Modest Clothing"Likewise, I want women to adorn themselves with proper clothing, modestly and discretely, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly garments; but rather by means of good works, as befits women making a claim to godliness."
(1 Timothy 2:9-10)
It has always been a touchy subject to discuss the topic of modesty. We don't like others telling us what we can or can not wear. Many of us argued with our parents about what we wanted to wear. Now, as Christians, sermons on modesty makes us uncomfortable. This subject needs to be talked about.
First, it may seem odd that a male preacher can talk about the subject of what women ought to wear. Modesty isn't strictly a female issue. Men can be immodest as well as women. A male apostle Paul is the one who is writing to a male Timothy here in our verse. But beyond this, it is the Holy Spirit who is directing these thoughts. So, let's not be so quick to shut down a conversation because of gender. You don't know what you are talking about because you are a man, doesn't change the issue at hand, modesty. And, from the male perspective, the way God has wired men to be visually attracted, he just might know a thing or two that the female is not willing to admit.
Second, the passage is directed toward "over dressing" rather than skimpy clothing. Paul states: costly garments, braided hair, gold, pearls. This is the mark of luxury. This is being showy. This is look at me. I have and you do not. Rather than having people talk about what you are wearing, have them notice all the good that you are doing. The Red Carpet walk belongs to Hollywood, not the people of God. You've seen the award shows, such as the Oscars. Much is made about who designed the dress. Actresses stand and twirl around so photographers can admire how they look. Proper, modestly and discretely are not found on those red carpets. Rather than showing off, do something worth while. Rather than putting all the attention on the outside, pour your efforts from the inside. Character and substance is what the apostle is driving at. Rather than having an amazing outside, have some substance on the inside. It's the heart that matters.
Third, your appearance says something. It identifies whose side you are on. Dress as one who makes a claim to godliness. Godly, belonging to God. One of His. Looking like Him. Dressing like He would want you to dress. There are certain things that those who "make claims" do. If I made a claim to be a singer, my family would die laughing if this were true, then I'd go around singing. If I made a claim to be a musician, then I'd be found playing an instrument. If I made the claim to be a professional golfer, then I'd be on the golf course daily. If I made the claim to be a writer, then I'd write. If I made the claim to be a preacher, I'd do what preachers do. We see someone dressed in a military uniform. We rightly conclude that he is in the service. We see someone in a policeman's uniform. We understand that he is a cop. So, here, women are to dress as those who claim to be godly. This means the spiritual is involved in picking out what they are going to wear. This means that they understand others are going to be looking at them. People are going to draw conclusions about them based upon what they are wearing. Their choice reflects godliness or ungodliness. This means there are going to be some dresses that will not make the grade. They may be affordable. They may be made of fine material. But when worn, one doesn't think of godliness. Too much skin. Too tight. Too revealing. No, instead of godly, the words are: Hot, Wow. The thought isn't, I expect that person worships every Sunday. No, those thoughts don't happen. So, the godly person who wants to make a claim to godliness is going to pass on some outfits. Now, this doesn't mean you have to wear an old sack. You can be fashionable, beautiful yet modest and godly. There may have to be some adjustments and alternations made to make the dress discrete, proper and modest. Everywhere you are, your example, influence and choices ought to point towards Heaven.
Now, let's talk about three applications.
Prom time. I've seen some of the pics posted on Facebook. A lot of skin. A lot of show and tell. A lot for a young man to look at all evening long. At the end of the night, I doubt his thoughts are about God and worship. It's easy to throw all of this in the young man's heart. He just has a dirty mind, some will say. Men are always thinking that way. Possibly. But maybe his thoughts were encouraged and directed by what was worn by the young lady. Paul doesn't give a pass here when it comes to the special occasions such as the prom. Dress as one who is making a claim to godliness.
Weddings. Again, too much skin, and too little godly claims. Sometimes it's not the brides dress but the girls with her. Their outfits do not reflect godly choices. It's a one time event, someone says. Yet, think about who is in the audience. Gathered are family and friends and what better way to make a statement that you can be beautiful and godly and modesty is wonderful. Dress makers don't think of godliness. Most don't even know what that means. So, again, adjustments have to be made to make that wedding dress something that is not shocking, embarrassing and the talk in church the next Sunday.
The beach. Headed to the ocean. Great time. Family time. Remember, you are making a claim to godliness. Your choice of what you wear speaks volumes. Paul didn't give us a pass because it's our vacation. He didn't say dress modestly only in church, but anywhere else, it doesn't matter. Making a claim of godliness is something that we want the world to notice. So, discretion, thought, and even prayer ought to be part of your vacation plans. Don't ruin the trip by being ungodly.
These lessons begin at home. This is where dad needs to step up and be dad. Sometimes moms don't see what could be a problem. You may have to send your child back to the closet to pick something else out, and you might head into a battle over this, but remember, you are trying to teach godliness.
Godliness begins in the heart. It is reflected in our words, our attitudes, our choices, and even our clothing. For those who do not have Christian dads, you may have to turn to a grandparent or someone you respect for their spiritual strength to help you make the right choices.
The boldness of Peter proved that they had been with Jesus. It was recognized that they were one of "those" people. We are making a similar claim. We belong to Jesus. I am one of His. Don't muddy the water and don't confuse people by dressing immodestly. This isn't talked about much these days. The topic won't go away because preachers don't preach it. It's in your Bible. You just need to read it. More and more, even in Sunday worship, some outfits seem to be more revealing than what they ought to be.
I wish we put as much money, time and effort to the way we look on the inside as we do on the outside. The showroom sparkles and is dazzling, but there is very little in the warehouse these days. Maybe it's time to change that. With the temperature rising, so often the clothes vanish.
Make a claim to godliness. Let one of those claims be the clothes that you wear.