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First Samuel 16:7b declares, "The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart." First Timothy 2:9-10 tells us, "I also want w...
This is one of those really sticky issues where the interpretation depends on culture and on our own heart-condition as well as whether we believe we should adhere to the letter or the spirit of a command. I know groups that believe it is wrong to wear certain colors, certain fabrics, wedding rings, and even certain shoes. First, we need to ask ourselves about the historical context and the over-all purpose of these commands. (What exactly were these commands trying to correct?) If you study this, you'll find that 1st century Roman women were quite vain and really dressed to impress in a way that we'd find incredibly gaudy: lots of jewels, hair braided in incredible styles that were sometimes enhanced with precious stones, and silk clothing. Consider this quote from Pliny about Lollia Paulina, wife of Emperor Caligula, "I have seen her entirely covered with emeralds and pearls strung alternately, glittering all over her head, hair, bandeau, necklaces and fingers, the value of all which put together amounted to the sum of forty millions of sesterces, a value she was ready to attest by producing the receipts." Clothing like this was intended to generate envy, and REALLY intensified the distinction between the haves and the have-nots. It was completely antithetical to the teaching that all Christians, rich or poor, were brothers and sisters and equal before the throne of grace. The vast wealth that this clothing reflected was also often created by the exploitation of slaves and the poor, which God hates. So this is the context in which these commands were issued and this is probably the issue that the Apostles were trying to correct: over-dressing for social status, to generate envy, or to stand out in a worldly way and separate oneself from the hoi polloi in the Assembly. (As a side note, however. Early Christians apparently did NOT dress in strange or unusual ways to attract attention (Epistle to Diognetus) other than their clothing being perhaps a little more restrained or modest. Their clothing fitted in with the cultures in which they were a part.) For ourselves, we have to ask some personal questions of our conscience: Does my denomination/my conscience believe we should adhere to the spirit or the letter of commands such as this? Does my denomination believe that a Christian should stand out because of his or her distinctive dress? Is MY clothing intended to generate attention or envy, to put others down, to show that I'm a super-Christian, or to otherwise give myself a pat-on-the-back? Or do my clothes show that I love my poorer brothers and sisters enough to try to make them feel comfortable around me and that I love the lost enough to be a good witness? Do my clothes or jewelry reveal personal greed in my heart? In other words, how's my charity-life? Am I storing up treasure here on Earth? For men: Do these verses only apply to women? Even a man can feel proud of his Armani suit or Italian-made shoes. Does the wearing of gold or pearls really have the same significance in the U.S. that it had in 1st century Rome? Probably not. "Gold" and "pearls" out of the gum-ball machine are so common now in most American cultures that few people even notice them unless someone has rings on every finger. What does my jewelry/clothing/makeup say to non-Christians in my area? Does it make me look strange, gaudy, greedy, or do people see "me" and think of what I "DO" in the community rather than remember my clothing? Everything we do should be out of love and concern for others' salvation. As for makeup, some groups bring out a lot of scriptures linking (heavy) makeup to prostitutes. Much of our makeup today worn by conservative Christian women is not particularly noticeable, in fact, it probably tends to make a woman stand out LESS because it evens out the complexion and reduces scars. Each of us has to examine the verses, examine our conscience, ask questions about stewardship (is buying a lot of designer clothes, jewelry or expensive makeup a good use of God's money? Some precious stones are a very poor investment even from a worldly point of view.) and look at our own heart-attitudes. In the end, all that will matter is whether or not we will one day wear a robe of fine, white linen, that was washed in the precious blood of our Savior.
1 Peter makes it clear that it is a heart issue...our beauty is to come from within, but this does not preclude us from beautifying or adorning ourselves outwardly. Song of Solomon talks about a man reveling in his wife's outward beauty. God made us pleasing to one another; this is good and we SHOULD do this for one another! It really comes down to whether we make our or another's beauty (or for that matter health or fitness) an idol. Are we proud of our fine clothing, jewelry, makeup? God forbid. We are daughters of the Most High King and that is where we should boast.
I once visited a church where all the woman wore long dark dresses or skirts with baggy blouses, no belts & nary a short haired gal in the bunch. No make up, no jewelry, all as plain as could be. Their music was stifled, their singing was without any joy & nearly mute & the reception that I received as a visitor was cold & almost hateful. The sermon was filled with so many "don'ts", "must not's" & "dare not's," that I could not keep up with all of them. It was as though the same Scriptures were read every week to make sure that everyone there knew the "rules." There was no gospel, no praise or worship, just harshness like I have never seen or heard. This congregation referred to themselves as Christians. Peter spoke by the unction of the Holy Spirit when he said that it should be the hidden man of the heart, "with the incorruptible beauty of a gentle & quiet spirit" that is precious in the sight of GOD. (1 Peter 3) It was Paul who spoke by the Spirit when he said, "I myself always strive to have a conscience without offense toward GOD & men." (Acts 24:16) I did not see true humility in that congregation. Instead, it was spiritual pride in their lack of adornment, their devotion to "plainness." Nor did I see a striving to have a conscience without offense toward GOD or men. What I did see was their determination to be bound by their observance of the rules. Had an angel been in their midst (Hebrews 13:2) he would not have received any hospitality. In 1 Corinthians 13:1 Paul said, "though I speak with the tongues of men & of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal." Speaking in tongues was a manifestation of the Holy Spirit, just as the "fruit of the Spirit" (Gal. 5:22-23) are manifestations of His Spirit. Love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness & self-control. All these are the work of the Holy Spirit. Not partially, but in full. We can't add to His work within us, we can only submit. What I am saying is this: if speaking in tongues, a work of the Holy Spirit, but having no love is like sounding brass or clanging cymbal, then the fruit of His Spirit which are most certainly His work in us, if stifled, are perhaps like the same sounding brass & clanging cymbal. If we are walking in the humility of the Holy Spirit, it will be authentic, not a pretense. GOD is looking at the condition of the heart & the fruit of the Holy Spirit that we display. Not how drab our clothing is or how unadorned we may be. Both men & women can appear to be as plain as an old unfrosted donut, but if their lives are filled with spiritual pride, lacking true humility, without the fruit of His Spirit, no matter how plain they may appear, they will be as sounding brass & clanging cymbal.
The issue is moderation in all we do, not only in the wearing of make-up or jewelry but also in eating, drinking and making merry, that is, celebrations. A daughter of Zion should not dress or decked with jewelry 'to kill' as it is often said in social arena, but to edify the name of The Lord. Therefore, any making-up or jewelry wearing that causes occasion for others to stumble should be avoided. In years gone by, I have seen some so called Christian women dressed in attires that do not represent what they profess to be. They made sure they come late to church, causing people to stare because of their noisy steps. They definitely cannot claim to be serving God as they not only come late to church so that people will notice their dressings, they also caused distractions by trying to get to sit on the front pews. I believe that in all that we do as Christians we must allow the Spirit of God to guide us.
As a Christian, I wear absolutely no make-up or jewelry. Ever. Before you begin debating whether or not to do something, you should ask yourself: Will this please my Lord? You should spend some time in prayer. Seek to find the Lord's will. Does he or doesn't he want you to wear make-up or jewelry? Seek, and you will find. The Lord has shown me that I should not wear make-up or jewelry. Let me show you the reasons. First, ask yourself this question: why am I wearing make-up and/or jewelry? What is the reason? What is my intention? Most usually, the answer is: I'm trying to fit in, or I guess I'm trying to please others, or I'm not pretty enough. Well, let's look at the following verses. Colossians 3:1-2 Galations 1:10 Mathew 6:24 Ephesians 6:6 Colossians 3:23 We are supposed to please the Lord, not men. Is make-up and jewelry pleasing to God? King James Bible 1 Timothy 2:9 In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with decency and propriety; not with braided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array; If you think of it, plus bring the above verse into mind, there is really NO reason we should be wearing make-up and jewelry. The only reason we do it is to please men, which we mustn't do. Let's address the third concern: I'm not pretty enough. Make-up is just what it is: make up. I am making up. Why are you not pretty enough? Why do you even want to be pretty? To please men? No, Christians should work to please God, and not men. According to the worldly standards, you may not be "pretty." But God created you just how you're supposed to be. He made you as pretty as you are supposed to be. He did not make any mistakes. I hope this helps you as you pray and ask God for guidance.
I agree, the point is moderation. Neither men nor women should dress like "the world". I do agree with a dear, departed preacher who stated: "If the barn needs paint, put some paint on it". He did tone that statement "use moderation". There's certainly nothing wrong with looking good. I have personally commented that any guy contemplating marriage needs to be cautious If marrying a lady who uses a lot of make up. He may wake up one morning after his dearly beloved has removed all the paint, liner and lashes and think he was in the bed with a strange woman! For your consideration I have posted Isaiah 3 wherein the prophet indicts both the men and women of Israel. Sounds very much like our modern day culture, doesn't it? Judgment is inevitable, otherwise God would be a liar. Isaiah 3 JUDGMENT ON JUDAH AND JERUSALEM 1 For behold, the Lord God of hosts is taking away from Jerusalem and from Judah support and supply, all support of bread, and all support of water; 2 the mighty man and the soldier, the judge and the prophet, the diviner and the elder, 3 the captain of fifty and the man of rank, the counselor and the skillful magician and the expert in charms. 4 And I will make boys their princes, and infants shall rule over them. 5 And the people will oppress one another, every one his fellow and every one his neighbor; the youth will be insolent to the elder, and the despised to the honorable. 6 For a man will take hold of his brother in the house of his father, saying: "You have a cloak; you shall be our leader, and this heap of ruins shall be under your rule"; 7 in that day he will speak out, saying: "I will not be a healer; in my house there is neither bread nor cloak; you shall not make me leader of the people." 8 For Jerusalem has stumbled, and Judah has fallen, because their speech and their deeds are against the Lord, defying his glorious presence. 9 For the look on their faces bears witness against them; they proclaim their sin like Sodom; they do not hide it. Woe to them! For they have brought evil on themselves. 10 Tell the righteous that it shall be well with them, for they shall eat the fruit of their deeds. 11 Woe to the wicked! It shall be ill with him, for what his hands have dealt out shall be done to him. 12 My people - infants are their oppressors, and women rule over them. O my people, your guides mislead you and they have swallowed up the course of your paths. 13 The Lord has taken his place to contend; he stands to judge peoples. 14 The Lord will enter into judgment with the elders and princes of his people: "It is you who have devoured the vineyard, the spoil of the poor is in your houses. 15 What do you mean by crushing my people, by grinding the face of the poor?" declares the Lord God of hosts. 16 The Lord said: Because the daughters of Zion are haughty and walk with outstretched necks, glancing wantonly with their eyes, mincing along as they go, tinkling with their feet, 17 therefore the Lord will strike with a scab the heads of the daughters of Zion, and the Lord will lay bare their secret parts. 18 In that day the Lord will take away the finery of the anklets, the headbands, and the crescents; 19 the pendants, the bracelets, and the scarves; 20 the headdresses, the armlets, the sashes, the perfume boxes, and the amulets; 21 the signet rings and nose rings; 22 the festal robes, the mantles, the cloaks, and the handbags; 23 the mirrors, the linen garments, the turbans, and the veils. 24 Instead of perfume there will be rottenness; and instead of a belt, a rope; and instead of well-set hair, baldness; and instead of a rich robe, a skirt of sackcloth; and branding instead of beauty. 25 Your men shall fall by the sword and your mighty men in battle. 26 And her gates shall lament and mourn; empty, she shall sit on the ground. "
My feeling has long been that society's standards of beauty are far too high and rising all the time. This creates perhaps not so much temptation, as people are used to these standards and to seeing those who conform to them. The 'beautiful people' do not stand out, but those of us who cannot keep up or attain the standards stick out like sore thumbs to others. This handicaps us more and more in life issues such as finding employment, love, and social support. Aging and health also take a toll on appearance. We do not need excessive modesty nor great adornment, but godly acceptance and love for all.
God does look on the inside, but when you wear jewelry what does it pertain to? 1 Timothy 2:9-12 KJV "In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with braided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array; But (which becometh women professing godliness) with good works. Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection. But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence". To me the scripture is pretty straightforward; the Lord obviously does not want us to decorate our bodies with gold and silver and make ourselves look like Jezebel. It was Jezebel that had the make up, it was Jezebel that had the jewelry that seduced Ahab. Her wickedness was such that she was eaten by dogs, and all that was left of Jezebel was her face and fingers. This was because she was full of make up and she had her nails colored. Men should not wear jewelry either, and that goes for watches that bling in everyone's face. God does want us to be humble and he does look on the heart, but what's on the inside should reflect the outside. If God wants us to be humble and holy on the inside and clean shouldn't we be clean on the outside? So, you have to ask yourself what is the definition of clean. If you were to drink a glass of water, would you choose the glass that was dirty on the inside but clean on the outside, or clean on the inside and dirty on the outside? I believe that most people would choose the glass which was clean on both the inside and the outside. The Lord tells women not to cut their hair, so if the Lord cares about things such as hair why would He not care about things such as jewelry and make up? I am an apostolic, and my wife is beautiful without makeup. She wears holiness skirts and she is very modest, but she makes it look very good. She does her hair just right to make sure that she's clean and appropriate and modest. She is consecrated to the Lord, and she does not need her make up nor jewelry to make her look any more attractive. Hollywood has taken a huge effect on this earth, telling women and men to look a certain way and to wear certain clothes or else they will not be accepted. To the Christian that should not matter. When the Hebrews came out of Egypt, the problem was Egypt, it was not out of Israel. They had to let go of the earrings and the jewelry and the make up and the things that they were taught in Egypt. In today's society, women feel like if they don't have a mask of make up and jewelry with the nicest clothes then society will not accept them or call them beautiful. I feel like I look at women and they try so hard and they tell me that not because they tell me over their mouth but through their clothes and the way they dress just looking for somebody to care about them and tell them they look pretty. It comes down to insecurities how we feel about ourselves. I'm not saying let yourself go I'm saying there's so many ways a woman can take care of herself without makeup and jewelry in tight pants, and where does it end? Tight pants turn into short shorts, and then tight shirts turn into low-cut shirts, and it is a downward spiral. I've read through some of the answers that have been told to you, saying it doesn't matter what you wear because God only looks at your heart. But like I said, the cleanliness of the inside should match up with the cleanliness of the outside, because that is the cup that God wants to drink from in your life.
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