Modesty for His Majesty
Ms. Anne Abraham Stephen
Author George Barna in one of his books, observes the following analogy:
“You put a frog in boiling water, he will immediately jump out. But if you put a frog in cold water and you ever so slowly turn up the heat, he won’t realize what’s happening and he will stay there until he boils to death.”
In the same way, immodesty has crept into our churches so subtly and so gradually that all of a sudden modesty is boiling to death in our churches.
“ I also want women to dress modestly, with decency and propriety….. 1 Timothy 2: 9 (NIV)
“….And the parts that are unpresentable are treated with special modesty.” 1 Cor. 12:23 (NIV)
When putting on clothes, a couple of questions to ask yourself, whether you are a man or a woman are:
1. Is it Modest?
2. Is it Proper for one professing Godliness?
Modesty throughout the Ages: The Word of God tells us the following:
I In the Beginning
1. It is shameful to expose nakedness : In Genesis 3:7-10, we read that sin produced quilt, guilt produced shame, and shame required a covering. After Adam and Eve sinned, they made coverings for themselves. The word “covering” comes from the Hebrew word, “chagorah” meaning a garment which covers the mid-section of the body. Despite the coverings, they still felt naked.
2. God was not pleased with the coverings Adam and Eve made: The Lord made tunics for them (Gen. 3:21). The word “tunic” comes from the word, “kethoneth” meaning a garment reaching to either below the knee or up to the ankle.
II. Patriarchal Age
3. Any time a gender organ is exposed it is regarded as naked. Job 22:6 Here it talks about stripping the naked of their clothing. In other words it is possible to be naked and clothed at the same time. The phrase implies a person who is thinly clad (wearing clothing that is transparent).
III. Mosaic Age
4. Priests were supposed to wear short trousers from waist to thigh: Exodus 20:26 When priests climbed the steps of the altar, there would be the possibility of the worshippers seeing underneath their garments, so they were to wear trousers.
IV. Prophetic Age
5. It is shameful to expose or overdraw attention to the private parts of your body: Exposure of such parts often bring a form of judgment to shame the wicked. Isa. 47:1-3
V. New Testament Age
6. Unpresentable parts should be covered: Apostle Paul states this in 1 Corinthians. 12:23,24.
7. We must not provide opportunity for fleshly lusts:
a. This is clearly condemned in the Scripture. Romans 13:13,14
b. Jesus warned about committing adultery in the heart. Matthew 5: 28
Three Words from 1 Timothy 2:9-10
“…..women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety…..”
Modest: Greek word is “kosmious” meaning orderly, well-arranged. In other words, one should dress neatly and appropriately for the occasion.
Shamefacedness: “aidos” means having a sense of shame and reverence. A shamefaced person would blush when faced with things that are irreverent and immodest.
Sobriety: “sophrosuna” means a person of sound mind, good judgment and self-control. Such a person is moderate in all that he/she does.
Facts and Characteristics of Modesty: 1 Peter 3:1-6
1. Modesty stays away from extravagance. (vs. 3)
2. Modesty concentrates on internal character. (vs.4)
3. Modesty possesses imperishable quality. (vs. 4)
4. Modesty is precious in God’s sight. (vs. 4)
5. Modesty has a Biblical heritage. (vss. 5-6)
6. Modesty has evangelistic (witnessing) power. (vss. 1,2)
In verse 4, of the above passage, Peter describes the inner beauty of a woman as “gentle and quiet spirit.” This might be paraphrased as “a gentle tranquility.” This is a woman’s most powerful quality-----her true character.
Thoughts from Proverbs 31:30
“Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.”
w External beauty is ephemeral
(lasting for only a brief time).
w Internal beauty is eternal.
w The former is attractive to the world.
w The latter is pleasing to God.
Goals of Modesty
1. Our goal should be to glorify God. 1 Cor. 10:31 ….”what ever you do, do it all for the glory of God.”
2. We should please God. 2 Cor. 5:9 “So we make it our goal to please Him.”
Our goal should be to make reasonable accommodation for the current fashions without compromising Biblical principles. We should examine our wardrobe on a continuous basis.
Rules to follow by asking and remembering the following
1. Does it expose? Remember the “tunic” covers from below the neck to below the knee or ankle. Good rule to follow.
2. Does it emphasize? Are you dressing to accentuate or highlight a certain physical feature?
3. Is it too short? In Western countries this applies to dresses and skirts for women and shorts for men.
4. Is it too tight? This includes men’s pants. One should not wear clothing made out of spandex. Don’t wear undergarments that are too tight.
5. Is it too low? No cleavage (this includes apparel for weddings). Don’t expose the back of your body, your belly button etc. Underwear should not become outerwear.
6. Be careful when wearing white-----white clothes are transparent and shows even undergarments---this should not be.
7. Do you buy expensive clothes and accessories to draw attention to yourself?
8. Looking at the way you dress, can someone differentiate you from a non-believer?
During the hijacking of Santa Maria in 1961, the women on board were concerned the rebels might have lustful desires, so they left off wearing “enticing clothing”; that is, they stopped appearing in shorts and halter-tops and quit swimming in the ship’s pool. If the “women of the world” know what stimulates the lust of the flesh, why not the “daughters of God?”
Nancy DeMoss had this to say, “What a man’s touch is to a woman, the sight of a woman is to a man.”
“For everything in the world---the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes………..
comes not from the Father but from the world. 1 John 2:16 (NIV)
We should not dress like “the attire of a harlot” Proverbs 7:10
The way a woman dresses should draw attention to her face, to her countenance, not to her body. Joshua Harris in his book, “Not even a Hint” made this observation: “There is a difference between dressing attractively and dressing to attract.”
Don’t go to the other extreme and have a lack of concern for the way you dress to let others think you are more spiritual. It is another form of pride and self-righteousness.
Someone aptly said, “Your character is the picture and your appearance is the frame.The frame should complement the picture, not distract from it.
The Word of God forbids one to dress like the opposite gender. Deut. 22:5
You are not to cut your bodies for the dead or put tattoo marks on yourselves. Leviticus 19:28 (NIV)
We should not adorn our bodies with glittering jewelry or dazzling and luxurious clothes. In Isaiah we read, such adornment seduced leaders who eventually led the whole nation into disobedience. Isa. 3:16-28.
We should concentrate on having a God-centered personality. Our outward appearance is an important index of our Christian character and maturity.
Dress in a modest and decent way showing respect to God, others and you.
Prayerfully Consider the Following
1. Why do I want to purchase this or wear this? Am I willing to say no to this?
2. How will my appearance affect others? Will I bring undue attention to myself? Will I be a distraction or worse, a stumbling block?
3. What does my appearance say about me? What are my priorities? How much money do I spend on clothes, footwear, accessories etc.?
4. What kind of example am I setting for others? Are you a role model in the way you dress especially to those younger than you?
Follow 1 Corinthians 6:19-20
Cry of the Satanist is, “Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law.”
Cry of the 60’s was “Do your own thing.”
Cry of the feminist is “It’s my body, and I’ll do what I want.”
The cry of the Modern Evangelical is, “It’s my liberty and I’ll do what I want.”
Nevertheless, the declaration of the Scripture is this, “Do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit?”
Modesty for Our Majesty
Christ was clothed with a mocking purple robe and crown of thorns, so that we might wear His righteousness (Mark 15:17).
Christ was undressed, uncovered and exposed on the cross so that our sin and shame might be covered (Luke 23:34)
God dressed His Son in wickedness, so that we might be in His righteousness.
God stripped His Son of His glory so that we might be brought into the freedom of the glory of the children of God.
Christ paid in blood for my clothing. The righteousness of Christ has covered us and we are to dress as those who desire to make people notice that righteousness.
Gospel is the ultimate solution for our immodesty. It is also the ultimate solution for our modesty. So next time, you browse through your clothing to see what to wear, remember you are wearing Christ. Do it beautifully! Adorn the Gospel!