Friday, May 13, 2011
The Modesty Quest, pt 2. What does the Bible say?
Since I posted last on my modesty quest I’ve received a lot of really great feedback and comments. The coldness issue is one I’m not alone in, and I was given some great ideas to stay warmer while wearing skirts. I’m really excited for the journey that the Lord has sent me on, and there’s so much on my mind regarding modesty and femininity, but I need to start at the top- the top being the Word of God.
In this post I’m going to be talking about what the Bible says about women’s clothing, because what we base our decisions on, whether about our clothing or otherwise, has to come from God’s Word.
I pulled out our concordance and looked up some words related to clothing, the words I looked up were:
Attire, clothing, adorn, woman, prudent, virtuous, and pertaineth.
So I'm going to start with a few verses that really stood out to me.
The first verse I’m going to start with is probably not what you would expect, the passage is in Proverbs chapter 7 and it is a warning for men to keep from the strange woman, this woman being a harlot. Verse 10 and 11 says: “And, behold, there met him a woman with the attire of an harlot, and subtil of heart. She is loud and stubborn; her feet abide not in her house.”
So, in this verse it states that there is a certain attire of a harlot, it doesn’t exactly say what that is, but we can get a pretty good idea that it was not good and not pleasing to the Lord. I’m sure it was seductive, slinky, and revealing- something that would catch the eye of a man and cause him to sin. This attire was something she had planned well in advance, to lure the eyes of men. So we may not know what her clothing looked like but we know what her attitude and intentions were like. We, as godly women need to be the exact opposite of this woman. We should not be clothed in a way that lures the eyes of men around us, we should not intentionally put on something form-fitting and tight that would cause a man to look upon us and sin in his heart. Our clothing should not be revealing or slinky, like that of a harlot. When we get dressed in the morning we ought to be intentional in the way we dress, we should intentionally dress in a way that the Lord would be pleased with, not that men would be pleased with. There will be times that men will look no matter what, but what they ought to see is a modestly dressed female, not a female intentionally trying to get another man's attention. This is something that we need to be careful of, the Bible calls it 'taking heed unto yourselves'.
Moving on now to what we should dress like, in other words, how we adorn ourselves. This particular passage is one I’m sure you are familiar with. In 1 Timothy 2 :9 & 10 the Bible says: “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; But (which becometh women professing godliness) with good works.”
We are to adorn ourselves in a modest way, and what is a modest way? Well, it says “with shamefacedness and sobriety”. Shamefacedness means ‘great modesty, bashfulness, or shyness’. And sobriety means ‘seriousness’. We aren’t to be wild and crazy with our clothes, and I’m sure that this probably isn’t the case with most, but we also shouldn’t want to draw attention to ourselves in the way we dress, as if dressing in a wild and crazy way. Our clothes shouldn’t be attention-getters, but what should be an attention-getter? Well, I’ll move on to the next verse, another familiar one that will answer that question. 1 Peter 3:3 says, “Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel; But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price.” So a meek and quiet spirit is the ornament, or appearance that is most important. This is what should get the attention of others, this is what we should be known for, not the clothing and attire we wear. If your clothing choices are getting the attention of another man, besides your husband, then you need to take heed. We should not be out to gain attention of other men, and if our clothing choices cause this then we need to change our clothes.
Just about everyone has read the second chapter of Titus, speaking of the aged women and the young women. The aged women should “be in behaviour as becometh holiness” . How often, when we choose our clothes, do we ask ourselves if our clothing becometh holiness? This should be a question we ask ourselves each day. The young women should be “discreet and chaste”, again, is this a way we dress- in a discreet and chaste way? Not flashy and not revealing, but in a way that will bring honor and glory to God. These were commands to women, to godly women like ourselves. If our hearts are where they should be, then our clothing choices will fall in line with this particular passage of scripture.
I want to bring up another verse that I have been thinking about quite frequently, this passage of scripture is in regards to what pertaineth to a man, and what pertaineth to a woman. Deuteronomy 22:5 says, “The woman shall not wear that which pertaineth unto a man, neither shall a man put on a woman’s garment: for all that do so are abomination unto the Lord thy God.”
This is the biggie, isn’t it? That which pertaineth, or that which is associated with. If there is some piece of clothing that is associated towards a man, or you think looks more like a man’s attire rather than a woman’s, then I believe, through what the Bible says, that wearing such clothes is wrong. This is where femininity comes into play, God created women to be women, to be feminine, and not to look like men. We ought to look pretty and feminine, not in a flashy way, but in a godly way. I know what one person considers feminine may not be what another person considers feminine, so like one lady said in the comments, this is a heart issue. If you know that the way you’re dressed is more in line with a man’s attire and yet you still insist on wearing it, then this is an issue with your heart, and not yielding to the Lord’s commands. We should be examining our hearts and dealing with any rebellious attitudes we may have in regards to our clothing. I know with this particular verse that there are a lot of women that consider this a command to only wear skirts, because pants are considered to be a man's attire. I will say this, I have seen alot of jeans or pants that don't look at all feminine, also because the entire outfit is not feminine. I have dressed this way before- faded jeans, t-shirts, tennis shoes, etc. The whole outfit together could be put on a man and look like it came from his closet. Now, on the other hand, I know of godly women who wear nice pants or jeans along with a very pretty and feminine blouse, and there's no mistaking them for a man. I believe this is where the heart issue is most important. You can leave the house in a nice pair of pants and a floral top with a cute pair of ballet flats and look feminine and pretty, not revealing, not scantily clad, not slinky or tight or form-fitting, and I believe you're better off than the woman with the long skirt that is too form-fitting and a blouse that is too flashy that grabs the attention of men. Just because you wear a skirt doesn't make you any more pious than the lady wearing the pants, it's a heart issue. God sees our hearts, whether they be focused on Him, and wanting to please Him, or whether they be focused on showing others that you are a holier-than-thou woman who only wears skirts. Please don't get me wrong, you may be a woman who wears only skirts because that is what the Lord has layed on your heart, and you are not 'holier-than-thou' about it, you mindset is to truly please the Lord in all you do, and that includes your wardrobe. That is where all women ought to be, whether wearing modest pants or modest skirts, we should be only concerned with how the Lord views our hearts.
The virtuous woman in Proverbs 31 knew something about proper attire, “she maketh herself coverings of tapestry; her clothing is silk and purple”. I can only imagine that this was a feminine lady, she was obviously a godly woman who was praised by her husband and children. But the main thing she had right was found in verse 30, “Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman that feareth the Lord, she shall be praised.” This should be our goal, this should be our attitude, this should be our mark. Her clothing was right because her fear of the Lord was right.
Let’s examine our hearts ladies, and strive to be where the Lord would have us be, including in the way we dress.
Read part One of my modest quest HERE!
and next time...Keeping Warm! Subscribe to my blog so that you don't miss any posts on this series! and Follow my blog too! :)
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