When I was a teenager in high school, I made fun of girls who wore skirts down to their ankles. Although I didn’t attend a church at that time, my parents instilled some Christian teaching into me and my sisters. I knew that clothes can’t get you into heaven. And they can’t. The bible clearly teaches that Jesus is THE way. No matter what we do or what we wear, we can’t earn a place in heaven. Our righteousness is as filthy rags. So why do some denominations have such a strict dress code? It didn’t make sense to me then and it doesn’t make sense to me now.
Recently, I cohosted a radio show entitled Denominational Divides. It was a great show and great fun. But towards the end of the show, when the listeners heard that I didn’t wear pants, they attacked. I found myself on the defensive and I didn’t quite know how to answer.
Let this blog post serve as my answer.
Let me say upfront that, I know many women of God who wear pants. I don’t doubt their salvation. I have seen God work through their lives to touch others.
I have identified myself as a Pentecostal, but there are many different variations of my denomination. I would like to clarify my beliefs and why I believe them. Though I have many friends that are, I am NOT Apostolic. I am NOT Holiness*. I am definitely NOT Oneness.
Because I grew up with a mixed Christian heritage, I have studied many doctrines and visited many different churches. I have found that congregational beliefs are best determined by examining church leadership rather than their ordinances and bylaws. For example, I know of a Baptist preacher who speaks in tongues, and I know a Holiness preacher who doesn’t. I agree with the original 16 Fundamental Truths of the Assemblies of God, therefore I attend an AofG church. We do not have a dress code, but we do believe in sanctification.
So, why don’t I wear pants?
To completely answer that question, I have to revisit the wonderful day Jesus saved me. My life was a wreck. I had everything that I wanted, but nothing that satisfied me. I had a great job, plenty of money, tons of friends, designer clothes, and about fifty pairs of shoes. I was miserable. Like Nicodemus, I went to Jesus and asked, “What must I do to be saved?” Jesus’ answer hadn’t changed in 2000 years. “You must be born again.” So at an altar I gave Jesus my life and let Him make me new. I was reborn. Over the next few years, radical changes took place in my life. I let Jesus place me on the potter’s wheel and mold me. Some changes were immediate and easy, some changes were difficult and occurred over time. But I am His and though I am not perfect, I try to be who He wants me to be.
A couple of years after I got saved and after I received the baptism of the Holy Ghost—with the evidence of speaking in tongues—I noticed that most of the ladies in our church didn’t wear pants. I wondered why, so I asked my pastor’s wife and she gave me her explanation with scriptural references. I went home and researched her answers. I didn’t agree with her opinions. I didn’t agree with her answers and decided skirt wearing wasn’t for me. But then a strange thing happened. Whenever I would dress in pants and leave the house an unseen hand would squeeze my heart. I couldn’t breathe. But if I wore a skirt, an inexplicable joy settled in my soul. I recognized this as conviction from God. Since I love Jesus, I changed the way I dressed to please Him. I have never regretted my decision. It was part of my sanctification, and because of it I grew closer to my Lord.
I have since been criticized because my skirts are too short, because I cut my hair, because I color my hair, and because the female characters in my Pentecostal books wear pants. How I dress is between me and God. I don’t dress to please men. When I stand in judgment, I will stand alone before God. My goal is to hear Him say, “Well done.”
What is your goal? To please men or God? I know of some ladies who dress a certain way and are miserable, because they are pleasing their pastor, their parents, or their husband. This breaks my heart, because Jesus said, “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28
Though we should dress modestly, we shouldn’tbe burdened down by people’s expectations. I believe in modesty and personal sanctification* NOT legalism.
*In I Peter 1:16, Peter references Leviticus 20:7“Sanctify yourselves therefore, and be ye holy: for I am the LORD your God.” I believe in Holiness living, because God calls his people to a higher standard. I don’t advocate dressing a certain way to please others. You will only make yourself miserable. I do believe we should strive to please our Savior. This includes our choice of clothing. Before I dress in the morning, I ask Him what He wants me to wear. I fell in love with Jesus, and I try to do the Father’s will to please Him.This is my story. Leave a comment and share yours.