~1 Timothy 2:9 In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with broided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array;~1 Timothy 2:15 Notwithstanding she shall be saved in childbearing, if they continue in faith and charity and holiness with sobriety.
I think today’s topic will probably be read mostly by godly Christian women. However, my prayer is that at least one lady who is searching for God’s will in the area of attire will read today’s blog and be convicted. And, should God overwhelmingly answer my prayer, maybe a lady who is dressing in a worldly manner will heed the Holy Spirit’s prodding and fall under conviction.
Why does today’s Christian woman have such a hard time with dressing modestly? Does that word have no meaning any longer? Just to work out this issue in my own mind, I decided to see if the definition of the word ‘modesty’ had changed through the years. Today’s modern dictionary, Merriam Webster, defines the word as:
MOD’ESTY, n. : 1: freedom from conceit or vanity 2: propriety in dress, speech, or conduct
This definition leaves the “propriety in dress” open to the reader’s convictions. However, look at the definition from Noah Webster’s 1828 Dictionary. Noah Webster does not leave any room for misunderstanding as to what the word meant in his day – not more than 200 years after the King James Bible was published! As we can see, the definitions were clear and precise:
MOD’ESTY, n. [L. modestia.] That lowly temper which accompanies a moderate estimate of one’s own worth and importance. This temper when natural, springs in some measure from timidity, and in young and inexperienced persons, is allied to bashfulness and diffidence. In persons who have seen the world, and lost their natural timidity, modesty springs no less from principle than from feeling, and is manifested by retiring, unobtrusive manners, assuming less to itself than others are willing to yield, and conceding to others all due honor and respect, or even more than they expect or require.
2. Modesty, as an act or series of acts, consists in humble, unobtrusive deportment, as opposed to extreme boldness, forwardness, arrogance, presumption, audacity or impudence. Thus we say, the petitioner urged his claims with modesty; the speaker addressed the audience with modesty.
3. Moderation; decency.
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.
Today’s Christian woman should be looking at her Bible for direction, not the world. The Lord our God does not change. He is the same yesterday as He is today and will be tomorrow. (Hebrews 13:8 ) God considered modesty for women to be important back in the day when the Scriptures were given to us, therefore, He still considers it an important topic for today’s Christian woman.
Let’s focus on #4 of Noah Webster’s definition:
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.
Ahhh, there lies the heart of the issue at hand. A godly woman who allows the Holy Spirit of God to guide her through His word, will have purity of mind. Her heart will desire to dress in a way that does not dishonour her Lord. Her heart will desire to dress in a way that does not resemble the world’s attire. Hollywood is not her guide – God is!
On the flip side, the woman who does not have God as the center of her life will not allow His word to guide her. Therefore, she will not have purity of mind. Her heart will desire the fashions of the world and Hollywood and she won’t give a second thought as to whether or not she dresses to honour God. Her heart will desire to dress in the day’s fashion and she will desire to wear that latest outfit that a Hollywood actress is wearing.
God commands us to come out of the world. (II Corinthians 6:17) Therefore, if the world does it, it should be a red flag! A woman should turn to God’s word to be certain whether or not her attire is fitting as a Christian woman. She should not dress to attract the eye. In fact, Proverbs defines immodest dress as the “attire of an harlot.” (Proverbs 7:10) Today, anyone who has seen a hooker (a harlot) knows that she is a harlot. It wasn’t any different in biblical times. The harlot of the early 1900’s was a woman who wore bright red, wore red lipstick and plenty of makeup, fine jewelry, she revealed cleavage as well as her legs and upper thighs. Really? Yep!
Today’s woman can be a Christian woman but that does not make her a godly Christian woman. Today’s ungodly Christian woman wears red, wears red lipstick and plenty of makeup, fine jewelry, reveals her cleavage, wears short skirts with slits up the side, or tight pants that reveal all. You may say that your skirts aren’t short. Ah, but are they form fitting? Look in the mirror and really look at yourself. Does your attire outline or reveal any “private” part of your body?
A harlot dresses to show off her body, including private parts, to entice men. So, Christian lady, why are you dressing to expose your body? Tight pants, short shorts, low cut tops, form-fitting skirts, short skirts are the clothing styles for today’s street walker. Wow! Yet we see this type of dress on women who call themselves Christian. It is a sad state of affairs when the world cannot differentiate between a harlot and a Christian woman. They are not ashamed – there is no shamefacedness as today’s text describes.
Before you tell me that it is up to the man not to look at her with lust, let’s see what God’s word says about that responsibility. Forget what the man’s responsibility is for a moment. The issue at hand is your heart! Christ exhorts us not to cause our brother to stumble (I Corinthians 8:13). Even though you feel that it’s the man’s responsibility not to lust after you, the Lord Jesus puts the responsibility back on you!
Your attire is causing men to lustfully look at you. If you do not wish to change that, then you are thumbing your nose at the word of God. You are rebellious. Noah Webster defines it as a heart issue – a purity of mind. I’ve yet to see a godly woman who loves the word of God and abides by it dress like a harlot. A woman can say she loves the Lord all she wants but her attire will tell what state her spiritual condition is in. The moment I got saved, my thoughts changed. I dressed like the world prior to that but I immediately knew that I had to make some changes. My pants got looser fitting, my skirts got longer and my blouses were buttoned. The change did not happen over night but it only took a few weeks and I was dressing modestly.
Dear lady, if you are showing cleavage and exposing other parts of your body, you have the attire of a harlot. Any part of the body that a man likes to look at is a part that should be covered modestly. The Lord will hold you responsible for all those men you caused to fall! It’s a serious matter! Jesus Christ holds Christians to a higher standard, don’t you realize that? He told us that if a man looks on a woman lustfully, he has committed adultery with her in his mind! That should be a wake up call! That means that you have participated in that sin of adultery by enticing him, whether you want to admit it or not.
Mothers, why do you allow your daughters to dress like harlots? You are throwing them to the lions if you do. There’s nothing like the raging hormones of a teenage boy. A girl could be dressed modestly but just a slit up her skirt will cause him to sin in his heart. Don’t expect submissive and godly daughters if you are pointing them toward looking like a street walker.
As Noah Webster stated, modesty is the result of the purity of the mind. When I see Christian women who don’t dress properly, I see a woman who is either a new believer or one who has not allowed the word of God to cleanse and teach her. When I see a woman who is dressed modestly, I see a godly woman who loves God’s word and abides by it.
A woman’s clothing defines the state of her spiritual walk. If you want to see your spiritual condition, just look in the mirror.