a baboon. What are we doing? Conforming to the image of the world. Vocal artists, movie stars, TV personalities, and sports icons set the pattern for how many young men dress, do their hair, and sculpt their beards. Wearing a hat sideways serves no practical purpose other than identifying with some public icon.
I will not be a slave to modern trends. Guys walk around in underwear today. I believe we honor God by clothing our bodies. We do not know how to dress instinctively—our animal nature drives us to go unclothed. Only because of sin did Adam and Eve realize they were naked. They tried to cover their shame with fig-leaf outfits that only covered their mid-section (about the same area covered by a tank top and shorts). God did not approve this fashion statement, however. He made them clothes to fully cover their bodies (Genesis 3:7, 21).
The worldly image only partially covers the male body. However, a man’s scant clothing works differently than a woman’s. Where women can effectively turn a man’s head with immodest clothing (or turn his stomach in some cases), men do not return the favor quite the same. Although some women are visually stimulated by a man’s hairy legs and muscled chest, men usually succeed at impressing only themselves.
The undressing of the American male is not for comfort or convenience, but for a degenerate image. Observe the guy running his weedeater—he wears safety glasses to protect his eyes, but, because he is wearing shorts, gravel and debris pelt his unprotected shins. That is not convenience—it is slavery to an image. Or observe the girl in the fall weather: in response to the cold, she puts on a hooded sweatshirt but continues to wear her shorts. This is not about comfort; it is about a young lady who feels she must show her legs for the sake of her self-worth, to her own discomfort.
Image of the family
Another picture graffitied onto the face of humanity is the arrangement of the modern family. The God-patterned family follows this image: a man with his wife leading the children. The 1900’s, however, developed a new image: the woman leading with her husband and children following. The 21st century image, however, puts the man in an office with some woman other than his wife being his help-meet, the woman in another location being help-meet to another man, and the children on still a different campus being raised by the government. Then they all come together to share the same home for the evening, separately bottle feeding on Hollywood and NYC values.
Society will stabilize as men and women repurpose to pattern their families after the heavenly, original image, and not this upside-down, child-led, home insecurity system we see today. While society has conquered racial segregation, we have succumbed to familial segregation and age/gender silos.
Image of Christ
When the three young men who loved the one true God would not bow to the world’s image, society rejected them. The trend-maker of the day, King Nebuchadnezzar, threw them into a giant roasting pit. The world wants to destroy, defame, and disgrace those who do not adopt its image.
However, while looking into the fire, the king of popular culture saw something that converted him. Even though he had tied them up, the three men were still free, walking around in the fire, not being burned. It is not that hard or even painful to stand up to society. Reject the image of this world and find freedom as the ropes of social conditioning reduce to ashes.
Then, Nebuchadnezzar saw a forth man and said, “the form of the fourth is like the Son of God” (Daniel 3:25). When a few brave men and women will reject the demands of a sick culture, others will see Christ in them. I do not want the worldly image formed into my life; I want others to see the Son of God formed in me. And I earnestly pray for all who read this that “Christ be formed in you” (Galatians 4:19).
Take the challenge to study the Scriptures on how a Christian should dress and discover how to live in modesty and holiness before the Lord.