ATP: Are Shorts Appropriate in the Worship Services?
There are two issues that need addressing here: One is "modesty" and proper attire, the other is "who is receiving attention when we gather to worship?" Scripture in both the Old and New Testaments speaks of believers dressing in such a way as to bring honor to God, this is referred to modesty. If you recall, Paul addresses the Corinthians in Chapter 12, verses 22-24 of his first epistle, and says: "And the parts that are unpresentable are treated with special modesty." Cover up what God says to cover up. What is proper attire in the bedroom is not proper attire in the work place. What is proper swimming attire (that's a broad stroke) is not proper attire in the public place. What is proper attire on the ball field is not proper attire at the prom or wedding reception. In other words, how we dress must always carry with it a measure of discretion that examines itself by the Holy Spirit in accordance with God's word.
As to the issue of "Christ being our focal point in worship," this is the reason for the "no shorts" policy in our worship services. Hear the words of the LORD through Peter to Christians scattered throughout the Roman world:
And let not your adornment be merely external-- braiding the hair, and wearing gold jewelry, or putting on dresses. (1 Peter 3:3)
Now Peter is not saying we should not wear gold, or fix our hair, or wear clothing – that's quite obvious – what he is saying is: "When we gather we should make sure our focus is on Christ and not on our externals." As the past has revealed, too many of the female gender came to church in shorts that were immodest and improper. It wasn't the fact they were in shorts, it was that the shorts were, again, "improper," and "immodest." They were worn with the purpose of getting attention – male attention. Men, and women, would come up to me after the service and say, "Pastor I could not concentrate on the worship or word today …." I would acerbically say, "What was the problem? Exercise discipline!" However, you and I both know what they were saying. And what they were saying was correct. So rather than be "short inspectors" (believe me, no one wants that job) it was easier and safer to simply say, "No shorts!" (I certainly hope this all makes sense to you – it doesn't seem too complex to me.)
Therefore, when we come to church to worship, let's be conscious of the fact that, although each of us wants to be noticed in the sense that we would like to feel that we are important and have a place in this relatively large GCCC family, let's make sure we are being noticed for the right reasons, and keep Jesus the center and focus of our worship.
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