Do You Obey Fashion?
Are you a Seventh-day Adventist woman living in the end times? Sometimes we tend to feel that we're doing just fine spiritually, and have need of nothing. But we know that God has given us the Laodicean message, which we need very badly because in reality we are wretched, poor, miserable, blind and naked.
Could we have become so blinded on certain issues that we're totally oblivious that we even have a problem?
Let's take a look some very profound sentences from inspired writings. You are encouraged to read them in context, but for now we will examine these brief excerpts closely. We are told that we “need to wake up and reason from cause to effect,” (Te 196) so that is what we will endeavor to do.
In crystal clear, divinely inspired words, God warns His people about a serious problem:
“Obedience to fashion is pervading our Seventh-day Adventist church and is doing more than any other power to separate our people from God. ” 4T 647
Let's break this down. “ Obedience to fashion ” How are we as Seventh-day Adventist women obeying fashion? What would obeying fashion (meaning complying with or being guided by the prevailing custom or style of dress), look like? It would mean that Seventh-day Adventist women would be dressing like the world. If you look around in our churches, that definitely does seem to be the case.
When something is pervading , it is permeating, and spreading throughout. Not just isolated cases; we're talking about an overwhelming influence.
It can't be said more strongly than “ is doing more than any other power .” That puts it right up there on the top of the list.
If this was true over a hundred years ago, wouldn't it be more true today? If it weren't true, we would see an obvious reformation in the area of our dress, wouldn't we? We would see the majority of Seventh-day Adventist women dressing distinctly differently than the rest of society. I haven't noticed that to be the case, have you?
The conclusion of the above statement would be that obedience to fashion is separating us from God! Is that serious?!! Separation from God means loss of eternal life. That's the most tragic news a Christian could possibly hear! We certainly need to pay close attention.
Let's make this very personal. Each one of us women owe it to ourselves to ask the question, “Is MY compliance with the prevailing styles separating ME from God? And where can we find the answer to that question? Certainly not by consulting our feelings. Only by analyzing our hearts and wardrobe in the light of God's Word to see if we are conforming to fashion rather than to divinely inspired principles.
The way we dress speaks volumes about our heart.
A person's character is judged by his [or her] style of dress. Ed 248
The outside appearance is an index to the heart. OHC 273
If we remain spiritually blind, we can become comfortable with worldly attire. But when we see God's counsel, we begin to see the shame of our nakedness. Let's read further into God's counsel for us in these last days.
In these last days fashions are shameful and immodest . 1T 189
If you take some time to research into what the fashions looked like at the time this statement was written, you would have to admit that they were extremely modest compared to what we are seeing in our day. The problem is we have become so accustomed to the prevailing styles that we have a hard time recognizing them as being immodest. That's why we need to listen to God, and not depend upon our own opinions which have become warped by indecent exposure. It is not up to US to decide what is modest and what isn't. We must listen to God to find true modesty.
All who now plead for souls should in their dress and deportment carry the modesty and marks of the Lord Jesus. Daughters of God p 158
In these last days, those who love God will be pleading for souls and working with God for their salvation. God wants His daughters to dress with the modesty of Jesus so we can be true witnesses for Him.
But how can we know what true modesty looks like? Where do we turn to find out?
Only in the words of Inspiration can we find the definition of true modesty. In Ellen G. White's time, even worldly ladies weren't exposing the skin on their upper arms, shoulders, backs, breasts, legs and thighs that we see today. Many styles that we tend to think are perfectly modest by today's standard were declared to be immodest by the Lord's messenger. Today's fashion and what is acceptable in our day does not determine what is modest. That is why we need to study what God says is modest covering.
We will see that the near nakedness common today is an abomination to the Lord. Because this topic deserves a thorough investigation including the history of dress reform, it will be examined in another article. A study of inspiration will clearly reveal that exposing bare skin from the calves upward to the neck and outward to the mid upper arms is immodest.
Immodestly is much more than exposing bare skin by wearing revealing clothing. Here's another definition of immodesty:
Any device designed to attract to the wearer or to excite admiration is excluded from the modest apparel which God's word enjoins MH 287
This clears up a lot of questions. We can know that we are NOT dressing modestly if we are trying to attract attention to ourselves, or to excite admiration. Now, Sisters, when we go around telling each other, “That looks so cute on you!” what are we doing? Has their outfit attracted our attention or excited our admiration? Are we encouraging that sister to be modest or to be proud?
Do we put on our clothes hoping people will notice them? Do we want to be admired? Then we are not dressing modestly.
Of course this quote above also would include wearing skimpy and tight clothing, because that always attracts attention, and especially elicits admiration from those who have lust on their minds.
A woman who wears immodest clothing, which encompasses any attired that she is using to attract attention to herself, is generally successful in gaining positive attention. What kind of attention should she be receiving instead, according to God?
All exhibitions of pride in dress, which is forbidden in the word of God, should be sufficient reason for church discipline. 4T 647
Have we been guilty of exalting those who should be ashamed of their pride? Have we participated in admiring those who imitate the fashions of the world?
It is a shame to our sisters to so forget their holy character and their duty to God as to imitate the fashions of the world. 4T 641
Does God consider this a terrible sin?
There is a terrible sin upon us as a people, that we have permitted our church members to dress in a manner inconsistent with their faith. 4T 648
What tragic thing can happen to many of the brand new believers because of Seventh-day Adventist woman who follow fashion?
Many a soul who was convinced of the truth has been led to decide against it by the pride and love of the world displayed by our sisters. 4T 641
Imagine that! We work so hard to bring precious souls into our church, and then we turn around and drive them out by the way we are dressing! What a tragedy! Just what does God think of this?
The Lord is displeased with the pride manifested among His professed people. His is dishonored by their conformity to the unhealthful, immodest, and expensive fashions of this degenerate age. 4T 634
Now we will address a controversial subject that really shouldn't be controversial at all once we examine what God thinks. Are pants on a woman considered immodest by God? Consider the following:
There is an increasing tendency to have women in their dress and appearance as near like the other sex as possible and to fashion their dress very much like that of men, but God pronounces it abomination. CG 427
God pronounces it an abomination! It would certainly behoove God's children to stay away from any practice that He declares to be an abomination! Why does He speak so with such strong language?
God designed there should be a plain distinction between male and female dress, and has considered the matter of sufficient importance to give explicit directions in regard to it; for the same dress worn by both sexes would cause confusion, and great increase of crime. CG 427
Now, perhaps you are thinking, “But I don't wear men's jeans or slacks. The pants I wear are designed for women.” Well, are your pants similar to men's pants in any way? They are actually quite similar.
Consider this. The quote below is referring to the American Costume, which would be considered more modest than most anything we see in society today. It covered the arms down to the wrist, and the legs down to the ankles. And it wasn't clinging or tight or revealing either. Pants were worn under a short skirt that reached to the knees. And it was declared to be immodest.
Listen to what inspiration says:
This style of dress, God would not have his people adopt. It is not modest apparel, and is not at all fitting for modest, humble females who profess to be Christ's followers. God's prohibitions are lightly regarded by all who would advocate the doing away of the distinction of dress between males and females. 2 SM 277
Now, this American Costume wasn't just like men's clothing, because it had a knee length dress on top of the pants. No one would have mistaken a women wearing it for being a man. But God declared that the dress was too short and immodest for women to wear, even though her legs were covered with pants. It was too close to men's clothing to please God. The pants revealed too much of the leg, and the style had a mannish cut, so that made this outfit too close to men's attire.
From this, we can safely conclude that pants are considered immodest to God. Today we see our Seventh-day Adventist sisters wearing jeans and form fitting pants and pant suits. You can even see Seventh-day Adventist women pastors wearing pants as they preach their sermons. It has become acceptable in our church. How can we even imagine that this is acceptable to God as modest attire?
Dear sisters, this may be a hard message to hear. I know from experience how hard it is. If we have become accustomed to wearing jeans and pants, we come to absolutely love the way they look and feel on us. We don't want to be so different from the world. We may consider it a huge sacrifice to give up our pants. Besides, everyone else in the church is wearing pants!
But do we care what God thinks? Are we willing to conform to the Bible so that Christ is not ashamed of us?
Christ is ashamed of His professed followers. Wherein do we bear any resemblance to Him? Wherein does our dress conform to the Bible requirements? 4T 647
Are you wanting to go along with the crowd no matter what God thinks? Would you rather fit in with your peers or please God? If you have 20 close friends, do any of them dress according to God's plan? Think about this:
…Not one in twenty of the sisters who profess to believe the Testimonies has taken the first step in the dress reform. 1 T 465
That was over a hundred years about. Perhaps it's not one in a hundred now. So, if all your close fellow Seventh-day Adventist sisters dress immodestly, is that an excuse for you to do so?
God's people have, to a great extent, lost their peculiarity, and have been gradually patterning after the world, and mingling with them, until they have in many respects become like them. This is displeasing to God. 1T 525
In many ways, fashion is being kind to us right now. When I was just out of my teen age years, the mini skirt was the only acceptable style of dress for a young girl. If you walked down the street in a mid-calf length skirt, people gawked and stared at you as if you were some kind of freak. I know because I experienced the stares, and was it ever hard!
But, now, in this first decade of the new millennium, fashion has declared: “Hemlines take a dip to mid-calf and longer this fall. Add a longer-length skirt to your wardrobe to add a fresh perspective. Taller gals can go to near-ankle-lengths; shorter women look best in mid-calf lengths.” From Fashion.about.com
Ladies, you can be in style and wear long skirts! God is good to us. There is no excuse for us to dress in a way that is displeasing to God.
But even thought our long skirts may be in style, God's daughters will still look differently from the world.
Let them live out their profession, show their faith by their righteous works, and make the distinction plain between the Christian and the worldling. The words, the dress, the actions should tell for God. 4T 634
Our faith, if carried out, will lead us to be so plain in dress and zealous of good works, that we shall be marked as peculiar. 1T 275
When we have a true faith connection with God, we won't choose skirts that are tight, form fitting, flimsy and see-through, or with a slit that goes to our knees. There are modest skirts available and in style that don't have these immodest features.
And, in our choice of tops, we will choose these with modest necklines, and sleeve lengths. They won't reveal anything they shouldn't when we bend over or raise our arms.
Our appearance in every respect should be characterized by neatness, modesty, and purity. 6T 96
When we understand these principles, and incorporate them into our lives, our love for God will keep us alerted to the dangers of fashion.
God will have a people separate and distance from the world. And as soon as any have a desire to imitate the fashions of the world, that they do not immediately subdue, just so soon God ceases to acknowledge them as His children. 1T 137
This is a tremendously solemn thought. If we would come to recognize the horrible danger of imitating the fashions of the world as the deadly plague that it is, we will let God deliver us completely from the bondage of fashion. In our freedom, that old pull of the world won't torment us. We can wear our modest clothing with rejoicing and praise to God!
If we are willing, God will teach us His ways, so that
When the mind is fixed upon pleasing God alone all the needless embellishments of the person disappear. 4T 645
This whole topic is deeply spiritual, and those who are spiritually minded with hear it. We are promised:
If the heart is right, your words, your dress, your acts, will al be right. MYP 131
Each one of us has a choice to make. We all need to answer this question from deep within:
My sisters, your dress is telling either in favor of Christ and the scared truth or in favor of the world. Which is it? CG 420
I realize that the quotations included herein are brief sentences, and should be studied in their entire context. There is a wealth of inspired information regarding dress and appearance. This is vital information for us in this degenerate age.
I highly encourage you to do an in-depth study. Gwen Shorter has written an excellent book on this subject entitled “ Thy Nakedness ” that presents detailed information on this subject.
It is not my job to convict you; that's the Holy Spirit's job. I'm only presenting food for thought. I pray that you will not resist and rebel against God by refusing His authority over your life. We can't afford to choose our way over God's way.
Turning away from fashion may seem like a huge sacrifice. But any sacrifice made for Jesus brings rich rewards that are as yet unknown to us. God will more than make up for any sacrifice we make for Him.
My appeal to you, dear sister, is that you start moving in the right direction. Let God give you a willing heart. Don't become overwhelmed. Each little step in the right direction makes the next step that much easier. Just focus on moving in the right direction.
May your next shopping trip provide you with more modest attire than your last one.
May your next prayer for guidance be more sincere than your last one.
May the next testimony that you share be more vibrant than your last one.
And may you grow into the pure and chaste woman that Jesus desires to have in His kingdom. That is my prayer for you.