By Andrew V. Ste. Marie
Following fashion is a very common mistake – or shall we be bold enough to call it a sin? – which often goes unrebuked, with no warning against its dangers being heard. Every year, when the fashion designers arbitrarily decide that the old fashion is over and the new is in, thousands – if not millions – dump their old clothes and buy new ones. Better to be dead than out of style, it has been said, and apparently some live by this philosophy. No matter how bizarre or outlandish the fashions are, the devoted slaves of the fashion goddess will obey her every dictate. Brown, green, blue. Tight pants, baggy pants, falling-down-behind pants. Cut-away shoes, boost-you-in-the-air shoes, untied-shoes, long-pointy-square-toed shoes. New clothes, new clothes, and more new clothes – until the fashion dictators declare that old clothes are in style – and the people buy more new clothes, artificially made to look old. And every year less fabric overall is worn, more money is spent, and the worshippers of fashion waste time and money to fulfill their lusts – all while children starve the world over, the Chinese and others beg for Bibles, the cry of the poor ascends to the Lord of Sabaoth, and the fashion designers fill their pockets with ill-gotten gains.
What saith the Scripture? The Apostle Paul wrote, “the fashion of this world passeth away” (I Corinthians 7:31b). Obviously, he is referring to the physical form of this earth, but the statement is true of the type of fashion which we have been considering. Such fashions are very temporary. After a few years or even months, the fashions change, and all one’s labor to conform to the fashions is brought to nothing – no value – in a very brief time. The pleasures associated with pleasing the goddess of fashion are likewise transitory. Following fashion cannot satisfy a human soul; only following the Lord Jesus and obeying His Word can provide deep, lasting satisfaction. As soon as fashions change, the followers of the cruel goddess find themselves dissatisfied and discontented once again, and have to labor to make themselves acceptable to their demanding mistress and their peers.
Jesus said, “Labour not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give unto you: for him hath God the Father sealed” (John 6:27). Fashions perish. The work of those who follow fashion will quickly perish and come to nothing. The money they have spent, the effort they have invested is all worthless once the fashions change. Jesus told us not to spend our labor on meat which perishes, but rather to labor for that which is eternal. When our focus is on eternity, we can ignore those things – such as fashion – which are transitory, time-bound, and ready to perish. We can focus on working for those things which are eternal – the kingdom of God, the salvation of souls, ministering to those in need, etc.
God asked through the prophet Isaiah, “Wherefore do ye spend money for that which is not bread? and your labour for that which satisfieth not? hearken diligently unto me, and eat ye that which is good, and let your soul delight itself in fatness” (Isaiah 55:2). Again, fashion cannot bring lasting satisfaction because it passes away. So many people spend their money and labor for something so vain which will pass away so quickly. Why would they continue to do something so foolish, when God offers lasting and true satisfaction?
The Apostle Paul wrote, “All things are lawful unto me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any” (I Corinthians 6:12). Sometimes, people will admit that they are slaves to fashion. While some people can be addicted to tobacco, alcohol, or drugs, others are addicted to following fashion. The Apostle Paul refused to do anything which would bring him under bondage – even if they were not necessarily sin – so as to not be hindered from fully following the Lord. Why remain in bondage when the Lord offers freedom?
Our world and its fashion designers are eagerly pursuing the broad way to hell, and need to hear that the Lord Jesus offers freedom, pardon, and deliverance. Meanwhile, even in some “plain” (Anabaptist) churches, there seems to be a definite flow of fashion. First someone makes or buys a dress (or shirt, or shoes, etc.) which is different, then all the rest want the same, then they all (who are interested in following the fashion, anyway) have it, then the first one has something else…and the cycle repeats itself. “Wherefore do ye spend…your labour for that which satisfieth not?”
If you are held in the clutches of the goddess of fashion, I encourage – I exhort – I plead – I beg with you to fly to the Lord Jesus and seek His pardon and His deliverance from your cruel mistress. “Him that cometh to me,” Jesus promised, “I will in no wise cast out” (John 6:37b).
Originally published in The Witness (October 2013).