MM00035 Concerning Modesty
Mentoring Manna: Concerning Modesty
© 2003 Pastor Keith Hassell
1 Timothy 2:9-10 “in like manner also, that the women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with propriety and moderation, not with braided hair or gold or pearls or costly clothing, but, which is proper for women professing godliness, with good works.” Does modesty matter? Does God care about how we dress? The issue of modesty was first addressed in the Garden of Eden. In their innocence, Adam and Eve were naked and unashamed. As in the case with young children, their innocence stirred no evil desire. However, when sin entered their hearts, the eyes of Adam and Eve were opened. The knowledge of good and evil stole their innocence. The “flesh” was awakened and they discovered that they were naked. In an attempt to cover their nakedness, they made for themselves loincloths of fig leaves. Later, God made tunics of animal skin to cloth them more adequately. Obviously, God took a personal interest in covering Adam and Eve’s nakedness. God covers nakedness. The world uncovers it. Clothing that was unnecessary in an age of innocence became necessary in a fallen order. God did not immediately make clothing an issue with Adam and Eve. Why? Clothing and modesty are first a reflection of the condition of the heart. Outward appearance must first be addressed inwardly or else it will lead to legalism and premature judgments. Because we no longer live in innocence, sin and the “flesh” are now issues with which to contend. If we ignore or deny this battle, we will conform to the basest of worldly fashion and become party to the crudest displays of carnality. Now that innocence is gone, we must learn to order our lives according to purity. We must avoid the display of mixture between what his holy and what is unholy or between what is pure and what is contaminated. Jesus declared that we are in this world but we are not of it. The Greek word for modesty means, “order.” As believers, we should seek to reflect God’s Kingdom order. If we profess godliness, then we should reflect this in how we “order” our outward appearance and behavior. We are neither to be extravagant nor seductive. Modesty begins as an attitude of the heart that lovingly and uncompromisingly seeks to reflect godliness in an age that has lost its innocence and uncovers its shame.
Application: If we profess godliness inwardly, then we should reflect this in how we “order” our appearance outwardly. As we consider issues of modesty, we need to ask ourselves: Where am I going? What is the cultural standard? What is fitting for the occasion? Will I encounter the opposite sex? Who are the people whose conscience I should consider? What does God require of me as His representative? What reputation will I foster by how I dress? What is my motive for wearing what I wear? Am I uncovering too much skin or drawing attention to private areas my body that could cause others to stumble? Are clothes too tight? Are they too short? Are they too revealing? Am I reflecting godliness? Will I discredit the name of Jesus? Will my extravagance or gaudiness draw unnecessary attention to myself? When in doubt, always defer to conservatism. Ask Jesus to take a tour of your closet. Get rid of immodest and ungodly clothing. Make godly purchases. Take up sewing if necessary. Establish and teach principles of modesty to your children. Train your children in how to evaluate and determine modesty in clothing. Allow husbands and fathers to evaluate the clothing of the wives and daughters. Allow the wives and daughters to evaluate the clothing of the husbands and sons. The testimony of godliness must be our standard of determination. Especially in the church, reflect godliness. The gathering of the saints should reflect the highest example of modesty after which the newest believers can pattern their lives.
Prayer: “Heavenly Father, I want to reflect a godly example in how I dress. I realize that modesty is first an issue of the heart. Search my heart and see if there is any wicked motive in me. I ask You to evaluate my current wardrobe and show me anything that I need to remove. Teach me how to cloth myself modestly so that I may be pleasing to You and become an example of godliness to others. I ask this in Jesus’ name. Amen.”
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