I understand the Muslim's concern of dressing modestly because the New Covenant and the First Covenant teach us to be modest, descent, holy and pure. Now I am comparing the Muslims to the Canadian who are both unsaved.These people are not Christians and do not posses the Spirit of God in them because they do not belong to Christ. Now, how about the Christians who should know better? How should Christians dress and present themselves to this world of sinners? Do we have a guide or do we do whatever pleases us?
Some say we are free in Christ so we can wear whatever we want. Yes, we are free. But the Scriptures tell us to be modest and descent and not to cause anyone to stumble. Should we do like Canadians who wear sexually provoking clothes, or should we look like Muslims who dress and overdress? Some people will say the Muslims' dresses cause eye sore, but the Canadian women cause "eye lust". So I say over dressing is better than having not enough dress.
I can say this for the shame of the Christians. These days its hard to recognize which ones belong to the assembly just by the way they dress. Many women in denominations and, sad to say, many women in the assemblies dress too short and/or too tight, thus, not representing who they are inside. Some Christians from the Pentecostal and Baptist groups make more sense with the way they dress.
So what is missing for the sisters to step up to the plate, to show the world who they really are in Christ? First, they have to understand the will of God and the teaching of the New Covenant. And second, more importantly, Christian women have to obey God's will even if it goes against her own will. Yes, she should go against herself because any woman naturally wants to show off and wants to be appreciated. Women want attention from others. But it is all good as long as it is in the right context: with her husband in a private setting. Remember that the Lord's teaching in the New Covenant for the women, who are saved by grace, is to promote Christ alone not her self and not becoming stumbling block for men around.
No wonder the gospel preaching is so weak. No wonder the sanctification of our meetings are disturbed. No wonder the world are pointing at us and do not see any difference between us and themselves. It is all done in the flesh without considering the gospel of Christ.
I believe when a sister dress accordingly--modest, descent, and pure--she is representing and doing exactly what the Lord Jesus intended her to do in His purpose, that is, to deny herself and to put Christ first by being pure; that is her silent but "loud" testimony.
Women are not to witness orally in the public but silently. And this is the time to do it on earth not when we will be in heaven. Yes, only now is the chance for sisters to shine for the glory of Christ. This is her only time to promote the Good News from her modest dress pointing at Christ alone not at herself. What cause us to fail so much on this is: self, world, peer pressure and older sisters who do not give a good example of dressing accordingly, and no one seem to care for it anymore. Also, some brothers enjoy to see their wife dressed in an inappropriate way for the sake of pleasing the flesh, himself. Some do not want to be labeled as "religious people" so it is easier to let her dress like the world. In addition, some sisters do not allow their husbands to tell her how to dress. So that seals the fact that nobody talks about it, only a few here and there.
Reading the history, I think I can say that since the World War 2, women came out of the house to join the work force, and since then, long hair and proper dress absolutely vanished away especially in many industrial countries such as Canada, United States, England, etc. Is it because of them working outside and mingling with the world? Are the words of the New Covenant out dated? From the world's stand point, yes it is. But what about for us, Christians?
From experience going to the Philippines, most of the women still have long hair it is the norm there. But I noticed that many women who carry positions (i.e. school teachers and government officials) in the Philippines wear short hair, some even have very short like men. I was struck to see that contrast. Hair dressers for women are also available there, but many women do not have money to trim or get a new style from the hair salon. The reason I brought this out is because the New Covenant teaches us that long hair is the glory of a woman. In Canada, women get the new style because they can afford it anytime. Are women in Canada better? No, just the same level. What I am saying is that, if the change does not come from the heart, the obedience to the scriptures does not matter because it is all done in vain. The New Covenant is a letter of love, motivated from love, and walking in love those who are saved. Love is needed to obey the simplest instructions from the Scriptures for Christ. May The Lord help us to understand this simple act of witnessing.
A sister should know what is the appropriate length and which parts to cover. She should learn how to be OK, while not being an eye sore for being under- or over dressed. I understand it is very difficult to find a proper dress in the modern stores and malls now. It would be easier to make her own dress.
Dressing modestly is not only for sisters though, it is also for men. Many men, especially those who go to the gym, and even the gay men, dress provocatively. Myself, when I got saved and started witnessing for the Lord, I found out fast enough that tight jeans and t-shirts were not made for me anymore, because of the new standard I found in Christ (Romans 12:1). From that day on I fought against my will to obey the Scriptures and to be dressed modestly , and respecting other people around me. Even a man would find it hard not to be like the other men in the world, but it is all worth while knowing the reason why we are doing it. I noticed that since I dressed better, people around me had more respect for the messenger and the message.
Dressing modestly is for the purpose of consecration of all believers, but frankly Christian women could have a better and bigger impact from the way they dress and having long hair in this world of sinners. Why? Because most men dress not too bad; it is not their weakness (exception for gay guys who dress like women with tight clothes). But in general, sisters can be more noticeable in the midst of the world. It is a very good time in history for sisters to shine out and to be witnessing for the Lord with just the way sisters carry themselves.
To have an example to follow and to avoid peer pressure, older sisters need to set the model and be examples for the younger sisters who are still single. But for married sisters, it is their husbands' responsibility to push the wife to conform to the Scriptures. I mean to discuss with her about this issue and to set a standard of purity. It is every couple's responsibility to do it. I am a firm believer that the wife of a brother will make or break him. She can support his ministry, be a light in this world for him and their children, and preserve them from the corruption of this world, or do the other wise. Yes, assembly elders also should be firm on that teaching for assembly meetings but over all it is each family to lift up the flame for the Lord's glory. From my experience, what I see in the assembly, believers are supposed to be in their best clothes on the first day of the week. But giving glory to the Lord is not only on the first day of the week, but it should be everyday. I can see that only few of believers pass the test. So many of them would look exactly like the world during the week, Mondays to Saturdays. It is very sad and an ineffective way to preach the gospel and a weak testimony. It is.like looking at the mirror but not changing anything (James 1:22-25).
After being saved, the second step should be the consecration of ourselves by the Spirit. We should consecrate ourselves with the way we walk and talk, and in between that, with the way we dress. When we mix and mingle with the world, we stand with them like an invisible horizontal line; and the world will not recognize who we really are. But when we stand out from the ways of this word, we stick out like a vertical line; and the world will notice us. By dressing modestly, the world will see the outside representation of what happened to us inside. We have a choice to hide it or to reveal it to the world. God needs us to be witnesses to this world of sinners.