“As obedient children, not conforming yourselves to the former lusts, [as] in your ignorance; but as He who called you [is] holy, you also be holy in all [your] conduct, because it is written, ‘Be holy, for I am holy.’ . . . Beloved, I beg [you] as sojourners and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts which war against the soul . . .” (1 Pet. 1:14-15; 2:11).
HOW CAN WE ENCOURAGE BIBLICAL MODESTY?
Biblical Modesty starts when parents and children will want to present every part of their bodies as a living sacrifice—holy and acceptable to God ( Rom. 12:1).
Purity of heart is usually reflected by modesty of life.
Modesty of life is most often reflected in our clothing. The latter is perhaps the most difficult of all areas to pray about. What do the Scriptures present as the wardrobe we should wear? In the Bible, we see clothes that reflect three timeless principles:
OUR CLOTHING WAS INVENTED BY GOD TO COVER OUR BODIES. “Also for Adam and his wife the LORD God made tunics of skin, and clothed them” (Gen. 3:21).
- We should pray to see our children understand that in the Garden of Eden God introduced clothing as a covering for His creatures. Before the Fall, Adam and Eve felt no shame in their nakedness (Gen. 2:25).
- However, after the Fall, they were embarrassed and desired that their bodies be covered, so they sewed fig leaves together to clothe themselves (Gen. 3:7). Because of the fallen, lustful human heart, God says, “Don”t allow yourself by a lack of modesty to become a wicked picture in an evil person’s heart.” Beware: “With eyes full of adultery, they never stop sinning; they seduce the unstable; they are experts in greed—an accursed brood!” (2 Pet. 2:14, NIV).
OUR CLOTHING IS TO PREVENT CONFUSION . “A woman must not wear men’s clothing, nor a man wear women’s clothing, for the LORD your God detests anyone who does this” (Deut. 22:5, NIV).
OUR CLOTHING CAN BE EITHER BEAUTIFUL OR LUSTFUL . Proverbs 31:22 She makes coverings for her bed; she is clothed in fine linen and purple. (NIV) Proverbs 7:10Then out came a woman to meet him, dressed like a prostitute and with crafty intent. (NIV)
OUR CLOTHING MUST NEVER BE IMMODEST AND ALLURING . Proverbs 7:10 Then out came a woman to meet him, dressed like a prostitute and with crafty intent. (NIV). Her clothing points to her not to her Father in Heaven and His holiness. Remember the words of Paul in the New Testament Gallery of beautiful women? God emphasizes a beauty of the unseen character, the flesh flaunts the body, God beautifies the spirit! 1 Timothy 2:9 I also want women to dress modestly, with decency and propriety, not with braided hair or gold or pearls or expensive clothes, (NIV)
OUR CLOTHING SHOULD HELP US AVOID SIN SO WE NEVER PLAY WITH GOD’S MERCY . Proverbs 7:13-14 She took hold of him and kissed him and with a brazen face she said: 14 “I have fellowship offerings at home; today I fulfilled my vows. (NIV). There is no fear of God, the future consequence or the present destructiveness of her actions.Galatians 6:7-8 Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. 8 For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life.
OUR CLOTHING SHOULD HELP US AVOID BEING MANIPULATIVE IN OUR GOALS. Proverbs 7:21-23 With her enticing speech she caused him to yield, With her flattering lips she seduced him. 22 Immediately he went after her, as an ox goes to the slaughter, Or as a fool to the correction of the stocks, 23 Till an arrow struck his liver. As a bird hastens to the snare, He did not know it [would cost] his life. (NKJV) An ungodly woman is self driven and wants her way. A beautiful woman wears the heavenly beauty of God’s authority over their life. Psalm 90:17 And let the beauty of the LORD our God be upon us, And establish the work of our hands for us; Yes, establish the work of our hands. (NKJV) 1 Peter 3:4 Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight. (NIV)
OUR CLOTHING MUST NOT BE OSTENTATIOUS . “Beware of the teachers of the law. They like to walk around in flowing robes and love to be greeted in the marketplaces and have the most important seats in the synagogues and the places of honor at banquets”(Luke 20:46, NIV).
OUR CLOTHING IS TO SHOW SEPARATION FROM THE WORLD. Romans 12:2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.
What are the characteristics of the “hooter girls” of this world? Tight, body accentuating, form fitting, and body revealing dress. Open buttons, plunging necklines, well placed slits. Short shorts and short skirts that draw the eyes to follow the lines and curves in a sensual way. That is the model that the world has placed before us. God says do not allow that model to become the pattern you follow.
- Deuteronomy 18:9 “When you come into the land which the Lord your God is giving you, you shall not learn to follow the abominations of those nations.
- Jeremiah 10:2 Thus says the Lord: “Do not learn the way of the Gentiles; Do not be dismayed at the signs of heaven, For the Gentiles are dismayed at them.
- 2 Corinthians 6:17-7:1 Therefore “Come out from among them And be separate, says the Lord. Do not touch what is unclean, And I will receive you.” 18 “I will be a Father to you, And you shall be My sons and daughters, Says the Lord Almighty.”1 Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.
OUR CLOTHING REFLECTS CHRIST . Romans 13:13-14 Let us walk properly, as in the day, not in revelry and drunkenness, not in lewdness and lust, not in strife and envy. 14 But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts.
OUR CLOTHING IS TO COVER GOD’S TEMPLE. “Do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit [who] is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? (1 Cor. 6:19). We should pray to see our children understand that in the New Testament God expects clothing to be a reflection of His righteousness and our modesty as His temple! Because of the Fall, we must be on guard at all times. The Flesh wants to rise up!
OUR CLOTHING IS TO REFLECT GOD’S OWNERSHIP OF OUR BODIES. 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? 20 For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.We should use God’s Word to explain so our children understand that in the Old Testament God regulated clothing to be a testimony of His ownership.
OUR CLOTHING MUST NOT ENCOURAGE THE LUST OF THE FLESH : clothing must not be sensuous. “I also want women to dress modestly, with decency and propriety, not with braided hair or gold or pearls or expensive clothes” (1 Tim. 2:9, NIV).
OUR CLOTHING IS NOT TO DETRACT FROM OUR HOLINESS: clothing must not be conspicuous. “Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight. For this is the way the holy women of the past who put their hope in God used to make themselves beautiful. They were submissive to their own husbands” (1 Pet. 3:3-5, NIV). James equally warns us: “My brothers, as believers in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ, don’t show favoritism. Suppose a man comes into your meeting wearing a gold ring and fine clothes, and a poor man in shabby clothes also comes in” (James 2:1-2,NIV).
OUR CLOTHING IS TO DEMONSTRATE HUMILITY . 1 Peter 5:5 Likewise you younger people, submit yourselves to your elders. Yes, all of you be submissive to one another, and be clothed with humility, for “God resists the proud, But gives grace to the humble.”
- “The LORD says, ‘The women of Zion are haughty, walking along with outstretched necks, flirting with their eyes, tripping along with mincing steps, with ornaments jingling on their ankles. Therefore the Lord will bring sores on the heads of the women of Zion; the LORD will make their scalps bald.’ In that day the Lord will snatch away their finery: the bangles and headbands and crescent necklaces, the earrings and bracelets and veils, the headdresses and ankle chains and sashes, the perfume bottles and charms, the signet rings and nose rings, the fine robes and the capes and cloaks, the purses and mirrors, and the linen garments and tiaras and shawls. Instead of fragrance there will be a stench; instead of a sash, a rope; instead of well-dressed hair, baldness; instead of fine clothing, sackcloth; instead of beauty, branding” (Is. 3:16-24, NIV).
OUR CLOTHING IS TO PREVENT CAUSING MENTAL PICTURES THAT FEED LUST . Because of the fallen, lustful human heart God said don’t allow yourself, by a lack of modesty, to become a wicked picture in an evil person’s heart! 2 Peter 2:14 With eyes full of adultery [literally this is the plural form of “adultresses” a mind full of women that are lusted after who become the man’s adulteresses] they never stop sinning; they seduce the unstable; they are experts in greed — an accursed brood! (NIV)
OUR CLOTHING SHOULD REFLECT WHAT IS WORN IN HEAVEN . Whenever we see someone in heaven or coming from the presence of God what do they look like? What characterizes them?
- LOOK WHAT JESUS WEARS Revelation 1:13 And in the midst of the seven candlesticks one like unto the Son of man, clothed with a garment down to the foot, and girt about the paps with a golden girdle. (KJV)
- LOOK WHAT WE ARE GOING TO WEAR Revelation 7:9 After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands; (KJV)
- LOOK WHAT GOD’S SPECIAL REPRESENT-ATIVES WEAR Mark 16:5 And entering into the sepulchre, they saw a young man sitting on the right side, clothed in a long white garment; and they were affrighted. (KJV)
- LOOK WHAT GOD EXPECTS US TO WEAR – THE RIGHTEOUSNESS OF GOD Isaiah 61:10 I will greatly rejoice in the LORD, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for he hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, he hath covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decketh himself with ornaments, and as a bride adorneth herself with her jewels. (KJV)
- LOOK WHAT GOD OFFERS US TO WEAR – CHRIST Romans 13:12-14 The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light. 13 Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying. 14 But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof. (KJV)
OUR CLOTHING SO OFTEN REFLECTS WHERE WE ARE IN OUR DISCIPLINE OF OUR FLESH . Moms and dads, what are you raising? A wise child, or a foolish one? Bring your daughters up to the X-Rays of God’s Word and see what He finds. Are they loud, assertive, boisterous, whiney or the center of attention? Or are they quiet, submissive, gentle and humble? Do your daughters dress in a way that draws a young man to think about her body and its enticements or her spirit and its beauty? Do they have a holy hatred of sin or do they have a desire to watch sinners [TV and Movies] as they live out their fleshly fantasies? Do they use all their powers to get their own way? Does they manipulate by tears, looks and whatever it takes to accomplish their ends? Are they argumentative, easily quarreling and fighting with you or their brothers and sisters? Or are they peaceable, gentle and easily intreated? If these symptoms are present in any degree or amount the prognosis for the future bleak. One gifted expositor in writing about these verses said, “ …we may say with a surgeon’s frankness, their lives will be like Scarlett’s – troubled, torn down, and literally Gone with the Wind.