After looking at why we would want to be modest ladies, and a bit of Biblical history on wearing clothes, it’s time to get to how to be modest.
Are you thinking this is going to be pretty hard? Aren’t we all going to come out at different places according to what church we go to, our upbringing, the culture of the country we live in, and etc.?
Yes! And that’s why I’ve been procrastinating on getting to this. That, and the fact that it’s all-important to have decided Who and What I am going to follow.
Sometimes we hear that it doesn’t matter how we dress. “If it’s going to cause men problems, they just need to clean up their minds.” I’m not going to rehash that all here, although I would be glad to have a personal conversation with you, if you wish.
I will say that there is never an excuse for a male to take advantage of a female. When horrible abuse happens, innocent victims often feel like it must be their fault. If this has happened to you, you do not need to carry the shame of another person’s sin. Please find a trusted adult to talk to about this.
About what God says about our dress… Does He care? He does. He clothed Adam and Eve with appropriate clothing to cover their shame. He designed dignified clothes for the priests of the Old Testament, and in the New Testament, we get a glimpse into what Jesus wore while He was on earth. God even tells us what the saints will wear in Heaven.
First Timothy 2:9 tells us to decorate ourselves with modest clothes, with shamefacedness (the idea of downcast [not bold], bashfulness [toward men], awe [toward God], and reverence). We should have sobriety (soundness of mind, sanity, self-control, soberness), and should not be decorated with broided hair (exquisitely and intricately arranged), gold, pearls, or costly array, but with good works.
First Peter 3:3,4 says to not let your decoration be the outward decoration of elaborate hairstyles, wearing gold, or your clothing. But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which will not die, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price.
Are you seeing the picture in your mind of this lovely, feminine, lady? Let’s look into what is making her so attractive.
Look back a few verses in 1 Tim:1-6. The motivation for the command to women is a relationship with God, a response to what He has done for us. Now we reflect Him! Instead of living the way we want to, trying to fit Jesus into our lives wherever it doesn’t rock the boat too much, we must build our whole life around Him.
Being created in the image of God, and then surrendering our lives to Him, fills us with power from the Holy Spirit to radically impact the culture we live in.
True beauty. We all want to be beautiful. God wants us to be beautiful, too, so much that He tells us clearly where that beauty should come from, and how it will be expressed. Will it come from Hollywood- wanting to dictate our worldview, or the fashion industry- wanting our money, or something that we put on? No! It will be that “hidden man of the heart”- Jesus flowing out through us. It will His grace upon us, and Him receiving the glory. Jesus tells us as His disciples to learn of Him, to “put on” His attributes. 1 John 2:15, 16 tells us that we cannot love the world- the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, if we love our King.
What do you want people to see when they look at you? Two of my daughters were recently outside an airport, waiting for their ride, when a man approached them and asked them what they represent. In the course of their conversation, he expressed appreciation a couple times for their modest dress.
A few years ago, Tony and I went to a beach. There were other people there, so we went to the edge of the water and sat in the sand, talking and looking out over the ocean. A man jogged by, veered over to us, and said, “I just want you to know that I really appreciate what you stand for”, and jogged on, too quickly for us even to reply. On that trip also, in the Bahamas, I was approached by a local woman, who stated excitedly, “You’re a believer!” We often don’t realize it or think of it, but our appearance is a testimony to the life of Jesus within us; it draws people who are seeking and may give us an opportunity to witness of the Gospel. Share your stories in the comments, and how they encouraged you!
It may not always be approval that you get. “The preaching of the cross is foolishness to them that perish.” I love to snow ski, and I decided that I can ski in a dress. With snow pants underneath, and a warm coat on top, I can ski and still feel like a lady! I have been yelled at, “Skiing in a skirt?!” But I have also been treated respectfully and chivalrously. When we are at peace in our relationship with God, we can smile and show genuine compassion to people, even those who ridicule us for doing what we feel God wants us to do.
There is a lot of pressure for androgyny in our world. Evolution, feminism, humanism, homosexual and transgender agendas have been a downward drag of distorting God’s plan for mankind. Do not be afraid to be a beautiful, strong, loving woman in today’s world. People are longing and hungry to see something real, true. One afternoon we were walking the streets, inviting children to summer Bible School. An older man saw us ladies, lifted up his hands reverently, and exclaimed, “I just see all these angels coming down the sidewalk!”
You don’t need to apologize for dressing like a lady. In the heart of every confused feminist is a longing to be healed and respected, to be valued and accepted, to be able to express themselves as God made them.
If you are tempted to buy into the advertising of the makeup industry to try to make yourself beautiful, I encourage you to evaluate the origins of that industry and contrast it with 1 Tim. and 1 Peter.
Proverbs 7 talks about a harlot, who was not a professional prostitute, but a married woman with the spirit of a harlot. She is suggestive, beguiling and bold, and men are warned to stay far from her. I suggest that many beauty and fashion magazines, as well as websites and advertising are buying into this image. If you do not want to have an outcome like this spirit leads to, find edifying things to read and look at!
On a practical note, there are some things you can do that are easy and simple if skin issues are causing you stress. Eat a healthy, old-fashioned diet! Say no to sugar and junk food. Eat plenty of saturated animal fats (the way our ancestors ate before modern processed food and modern diseases), which will make your skin hydrated and beautiful. Drink plenty of water, and ignore the sweet drinks.
Most of all, if you want a beautiful face, live close to God. Prayerfully study His Word; ask Him to reveal Himself to you and change you. Trust Him for your day and your future. He cares about your life, and has your best in mind. When you sin, humble yourself and repent. Keep your conscience clear before God and in your relations with other people. The image of your King will be reflected on your face!
So, in expressing our relationship with Jesus, we will seek to be consistent in our dress. Many churches have agreements that relate to the witness that our group will be in our community. If you wish to identify with a group, I encourage you to embrace their vision. There may be applications that you don’t understand, and areas where you will surrender your personal likes or dislikes for your community. I hope you can discuss them in the light of God’s Word with your parents. Also, there may be ministers, their wives, or other older people in the congregation who can help you understand why and how those guidelines were decided on. They may have seen things and fought battles for Truth, which gave them courage and conviction to stand where they did. Listen to their stories, their experiences, and learn from their wisdom. Study God’s Word- He has so many principles for our lives.
Biblical guidelines for dress speak of simplicity. Simple, not putting things on to decorate ourselves, not expensive attire. With pop culture of social media, humility and simplicity are in grave danger of being discarded. What we wear is a reflection of our hearts. Do we truly believe our beauty is internal and Spirit-driven. Will we treat our body as a temple- a place of consecration to our Savior? On “costly array”- consider: Is the money you earn yours, or God’s. He has entrusted you with riches to bless and enlarge His Kingdom. We find many things we can do without when we consider the needs of the world at large, and make ourselves sensitive to God’s leading money-wise.
Some practical ideas for today: Learn the art of sewing well. It can be hard to find clothes that are going to fit your worldview, but if you can sew, you can make beautiful clothes that fit well.
There are many types of fabrics to choose from. Some may be easier to wear modestly than others. Some types of fabrics only very slender girls can wear without uncovering their nakedness. Elastic knit fabrics are designed with the purpose to be form-fitting and still allow a person to move. How can we say we are “covering ” what God wants covered when in actuality we are accentuating every bump and curve. I highly recommend the book, “Feminine Beauty”, by Evelyn Miller and I quote her here because she describes this perfectly. “We do not need to totally smother our femininity or deny the fact that we have curves, but if we dress in a way that clearly reveals the size and shape of our contours, then we are playing with fire. Although gravity dictates that garments will show the top side of our curves, when our clothing pulls in and hugs tightly to reveal the underside contours of these curves, it becomes inappropriate. If the garment is designed to make a focal point at the bust line or other curves, it is immodest.”
That includes baby bumps! When we are expecting a baby is not a time to lower our standards.
Do we need to cover our bodies because they are wicked? Remember, God created us beautiful and wants us to be beautiful. But the unveiling of that beauty is not for just anyone to get glimpses of, but for our Lord in that our bodies are a living sacrifice, a testament of His holiness. If we marry, what an amazing gift to our husband alone; keeping our body for him, truly doing him good and not evil all the days of our lives. (Prov. 31:16)
Be careful of modesty in your home as well as out of it. Care for your family by being fully dressed outside of your bedroom or bathroom. Care for the men in your family by throwing away advertisements with immodest models on them.
Let your carefulness in how you dress be motivated by and produce in you a love for others. If God has shown you areas in your life that need changed and you claim victory over them, never let this give you feelings of pride or superiority, but instead gratefulness to God for the privilege of being His servant, and for what He has worked in you.
You are in a war. Decide that you will side with your Creator and Redeemer. Then let your faith grow (by the Word of God), study your King’s manual (the Word of God!), and remember, you are on the winning side.
“But as He which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation” (the way you live your life). 1 Peter 1:15
Blogging credits to Wendy Weaver
Photography credits to Ginger Weaver