What attitude should a Christian have about clothing?

I wrote this article because I have received a message from a reader of our portal. Here is it:

I would like to listen to your opinion concerning the way a real Christian should dress himself. The biblical reality corresponds only 10% to the situation I see in the churches. The youth wear indecent clothes, and I think that upsets God, but it also should upset us. Thank you and I am waiting for your answer.

In the Bible there are mentioned frequently words as “clothes”, “clothed”, “covering”, etc. and it is impossible to make up an article where to analyse all these references. That’s why, I will present only a small number of references, which have direct dealing with the questions I have been asked and let us see the teaching of these passages.

Clothing doesn’t have to be more important than the spiritual values of the Christian

In the famous Sermon on the Mount the Lord Jesus Christ said:

“For this reason I say to you, do not be worried about your life, as to what you will eat or what you will drink; nor for your body, as to what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they? And who of you by being worried can add a single hour to his life? And why are you worried about clothing? Observe how the lilies of the field grow; they do not toil nor do they spin, yet I say to you that not even Solomon in all his glory clothed himself like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, will He not much more clothe you? You of little faith! Do not worry then, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear for clothing?’ For the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. (The Gospel of Matthew 6:25–32)(NASB)

When we seek for clothing more than we seek for our adorning with spiritual things, that is a beautiful character, than we are similar to Gentiles, or to pagans. They live this way. They make a religion, a cult out of clothing. I have heard about persons that limit themselves on eating, so that they may buy an expensive cloth and so, they may impress those who are around them and to create an impression that is not in accord with the reality. It is a great deceit when one invests more time and money in buying clothes than in getting the divine things. That’s why, the Lord Jesus said at the ending of the passage of the Sermon on the Mountain:

“But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. (The Gospel of Matthew 6:33)(NASB)

I want to ask the reader some questions that can help you make an evaluation in regard to this. What do you spend more money on? How much did you spend last year, last month for clothes and how much did you spend for holy things, for building up a beautiful character (Bible study group, Bible study camp, church, etc.)? This will show up your priorities.

Don’t be strongly affected with people’s clothing

James writes to the Christians in the epistle that has his name, so:

My brethren, do not hold your faith in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ with an attitude of personal favoritism. 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? Listen, my beloved brethren: did not God choose the poor of this world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom which He promised to those who love Him? But you have dishonored the poor man. Is it not the rich who oppress you and personally drag you into court? (James 2:1–6)(NASB)

Don’t ever be affected with people’s clothing, no matter how they are dressed up, with expensive or poor cloths. Try to look farther than cloths, look into man’s soul and you can know it when you talk to him, when you get interest in him, when you really want to serve him.

Don’t try to impress people with your clothing

Most people are partial and they judge by appearances, that’s why many are caught in this trap and do their utmost to wear clothes that can impress. Most want to impress with expensive clothes, but are some that want to impress people with their “humility” and wear poor clothes intentionally, because they want to make themselves evident as humble persons. Clothes are not the most exact index to one’s spirituality. That’s why…

Dress yourself properly

The next passage was addressed by Apostle Paul to women firstly, but it applies to men too. Let us firstly read the passage, that says:

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. (1 Epistle of Paul to Timothy 2:9–10)(NASB)

If we look up attentively, the passage itself defines what means to dress with proper clothing and it specifies “modestly and discreetly”, not provoking. Once, the fashion tendencies tried to point out the beauty, nowadays, provocation is the main purpose. The designers seek to create “sexier” clothes, how they are used to say, and women wear these clothes, that arouse men’s sexual desires. This provokes men, their wives, the whole society and moral values.

To dress yourself properly means to dress so, that your clothes may not eclipse your character, or make people think what you are not in reality. Here is one more example. If you have a cloth, that you think is in fashion and it has on it the Playboy bunny, be sure that people will think that you share the ideas of that magazine and so, you are a light-minded girl or boy.

Don’t haste to condemn people by clothing

I know a couple that had a finacial slump, the husband had only one shirt, and he managed to buy a simple summer dress to his wife; a dress that usually women wear in houses in villages. They were newly born and had a great wish to go to the church and to listen to the biblical message, so they went on Sunday to worship with the whole church. At the end, a woman approached the wife of that man and she rebuked her that her shoulders were too unveild and it is not properly to come to church so. By the way, the woman who rebuked was the owner of a tailor shop, but the cloth of that man’s woman showed their financial situation very well and her great desire to know God made her come to church in that way. The woman that rebuked her could rather invite her to their house, measure her up and sew a beautiful dress to that young lady. That would have been a real Christian and beautiful attitude and action.

Another case was when a porter of a church ceased a girl from coming to church because she wore pants that made her body evident. I was very upset when I have heard about that case because I suppose that the girl was so poor, that she couldn’t buy other proper clothes at the moment, but when she had been far away from God, she couldn’t even have realized how she had been dressing up. A man led by God’s love will be full of patience and will not act as the porter from this case.

Here are the perfect clothes God urges us to dress up since we have become His children:

So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience; bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you. (Colossians 3:12–13)(NASB)

Translated by Djugostran Felicia