Fashion and The Glory of God, or Grace Through the Means of Jeans

In response to this blog post, my homey (and budding theologian) asked a very interesting question.  Another budding theologian has chimed in as well asking to see my response.  So here is the original comment:

How should we adorn ourselves? Modest? Of course. But how much does the culture in which we live drive our choices when it comes to how we adorn our external bodies? I don’t think that we should wear burlap sacks, but thousands for cloth and hide makes no sense either. I understand that there is a fine line here between conscious and legalism, and I am just wondering what you think is the best way to go about thinking through his issue whilst keeping it all Christ centered. I think this issue is more important than most realize…

… and here is my response to him: (All of this took place on Facebook.  If you would like to see all of the comments in their entirety, or weigh in yourself, just follow the link.)

– 1 Corinthians 10:31
31
So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.

Great question brother. I think we go at it like this.  We adorn our external bodies with:
1.  Clothing that will be most helpful to our brothers and sisters in Christ.
2.  Clothing that brings the most glory to Christ.

You have already hit the nail on the head with point #1. As a christian, if the culture in which you live drives your fashion sense to dress in a manner that causes one to lust after you, you are wrong. Modesty is a must for a believer (1 Tim. 2:9). If we are more known by what body parts are exposed than by our godly character, then we are failing to bring glory to God.

As for point #2 I think the answer is a mix of items. To be culturally fashionable can be a God glorifying act depending upon your heart. Truly, the mixing and matching of colors, threads, and cloth, in a pleasing manner is a gift that comes from God. When it is done well, fashionable clothes can be a cause to glory in God. Yet, the heart issue here (thus the abuse of this gift) comes when we find our satisfaction in the gift of fashion, or use fashion as a means of finding dignity, value, and worth apart from our new identity in Jesus Christ.

I love what Watson said, “It is strange that the garments which God has given to cover shame should reveal pride”. Elevating the gift of fashion above the giver is sin. A way to keep fashion Christ centered is to realize this gift for what it is: a means of grace. Originally in the garden, Adam and Eve were naked and were not ashamed (Genesis 2:25). They believed Satan’s lie over God’s truth, ate of the fruit, and fell into sin. The knowledge of their nakedness now brings shame (Genesis 3:1-13). God, as a punishment, could have left them in their shame, yet what does he do? He kills the first animal so that the skin from the killed animal can cover their nakedness/shame (Genesis 3:21). This by the way is a beautiful foreshadowing of the work of Jesus Christ. God here sets the precedent for what clothing should be, a cause to remember the goodness of His grace.

So, when a person goes to the mall to buy an article of clothing this process should be run through the grid of: Will this article of clothing be helpful to the brethren? Am I accentuating my body in any way that elevates the gift above the giver? Will a man/woman look at me in these clothes and be directed to the magnificence of Christ? Or will a man/woman look at me in these clothes and be directed towards sin? Also, when a person goes to the mall to buy an article of clothing this should lead to an opportunity for worship. Just think, the pair of jeans you just purchased is tangible evidence of God’s mercy and grace towards you. You deserve nakedness and shame, yet you receive grace through the means of jeans.

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  1. Great response, Brother. I love that last line. This one will stick with me.

  2. Hey – I stumbled on this site by mistake. I was searching in Bing for PDF software that I had already bought when I found your site, I have to say your site is pretty cool I just love the theme, its amazing!. I don’t have the time this minute to fully read your site but I have bookmarked it and also signed up for your RSS feed. I’ll back around in a day or two. Thanks again for a awesome site.

    • Thanks for the good words about the blog. Enjoy as you cruise around! May the Lord edify and strengthen you, and if you are not a believer may he save you!

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