I recently received a comment on this site that made me stop and think. So far, I’ve shared with you some of what has made headcovering a challenge for me. But to dwell only on the challenges would be unbalanced; now I’d like to highlight what has made headcovering a blessing!
First of all, allow me to reiterate that head covering for women and head un-covering for men, during prayer and prophesying (which would include, but not necessarily be limited to, the corporate assembly for worship), is a biblical command, according to 1 Corinthians 11: 1-16. The ordinance of head covering was delivered to us by God, through the apostle Paul. Society does not dictate whether or not to use a headcovering–it is a practice which transcends culture, just as Baptism and the Lord’s Supper. When Christians discard this teaching as meaningless for our time, they are actually despising the word of God, and instead exalting the traditions of man.
“Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men. For laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition of men … And he [Jesus] said unto them, Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition … Making the word of God of none effect through your tradition …”
Mark 7:7-8a, 9, 13a
In context, Jesus is rebuking the Pharisees and scribes for instating man-made rules in place of God’s clear commands. When we reject the headcovering doctrine and instate our own practices, is this not the same thing?
When we choose to obey God, instead of following man, there are special blessings. Let us look at them now:
THE FIRST IS THAT OF GROWING CLOSER TO GOD
“He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him. Judas saith unto him, not Iscariot, Lord, how is it that thou wilt manifest thyself unto us, and not unto the world? Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him. He that loveth me not keepeth not my sayings: and the word which ye hear is not mine, but the Father’s which sent me.”
John 14: 21-24
All true believers will keep Jesus’ commands, out of love for Him, in response to the love that He continually shows us. As we do so, we are drawn into an ever closer relationship with Him; as it says, “and [I] will manifest myself to him [her].”
In my own experience, head covering has helped me understand the meekness of Christ. For the first time, I am finally beginning to understand the mystery associated with submission: it takes strength to submit.
“Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.”
As I humble myself to obey God by wearing a headcovering and by respecting my husband, instead of feeling weak and down-trodden, I feel dignified and empowered! My heart is at peace because I know I am doing the right thing. The tension which results from constantly rationalizing wrong behavior is no longer there. By recognizing my husband as the head of our home, the responsibility of leadership is lifted from my shoulders, and I am freed to focus on what I really wanted to be doing all along: nurturing my family.
I think that the more I submit to God, the more He helps me to understand Him, and the more I am able to see Him working in my life.
THE SECOND BLESSING IS THAT OF TRANSFORMING OUR MARRIAGE
There is a very good reason why no other cultural symbol of submission to authority (like we have any in our U.S. society today!) could replace the headcovering: no other symbol covers the head! In my own personal experience, placing a cloth over my head is a very real, un-ignorable reminder of the fact that I am not the head of our household!
There is nothing magic about the headcovering; wearing one does not automatically make it easy to be submissive. However, I have noticed that God is stretching me quite a bit beyond what I’m used to, to produce in me a spirit of meekness and gentleness. I believe that He is using the headcovering as a tool, among other things, to help me learn these things.
I do not find submission to my husband easy! I can be opinionated and strong willed, and tend to press my point in a disagreement. But, every time I put on my scarf, it’s like a teacher pointing to the blackboard saying, “Now here’s what you need to remember from our lesson today.” I need that reminder–to be honest, I’m grateful for it!
As I am learning to be a submissive wife, with the help of the headcovering, my marriage is being transformed. This has not been a night to day kind of change, but more like the slow, steady change of the seasons. Gradually, my attitudes are becoming more reverential, more quiet. My husband is becoming more sensitive toward my feelings. It’s a win/win situation.
THE THIRD BLESSING IS THAT OF STRENGTHENING OUR WITNESS
We are told by Jesus that His followers are like lights brightening a dark world.
“No man, when he hath lighted a candle, covereth it with a vessel, or putteth it under a bed; but setteth it on a candlestick, that they which enter in may see the light.”
Our commitment to the Lord is made manifest to the world through our actions; nothing speaks clearer. How we act, how we speak, and how we present ourselves by our mode of dress are all indicators of our beliefs. Sometimes we don’t have time to spend thirty minutes with someone to explain what the Bible says about this or that; however, our dedication to God is communicated through the externals in a matter of seconds. Not everybody will comprehend at first glance the particulars of why we wear a headcovering, but I think that having a covered head very often demonstrates humility and submission whatever culture you come from! It’s not that hard to decipher. When Christian women use a headcovering, they testify first of all, to their belief in the Bible as the word of God. Second of all, they express their submission to their husbands. Belief is transformed into action, which shines light into the world. We are not to blend in with the rest of the world; there should be a marked difference. We are called to stand out!
I do not regret using a headcovering, at all. I want to obey God, and please Him in everything. As a result of using a headcovering during Church services, Bible study and prayer, my relationship with God is growing, my marriage is being transformed, and my witness is being strengthened. The headcovering has truly proved a blessing in my life!
How about you? If you use a headcovering, what are the ways it has blessed you? If you don’t yet use a headcovering, do you think you would consider looking deeper into this issue? Start out by reading 1 Corinthians 11:1-16, then read the whole book of 1 Corinthians for context. Go to websites such as headcoveringmovement.com for sermons, videos, articles and free books.
I wear a headcovering while I read the Bible.