The Christian's Manner of Dress

There is a way of dress that complements the Christian and his high calling. Paul writes to the Philippians, "Only let your conversation [manner of life] be as it becometh the gospel of Christ" (Philippians 1:27). An individual's manner of dress is like a window providing a look into his heart. It makes a clear statement of his estimation of himself and reveals who is the master of his life. God's will is for the human form to be adequately covered, not displayed. The true disciples of Christ have always been known for their modest dress. 

Satan uses various methods to undermine God's standard of modest dress. There is apparel that is worn mainly as an ornament or for display, rather than simply as a covering for the body. The proud heart of man is gratified by fashionable and showy things. Proverbs 21:4 says, "An high look, and a proud sin." Suggestive attire draws attention to the human form and promotes lustful thoughts and desires. Clothing that fits tightly or insufficiently covers the body attracts attention, arousing the passions of the opposite sex, and contributes to immorality. It is especially alarming that many people profess godliness but show little regard for modesty and purity. Man is ignoring God's will in the matter of dress.

The words of Paul in 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 lay a scriptural foundation for humility in dress. "What? Know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's." Notice that the apostle does not say that a Christian may glorify his body. Rather, he is to glorify God in his body and in his spirit.

Writing to Timothy, Paul further gives the general principles of a Christian's dress. When addressing women, he writes, “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; But (which becometh women professing godliness) with good works" (1 Timothy 2:9-10). Peter also writes that women should shun "that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel; But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price" (1 Peter 3:3-4). "Putting on of apparel" means clothing other than that which is used for the sake of decency. There is a manner of clothing the body that is appropriate for the Christian. On the other hand, there is a type of clothing that is carefully chosen to draw attention to one’s self and leaves a different impression than that of a humble and sincere Christian. In Proverbs 6:16-17 we read that even a proud look is an abomination to God.

Complete text of: The Christian's Manner of Dress

The fashions of the world are so alluring because they appeal to man's vain pride. Some people want so strongly to be identified with the latest trend that even their common sense is overruled and they become a slave of fashion. This is the sad condition of those who profess Christianity but do not embrace the Biblical principle of modesty and simplicity in dress.

Customs may vary from one culture to another, but most societies make some distinction between the clothing of a man and that of a woman.

Romans 12:1-2 is applicable to this subject. "I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God." This is a beautiful invitation to offer our lives to the Lord in every way. While these verses do not refer only to the way of dress, they do suggest that a holy beauty will radiate from those who are surrendered to God's will. We are blessed when the attire of the physical body witnesses to the presence of Christ in our lives.

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The Lost Sheep

The searching shepherd, sheepfold

“What man of you, having an hundred sheep, if he lose one of them, doth not leave the ninety and nine in the wilderness, and go after that which is lost, until he find it? And when he hath found it, he layeth it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he cometh home, he calleth together his friends and neighbours, saying unto them, Rejoice with me; for I have found my sheep which was lost” (Luke 15:4-6).

Jesus the True Shepherd

The following story illustrates Jesus’s love and care for all people. A shepherd had one hundred sheep. He loved his sheep and kept them in a pleasant valley deep within the mountains. The valley was a safe place, but the mountains were dangerous. “The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters” (Psalm 23:1-2).

Sometimes the shepherd led his sheep into the mountains to find pasture. The shepherd watched over the sheep, protected them, and then led them back to the safety of the valley before darkness fell. When they reached the sheepfold, the careful shepherd counted the sheep as they went through the gate. “Then said Jesus… I am the door of the sheep… by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved” (John 10:7, 9).

A Sheep Is Lost

Complete text of: The Lost Sheep

Lost Sheep bramble

One evening the shepherd counted only ninety-nine sheep. One of the sheep was still out on the mountain! Curious about the world around him, that sheep had fallen behind. Green tufts of grass lured him away from the trail. He stopped to investigate flowers, trees, and bushes he had never noticed before. Captivated by his discoveries, he forgot about following the shepherd and was left far behind. As evening came, he suddenly realized that he was alone and far from home. He was afraid and began to run. In his confusion he went the wrong way. He could not find the shepherd, the sheep, or the path home.

Night fell and a storm came. The lost sheep huddled under a bush, soaked and miserable. “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way” (Isaiah 53:6). Eventually the thunder and the rain ceased. The noises and shadows of the night frightened the sheep into running again. Thorns tore him and he began to bleed. Behind him, howling wolves found his trail and gave chase.

The Searching Shepherd

The searching shepherd, sheepfold

When the shepherd realized the sheep was missing, he shut the gate to the sheepfold, took his staff, and returned to the mountain. The shepherd also faced the storm and the darkness. He was hungry, wet, and cold. He often stopped to call for the sheep, but he heard no reply. He was tired, but persistently continued to search. When the shepherd heard the howls of the wolves in the distance, he knew his sheep was in great danger. He urgently set off in that direction. Could the sheep be rescued before it was too late?

The lost sheep also heard the howls of the wolves. He continued to run until he was weak and exhausted. He did not realize the cruel wolves were chasing him into a trap. Night fell upon a dreadful scene. The sheep was caught by thorns near the edge of the cliff. He was bleeding, exhausted, and surrounded by wolves. He struggled pitifully, but he could not save himself. It seemed he had reached his end. All that he could do was cry out for help.

The Sheep Is Rescued

Sheep caught, wolves, Shepherd rescuing

The shepherd heard and came quickly! Fearlessly he faced the wolves and drove them away. He went to his crying sheep and gently pulled him out of the thorns and away from the edge of the cliff. He bathed his wounds and applied healing ointment. Then he took him in his arms and tenderly carried him home. The lost sheep had been found. “So will I seek out my sheep, and will deliver them” (Ezekiel 34:12).

We are all like the lost sheep. Jesus, the Good Shepherd, loves us and has a safe place for us. There is also an enemy that wants to destroy our soul. Satan tempts us with many enticing things, promising security and good times. In the end, his promises leave us empty. The happiness and fulfillment that Satan offers is false and elusive. We become frustrated and afraid; we are injured and torn. We wander blindly and cannot escape.

Thankfully, Jesus has provided a way of escape. He is still seeking those who have been lured away by Satan and are trapped by his devices. “For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost” (Luke 19:10).

Jesus says in Matthew 11:28, “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” We need to pray to Jesus, acknowledging our sin and asking for forgiveness. We then commit our lives totally to Him, leaving our sinful ways. Jesus died for us and paid for our sins with his blood so we can be clean and free before God. There is much rejoicing in heaven when a lost sheep is found and carried by the Shepherd into his sheepfold. “And if so be that he find it, verily I say unto you, he rejoiceth more of that sheep, than of the ninety and nine which went not astray” (Matthew 18:13).

Sheep rescued

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Just a Little Drink Why Not?

So drinking is your own business? Indeed it is! At least up to a point.

You’re right, man has used alcohol for thousands of years to brace up the faint, to cheer up festivities, to drown out his problems. So you say moderate drinking is all right.

Moderate drinking? When does moderate drinking develop into intemperance? You can go to any rescue mission and hear the same story over and over. The person had money, prestige, a good job, a fine family, but then all at once, or so it seemed, he was on the skids. It all started with a little drink that “won’t hurt.” The very thing that had made him friends had turned on him and had caused his ruin. The biblical warning, “Wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging: and whosoever is deceived thereby is not wise” (Proverbs 20:1), had now been proven in his own life. And the drink demon had not been satisfied until the victim hit bottom.

Many traffic accidents are caused by those whose judgment has been impaired by alcohol. Rosita W. hadn’t drunk much; she could still drive her car. She did, and forced another car into the path of an oncoming truck. The result: four cars piled up, six people dead, a whole family wiped out. Rosita went free, walked away from the carnage unhurt—except for the responsibility.

Kenneth, a minister on his way to a mission, was driving his car on the right side of the freeway. Then, without warning, a car came hurtling through the snow flurry, head-on, killing him, his wife, and a passenger, and injuring their little son for life.

Complete text of: Just a Little Drink Why Not?

So it’s your own business if you drink? Well, that’s what many drinking drivers say. The victims of such drivers think differently—at least those who are still able to think.

It’s your own business if you drink? What about a wife, a husband, children? How much abuse, neglect, shame, and insecurity do they suffer when you drink? Many a promising marriage has been wrecked as a result of alcohol.

The young man and woman, pure, well-intentioned, after a few drinks lost their inhibitions, and the blight of sin set in to haunt them the rest of their lives.

But you say you can quit anytime you want to. You are sure you will quit before you plunge too deeply. But wait! Two young women, out to see the magnificent Grand Canyon, stepped past the guardrail to the very edge. A little gust of wind came, and one of them plunged to her death on the rocks below. Avoidable? Yes—if they had followed the safety rules.

He who drinks is breaking the rules, is leaving the guardrail behind, and is on his own. It’s the first step into sin. The plunge to the point of no return is now possible anytime.

It is sin. The Bible warns against drinking. It says:

“Who hath woe? Who hath sorrow? Who hath contentions? Who hath babbling? Who hath wounds without cause? Who hath redness of eyes? They that tarry long at the wine; they that go to seek mixed wine. Look not thou upon the wine when it is red, when it giveth his colour in the cup, when it moveth itself aright. At the last it biteth like a serpent, and stingeth like an adder” (Proverbs 23:29-32).

The Bible, however, offers hope to those enslaved by alcohol. Joe is an example of the person who took advantage of the promises in the Bible. Joe had brought shame to himself and to his family. He was on his way to becoming a slave to drink. Then one day he remembered the words of Jesus: “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28). He prayed, committing his life to God. With forgiveness came peace in his heart. His burden of sin disappeared. His desire for drink left him, and he was on his way to a new life.

So you can drink if you want to! That’s your responsibility, your sin, and in the end, your remorse.

Instead, do like Joe did. The Lord has called you to holy living. Your life is not altogether your own. You have to give an account of what you do with your body, and what you do to your spirit. “Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?” (1 Corinthians 3:16). Alcohol destroys; God’s Holy Spirit builds. Living for God helps develop the best in you; alcohol has a tendency to bring out the worst in you.

Call upon the Lord. Ask His forgiveness. He will fulfill the deepest desires of your heart.

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