Let’s admit, when you hear modesty, the first thing that you think of IS NOT your heart, but rather your clothing; your outward appearance. Many women do not realize that modest actually starts with your heart; with your inward appearance.
Friend, let me tell you, that until you have gotten the roots of modesty grounded in your heart, it does not matter HOW you dress. You can wear long skirts that drag the floor, turtle neck shirts and head coverings, but if your heart is not right with God on this, then you might as well not even have bothered with your clothing. God is not looking for a show, or for someone to put up a front, he is looking for a heart that is eager to submit to His will, and a heart that wants to please and glorify Him NO MATTER WHAT!
1 Peter 3:3-5 ”Your adornment must not be merely external—braiding the hair, and wearing gold jewelry, or putting on dresses; 4 but let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is precious in the sight of God. 5 For in this way in former times the holy women also, who hoped in God, used to adorn themselves, being submissive to their own husbands”
I like what Paul Washer has to say about modesty as it concerns the heart :
”There are certain women that their heart is not right with God so even if they wear decent clothing, everyone knows that they are sensual. You can’t hide your heart behind religious clothing.”
That is so true, and I have seen this more than once. Just because you dress in a way that may appear to be modest to those around you, doesn’t mean that you have a heart that is modest. Do not forget that even though you may fool some people into thinking that you are modest, doesn’t mean that you fool God, He sees and knows everything. He is the one who searches the hearts of men.
“For God will bring every act to judgment, everything which is hidden, whether it is good or evil.” – Ecclesiastes 12:14
“It is He who reveals the profound and hidden things; He knows what is in the darkness, And the light dwells with Him.” ~ Daniel 2:22
The whole point of modesty is to glorify God, so my dear sister, if you are not being modest for God, there is NO POINT in your being modest at all! I do not want those of you who are reading this to take what I have just said the wrong way. Am I saying the there is not point at all to dress modestly, absolutely NOT! What I am saying is that you might as well dress like the world if your heart is not right with God – if you do not have a modest heart. Because all you are doing is putting up a front for those around you – trying to seem modest, when in all actuality, you and God both know that you really are not.
So then you may ask me :
WHAT DOES INWARD MODESTY OF THE HEART LOOK LIKE ? HOW DOES IT MANIFEST ITSELF ?
Well first of all, let us look at 1 Timothy 1:9-10 :
“Likewise, I want women to adorn themselves with proper clothing, modestly and discreetly, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly garments, but rather by means of good works, as is proper for women making a claim to godliness.”
The word “modesty” here, in verse 9 is also translated “shamfacedness” in the KJV. In earlier greek this was sometimes blended with a sense of shame – though it was also used to show a respectful timidity in the presence of superiors. This word is thus a blend of modesty and HUMILITY. This modesty and humility is emphasized in the word that follows “discreetly” or “self-control” – and this word speaks of sobriety and soundness of mind. This word “discreetly” speaks of passions and desires which are held in reign by such self-control. So you see, modesty is just your humility expressed in the way that you dress. It shows that you desire to serve others, particularly in the case your brothers, by NOT promoting sensuality and sexuality.
Your wardrobe is your public statement – and speaks to what your personal and private motivations really are. Once you begin to think of it that way, you begin to realize that immodesty is MUCH MUCH more than just wearing tight, form-fitting clothes or a mini skirt. This is pride being put on display for all to see, and is an act that is drawing undue attention to yourself.
“How does a woman discern the sometimes fine line between proper dress and dressing to be the center of attention? The answer starts in the intent of the heart. A woman should examine her motives and goals for the way she dresses. Is her intent to show the grace and beauty of womanhood?…. Is it to reveal a humble heart devoted to worshiping God? Or is it to call attention to herself, and flaunt her…beauty? Or worse, to attempt to allure men sexually? A woman who focuses on worshiping God will consider carefully how she is dressed, because her heart will dictate her wardrobe and appearance.” ~ John MacArthur
So now that you see that modesty is in the intent of the heart, you should then ask yourself a few questions.
“What is the intent of your heart when you are purchasing clothing to wear ?”
“Are your wardrobe choices coming from a humble heart that seeks to serve and to please God ?”
“Is your shopping governed by self-control and restraint ?”
“Are you dressing to bring attention to God or to yourself ?”
The link between your heart and your clothes is one that is inseparable. The roots of modest must begin in the heart, otherwise, it truly isn’t modesty at all. A woman who truly loves God, who truly loves her savior would gasp at the thought of dressing immodestly or in a way that would draw attention from the gospel.
When you think of modesty this way, there are no longer any arguments or debates. There are no longer any excuses or “loop holes” – it is plain. If you truly desire to please God, if your heart is set on Christ and is humble before Him, and if you are deeply in love with your Savior, then the only thing that you will want to do is please Him, IN EVERYTHING, and that includes the way that you dress. The overflow of your heart will be evident in the your speech, in your attitude, in your actions and of course, in your dress.
So please my precious sister, take a moment to examine your heart.
Even if you think that your heart is modest and that you are right with God here, even if your dress is modest. There is always room for improvement in each one of us, myself included.
The most important thing in life is conforming to Christ’s image and glorifying Him in everything. So pour your heart out to God, ask Him if there is any blemish within you.
“Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me and know my anxious thoughts; And see if there be any hurtful way in me, And lead me in the everlasting way.”
(first published of reformed4christ)