And such were some of you, Paul says to the church of Corinth. In 54 AD, the young church had a congregation made up of individuals that had once been fornicators, idolaters, adulterers, thieves, drunkards, revilers, and extortioners. 1 Corinthians 6:9-11
This is an extremely sobering verse and one that I must repeat to myself whenever I see a woman attending church in shamefully skimpy clothing. Without this reminder, I could easily become guilty of harboring an overly critical and judgmental spirit.
Dressing cute doesn't have to mean dressing provocatively
There are many within the Rock who believe that Christians should never be seen wearing provocative clothing. In agreeing with them, I am reminded that not long ago, I too was one of those girls who enjoyed wearing revealing clothing. My arguments in defense of this were many: it prevented the formation of unsightly tan-lines, it was fashionable, it was more comfortable on hot days, I have the freedom to dress however I wished.
In college, my wiser Christian roommates would look reproachfully upon my choice of clothing. "Don't you think you're gonna stumble someone with that outfit?" they would ask. My unconcerned reply was always, "I can't control what other people think."
I once owned a little of everything that one could label as "hoochy:" backless tops, see-through shirts, mini-skirts, teeny-weeny bikinis, ultra lowrisejeans, etc. In all honesty, it can be a tempting power trip to put on a low-cut top and be able to turn heads, but I have learned that to do so is a sin, and not a single person is ever edified by this practice.
Why have my tastes and opinions changed? Maybe it is because I have since gotten married and no longer appreciate the extra attention. My body now belongs to my husband as well as to the Lord, and there are some parts of it that should not be revealed to any other person. 1 Corinthians 7:4 Or maybe it is because I have finally found a small group that suits me and have met some mighty men of God there whom I would never wish to offend. Or maybe my attitude on this subject has changed simply because I am a little older and more conservative now and see girls as young as seven walking around in tube tops and distastefully short shorts.
What the Bible Says
Remember that a Godly man looks at the heart
1 Samuel 16:7 states that though man looks at the outward appearance... the Lord looks at the heart. While this is true, it is also true that outside appearances can reflect a little of what is hidden in the heart. Dressing like a prostitute often signifies crafty intent. Proverbs 7:10 Women need to reevaluate their intents and motives of why they choose the clothes that they wear.
An immodest choice of clothing can result in only one of three reactions: lust, covetousness, and avoidance. A strong, Godly man will make a valiant effort to avert his eyes, but others will struggle to keep from looking and lusting. Jesus said that to lust after a woman is the same as committing adultery with her. Matthew 5:28 Although women have no control over what and how men think of them, they do have control over what clothes they purchase and put on.
Likewise, women themselves may be stumbled by the immodest dressing habits of other females. Because almost all women are unhappy with and insecure about their own bodies, seeing the nakedness of other women causes them to covet the physical features that they lack.
There are times when the latest clubwear styles still call out to me as I walk through the mall, but before temptation gets the best of me, I remind myself that I have been sanctified and washed of my old habits and am now justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. By the power of the Spirit of our God, you can be cleansed too.