By Tope Banso
The subject of dressing in the church or among Christians is a sensitive matter. This may not be a problem in some countries, but it is in others. Many ministers are not pleased with what they see but have probably chosen to keep quiet because they don’t want to step on toes or stir the hornet’s nests.
Someone said if some pastors talk to their members, not the visitors, about indecent dressing, they would lose their members. If preaching the truth about decency in dressing will make some members leave a church, it is most likely that God didn’t bring them in the first instance.
Many people in church and in the society are talking about indecent dressing in our churches, especially by our ladies. Those in leadership cannot pretend all is well.
In my country, authorities of some higher institutions, which are not even owned by the church, have introduced dress codes to curb the excesses in dressing and restore sanity on our campuses.
The indecent dressing that we see in the society has found its way into the church. And it will be pretentious and a needless academic exercise to argue about what constitutes decent dressing.
Let no one hide under the concept of “liberty in the spirit” to promote indecency. What you wear is as important as the spirit in you. In fact, it can reflect the spirit in you – the Spirit of God or the spirit of the world.
Sometimes the way you dress indicates who you are. People receive or treat others first by the message their dressing conveys. No matter who you are, if how you dress does not convey a positive image of you, you will be treated based on the image your dressing conveys.
For instance, dress like a prostitute and you will be treated like that even if you claim to be happily married or you’re a Spirit-filled Christian. If you’re filled with Christ, you don’t dress like the world – you don’t dress to satisfy the lust of the flesh.
There is a spirit behind dressing. Christians, male and female, who dress indecently, do so because they have a strange spirit, which makes them wear strange clothing. That’s why they cannot dress decently. A child of God does not wear strange clothing. God says in Zephaniah 1:8: “And it hath come to pass, In the day of the sacrifice of Jehovah, That I have laid a charge on the heads, And on sons of the king, And on all putting on strange clothing” (Young’s Literal Translation). Other translations refer to strange clothing as strange apparel, foreign apparel, pagan customs, robes from strange lands, etc.
Someone sent me two different pictures of how women dressed in the past and how they dress today. The two photographs were placed beside each other with a caption that I can’t remember its exact words now. But it said something like, “This is how women used to dress before Satan became a fashion designer!” Why it is true that culture is not static, decency must remain a virtue. Satan is behind indecent dressing in our society and the church.
A strange spirit has conditioned the minds of some Christians to dress like pagans; they dress like nonbelievers. In fact, some nonbelievers even dress more decently than some tongue-talking Christians who expose parts of the body that sane people won’t.
It is unfortunate that it is the world that is dictating what the church is wearing. Daughters of Zion have taken after the daughters of Babylon! “And there a woman met him, with the attire of a harlot, and a crafty heart” (Proverbs 7:10 New King James Version). Don’t some daughters of Zion wear the attire of a harlot in and outside the church today?
The New Living Translation renders Proverbs 7:10 thus: “The woman approached him, seductively dressed and sly of heart.” Seductively dressed and sly of heart! Does that describe how some ladies, including married women who profess to be Christians, dress today to church and outside the church? They say they feel free when they dress like that. Is disobeying the Word of God freedom or bondage? They say it’s legalism to talk about decent dressing. Bible standards have become legalism!
It is commonly said that some ladies purposely dress indecently to seduce men whether in church or elsewhere. The daughters of Jezebel who have chosen a way of dressing suitable only for prostitutes even seduce some pastors. The ladies or women are not the only ones guilty of indecent dressing. Maybe some men also dress indecently to seduce women or for other ignoble reasons. They are behaving like the sons of Belial.
Christians, male and female, need to change and dress decently. What is your motive for wearing what you’re wearing? Why have you chosen to go near naked? What do you hope to achieve by exposing parts of your body that even nonbelievers know are better kept under their clothes?
Genesis 3:21 says, “And the Lord God made clothing from animal skins for Adam and his wife” (New Living Translation). The reason God did that was to cover their nakedness. So many scriptures, including Psalm 104:2, 6, Psalm 109:18-19, and Ezekiel 16:18, speak of garments as a covering for the body.
Fashion must never be promoted above the primary purpose of clothing – covering of nakedness. One mark of insanity is the desire to remove clothes and go naked. Anyone who is naked or near naked and is not ashamed does not have a sound mind.
Luke 8:27a says of the mad man of Gadarenes, “And when He stepped out on the land, there met Him a certain man from the city who had demons for a long time. And he wore no clothes” (New King James Version). It’s abnormal for someone with a sound mind to prefer to go naked publicly.
If you have a sound mind, you won’t dress or walk in certain ways; you won’t have a certain haircut just because you have seen it on some celebrities whose lives are in crises unknown to you. The Bible calls all New Testament believers kings and priests. “And [He] has made us kings and priests to His God and Father, to Him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen” (Revelation 1:6 New King James Version).
Kings and priests don’t dress anyhow – they dress with honour and dignity; they’re clothed with glory and honour. This is not for pastors alone. God expects His children as priests, like Aaron, to dress not for fashion but for glory and for beauty. “And you shall make holy garments for Aaron your brother, for glory and for beauty” (Exodus 28:2 New King James Version).
Wear holy garments. Avoid indecent styles. Don’t dress seductively. Don’t dress like a prostitute. Don’t dress like a social miscreant or gangster. Dress for glory and beauty, and for honour and dignity.
According to 2 Corinthians 5:20, Christians are ambassadors for Christ. Have you seen how those in diplomatic service for their nations dress? They don’t dress like prostitutes, criminals or thugs. They dress responsibly! Christians, who are conscious they’re representing the highest authority in heaven and on earth will dress decently.
If you’re not born again, repent of your sins today and accept Jesus as your Lord and Saviour. Whoever comes to Him, He will by no means cast out.
PRAYER POINTS: Father, thank you for making me an ambassador for Christ. In my conduct and dressing, I will not disgrace Christ. I will not dress indecently. I will dress for glory and beauty.
(For over 300 in-depth and powerful messages by T.O. Banso, visit www.cedarministry.org).
▪︎ Banso, an Abuja-based Minister, heads Cedar Ministry International, and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com; Tel No: +2348155744752, +2348033113523; WhatsApp No: +2349081295947
Stirring the hornet’s nest on decent dressing
By Tope Banso