Concerning Modesty

1 Timothy 2:9-10 (NKJV) “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 or what we wear?  The issue of modesty was first addressed in the Garden of Eden. In their innocence, Adam and Eve were naked and unashamed.  As it is with small children, innocence stirred no evil or carnal 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.  To cover their nakedness, they made for themselves loin coverings made from 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 the age of innocence became necessary under their fallen condition. God did not immediately address the issue of clothing with Adam and Eve after they sinned. Why? Clothing and modesty are first a reflection of the condition of the heart. Modesty must first be addressed as an issue of the heart lest it lead to legalism. Since we no longer live in a state of 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 adopt the crudest displays of carnality.

As Christians, we must learn to order our lives according to purity.  We must avoid the confusion and distortion between what is holy and what is unholy and between what is pure and what is impure. We must remember 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 godliness 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 without compromise, seeks to reflect godliness in a world that has lost its innocence and uncovers its shame. If we profess godliness on the inside, then we should reflect godliness in how we order our lives on the outside.

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 those of 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 exposing too much skin or drawing attention to private areas of my body? Could the way I dress cause others to stumble?  Are my 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 rather than to Christ?  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 choices when purchasing clothes. 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 motivation and standard.  Believers should especially reflect godliness through modesty within the church and its gatherings.  The gathering of the saints should reflect the highest example of godliness and modesty after which the new believers can pattern their lives.
Prayer: “Heavenly Father, I want to be a godly example to others 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 that would defend impurity. Evaluate my current wardrobe and show me anything that I need to remove. Help me to cloth myself modestly so that I may be pleasing to You, that I may not cause others to stumble, and that I may be an example of godliness to others.  I ask this in Jesus’ name.  Amen.”