Principle of Modesty

If you are just joining us for this series I invite you to read the previous posts first.

When I look at the New Testament model for woman I see that it says I am to adorn myself in modest apparel (I Timothy 2:9). This is not an option nor is it left to cultural interpretation. Modesty envelops the characteristics of a godly woman. Since the word modesty is specifically used to describe the apparel of a godly woman, it is necessary that we have a clear understanding of the definition of this word.

In the Noah Webster dictionary the word modest is defined in relation to dress as decent. Decent is defined as appropriate free from immodesty or obscenity.

Webster’s definition 1828 = 4. In females, modesty has the like character as in males; but the word is used also as synonymous with chastity, or purity of manners. In this sense, modesty results from purity of mind, or from the fear of disgrace and ignominy fortified by education and principle. Unaffected modesty is the sweetest charm of female excellence, the richest gem in the diadem of their honor.
(Emphasis – mine)

It is sad that the further our society moves away from moral absolutes the more we have to define terms that were understood by the common population 60 years ago. Modesty means I do not act or dress in a way that brings attention to me. One of the best ways to be modesty is to take careful heed to covering of the body. It seems that the further our society gets away from moral truth and absolutes the more scant clothing is tolerated.

It is interesting to me that in the Garden of Eden when Adam and Eve sinned one of God’s top priorities was clothing Adam and Eve’s bodies. Because of their sin Adam and Eve needed clothing – an item not necessary before the fall. As soon as they had sinned Adam and Eve were keenly aware of their nakedness; so aware that the Bible tells us that Adam and Eve made themselves “aprons”. A study of the word ‘aprons’ will show that Adam and Eve had made an effort to cover their ‘private parts’. Yet, we see that their aprons did not meet God’s standard for clothing.
It says in Genesis 3:21, “Unto Adam and his wife did the LORD God make coats of skins, and clothed them."

Adam and Eve had on their little aprons – covering the private areas that made them feel naked; but to God they were not clothed. God made them coats. A study of the word ‘coats’ will show that the when the Lord clothed them most of their body was covered. God put such a high priority on their outward appearance that he clothed them Himself! Through His actions in this situation we are made aware that nakedness being covered is very important to God. God expects modesty.

Another passage in Exodus 28:42 shows that God was careful that the priest’s clothing to cover the nakedness. “And thou shalt make them lines breeches to cover their nakedness; from the loins even unto the thighs they shall reach.” One thing caught my eye when reading this passage; their nakedness was to be covered. A study of this passage shows that the leg was to be covered from the knee up. (Clearly illustrating that, to God, the thigh being uncovered is considered nakedness.)

If a modest spirit is present in a lady; she will take special care to making sure her necklines are appropriate. Low and scooping necklines bring the eyes attention to the chest and are in no way appropriate for a lady who loves the Lord. She is cautious of tops that are sewn in such a way as accentuates her chest. A modest lady makes sure that the nature of her clothing is not too tight. She also makes sure that all of her clothing is loose enough to hang gracefully upon her frame. She makes sure that her skirts and dresses are not form- fitting. Her goal is to have her body covered and have a gracious poise to her carriage as she conducts her business throughout the day.

A modest lady’s desire is that the spirit of Christ shows through when she comes in contact with others. She is keenly aware that God cannot be glorified when her clothing points to specific body parts, causing her to the be focus of other's attention. Her desire, rather, is that her attitude and spirit will cause others to see Christ. When a Christian woman dresses in a way that brings attention to her body, her focus is not Christ; nor is heart’s desire to point a lost and dying world to the Savior.

Modesty also encompasses the spirit of the lady. Just as her clothing does not draw attention to her body; her actions and attitudes do not cause others to focus of her. She is not void of opinions and ideas; but understands that it is not always in the best interest to always have to "voice her opinion". When the times arise for her to speak it is with grace and done sweetly - again, pointing others to Christ. The modesty of her spirit goes hand in hand with her femininity.

Modesty is one of the greatest tools a woman has to take herself out of the picture and allow those looking on to see Christ.

1 comment:

Susan said...

Excellent articles, Marti! I'm just now having time to sit down and read them. You're doing a great job!