Sunday, June 3, 2012

Garments of Godliness

Many preachers have gotten into trouble mentioning certain topics from the Bible.  One such topic is that of modesty, particularly in the way women dress.  People have contemptuously branded such men as "clothes line preachers" and will not tolerate such preaching.  But the Lord has plenty to say in His Word about how His people should dress, and we had better take heed.  He is coming back for a holy Bride, and this is part of the holiness He requires. Just look at some of these Scriptures:

Proper Clothing
The apostle Paul wrote to Timothy: "Likewise, I want women to adorn themselves with proper clothing, modestly and discreetly, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly garments, but rather by means of good works, as is proper for women making a claim to godliness. A woman must quietly receive instruction with entire submissiveness." (1Ti 2:9-11)

The apostle Peter wrote: "In the same way, you wives, be submissive to your own husbands so that even if any of them are disobedient to the word, they may be won without a word by the behavior of their wives, as they observe your chaste and respectful behavior. Your adornment must not be merely external--braiding the hair, and wearing gold jewelry, or putting on dresses; but let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is precious in the sight of God. For in this way in former times the holy women also, who hoped in God, used to adorn themselves, being submissive to their own husbands; just as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord, and you have become her children if you do what is right without being frightened by any fear." (1Pe 3:1-6)

Both Paul and Peter were explicit about what godly women should and should not wear on their bodies, which also applies to men.  The apostles were equally as clear about how the women should wear their hair, even the types of garments to wear, and which ones to avoid.  They also gave instruction on what kind of godly attitude should adorn holy women.

A Symbol of Authority on Her Head
The apostle Paul wrote to the Corinthians: "But I want you to understand that Christ is the head of every man, and the man is the head of a woman, and God is the head of Christ. Every man who has something on his head while praying or prophesying disgraces his head. But every woman who has her head uncovered while praying or prophesying disgraces her head, for she is one and the same as the woman whose head is shaved. For if a woman does not cover her head, let her also have her hair cut off; but if it is disgraceful for a woman to have her hair cut off or her head shaved, let her cover her head. For a man ought not to have his head covered, since he is the image and glory of God; but the woman is the glory of man. For man does not originate from woman, but woman from man; for indeed man was not created for the woman's sake, but woman for the man's sake. Therefore the woman ought to have a symbol of authority on her head, because of the angels." (1Co 11:3-10)

There are many opinions about this.  Some believe this refers to a woman's hair.  If a man grows his hair long, that is considered a head covering, according to this passage. Certainly I think it's important for a woman to take care of the veil God gave her, and not to cut it off like a man or to shave her head.

At the time of this writing, my wife and I did not believe she needed to wear a head covering, but we were open to being adjusted by the Lord. So we prayed and asked Him to show us, and subsequently we heard some testimonies that have changed our mind. Now we believe that a woman should cover her head when she is in the presence of the Lord.  This means she should cover her head when she prays, worships, prophesies, reads the Bible, or enters the house of worship. Also see my article Is a Woman's Hair Her Head Covering? for more on this. 

Jewelry, well-set hair, headbands, veils, headdresses, fine clothes, and sweet perfume
Please look at the heart of God and what He is after here. The prophet Isaiah wrote:

Moreover, the LORD said, "Because the daughters of Zion are proud And walk with heads held high and seductive eyes, And go along with mincing steps And tinkle the bangles on their feet, Therefore the Lord will afflict the scalp of the daughters of Zion with scabs, And the LORD will make their foreheads bare." In that day the Lord will take away the beauty of their anklets, headbands, crescent ornaments, dangling earrings, bracelets, veils, headdresses, ankle chains, sashes, perfume boxes, amulets, finger rings, nose rings, festal robes, outer tunics, cloaks, money purses, hand mirrors, undergarments, turbans and veils. Now it will come about that instead of sweet perfume there will be putrefaction; Instead of a belt, a rope; Instead of well-set hair, a plucked-out scalp; Instead of fine clothes, a donning of sackcloth; And branding instead of beauty. (Isa 3:16-24)

The Lord is after every proud, vain, and seductive heart among the daughters of Zion.

The Woman Dressed Like a Whore
King Solomon warned his son of the seductress..."In the twilight, in the evening, in the middle of the night and in the darkness....behold, a woman comes to meet him, dressed as a harlot and cunning of heart. She is boisterous and rebellious, her feet do not remain at home." (Pro 7:9-11)

We know from Scripture that the Lord is not pleased with any woman dressed as a harlot.

Cross Dressing
Does God condone cross-dressing?  Certainly not! In fact it's detestable to Him.

"A woman shall not wear man's clothing, nor shall a man put on a woman's clothing; for whoever does these things is an abomination to the LORD your God." (Deu 22:5)

But hasn't cross-dressing crept into the church and doesn't it now abound in the Church?  Trousers are clothing for men, and yet many Christian women wear trousers, even during worship and prayer.  Some will say that they only wear so-called "Ladies trousers."  Well, if you do so, I encourage you to take that before the Lord to see what He says.  Just because some clothing manufacturer has changed the labeling to increase sales does not mean God has changed His mind.  We all need to let Him evaluate our wardrobe and make the necessary adjustments.

Worldliness
The world has fashions and trends.  But in adopting those, the Church seems to have forgotten that worldliness is a sin. Let's take the lead in showing the world what godliness looks like, rather than adopting those fashions and following the latest trends.

Do not love the world nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world. (1Jo 2:15-16)

And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.
(Rom 12:2)

You adulteresses, do you not know that friendship with the world is hostility toward God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. Or do you think that the Scripture speaks to no purpose: "He jealously desires the Spirit which He has made to dwell in us"? But He gives a greater grace. Therefore it says, "GOD IS OPPOSED TO THE PROUD, BUT GIVES GRACE TO THE HUMBLE." (Jam 4:4-6)

Pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world. (Jam 1:27)

"You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt has become tasteless, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled under foot by men. (Mat 5:13)

Poorly Clothed
Here was the testimony of the apostle Paul: "To this present hour we are both hungry and thirsty, and are poorly clothed, and are roughly treated, and are homeless." (1Co 4:11). "I have coveted no one's silver or gold or clothes. (Act 20:33)

Does this mean we all need to be poorly clothed and homeless?  Certainly not. But if your emphasis is on outward adornment, on wearing gold jewelry and fine clothes, compare yourself to the life Paul lived and ask the Lord to correct you.

Special attention to those wearing fine clothes
For if a man comes into your assembly with a gold ring and dressed in fine clothes, and there also comes in a poor man in dirty clothes, and you pay special attention to the one who is wearing the fine clothes, and say, "You sit here in a good place," and you say to the poor man, "You stand over there, or sit down by my footstool," have you not made distinctions among yourselves, and become judges with evil motives?  (Jam 2:2-4)

Do you pay special attention to those who are adorned well outwardly? Do you want to look like them? Do you treat them differently than those who are poorly clothed?   

White Garments to Cover Your Nakedness
You can be clothed in the finest clothes, and yet be naked before God.  Jesus says,

"I advise you to buy from Me gold refined by fire so that you may become rich, and white garments so that you may clothe yourself, and that the shame of your nakedness will not be revealed; and eye salve to anoint your eyes so that you may see." (Rev 3:18)

Garments Polluted by the Flesh
Our garments can become polluted by the flesh that wears them, if we are carnal-minded and worldly.

And have mercy on some, who are doubting; save others, snatching them out of the fire; and on some have mercy with fear, hating even the garment polluted by the flesh. (Jud 1:22-23).

We should hate the garments polluted by the flesh, and refuse to wear them.  Think of the fleshly spirit at work in those who design and produce such immodest garments.  We should be disgusted and reject such things.

What God is Saying to sister Claire Andoun
There is a woman, named sister Claire Andoun Atongo, from Cameroon, who says the Lord has been speaking to her about the dirtiness in His Church (see video testimony). He's been showing her that there is a strange power that has come into the Church, because this unclean spirit has been invited in by the women of God, and the pastors will not preach against it.  This strange power is the Queen of the Coast, who leads the sisters in the Church to dress immodestly.

She says this spirit has taken the fire out of the men of God.  I did not watch her entire Warning from God to All Women, but only the first 20 minutes or so, because someone pointed it out to me.  However, I think it's a message that every woman of God and every pastor needs to take before the Lord, seriously asking for the heart of God regarding dressing modestly with purity and holiness.

Wesley on Godly Dress
We need to go back to the old way, and preach holiness once again like John Wesley, the famous eighteenth-century holiness preacher did. He removed the ring ceremony from the Anglican wedding manual.  And in his article, 'Advice to the People Called Methodists with Regard to Dress,' Wesley wrote: “Wear no gold, no pearls, or precious stones; use no curling of hair, or costly apparel, how grave soever. I advise those who are able to receive this saying, buy no velvets, no silks, no fine linen, no superfluities, no mere ornaments, though ever so much in fashion. Wear nothing, though you have it already, which is of glaring colour, or which is in any kind gay, glistering, or showy; nothing made in the very height of the fashion, nothing apt to attract the eyes of the by-standers. I do not advise women to wear rings, ear-rings, necklaces, lace, or ruffles, which, by little and little, may easily shoot out from one to twelve inches deep. Neither do I advise men to wear coloured waistcoats, shining stockings, glittering or costly buckles or buttons, either on their coats, or in their sleeves, any more than gay, fashionable, or expensive perukes.” [1] [2]

Wesley's original advice on attire and adornment became part of the Methodist church manual, known as Doctrines and Discipline of the Methodist Church, and remained unedited until 1852. The early Methodists took their founder's admonitions seriously, and lived a plain lifestyle. They avoided gambling, dancing, makeup, and jewelry, including rings. It's high time for the Methodist people and the rest of the Church to return to the Word of holiness. Those who don't want to preach holiness will never see Jesus. Without holiness no man shall see God (Heb 12:14b). Let's Ask for the Ancient Paths once again.

Putting it All Together
So as we see, both Peter and Paul addressed this topic.  Today perhaps they would be labeled as "clothes line preachers."  Yet they were not afraid of speaking about how we dress, and exhorting us to live godly and modest lives.  There are also plenty of other Scriptures to support their positions.

If you are honest, you'll have to admit that it’s fashionable today for the women of the world in general to dress like whores. That's not to say that all women dress that way, but they are encouraged to do so. The women of God must not be worldly. We disciples of Christ are supposed to keep ourselves unstained by the world. Friendship with the world is hostility toward God. The people of God must not be conformed to this world.

This doesn't just apply to women, but men as well.  I remember watching Christian music videos in the 1980's of Christian rock bands performing on stage wearing, form-fitting, spandex body suits.  And then there's the obsession many guys have with their muscle-bound bodies and showing them off.  Somehow I don't see how that fits the standard of God's Word. Another example is men wearing expensive designer clothing, earrings and other jewelery, or expensive suits. The Lord is after every spirit of vanity, conceit, immodesty, pride, arrogance, sensuality, and seductiveness. So it's up to each of us to ask the Lord to examine our hearts and show us anything that is dishonoring Him or keeping Him away.

Footnotes: [1] What Should We Wear, Wesley Experience. [2] Cited in The Encyclopedia of World Methodism, 1977 edition, s. v. "Dress" (vol. 2, p. 717).

Attribution notice: Most Scripture quotations taken from the NASB.

Author's note: Also see Godly Attire and Adornment -- Seven Divine Revelations, Carrying Your Cross or Cross Dressing?, Is a Woman's Hair Her Head Covering?, Claire Andoun Solomon's Encounter with JesusThe Forgotten Sin of Worldliness, The Marine Kingdom and Queen of the Coast, The Wardrobe of the Saints, and Ten Articles on Modest Apparel by Free Grace Broadcasters. This post is a follow up on the following articles I've written recently:

Is Obedience Optional?
The Cost of Discipleship
Salvation with Fear and Trembling
Faith Works!
Pleasing the Lord
Called to be Blameless
Pleasing the Lord

Here is an excellent site where you can find attractive head coverings.   You can also find my complete collection of blogs at Writing for the Master.

Image: Photo courtesy of Garlands of Grace.

Do You Want to Know Him?
If you want to know Jesus personally, you can. It all begins when you repent and believe in Jesus.  Do you know what God's Word, the Bible says?

“Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of God, and saying, ‘The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.’” (Mar 1:14b-15).  He preached that we must repent and believe.

Please see my explanation of this in my post called "Do You Want to Know Jesus?"
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Len Lacroix is the founder of Doulos Missions International.  He was based in Eastern Europe for four years, making disciples, as well as helping leaders to be more effective at making disciples who multiply, developing leaders who multiply, with the ultimate goal of planting churches that multiply. His ministry is now based in the United States with the same goal of helping fulfill the Great Commission. www.dmiworld.org.

20 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. Onyi, I would like to invite you to Doulos Training School, opening on September 1 for all who are interested in online distance education in discipleship! See link for details at http://writingforthemaster.blogspot.com/2015/07/doulos-training-school.html.

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  2. Hello Len, since God revealed all these things to me. There is no church practicing holiness in our area. I prayed and seek His guidance, when I tried to go back in our church I felt different it is no longer like before that I did not knew the truth of repentance, Please tell me what churches here in America are practicing holiness according to God's doctrine...Looking forward to hear from you. Thank you and God bless you always.

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    1. Hello, Kehzeyyah, that's wonderful how the Lord has been revealing these things to you. Have you seen my other blogs, http://eternal-destinations.blogspot.hu/2013/05/godly-attire-and-adornment-seven-divine.html, and http://len-seekingthelord.blogspot.com/2014/01/carrying-your-cross-or-cross-dressing.html?

      I cannot really say which churches in the US would practice Biblical holiness. Some that might do so may also have aberrant doctrines such as denying the Trinity or denying the baptism with the Holy Spirit.

      Thanks for reading and commenting.
      Shalom!

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  3. kehzeyyah, I noticed that you agreed with the article yet on your blog you follow fashions. I don't understand where you are at with this issue.

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  4. HI LEN THANKS FOR THE WORK IF ONE CANT FIND THE RIGHT CHURCH WHAT NEXT

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    1. You're welcome. I recommend praying and telling the Lord your situation. It's important to be connected to the Body, but you need to be careful not to be part of a backslidden, lukewarm, compromised church. You want to be in a Bible preaching, on fire church that loves and preaches righteousness and true holiness. Until the Lord leads you to that Church, you should gather for prayer with the saints around you that share a like precious faith. And I recommend starting a Life Transformation Group, which I explain in this article: http://be-fruitful-multiply.blogspot.com/2015/08/life-transformation-groups.html.

      I would also like to invite you to enroll in our discipleship school, called Doulos Training School. You can find out more here:
      http://doulostrainingschool.blogspot.com/2015/08/doulos-training-school.html

      Shalom!

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  5. I'm wearing a pedal for mens. It's a plain brown pedal. I just bought this because I think there was no large shorts for ladies. The shorts available for ladies were only small-waisted. When I turn my back, I saw a pedal for mens and mens sizes in pedals are bigger compared to ladies'. Those pedals were just for mens. But it looks like it can also be worn by ladies. It looks like a unisex pedal. Is this wrong to wear this? Huhuhu. If it is, why? I'll just give this to my cousin if it is wrong. It hurts. Huhuhu. But at least, I will make Jesus smile in my own little way. I never thought that wearing the clothing of the opposite sex is a sin. Because here in the Philippines there are many gays and lesbians who do. I don't know in your country. Hehe. Thank you so much for the sacred information. May God bless you, your family, and your friends in a way you've never felt in your life. :) May God pour his divine love for you! :)

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    1. Dear April, I am not sure what a pedal is, but I would not advise you to wear unisex garments. I also would not advise men or women to wear shorts, since they are immodest. The Lord bless you.

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  6. What do you mean by women dressed as a harlot? You mean showing skin or too much skin? Like wearing super short skirt or short or showing a womans boobs in her dress? That's the way harlots dress? But it's also the way celebrities and modern people dress, right? So, they are dressed as harlots? (If my comment will not be published because you feel like celebrities or other people will feel insulted by this, is it okay if you'll just send your answer to me by message. Thank you!)

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    1. Most people should know what it means for a woman to be dressed like a harlot. It is immodest and sensual. It is a way of dressing that attracts attention and tempts people to lust after the person dressed that way. The examples you gave are valid.

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  7. Hi Len. :) I just told my mother several minutes ago that I will no longer wear short (or any clothing that shows skin). I think she asked "why?" or I just told her why. And I said that I want to dress discreetly and with modesty. And that's what you said (That's what the Lord is saying.) My mother's response was: "Duh? No man will be attracted to you. You're so fat and your legs are so big." And I said to her that: "Mother, the minds of people (not all people) of today are so polluted." No offense to them. She just said to me again that: "They will no longer feel attracted to you." By the way, my face is also full of pimples. Let's just say that I'm a woman who is so not attractive. I'm very fat. My legs are so big. And my face is so full of pimples. In short, not attractive or sexually attractive. So, am I excuse of wearing shorts or sleeveless shirts? Thank you! :)

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    1. Dear April,

      I discussed your situation with my wife and asked if she could assist me in drafting a reply. Her following response represents what we both believe to be true for you:

      "I assume that you are a born again follower of Jesus Christ and not just someone who believes modesty is a good idea. If you follow Christ, then you must follow what the Scripture teaches to all Christian women about modesty (1 Tim. 2:9-10; 1 Pet. 3:3-6), regardless of physical characteristics."

      "Remember that your beauty should come from within. If you are allowing the Lord to develop this kind of beauty in you, a gentle and quiet spirit, and if you are seeking to dress with decency and propriety, then the Lord will be pleased. He is the one we should be pleasing above all others."

      "As far as attracting a man is concerned, if your desire is to marry one day, then wait on the Lord to bring a godly man into your life. I believe that men who are truly godly will be attracted to godly beauty and that men like this are the best kind of husbands because they love and value their wives for who they are not what they look like, as that is subject to change at any time. I believe that men who are attracted primarily by outward appearances can also be very shallow and unfaithful."

      April, I also want to share with you the following articles that you may enjoy:
      http://enterthekog.blogspot.com/2015/09/you-must-be-born-again.html

      http://len-seekingthelord.blogspot.com/2015/12/saints-alive-in-jesus.html

      http://len-seekingthelord.blogspot.com/2011/11/holy-living-in-perverted-world.html

      http://wordistrue.blogspot.com/2011/02/unbiblical-practices-of-catholic-church.html

      http://wordistrue.blogspot.com/2014/05/former-pope-in-hell-declared-saint.html

      God bless you.

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    2. Hi April,

      about having pimples, try to wear no make up. I have tried myself and it works. and yes, wearing bangles, and earrings, may have allergic reaction to your skin.

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  8. We also realise that on this matter a lot of so called "men/women of God" had claimed that if jewellery is sinfull there is no way God will not have informed at least a couple of the mainstream preachers of major denominations. So my take is they always claim God also speaks to them how come he never told them of jewellery,but I know for certain that if you come to God with Idols in your heart God will answer you according to your Idols. I have a Pastor challenge my exhorting some of his members about jewellery on a Sunday service when I happened to have visited them by declaring to his members that he (the pastor) permits them to wear make-up and Jewellery and God should punish him if it was a sin!!! Can you believe that?!

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    1. Dear Brother, it's good to hear from you again. Yes, there are many tactics the enemy uses to declare that which is sin to be "not sin." And in this case, the man you described seemed so sure of it that he was willing to back it up with a bold declaration of responsibility, which God will hold him to. Pray the Lord will have mercy on him and help him realize his mistake so he can repent.

      Remember when the people said of our Lord, "Let His blood be upon us and upon our children"? (Mt 27:25). Similar kind of thing. Shalom!

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  9. Thanks Len for your posts,
    I have come to realize that many people are already polluted with what they are taught, for example pastors are being taught how to defend jewelry and other adornment practices which I think they are taught from the bible schools ,it’s so bad and that is what they pass on to us. Personally my pastor used to say it’s not good for a woman to leave home without painting her lips... That’s so sad.
    But when God revealed to me that all I used to do was to act as a harlot after watching Lindah Ngaujah’s testimony, I was so disturbed, how could that be yet I professed to be a born again Christian??It made me cry,. And indeed that’s what exactly harlots do to attract men, the difference is that they are paid at the end of it all and we are not paid, men lust after us and sleep with us in their hearts for free!!!! Matthew 5:28, Ezekiel 16:15-16,30,32-39.My husband also hated makeup, short skirts ,trousers and every form of indecency but I used to tell him he is just biased and every time I would put on long skirt or dress and cover my body well, he would tell me that’s what he likes but I was already polluted by what pastors preach and what their wives or other preachers dress like. But I thank God that I now dress to glorify Him not to be attractive, seductive by causing men to lust after me Luke 17:1-2, Matthew 13:41-42. My dear sister the man you will get because of your exposed body part will next time see a better exposed body than yours and may be abandon you, so the right person will come at the right time, don’t shame yourself by exposing your body parts to anyone who passes by. We say God only looks at the heart so we can dress anyhow?? how about our body since it’s His temple doesn’t he care about how it looks ?? So we must glorify him even with our bodies 1 Corinthians 6:15-20, 2 Corinthians 6:15-7:1
    1 Corinthians 3:17 If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are.
    Am grateful that I found out the truth and am still learning more. We are about six of us and we have not found a church yet which believes in holiness but we get sometime and fellowship and share from the Bible as we pray and wait upon God for more direction.
    God bless you all

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    1. Dear sister Chosen Ann, Amen! Preach it. You are correct. I suggest you begin to form Life Transformation Groups among the six of you. See http://be-fruitful-multiply.blogspot.com/2015/08/life-transformation-groups.html. I also recommend you prayerfully consider our discipleship training at http://doulostrainingschool.blogspot.com/2015/08/doulos-training-school.html. Keep the faith and get the word out. The Lord bless you.

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  10. wow wow wow , I do not know what to really believe ,because I feel GOD made us all wonderfully and fearfully . I also believe GOD wants us to look beautiful, I think it becomes a sin when you make it into a sort of idol. Is there anywhere in the Bible that says using jewelry even when it does not entice anyone, as bad? Because Paul warns against these things because of its bad and enticing ways, what if it doesn't entice? In biblical times, the children of Israel had gold.

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