I just read about a fashion show in a church in New York scheduled to take place on Sabbath [insert shocked face]. All I can think of is what happened to my church? Is this what the Jewish nation was doing right before Jesus came as a babe? Can a fashion show finish the work?
Now, I will be the first to say that I have struggled with dress. I like to shop, I liked to be fancy and I loved fashion. To be frank I actually took part in a “SDA” fashion show my freshman year of college and attended another in my senior year. And, let me tell you I was the furthest from God during those times and I didn’t grow one bit spiritually after attending. “Consider the lilies,” Jesus said, “how they grow: they toil not, they spin not; and yet I say unto you, that Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. If then God so clothe the grass, which is to day in the field, and to morrow is cast into the oven; how much more will he clothe you, O ye of little faith?” Why is dress so important to us that we desire to display ourselves in front of people who cannot put us in heaven, but certainly can take us down to hell?
When Adam and Eve sinned, their first reaction was to cover their shame with fig leaves. These fig leaves were a symbol of their self-righteousness. They had destroyed themselves and decided to cover with what they thought could give them peace from their sin. Then they hid themselves from God. After clothing themselves with their own self-righteousness, they then run from the only Person that could restore them and cover their nakedness. God has given us His robe of righteousness in place of our self-righteousness. Why then do we wear the fashions of this world and go to see others displayed with the world’s clothing? Why would we even mimic the world in organizing, planning and promoting a fashion show that will bring no one closer to God? Will a fashion show finish the work? The Spirit of Prophecy, which I believe is the word of the Holy Ghost, specifically says no.
We see steadily gaining ground in the church an evil which the Word of God condemns. What is the duty of those in authority in regard to this matter? Will the influence of the church be what it should be, while many of its members obey the dictates of fashion, rather than the clearly expressed will of God? How can we expect the presence and aid of the Holy Spirit while we suffer these things to exist among us? Can we remain silent while the teachings of Christ are set aside by His professed followers… Will not my Christian sisters themselves reflect candidly and prayerfully upon this subject? Will they not seek to be guided by the Word of God? The extra time spent in the making up of apparel according to the fashions of the world should be devoted to close searching of heart and the study of the Scriptures. The hours that are worse than wasted in preparing unnecessary adornings, might be made more valuable than gold if spent in seeking to acquire right principles and solid attainments. My heart aches as I see young ladies professing to be followers of Christ who are practically ignorant of His character and His will. These youth have been satisfied to feed on husks. The glittering tinsel of the world appears more valuable to them than the eternal riches. The mental powers, that might be developed by thought and study, are suffered to lie dormant, and the affections are undisciplined, because the outward apparel is considered of more consequence than spiritual loveliness or mental vigor. (Messages to Young People, Page 356-357)
It took me a long time to understand the concept of dress reform. From a child I learned to love clothes and adorning myself. That turned into pride and vanity. I wanted to be admired, look better than others and be the center of attention. I was prideful and conceited so much so I would spend great deals of time looking in the mirror and trying on different clothes to see what looked best on me and hope no one had my same outfit on when I went out. I watched runway shows and competitions dealing with fashion. My favorite shows to watch were about fashion, and when I discovered YouTube, I spent hours learning how to do different makeup techniques and staying current with fashion ideas. Does my personal experience mimic yours at all? I can almost assuredly say that it does, if you love fashion. Finally, by many different circumstances, I realized I was allowing my relationship with God to be crushed by my desire to impress people, but all the while, I was embarrassing my Savior. As I read the scripture in 1 Peter 3:3, 4, I see what God is trying to tell me:
“Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel; 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.”
Christ, my High Priest, put off His beautiful garments, His royal robe and kingly crown, He laid aside the riches of heaven and the glory of the throne and came in the fashion of man, to save a sinner like me. Had He come as a king the first time, they would have worshipped Him for His riches, esteem and power. Therefore, He came as one like myself, “he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him (Isaiah 53:2).” God desires for me to have His same Spirit, meek and quiet, with no allure that others would behold my clothing rather than the beauty of Christ shining through me.
“Our dress should be in strict accordance with the character of our holy faith. There is need of putting more of the Bible precept into the dress, as well as the inward adorning into the character.” (Manuscript Release No. 926, Page 23)
A fashion show will never finish the work. It will hinder it though.