KANSAS CITY, Mo. (BP)–“Does God care what I wear?” It may not be a question most fashion-savvy teenage girls consider when they get dressed in the morning, but it should be, says Sarah Bragg, author of “Body. Beauty. Boys.”
According to Bragg, answering this question is the first step in realizing that God does care about the way teen girls and women dress and learning how they can please him in their appearance.
Bragg, 28, ministered to girls about what the Bible says about fashion and modesty and offered them practical tips on — in her words — “how to be trendy, not trashy” during a conferences at Blume, the Woman’s Missionary Union national missions event for teenage girls and collegiate young women, in Kansas City, Mo., July 10-13.
“Fashion is good,” Bragg assured Blume participants. “It’s not wrong to be in fashion, but it’s wrong to dress in a way that gives a false impression of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.”
Bragg pointed to 1 Corinthians 3:16, which says one’s body is the “temple” or dwelling place of the Holy Spirit and then to Romans 12:1-2, which urges Christians “to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God — this is your spiritual act of worship.”
Referring to Matthew 5:27-29, Bragg said girls should realize they can become a “stumbling block” to men of all ages when they dress immodestly.
“You have a lot of power in the way you dress,” Bragg warned. “You have the power to make someone stumble — think about that when you get dressed in the morning. Think about the way you dress. Is there even a hint of immorality?
Bragg encouraged girls to think about the motivation behind their fashion choices. She admitted she struggled throughout high school and college with wanting to dress to please guys, not God.
“God ultimately wants us to attract one man [for marriage], but dressing immodestly causes arousal in many men and that is against God’s will,” Bragg said.
After understanding what the Bible teaches about modesty, Bragg said, women must then practice modesty. “To be good at something, you have to practice. The same is true when it comes to modesty.”
Bragg offered a practical guideline for fashion: a mental checklist girls can run through as they shop or pick out clothes for the day.
“You make a statement by what you wear and people will define you by what you wear. Whether that’s right or wrong, that’s reality,” she said.
Bragg focused on God’s definition of beauty as found in such passages as Proverbs 31:30, “Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised,” and Peter 3:4, “Instead it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.”
Ultimately, when it comes to fashion, a girl’s chief ambition should be to please God, Bragg said. “Today we need to rededicate our lives to be holy, pleasing, and blameless before [God],” she said.