Therefore so should we.
I also want the women to dress modestly, with decency and propriety, adorning themselves, not with elaborate hairstyles or gold or pearls or expensive clothes, but with good deeds, appropriate for women who profess to worship God. (1 Timothy 2:9, 10 NIV)
At the end of the last post on modesty, I mentioned that we will continue from where we left off and discuss the command in 1 Timothy 2:9-10, as I understand it.
Paul’s instructions to Timothy speak to the following areas of womanhood, all of which continue to be relevant today.
Do not draw attention to ourselves in the way we dress. This sounds simple enough, yet we struggle with it. We live in a culture that is characterized by less and less when it comes to clothing. If our mindset isn’t restructured to please God in this area of our lives, it is easy to think that our manner of dressing is simply up to us. While this verse doesn’t tell us how tight or short to wear our clothes, it provides us with a spiritual guideline to take to the clothing store with us. Before buying, we must think and literally ask ourselves if 1) it honors God, 2) shows respect for our bodies, the dwelling of the Holy Spirit, and 3) brings undue attention to ourselves. Since I shifted my thinking to God-honoring over asset-promoting, I began to evaluate my closet with these questions and by further asking, “Am I able to be a witness in this outfit?” If the answer is ‘No or Maybe not’, then in that moment I have to decide to conform to the Gospel that I profess or compromise (sin). At times, it doesn’t seem like the answer is so obvious. The following question then becomes “Does this demonstrate a humble heart devoted to the worship of God? A devoted heart reflects a God-centered attitude, whereas a divided heart reflects a self-pleasing attitude.
Do not draw attention to our worldly possessions. Our appearance shouldn’t draw attention to our earthly wealth either. We obviously have different means, but this should not be used as a stumbling block for other believers or for ourselves. Here again, this points to the attitude of our hearts and our focus. In Christ, we are called to be one body and to worship God fervently as one church, the Bride of Christ.
I personally do not understand this verse to mean that any wearing of jewelry is prohibited. Rather, our focus should not be to draw others toward us because of our wealth and socioeconomic status.
Adorn ourselves with godliness. We should wear our good works. At the sight of us, others should see the light of Christ shining through. Because of us, notwithstanding our modest appearance, others should glorify our Father in heaven. We can have a powerful impact in the world when we embrace godliness. God is not calling us to disappear as many of us may think will happen if we don’t display our bodies. Rather as we cover that which is easily seen, we can begin to display that which is unseen. I sometimes wonder how powerful my witness can be if I spend as much time, resources and energy for the things of God as I once did on myself.
Be an attractive woman in the ways that matter most. Seek to attract others to the goodness of God and cause them to glorify His Name.