Is It Decent or Indecent? – A look at Wise Women & Clothing

What Not to Wear Photo | Girls Gone Wise
What Not to Wear

In 1 Timothy 2:9, the Lord provides three guidelines that help Christian women figure out what and what not to wear: “She adorns herself with respectable apparel, with modesty and self-control.” Let’s examine these three guidelines to help us ensure that our looks are in good order, properly arranged, and ready to display Christ.

Is It Becoming or Unbecoming?

Kosmio is the descriptive form of the Greek noun kosmos (to put in order, trim, adorn, or decorate), which is related to our English word cosmos—the universe. The Greeks regarded the universe to be an ordered, integrated, harmonious whole. Kosmos is the opposite of chaos. So when Paul told women that their adornment should be kosmio, he meant that like the universe, all the parts should be harmoniously arranged with the other parts. It should be “becoming”—that is, appropriate or fitting. Given the context, I believe Paul was implying that our adornment ought to be becoming on a number of different levels.

First and foremost, your clothing ought to be becoming, fitting to, and consistent with your character as a child of God. But it also ought to be becoming to your body type, becoming to your femininity, becoming to your husband, becoming to the other clothes you are wearing, and becoming to the occasion and place you intend to wear it. There’s a tremendous amount of guidance in that small word, becoming. It challenges you to evaluate your clothes, shoes, purses, makeup, and hair from multiple angles as part of the harmonious, integrated whole of your life—to line up the seen with the unseen and the temporal with the eternal. It challenges you to bring a cosmic perspective to bear on your everyday decisions.

I like the word Paul chose. It has enormous implications. Kosmio means that a Christian woman’s “look” ought to be consistently put together, inside and out. This challenges those who put an undue emphasis on external appearance as well as those who neglect their personal appearance. It’s a corrective to women who dress extravagantly. It’s a corrective to those who dress seductively. But it’s also a corrective to those who think that “holy” means frumpy, ugly, unfeminine, and out of style. Becoming indicates that running around in baggy jeans and T-shirts all the time is just as inappropriate as being obsessed with stylish clothing. It means that a woman’s appearance ought to be put together nicely. It ought to be pleasant and attractive—on the inside and the outside.

Is It Decent or Indecent?

The second word, aidous, is based on the Greek term for shame and disgrace. The word is a blend of modesty and humility. When I think about a word picture that personifies this concept, I think of approaching God with eyes that are downcast.

It involves a sense of deficiency, inferiority, or unworthiness. It suggests shame, but also a corresponding sense of reverence and honor toward rightful authority. It’s the opposite of insolence, imprudence, disrespect, or audacity. Downcast eyes are the opposite of defiant eyes.

So does dressing with your eyes downcast mean that you are self-conscious? No. It means that your clothing tells the truth about the gospel. Your clothing shows the world that Jesus covers your shame and makes you decent. Your clothes cover your nakedness as the clothing of Christ covers your sin.

Dressing “with eyes downcast” means that you choose clothes that are decent in His eyes . . . not clothes that are provocative, seductive, and that honor nakedness. When you dress decently, you recognize that God ordained clothes to cover, and not draw attention to, your naked skin. You cover up out of respect for Him, the gospel, your Christian brothers—and out of respect for who He made you to be. Decency means you agree with the Lord about the true purpose of clothing and set aside your self-interest to dress in a way that exalts Christ.

So in that dressing room trying on that skirt, take time to sit, bend, and stretch in front of that mirror, and ask yourself, Is this skirt decent? Does it do what it should do? Does it properly cover me up? Does it showcase my underlying nakedness—or exalt the gospel of Christ?

Is It Moderate or Excessive?

The final thing to ask yourself about clothing is whether it is moderate or excessive. Paul uses the Greek word sophrosunes. It means “of a sound mind; curbing one’s desires and impulses, self-controlled, temperate.” The word indicates that our adornment should be reasonable and not crazy. We ought to rein in our impulses and avoid extremes in fashion, hairstyles, and makeup. We also ought to avoid spending crazy amounts of money or stuffing our closets full of crazy quantities of clothing. We ought to govern our wardrobe choices with a sense of moderation, simplicity, and self-control. If the outfit is crazy extreme, crazy expensive, or if it’s crazy for you to be buying another one, then you ought to pass it up.

Understanding the purpose of clothing and asking yourself the three questions, Is it becoming? Is it decent? and Is it moderate? will help you figure out how to dress. And don’t forget to include your “Helper” in the process. The Holy Spirit is an invaluable source of assistance when it comes to figuring out whether or not your appearance glorifies God. If your heart is right and you seek His guidance, He will be your personal wardrobe consultant and teach you what and what not to wear.

Source:
© Moody Publishers. Adapted from Girls Gone Wise in a World Gone Wild, pp. 103-108

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The Bikini Debate – To Wear or Not to Wear

This is a tough topic that often gets people upset but it is a topic of the heart that needs to be addressed and I am glad people are addressing it on their blogs.  Today I wanted to share with you a post written by Carla Anne entitled “Should Christians Wear Bikinis”, I could not have said it better.

Should Christians Wear Bikinis?

Okay… here we go again!! I’m about to step on the toes of many people… even some of those I love dearly.

But it’s not because I want to offend anyone, it’s because this is such an important issue.

I don’t think Christians should wear bikinis

I’ve never understood how a girl can shriek in panic if her dad or brother or grandpa comes near her bedroom door when she’s changing, wearing a bra and panties, but then run around in less than that on the beach and think it’s okay.

I really do not understand that.

I and my girls do not wear bikinis. The reason is modesty.

But why do I think modesty is so important? Why should tans and fashion be pushed aside in favor of modest, breast-belly-bum covering clothing?

Because…

  • God says you are made with value, and that value has nothing to do with your breasts or how sexy you are.
  • Boys and men (yes even the old senior citizen men on the beach) are turned on by your body.
  • Boys and men who see a woman’s body – especially a naked body (or mostly naked) – can remember that image even if they saw it for less than 13 seconds. And they can recall it more than 60 YEARS later with excruciating detail.
    • That means, yes, when Mr. Not-So-Pure-Old-Man on the beach goes home and wants to have self-sex he may well be thinking about you in the bikini. I’m not kidding.
  • Your brother and his friends (and cousins and uncles and probably grandpa) cannot help that their brain and body have a physical and chemical reaction to seeing your breasts and almost naked body.Boys and men who see you in a bikini have an automatic response to you: their brain actually reacts to you as if you are not a person, but rather a tool like a chain saw or hammer or power drill. Yep… you just became something to be used, not loved.
    • Which means that you are putting these guys in a very, very difficult position. Many of them control themselves when you are around, but don’t even ask what they say when you are not. Trust me… they do say things, and even do things!

Don’t believe me? Watch this video.

God wants more for you. He wants you to know you are loved because of who you are.

He wants you to know you are beautiful because He made you.

And no matter how unfashionable it may be, you will have the respect and honor of the men around you if you don’t put on that bikini.

Finding Modest Bathing Suits

Here are some places you can find modest bathing suits:

Should Christians Wear Bikinis - Carla Anne Coroy - A DivinitaSole Bathing Suit

  • http://swimmodest.com/ – We bought these for years. We loved them! They are one-pieces, but very, very comfortable.
  • http://www.simply-modest.com/
  • http://www.divinitasole.com/ – I particularly like the ‘Bowtie Tankini’ and the fact that you can choose modest cut bottoms.
  • http://www.limericki.com/ – we’ve found great tankinis here paired with the shorts bottoms. Not everything is modest, use wise judgment.
  • http://www.swimsuitsforall.com/#back – many of these are modest, especially if you notice that they have ‘modest’ options for leg openings, back opening, and neck openings. We’ve found this site great for one-pieces as my girls have exceptionally long bodies and finding a one-piece is very, very difficult. Again, make sure it meets your modesty standard. (CAUTION: We have recently tried to return a swimsuit here and had significant difficulty with customer service.)
  • http://hydrochic.com/modest-swimsuits.html – they have some seriously modest swim suits including long sleeves, long legs, and skirts. But still sporty!

What Do You Think?

You know where I stand, but maybe you don’t agree! Or maybe you do!

Tell us what you think on this issue!

One more question: If you have lived or currently live in a culture other than a typical North American culture, please comment on how modesty issues are different or the same in that part of the world. If another part of a woman’s body is sexually attractive in that culture (thighs versus breasts, or necks versus bottoms, etc) what does modesty look like there?