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Monday, October 15, 2012

God's Fashions

By John Telgren

      There are certain values that most fashion designers have in common. Here are some questions to ask ourselves. Are the values of most fashion designers godly? Do they define beauty in the same way that God defines beauty? Are fashion designers governed by dignity, propriety, or modesty? Do fashion designers want to help you be godly? The answers to these questions should reveal whether they are your people or not.
      Modesty is probably not what many fashion designers have in mind. If they do, they may define modesty differently. What is modesty? Here is the dictionary definition: Modesty is 1.the quality of being modest; freedom from vanity, boastfulness, etc. 2.regard for decency of behavior, speech, dress, etc. 3.simplicity; moderation.
      Here are some synonyms for modesty: Modesty is humility, reserve, constraint, demureness, decent, chaste, quietness. Antonyms for modesty are immodest, pride, ego, audacious, brazen, brash, arrogance, conceit.
      Modesty is something that applies to both men and women. Notice this passage: "Likewise, I want women to "adorn themselves with proper/modest clothing, modestly/decently and discreetly/moderation, 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 Tim 2:9-10).
      Some of these words, modestly and discreetly (kosmios and sophron) and are found again in 1 Tim 3:2 concerning elders. They are to be sophron, prudent/modest/sensible and kosmion, modest/respectable. The quality of modesty in dress is not limited to just women. According to this passage, modest dress is "making a claim to godliness." So the question concerning our dress and appearance should be, "Does this make a claim to godliness?"
      A similar passage reads. "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" (1 Pet 3:3-4).
      Our beautification, or adornment, should not be merely external. It is the "hidden person of the heart, with the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit..." Another translation for "gentle" is "meek" or "humble." It is the same word Jesus used when he said, "Blessed are the meek..."
      What is modesty? With this passage, you can define it as "Humility expressed in appearance."
     Fashion designers most likely do not have this in mind. In fact, they often have the exact opposite in mind. It is about drawing attention to self. It is about saying, "look at me." Whether it is overdressing or underdressing, humility is probably not what is being expressed. This is something to keep in mind the next time you go to the mall to buy clothes. Ask yourselves these questions when buying clothes or getting dressed. What is my motivation for how I dress? Is it godly? Do my outfits make a godly statement? Whose attention and what kind of attention am I aiming for? Does it reflect the grace and beauty of womanhood? Does it reflect the honor and dignity of manhood? Is it an expression of a humble and gentle spirit which is precious to God?

- John Telgren preachers for the Leavenworth Church of Christ in Leavenworth, KS. He may be contacted through the congregation's website at

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