Tackling the Issue of Summertime Attire (Non-legalistically)

May 7, 2009

by Shawn Brasseaux

Summertime is the time of year when many people are prone to take off nearly every piece of clothing—some people are not ashamed to take everything off… in public! While I have this opportunity, I would like to lovingly and gently remind you to please have discretion regarding your Christian testimony. I want to show you how you as a Christian should go about this issue of “summertime attire,” (non-legalistically, of course).

First, consider what the Apostle Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 6:18-20 KJV:

“18 Flee fornication. Every sin that a man doeth is without the body; but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body.
19 What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?
20 For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.”

We as members of the Church the Body of Christ, we are “set apart” from the world. The Bible term for this is “sanctified.” We are chosen to serve the Lord, and our bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit. Our bodies are not our own, they are God’s because we have been bought with a price—Jesus Christ’s sinless blood. In other words, our bodies were not bought with a cheap price! We need to be bringing glory and honor to the Lord with our bodies, so that means we cannot be dressing carelessly.

Our old nature of sin and carnal living was put to death with Christ on the cross of Calvary: our “old man” is dead (Romans 6:6; Colossians 3:5)! If you are not a lost person, why behave like one? We should be representing our homeland, Heaven, as Philippians 3:20 says: “For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ:” The world cannot see Christ in His physical body; instead, they see Him as He lives in us Christians. You have the choice of fulfilling the lusts of the flesh, or being submissive to God’s will. See, it is a choice you make—no one forces you, not God, not me, not anyone. You make that choice by faith in God’s Word to us (Paul’s epistles).

As a man, I know that men have an inclination to feel lustful toward women dressed in extra-short shorts, tight clothing, and skimpy skirts. Men are “turned on” via their sense of sight—this is how God designed the man. That is why it is important to note that these types of revealing clothing are only to be worn in the presence of your spouse: there is nothing wrong with a husband wanting his wife because of her appearance. The danger is when everyone dresses in revealing clothing for everyone else to see, which has obviously become a major problem these days.

Paul told Timothy to instruct Christian women to dress in “modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety…” (2 Timothy 2:9). Now, this is where we address this topic from the non-legalistic point-of-view. This does not mean that you have to be covered from head to toe in a robe all summer, it simply means to dress properly. While modesty also applies to men’s appearance, the Holy Spirit addresses women dressing modestly because men especially would lust when it came to articles of clothing. Also, remember the context of Paul’s writing: first century pagan Gentiles with their promiscuous priestesses (like in the city of Corinth)—God did not want His female Christians resembling prostitutes in their attire.

This summer, you have the choice to dress modestly and respectfully, honoring the Lord and your body. Of course, you can find decent summertime clothing to wear to the pool, to the beach, or wherever: after what I have seen in stores, these products are rare indeed, but you can find something the Lord would approve! 🙂 Keep searching.

How many times have I quoted the verse? We are “ambassadors for the risen Christ.” We cannot live loosely like the lost world and expect to win the lost world to Christ. We need to be separate from their lifestyles. All I can do is beseech (beg) you on the basis of these Bible verses to do the right thing. Ultimately, it is your decision. I will not force anything, and neither will God. You have the option of living as shameful and as carnal as you like, but you will be a miserable Christian. And remember, you would also be using grace as a license to sin….

I wish you a wonderful summer, and may you glorify Him always, the Lord Jesus Christ who loved you, and gave Himself for you!