Take a 2nd look!

Dear BPCWA worshipper, News channels and tabloids ran articles last week featuring Met Gala in New York, attended by what are known as A-list guests from the who’s who of the celebrity world for “fashion’s most extravagant night”. Vogue magazine, globally renowned for its coverage of style, fashion, celebrities, and culture, calls this event the “Superbowl of fashion”.  A CNN online feature was entitled “Met Gala 2023 fashion: The best looks from the red carpet”. Other news stations ran similar articles, talking about “Met Gala Moments”, and fashion magazines were present to get the scoop firsthand. But you don’t need to look at hardcopy magazines to be exposed to the trends because they are also pushed to you via electronic media. This means that both adults and the young have easy access to and are met with them as they use the internet. So, the Christian must know the trends of what the world is trying to make you seek to conform to in contrast to the Christian principles and duties so that we are not influenced by the world without realising it.

The red carpet looks and message. What grabbed the headlines and the eyes of the photographers was, as expected, the fashion.  As in other Hollywood events, attendees would pose for photographs on the legendary red carpet. They were there for one purpose – to be seen. Men came in gowns, rose studded stoles, floral embellishments, bridal outfits complete with a long veil, while another “wore pearls, gems and silver body paint with a look that had little fabric but was meticulously executed by makeup”. Women came in gowns, some of which defied the conventional thinking of what gowns were, for the little fabric that hung around their bodies, leaving more of the body uncovered than covered. One unashamedly admitted that she “wanted to feel glamorous . . . dripping in pearls.”  Another had so much jewellery on her that even diamonds hung on her nails.  The world uses the phrase “dressed to kill” to convey the power and message of one’s attire. The fashion world is not ignorant of this, hence the rapt attention on the red carpet at events such as these. This was not just about dressing smartly. It was about making a loud statement. The intent was to be noticed and outdo one another to be brash and stand out, all in the name of couture and individuality. Do whatever it takes to capture attention and be admired – whether it is jewellery, nakedness veiled as an art form and fashion, or ostentatiousness. The more attention you get, the more famous you can be.

The Christian message. While many of us would probably not go to the same extent (nor do many have the means to do so), we must recognise the vanity behind all the hollow and sinful show of glitz and glamour. When we dress, we must remember that when Adam and Eve sinned, God clothed them to portray and remind them of His salvation. Though dress styles may change between countries and through the ages, this reminder must be the principle by which Christians are guided. Moreover, how we dress should portray a Christian character that does not run by, or seek to have, the same standards as the unsaved world around us. Hence, no Christian should be found in the fashion business if that business follows the principles described in the previous section. What are the principles for believers when it comes to fashion and trends? Some Christians today believe that it is “legalism and pharisaical” to talk about dress codes. But is it? Teens and young adults, do you get upset when dressing and grooming standards are mentioned by your parents or the church? Is it because you have been influenced by the social contagion of an obsession with fashion trends and its culture of seeking attention and being admired as being a fashionable person? Believers must remember that the Bible does give us instructions in 1Timothy 2:9-10, “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; (10) But (which becometh women professing godliness) with good works.” God does have an expectation of our adornment in 1Peter 3:3-5, “Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel; (4) 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. (5) For after this manner in the old time the holy women also, who trusted in God, adorned themselves, being in subjection unto their own husbands”, and in Deuteronomy 22:5 “The woman shall not wear that which pertaineth unto a man, neither shall a man put on a woman’s garment: for all that do so are abomination unto the LORD thy God”. Whether male or female, a Christian must be modest. The Christian’s idea about dressing is not about being odd and strange and it must certainly not be about seeking to follow the fashion of the world, drawing attention to self, or being ostentatious. Such an attitude betrays the fact that one does not have a meek and quiet spirit. Ultimately, both Paul and Peter wrote about the Christian’s grooming principle regarding hairstyle, adornments, and accessories. They are not to be about keeping up with the worldly trends and carnal ways of this world “. . . for the fashion of this world passeth away” (1 Cor 7:31). Rather than wanting to be like the world, the believer should focus on the inner person showing forth Christ in purity, meekness, and submission to God’s ways. These are what should define you, not the world’s fashion sense, when your friends think about you. This is our duty – to show forth Christ, not become like the world and lose our testimony for Him. Herein is our responsibility summarized in Romans 8:29,

“For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.”

Yours in our Lord’s service,