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Appearance and actions reflect . We present ourselves to the world based on our self-perception and aspirations. To be modest is to consider what our clothing and behavior represent. Modesty isn’t vain or boastful. It takes more than selfish desire into consideration and accepts responsibility for the influence our choices have on the lives of others. “Modesty is needed in every century and in every culture,” writes 

Knowledge of who we are in Christ is crucial to a life of biblical modesty. Modesty is simplicity. Jesus sets the example of the life we are to lead in the pages of Scripture. Living a simple and modest life in a society constantly selling us a new version of ourselves and our stuff is difficult.
 

What Does It Matter What We Wear?

1 Samuel 16:7 - "Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.” 

It takes patience and fortitude to fit character and calling into our wardrobe and hobbies. Kevin DeYoung writes, “being pretty (or handsome) is not a sin, working to improve your appearance does not have to be vanity, the line between modest and immodest is not always black and white -we are still left with the undeniable biblical fact that God considers modesty a virtue and it’s opposite a vice.”

 

Proverbs 11:22 says, “Like a gold ring in a pig’s snout is a beautiful woman who shows no discretion.” Solomon uses discretion here to describe the capacity one has to use tasteful judgment. Modesty is closely connected to self-worth. Unaware of our value, we lack the proper judgment to attract the right attention. Jesus said above all, love. He is love establishes strength and wisdom to develop discretion, allowing us to become more like the person Solomon speaks of here:

“She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come.” - Proverbs 31:25

As freeing as it is to walk through life knowing who we are in Him, we can still fall victim to charm. Proverbs 31:30 warns, “Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.” When striving to become more like Christ, the very pinnacle of modesty, we’re less likely to fall victim to or display ourselves an outward display of charm.
 

What Is Modesty According to the Bible?

Modesty, according to the Bible, is less of self and more of Christ. Humility, purity, and generosity, but not to be noticed or practiced as a religious requirement. We are fearfully and wonderfully made, not to be ashamed of who we are in Christ. We exist to honor God, with our physical bodies and our behavior.

Jesus said, “So you are no longer a slave, but God’s child; and since you are his child, God has also made you an heir.” (Galatians 4:7) When we walk with Christ as our Savior, we no longer have to fight to fit into this world because we are not of it. Pride and shame were never God’s intention. From the beginning of Genesis, our human frailty to fall into sin tainted our view of ourselves and our desires (Genesis 3:7). From the very beginning, God had a plan to cover us. Not only the newfound shame in our nakedness (Genesis 3:21) but the death we deserve for our sinful nature (Genesis 3:15)

"Shame is a powerful category, in the Bible and in our own day. The key is knowing what things we should actually be ashamed of.”- Kevin DeYoung

 

Modesty is the outward expression of inner purity. Paul instructed the Philippians to fix their thoughts on things not of this world. In our everyday modern lives, this truth reminds us to filter everything through the truth of God’s Word (Philippians 4:7-9).

We get one life on earth to reflect Christ’s love. When the community of people surrounding us peers into our lives, what do they see? It’s fun to dress up the surface, but when our focus is deeper, it’s not necessary. We shine just by taking care of our relationships with the Lord and the blessings He’s given us. Modesty is the powerful reflection of a daily walk with Jesus. (1 Peter 3:1-4)

David prayed for God to search his heart, as we should, asking God to redefine our definition of beauty. Meggie Cotonethal points out the dual use of the Greek word kosmios (modest or respectable) in 1 Timothy 2:9-10 and 1 Timothy 3:2. It means orderliness and propriety in women in 1 Timothy 2:9, and in 1 Timothy 3:2 implores respectable and good behavior in men. She smartly observes, “Modesty is not just a woman’s issue, and our Enemy delights in the fact that we think it is.”
 

Bible Verses about Modesty and How We Clothe Ourselves
 

  • Proverbs 31:30 - “Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.”
  • 1 Samuel 16:7 - “But the LORD said to Samuel, ‘Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.”
  • Matthew 6:1 - “Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven.”
  • Luke 22:42 - “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.”
  • Ephesians 2:10 - “We are all God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”
  • 1 Corinthians 10:31 - “So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.”
  • Philippians 2:5 - “Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus.”
  • 1 Timothy 4:8 - “For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come.”
  • 1 Peter 5:5 - “In the same way, you who are younger, submit yourselves to your elders. All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because ‘God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.’”

 

What Doesn't the Bible Cover about Modesty?

The word modesty is not prevalent in the Bible. Though God clearly categorizes the lack thereof as a vice, Scripture focuses is more on powerful virtues to develop modesty. Jesus is the pinnacle of modesty. Present at the creation of the universe, Son of the One True God and Savior of the world, He humbled Himself to wear sandals and got His feet dirty right alongside us for a few decades before dying perhaps the most excruciating and unjust death in the history of mankind . . . voluntarily.
 

Our Preferences vs. Biblical Principles

1 Timothy 4:8 - “For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come.”

The difference between preference and principle lies in our priorities. Strength and health are important priorities, but Christ comes first. Fashion is fun, but Christ comes first. It feels good to get compliments and feel accepted, but Christ comes first. When He doesn’t, the rest of our priorities stack up precariously like teetering Jenga blocks.

Modesty reflects the most current update of our hearts. Philippians 2:5 reminds us “Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus.” Do clothes, finances, relationships, speech, the passions we pursue, and the food we consume get in the way of others seeing Christ in us? 1 Corinthians 10:31 encourages, “So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.” I often tell my children, “if you have to ask if it’s OK, it’s probably not.”
 

What Should We Wear to Church?

“Our clothing tells people what is important to us.” -Kim Cash Tate

God wants to embrace us in worship. He promises to be present when two or more are gathered in His name. The church isn’t a place to impress others. Christians should dress for church to outwardly reflect the soul God designed in the most Christ-honoring way, different for everyone, in every culture. God smiles at a diverse church crowd, locking arms to worship the One True God.

 

John 8:54 - “Jesus replied, ‘If I glorify myself, my glory means nothing. My Father, whom you claim as your God, is the one who glorifies me.’” 

What if someone shows up to church with their skin exposed (to a degree), tattoos, piercings, wild makeup, or maybe they're under or overdressed compared to the rest of the church? Jesus would take the seat right alongside and embrace them, as should we.
 

What Does Modest Clothing Look Like?

1 John 2:16 - “For everything in the world- the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life- comes not from the Father but from the world.” 

Emily Maust Wood states, “self-control does not equal others-control.” The private parts God covered with leaves in Genesis are the places we’re to keep under cover. Anything that overexposes our intimacy should be kept under wraps. Purity holds onto some dignified places for marriage. But there’s no eternal damnation of shame if that ship has sailed for us. We can always start fresh to wear clothes reflecting what we believe and Who we follow.
 

Is There a Biblical Dress Code?

Matthew 6:1 - “Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven.”

Jesus clearly taught us not to do things in a self-self-righteous manner. What we wear should reflect who we are in Christ. “What a woman should wear or not wear is a matter of a woman’s conscience before the Lord,” -Dawn Wilson, “7 Things the Bible Says about Your Clothes.” Men are not off the hook, here either. She also notes, “Modesty is not anti-fashion; it’s pro-adornment in godly ways (1 Timothy 2:8).
 

Why Should Christians Care about Modesty?

Christians should take great care to reflect modesty. We are not of this world and will stick out like sore thumbs at times because of our modest choices in clothes, spending, food, exercise, etc. Some of these choices are a proper reflection of the life we’re called to live. Many rich blessings add joy to our lives, but everything we do yields to the Father. A life consistently reflective of His love and light to those surrounding us as witnesses. The following verses help us focus on living a modest daily life:

 
  • Luke 22:42 - “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.”
  • Romans 12:2 - “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is - his good, pleasing and perfect will.”
  • Ephesians 2:10 - “We are all God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”

Modesty can be relative, or relevant, to our Christian walk. The choice is ours. The Bible holds enough truth to steer us in the right direction, but our enemy uses the concept of modesty deceptively to make us think following Christ is all about rigid religious rules. Purity, modesty, humility, and acceptance are keys to a life full of the Peace and Love of Christ. Modesty, and many other virtues and vices can be picked apart and redefined to fit different perspectives. But there is only one way to the Truth . . . Jesus. When our eyes are fixed on Christ, modesty will be reflected in our lives.
 

A Prayer for Clarity in Modesty

Father,

Praise You for the diversity in this world. Each culture, skin tone, language, and ethnicity is an expression of Your creative love. Help us to see each other as You do and express our inner hearts with our outward appliance. Give us the balance and modesty we need to walk in Your strength, Father. Help us to be open and accepting yet listening to and applying Your truth to our lives day by day. May we daily understand who we are in You a little more, and our hearts continue to grow in compassion and love for the people you purposefully place in our lives. Help us to love them well. Thank you for loving us perfectly. Clear the lines we blur, Lord Jesus. Let all we do honor You.

In Jesus’ Name,

Amen.

 

Culled From Crosswalk.com

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      Every child of God faces temptation. It’s a given fact. As we look at the scriptures, we see that Esau gave up his birthright for stew, Ananias and Sapphira wrecked their lives over money, Samson lost his anointing because of a lady, Saul lost his Kingship because of cattle, and the Prophet Elisha’s servant Gehazi lost his calling because of silver and clothes!

      1 John 2:16 says, “For everything in the world – the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does- comes not from the Father but from the world.”

      Whenever temptation comes our way, Satan will use it to target our faith, our character, and to wreck God’s plan for our life.

      Let’s look at temptations Joseph faced as Potiphar’s wife attempted to seduce him into sexual sin. It came at a time when he had found great success in Potiphar’s household and business. The story is found in Genesis 39:6-12 and it illuminates 6 types of temptation that can come against a child of God:

      1. Natural Temptation

      Now Joseph was well built and handsome – Genesis 39:6

      Each of us have natural desires that God has given us, including the desire for acceptance, sex, food, and more. The Bible says “Now Joseph was well built and handsome” (Genesis 39:6). He was an attractive, strong, young man and would have faced temptation like anyone else, for scripture says, “No temptation has seized you except what is common to man” (1 Corinthians 10:13).

      Joseph was surely no exception to what afflicts common humanity, and he would have faced temptation many times. Being handsome, he probably would have attracted the attention of many ladies. One thing is certain, he was soon noticed by Potiphar’s wife. Joseph however, found his strength in the Lord.

      Today, we too are tempted on every side through billboards, magazines, videos, pornography, and many other ways.

      How comforting it is to know that Jesus can give us strength to face all temptation for Hebrews says, “We have one (a high priest) who has been tempted in every way, just as we are, yet was without sin” (Hebrews 4:15).

      Yes, Jesus understands our temptations and He will help us through them. We need to seek His help daily.

      2. Influential Temptation

      After a while his master’s wife took notice of Joseph and said “come to bed with me!” –Genesis 39:7

      This was sexual harassment in the workplace and it involved the first lady; the Chairman’s wife! She was a lady of great influence and would most probably have used her powers often against people. To therefore resist would have been difficult and dangerous for Joseph. But, resist he did, even though he knew well what she could do because of her influence. As we know, she exacted her revenge to the maximum (Genesis 39:20)!

      Are you facing temptation because of some influential person? Is it in the office or through your boss? Is it in your family circle or in your circle of friends? Are influential people pressurizing you to take ungodly decisions? How are you coping with it?

      On the other hand, maybe you are a person of influence. If so, are you using it to hurt others or to pressure them to do something that dishonors God?

      Think about it, and remember that 1 Corinthians 10:3 includes the promise that “when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out.”

      3. Promotion Temptation

      No one is greater in this house than I am. My master has withheld nothing from me… –Genesis 39:9

      Joseph had risen to a place of trust with Potiphar and been given full executive powers in Potiphar’s business enterprise. He clearly understood that promotion comes from the Lord (Psalm 75:6-7). But with promotion came new challenges as Joseph soon found out. His promotion caught the attention of Potiphar’s wife as he would have had to interact more frequently with her now.

      God’s desire is to bless our work and this may well lead to promotion and success. When that happens, let’s be careful to handle the temptations that come with it, especially pride, greed, lust, compromise, and arrogance.

      We may also want to please our boss and our company more than we please God. We could be tempted to give most of our time to find even greater success and to make more money, often at the expense of neglecting our family and our health.

      Our integrity could well go out the window unless we let God stay in control of our hearts.

      4. Persistent Temptation

      She spoke to Joseph day after day – Genesis 39:10

      Yes, some temptations hit us repeatedly, especially in our weak areas. Whenever our church is in a period of fasting and prayer, I find that good food seems to be around wherever I go! That’s persistent temptation.

      Potiphar’s wife kept persisting ‘day after day’, hoping that Joseph would yield one day. Thank God, he didn’t.

      Are you being tempted to yield to something that is coming against you repeatedly? How do you plan to overcome it? Are you seeking help, prayer, and godly counsel or even running away when needed?

      There is a story about a man who repeatedly asked the Pastor to pray that the cobwebs in his life would be removed. After quite a number of such prayers, the Pastor got tired of removing cobwebs and prayed that God would ‘once and for all’ kill the spider that was making the cobwebs!

      We have to put to death anything that comes against us repeatedly to make us dishonor our Lord.

      5. The Perfect Setting Temptation

      One day, however, no one else was around when he went in to do his work. She came and grabbed him by his cloak... – Genesis 39:11-12

      The stage was ready with a perfect setting for temptation to overpower Joseph. No one was at home, Joseph was alone, and Potiphar’s wife was probably showing no doubts about her intentions.

      Maybe the lights were dim, with romantic music playing in the background. To make it more difficult, she even caught him by the cloak.

      Joseph, in response, may have taken his cue from the athletes of his day, because he followed their example. He ran!

      When the setting is perfect for sin to flourish, we may make excuses saying that “even God would understand.” Joseph could have thought so, too. We may even say that “God allowed it to happen.” But the scripture says that God doesn’t tempt anyone. He will not lead us into anything that dishonors Him.

      There is a story of a University student who had a good reputation for integrity, but blew it one day. When the disappointed Principal talked to the student in his office, he responded by saying that the Principal would probably not be able to find even ten students who wouldn’t have acted in similar fashion given the same circumstances. The wise Principal replied, ‘That’s true son, but you could have beenone of those ten!

      The setting may be perfect to yield to sin, but we are called to please God in every such perfect setting.

      6. Isolation Temptation

      One day he went into the house to attend to his duties and none of the household servants was inside. – Genesis 39:11

      Not only was Joseph alone in the house, but he was also isolated from his home and people. He would have been missing his family and childhood friends. He could have been lonely and in need of comfort, but he refused to sin.

      Predators in the animal kingdom normally look to isolate their targeted prey from the rest of the herd when they hunt. Similarly, Satan is a predator who looks to attack and to devour the weak, the marginalized, and the lonely. Joseph was alone when the temptation hit like a whirlwind. You too will be attacked if Satan is able to isolate you.

      Those who travel out of town or overseas for work, away from family, should be extra careful.

      So, which of the above mentioned 6 temptations are you battling now?

      Here are a few steps that could help you overcome these temptations:

       1. Don’t Battle Alone

      Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeed. – Proverbs 15:22

      Find a trustworthy friend or a group you can be accountable to. Seek their advice, counsel, and prayer when needed.

      2. Flee

      Flee the evil desires of youth and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart – 2 Timothy 2:22 

      This is the Apostle Paul’s advice to young Timothy and that’s exactly what Joseph did. (Genesis 39:12)

      3. Watch Your Eyes

      The Psalmist said, “I will set before my EYES no vile thing” (Psalm 101:3)

      4. Be Careful of the Little Things

      It’s the smaller sins that lead to the bigger ones. Telling little lies can lead to the bigger lies and being dishonest with small change may well lead to outright cheating.

      5. Depend on God’s Strength Daily

      Look for God’s strength daily through prayer (1 Corinthians 10:13), and for His escape route. As someone said, “If He bolts a door, don’t try to jump in through a window!”

      May the Lord’s grace be with you as you face the minefield of temptation.

      Palitha Jayasooriya
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