Wow – this one was convicting. Jeff Pollard is an Elder at a church in Pensacola, FL and did a great job in defining the term “modesty” beyond – what you wear or don’t wear on your body.
“Modesty, like humility, is the opposite of boldness or arrogance. It does not seek to draw attention to itself or to show off in an unseemly way. Webster apparently links chastity with modesty because chastity means moral purity in thought and conduct. Moral purity, like humility, will not exhibit sensuality any more than ostentation.”
Modsty is not first an issue in clothing – it takes root much deeper – in the heart. And that is the hardest part to attack. It is easy to change your wardrobe, but it takes a work of the Spirit to change the heart.
Here is a fun thought/not so fun thought:
My wedding: I want to have fun crazy shoes for the dress instead of traditional white. Why? Because I want fun shoes. I like shoes. Why not? Not many people will see them anyway. Not so fun thought: I want people to notice me, I want to display my sense of shoe style. Why? Inner struggle. God to help!
“Where ambition reigns within, there will be no modesty in the outward dress.” I think of this mostly with two things: women who are trying to scale the corporate ladder by wearing tight pencil skirts and point high heeled shoes, or women who are doing the pursuing in a relationship. I know those are two broad stereotypes, but they are somewhat accurate worldly portrayals.
Shamefacedness – not a word we use all the time – not is it really a word I want to use all the time. This is how George Knight writes about it in his Pastoral Epistles commentary: “a moral feeling, reverence, awe, respect for the feeling or opinion of others or for one’s own conscience.” So, I might dislike the word, but love what it means. Do you live your life in wanting to honor Christ – and honor the other person. Romans tells us to outdo one another in showing honor. Ladies – this comes in the way we dress and carry ourselves. I am hopefully honoring my fiance’ when I choose to dress modestly instead of wearing clothes I shouldn’t or acting in a way I shouldn’t – just to entice him to sin. I want to help him, and other brothers in Christ – to seek Christ, pursue holiness – not cause them to stumble.
“Christian modesty is the inner self-government, rooted in a proper understanding of one’s self before God, which outwardly displays itself in humility and purity from a genuine love for Jesus Christ, rather than in self-glorification or self-advertisement.” I loved this. Also most convicting. This goes way beyond what we wear: it goes to our motivation for always buying new clothes, wearing the latest styles, or being so out of style that you draw attention to yourself, or wearing dresses down to your ankles just to be “modest”. It is all a matter of the heart.
So…how do you guard your heart: (by resting in Christ) – Phil 4, Prov 4,
How do you honor your brothers or husbands?
And – how do your stylish, pretty clothes say: purity, humility, and moderation?