As the weather warms up, we generally wear less and/or lighter clothing. There is nothing wrong with adjusting our clothing to fit the weather so long as our clothing adequately covers our bodies. The fashion of the world, of course, is to wear scanty, provocative clothing, especially when the weather is warm. Unfortunately, some in the church will be influenced more by the fashion of the world than they are by the word of the Lord.
Your Bible says, “I will therefore….that the women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety…” (1Timothy 2:8-9). Certainly the same is required of men. In case some woman wants to know what modest apparel is, then she should read verse 10: “But (which becometh women professing godliness) with good works.” It is modest if it is becoming; that is, if it is appropriate, suitable, and proper to women professing godliness.
It is a fact that times have changed, and styles have changed, and society has changed, but the word of God has not changed and human nature has not changed. Several years ago a well-known preacher wrote the following.
“What is wrong with mixed swimming? I can’t speak for the ladies, but I can speak for the men. There’s not an ordinary man who can look at a woman clad in nothing but a bathing suit for a long time without entertaining evil thoughts. ‘But,’ some will say, ‘it does not bother me.’ One who says that may be so young that his passions have not arisen, or he may be so old they have subsided, or he may be so ignorant he doesn’t know what is going on, or he may not be normal, or he may be lying. He fits into one of these five categories, or he is a spiritual giant; but spiritual giants don’t spend their time at mixed swimming parties.”
Our Lord warned against looking and lusting when He said, “Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery: but I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart,” (Matthew 5:27-28).
I know there are those who accuse anyone who warns against the evils of immodest dress of being “evil-minded.” This accusation has intimidated many preachers and caused them to stop preaching against immodest dress. I pray I might never be intimidated by such charges. I hasten to say also that the danger of lust is not the only reason Christians should dress modestly and decently. The matter of our good influence should be weighed carefully in determining how we are to dress.
In the forty-odd years I have been preaching I guess I have heard all the arguments as to why the Bible injunction with reference to modesty does not have to be obeyed. Here are some of them: “Nobody thinks about it anymore.” “In some cultures the women go bare-breasted.” “Time was when a woman was immodest if her ankle showed.” “Some are going to lust anyway.” And on, and on, and on the arguments go. But the real reason most members of the church persist in wearing clothing that is less than modest and decent is simply this: God’s will is not important enough for them to yield their own will to Him.
Bobby Duncan (deceased)