Can I Wear Whatever I Want as a Christian?

By Vladimir Savchuk | November 9, 2023 | 5 mins

Can I Wear Whatever I Want as a Christian?

As Christians, our outward appearance is a testimony of our inner beliefs and values. The Bible places a strong emphasis on the spiritual state over the physical appearance, advocating for the beauty of the ‘hidden person of the heart’ adorned with a gentle and quiet spirit, which is precious in the sight of God (1 Peter 3:3-4).

However, as believers, we are also encouraged to dress modestly, reflecting our internal spiritual transformation.

The Importance of Dressing Modestly

1. A spiritual dress code is as important as a physical one.

The Scriptures tell us about the importance of the inward beauty we are to reflect and the spiritual dress code we are to value (1 Timothy 2:9-10, 1 Peter 3:3-4).

Isaiah 61:3 instructs us to wear a garment of praise, Ephesians 6:10-18 talks about wearing the full armor of God, Galatians 3:27 encourages us to clothe ourselves with Christ, and Colossians 3:12 tells us to wear compassion. It is evident through these Scriptures that our focus should not just be inwardly. Instead, our spiritual and physical attire should represent our faith and character.

2. The attire of believers must be distinct between genders.

God prohibits cross-dressing. Scriptures like Deuteronomy 22:5 state the clear boundaries for genders, discouraging crossdressing or any attire meant to deceive or misrepresent our God-given identity.

Women are to dress like women and men like men. However, this command does not mean that women should not wear pants, cut their hair short, or even wear a guy’s hoodie temporarily. The meaning here is to prohibit the cross-dressing done to deceive and make a man appear to be a woman and vice versa.

3. We should avoid dressing up in a way that’s associated with immorality.

Proverbs 7:10 tells us of the woman whose dress code reflected that of a harlot, and it says that her heart was crafty. Now, this passage demonstrates how the way she dressed was associated with immorality, lust, and seduction. However, this is not just for women. Men should also be dressing in a modest way. Clothes should not be a medium for seduction or lust. This applies to all cultural contexts, even though I am aware that modesty can depend somewhat on cultural norms.

Each believer should be discerning enough to know how to dress appropriately for the event, location, and season they are in.

4. Our dress code should reflect respectable apparel.

Paul’s words to young men about women’s attire in 1 Timothy 2:9-10 are not an outright ban on jewelry or elaborate hairstyles but a call for moderation. He was advising restraint in a context where they symbolized excess and vanity. He also goes on to say how we are to dress. Don’t dress in a way that draws inappropriate attention by underdressing or overdressing.

Dressing should reflect inner beauty and character without drawing undue attention or distracting from the focus on God.

Church and Stage Etiquette

At HungryGen, our etiquette when on stage is simple:

  • Make sure your appearance is appropriate for the gathering
  • Attitude matters; smile and maintain eye contact with people
  • Not too short, long, tight, baggy, liberal, or conservative
  • No graphic tees, especially if they don’t represent Christ well
  • Men shouldn’t have piercings
  • No nose rings
  • No ripped jeans
  • Must wear shoes

When on stage, the goal is to avoid distraction, ensuring that the focus remains on worshipping God and not on the speaker. This etiquette may be different for each congregation but generally encourages a balance between being fashionable and conservative to maintain a focus on the message, not the messenger.

Head Coverings and Modesty

The debate over head coverings, as discussed in 1 Corinthians 11:2-6, varies among Christian communities. The practice historically signifies modesty, respect, or mourning. If we dig into the history a little, we see that in Corinth, the Greek people were influenced by the Romans. So, prior to this, Greek women would stay at home, but after the Roman influence, wealthier women began to socialize more and not cover their heads. While in worship, men would cover their hair and women wouldn’t, bringing tension into the church because the women were seen as defying the established authority.

As a result, Paul writes this instruction telling men to keep their hair short (1 Cor. 11:4) and women to wear a head covering (1 Cor 11:5-6). The issue here had more to do with headship than just placing something over their heads (1 Cor. 11:3). Covering the head of a believing Corinthian wife, showed that she was under the authority of her husband and God.

In our culture, we no longer view women wearing a head covering as a sign of submission to their husbands. Instead, the attitude and behavior portray if a woman is walking in submission to her husband.

In all things, our appearance as Christians should be thoughtful, intentional, and reflective of the principles of our faith, always prioritizing the spiritual over the superficial.

Read: What Kind of Sex is Allowed in Marriage

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