Thursday, January 12, 2012

What Should I Wear Today?

My wife was all excited. She is able to fit into her jeans again after having our big baby boy. He weighed over 11 pound and at the end of her pregnancy she could not even fit into her maternity pants. Fortunately she had a couple of skirts she was still able to wear. - I am glad that I do not have to deal with the fashion struggles that she recently had. I still have shirts that I wore two decades ago, so I have to be careful not to continue to wear something that is totally out of style. I have a tendency not to be concerned enough about what I wear, while it seems that some people’s lives actually revolve around fashion. Though my wife is not preoccupied with fashion either, she can at least help me match my ties. - I get a lot of encouragement in reading about John the Baptist. He wore leather and camel hair. These were not the fancy clothes of the day. I once heard a preacher emphasizing how we should make sure and wear good quality wool suits. Though I have no objection to owning quality clothes, why should we judge someone who wears a polyester blend? In fact, the scripture condemns such judging. James 2:2-4 is quite direct on this matter when he says, “For if there come unto your assembly a man with a gold ring, in goodly apparel, and there come in also a poor man in vile raiment; And ye have respect to him that weareth the gay clothing, and say unto him, Sit thou here in a good place; and say to the poor, Stand thou there, or sit here under my footstool: Are ye not then partial in yourselves, and are become judges of evil thoughts?” - As with so many things in the Christian life, people have a tendency to go to extremes in the area of clothes- either not caring at all about what they wear or becoming preoccupied with fashion. Though James gives a warning about judging concerning dress, Paul also gives guidance in the area of fashion as he specifically addresses women. I cannot help but think that the feminine gender had a great interest in fashion even back then. Consider what Paul had to say, “In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with broided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array” (1 Timothy 2:9). - Much is said about clothes in this little verse. First, Paul is pointing out that women should adorn themselves with their clothes. That word adorn has the idea of decorating. In other words, there is nothing wrong with a woman wanting to look nice- in fact she is told to take care to adorn herself, but she is also given guidance about how to do it. She is to do so with modesty. Typically when we hear of modesty we think of not being risqué, and though that would definitely be included, the meaning goes much further than that. - The Greek word translated “modest” here is only used twice in the Bible and the other time it is translated “of good behavior.” Strong defines it as “decorous“, which means “in good taste.” In other words though we should not be risqué, we should also be dressing in a manner that is culturally acceptable. For example my second cousin recently sent me a picture of our families together in the 1970’s and I must say the shiny polyester orange of that era is not as culturally acceptable now as it was then. Further it is not good behavior nor good taste to dress risqué. - I believe the point Paul is making is that we are to dress within our culture in an acceptable manner without having to have the most expensive and extravagant clothes, hairstyles, or jewelry. In other words we should dress nice, without being lewd or preoccupied by our wardrobe.

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