Modesty, My Dear

“First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior…

“I desire then that in every place the men should pray, lifting holy hands without anger or quarreling;  likewise also that women should adorn themselves in respectable apparel, with modesty and self-control, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly attire… Continue in faith and love and holiness, with self-control.” 1 Timothy 2:1-3,8-10,15b

“Do not let your adorning be external—the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear— but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious. For this is how the holy women who hoped in God used to adorn themselves.” 1 Peter 3:3-5

So much is made about outward appearance. Dressed and fit, accessorized and posed, we want to be perfect for the screen, the banter, the acceptance and applause of those around us. We bear the burden of baring too much story and skin, all to gain attention that is fleeting. But then we’re arrested by the admonition to lift holy hands, or to cultivate a quiet spirit, and don’t know where and how to fit that into the dressing room of our day to day. How to reconcile the Lord’s call for modesty and measured living in His flow and flourish, when habits that are opposed are now exposed?

What to do? How to turn, and proceed? First of all, pray about all these things, confessing need, with commitment. Check motives in every choice, and repent toward a pure heart and eternal perspective. Do I dress to provoke, to draw attention to anything other than Christ? Whom do I aim to please? And what about modesty of speech? Do I have to tell all? Why do I clamor for notice? Are my words authentic? What do my words betray about the status of my spirit? What drives me to reveal what I do, and who does it glorify? What makes it so hard to keep my mouth closed? The Lord will answer, and help. He’s on our side. Psalm 19:7-8,10a,12-13a,14; Romans 8:31-34)

How much do we care about and tend to the inner self? What if we took as much time and attention to refine our inner strength and beauty as we do the external? What if we made deliberate changes to our schedules and actions to promote a gentle, quiet spirit, and good works? To soak in Christ so we reflect His grace and love? To invest in the good of another’s soul? The transformation God works inside is sure to show, and in ways that reveal Him.

“Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain,
    but a woman [or man] who fears the Lord is to be praised.”
(Proverbs 31:30)

Lord God, make me godly and dignified in every way, that my dress and words spoken are fitting for my King, and display the honor You deserve.

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