worship & what we wear

March 26, 2014  - By Gretchen Saffles

Worship.

We are all worshippers. The question is never, am I worshipping? But daily we should ask ourselves,what/who am I worshipping? The definition of worship is “the act of worshipping God or a god.” We either worship the one, True God who is worthy of our affection or we worship little gods that deceive us into thinking they are greater than they are. One area that often gets worshipped in today’s culture is fashion and dress. We place our affections on clothing, things and affirmation (all of which won’t last). We spend countless hours  (and a lot of money) worrying about our looks, our closets and our appearance. Just like Romans 1:24-25, we worship the created and not the Creator.

In college, I majored in Fashion Merchandising. I loved my major and I love the art of dress. However, I lived a lot of years worshipping fashion, always needing the newest things and finding my worth in my looks. If I made any money in high school, it went straight to the clothing budget. But God began to show me there’s more to dress. It is not an area of our life that is exempt from worship. We either worship what we wear, or we worship through what we wear.

I recently had the privilege to share with the ladies at North Metro First Baptist Church the history and true meaning of fashion. Here’s a sneak peek into that talk.

North Metro First Baptist Church

North Metro First Baptist Church

in the beginning

In the Garden in Genesis 1, God created Adam and Eve in perfection. They were completely naked and unashamed. There wasn’t a need for clothing because there was no sin. Everything on earth was spotless, blameless and in right relationship with God. It wasn’t until Adam and Eve sinned that they realized their nakedness and tried to cover up. I can only imagine what they felt in that moment when both of their eyes “were opened, and they knew that they were naked.” Shame. Fear. Regret. I wonder what went through their minds as they sewed fig leaves together to cover themselves up. The first clothing in the history of mankind was a fig leaf. 

washed in the blood

Rose

Rose

But God’s amazing grace redeemed them from a life of “covering up” with things that wouldn’t last. In Genesis 3:21 God kills the first animal. The first death was a sacrifice by God to cover the sin of man. Blood was shed so that Adam and Eve would have sufficient covering. That is the grace of God. In the beginning, dress was never meant to be elevated. Clothes were never meant to be worshipped. Satan tempted Adam and Eve with things he knew wouldn’t satisfy. They settled for less than God’s best because they took their eyes off of their Creator and set them on the created.

Sin is the reason we wear clothing, grace is the reason it can be beautiful. Because of God’s mercy and Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross, we can worship through our dress. God is so loving that He makes all things beautiful that are surrendered to Him. Instead of worshipping the things we wear, we can worship the Creator of both our bodies and our clothing. Psalm 96:9 tells us:

“Worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness, tremble before him, all the earth.”

The Hebrew word for “beauty of holiness” is hadarah is which also means to worship in “holy attire.” Our dress isn’t something we claim for ourselves and our own enjoyment. It is a symbol of the grace of God meant to be enjoyed as a gift He redeemed. We should dress to honor Christ and not lift up ourselves. Because of God’s beautiful grace, we can create through what we wear and our love for Him can shine through our outer appearance. Our attitude affects how we look. When our hearts are set to praise Jesus in all things and lift up His precious name, our outer appearance glows.

All too often I’ve stressed over what I wear. I’ve spent too much time getting dressed and too much money wanting something new when what I have is enough. I’ve elevated my looks to an unhealthy degree and sought affirmation through my outfits. Christ continually sets me free of this, but it is a struggle that comes up quite frequently. Have you ever felt paralyzed when you went to your closet? Or like you just aren’t enough and it affects your entire day? Our bodies and our dress has been bought by the blood of Christ. We can be different, sisters.We can worship and create through our dress and honor our Creator. We can wear holy attire because we serve a holy God who has washed us white as snow!

dress

dress

Here are a questions I ask myself before I get dressed each day:

  • Does this display the Gospel, or distract from the Gospel?
  • Is what I am wearing going to bring someone down, make someone envious or cause them to struggle?
  • Does what I have on bring others freedom and encouragement?
  • Am I dressing to make myself known or to make Christ known?
  • Do I find my worth in my outfit or in my identity in Jesus?

John Piper defined worship as “being satisfied in God and cherishing Christ as gain.” All of life is worship. Including the moments we get dressed in the morning and go shopping. May we do everything for the glory of God who has redeemed us from wearing fig leaves and allows us to live in His grace and goodness everyday.

love,

Gretchen

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  1. Lindasallen@bellsouth.ney says:

    Thank you sweet girl for an honest-transparent post about our obsession with fashion! God also has worked on -and- in me about this very same thing! May we continue to press into Him and be attentive to His voice—that we may bring him glory and worship thru our dress! Keep on posting sister!

  2. miamwa@hotmail.com says:

    Love this post. I’ve been trying for a while to find (second-hand) items that will make my wardrobe more feminine, modest, and becoming of a Christian woman. It is difficult to find the balance between trying to dress nicely and not letting dress become more important than our hearts. Oddly enough my struggle has always been in not wanting to have too much attention. I’ll put on an outfit I really like and accessorize it nicely, then think no this is too fancy I don’t want people looking at me thinking I’m trying to show off. So I take off all but one simple accessory and change a nice jacket to an older sweater or something like that. Kind of strange, ever heard of a complex like that haha? Maybe it’s partially good but it feels fueled by guilt or fear or something… not quite sure… and that’s not good. I found the quote recently ‘Don’t be afraid to sparkle a little brighter’ and am trying to free myself so that others feel free too. Love the questions you’ve added at the end, these might become my true test each morning now instead of my own insecurities. <3 Thank-you for your beautiful and thought-provoking writing!

    • gretchen.saffles@gmail.com says:

      I completely agree and understand how you are feeling! I went to school for fashion and love dressing beautifully. I’ve learned that the Lord wants us to enjoy Him in everything – even through getting dressed. I can tell a difference though when I am dressing to please others or stressing about what I am going to wear. The Lord constantly brings me back to Matthew 6 when Jesus tells us not to worry about what we will eat, drink or wear. He is so good! He knew we would worry about this. 🙂 I want to encourage you to worship through your dress and enjoy Christ through it! He created you to bring Him glory, and for you to enjoy life and how He created you honors Him. I’ve styled women before and am always amazed that when they wear things they love and add accessories, they have the confidence they always wanted. 🙂 We only have one life to live and the Lord wants it to be in freedom and truth. Enjoy the beauty all around you and Christ in you. Your own confidence in who you are in Jesus will encourage and free other women! Praying for you today! So thankful for your comment! Keep in touch. 🙂

  3. This has to be one of the most beautiful blog post, I have read on modesty.
    Dressing to honour God & not having fashion as an idol. So powerful, thank you so much for sharing. I have been so blessd!!

    Nash oxo

  4. Richard Morgan says:

    DRESS AND KEEP

    Before sin the first man, Adam, was righteous and holy for he was made in the image of Father God our Creator. Given permission to eat of the tree of life, Adam was to continue in that perfect sinless body forever. (Genesis 1:26-27) “And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.” (Genesis 1:28) As it is written, “And the LORD God took the man Adam and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it.” (Genesis 2:15) Observed thru spiritual eyes: to dress would mean put on righteous garments and keep would mean maintain or preserve holiness. Adam (a living soul, Genesis 2:7) sinned against God and now knowing both “good and evil” saw his own nakedness. (Genesis 3:7, 3:22) But God in His Infinite wisdom, love and mercy gave us His only begotten Son, Jesus Messiah of Nazareth, the second Adam, a quickening Spirit! (1 Corinthians 15:45) Now having dressed these sin filthy bodies (Isaiah 64:6) in the righteous, redemptive and soul cleansing blood of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, Believers do not have to walk spiritually naked before God. Remember God is a Spirit having Spiritual eyes that see and know His own. “Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission (forgiveness) of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” (Acts 2:38) Christians are clothed in the righteousness of God through the precious shed blood of the Lamb of God without blemish, Jesus Christ. (Romans 3:22-26, 1 Peter 1:19) And by that perfect gift and power given of His Holy Spirit, Believers may continue to walk justified through faith forever keeping themselves (not grieving the Spirit) but continuing in His righteousness towards sanctification and holiness at the first resurrection to life; for the praise, honor and glory of God. For as it is written, “grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby you are sealed unto the day of redemption.” (Ephesians 4:30) Paul, the Apostle of Jesus Christ, says “I speak after the manner of men because of the infirmity of your flesh: for as you have yielded your members servants to uncleanness and to iniquity unto iniquity; even so now yield your members servants to righteousness unto holiness.” (Romans 6:19) “For when you were the servants of sin, you were free from righteousness. What fruit had you then in those things whereof you are now ashamed? for the end of those things is death. But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, you have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life.” (Romans 6:20-22) Dear Children of God, Adam failed to eat of “the tree of life in the midst of the garden”. (Genesis 2:9) Let’s not follow in the footsteps of first Adam who through Satan’s deception of his mind, heart and soul did willfuly disobey God and eat of the “tree of knowledge of good and evil” to receive a conscience (opening fleshy eyes) producing evil fruit unto death. (Genesis 2:17) If we choose Jesus by the grace and through faith, we have free access (no Cherubim guarding the way Genesis 3:24) to our “Spiritual Tree of Life.” And having eaten the “Bread of Life” our “Manna from heaven” (John 6:47-51) let’s also be “trees of life” the seed of Jesus yielding fruit after His kind (Genesis 1:11); sin no more; “Bring forth therefore fruits worthy of repentance.” (Luke 3:8) “And it shall be our righteousness, if we observe to do all these commandments before the LORD our God, as he hath commanded us.” (Deut 6:25)
    Adam relinquished his God given dominion of Creation to the Serpent, Lucifer. Christians can also lose sight becoming spiritually blind through consciences defiled by a hardened heart of self-deceit in willful and habitual sin against God and fellow man? “For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remains no more sacrifice for sins,” (Hebrews 10:26) “Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man. For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil.” (Ecclesiastes 12:12-13) Dear Brothers and sisters, let’s be like Job and turn from evil and hold fast that integrity given us by God. “He that is unjust, let him be unjust still: and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still: and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still: and he that is holy, let him be holy still.” (Revelation 22:11) I Pray The Holy Spirit “convince (convict) us of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment.” (John 16:7-9) Amen

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