When I was younger, I loved fashion and would spend my time reading women's magazines like Seventeen, Vogue, and Glamour when possible. I still love fashion and shoes, yet my interest for reading fashion magazines eventually faded. Though I liked looking at the pictures in women's magazines, I grew weary of the articles they featured, which mostly focused on women flaunting their sexuality. As my values changed, these magazines no longer matched my morals or the world's view about women in relationship to God’s view of women.

Today, some of these articles are a little more explicit. We're bombarded with messages and choices about what to wear, celebrities, relationships, and breakups along with health, beauty, and hairstyles. What I’ve noticed is how the lines have blurred between what's appropriate for women, young adults, and young teens. It seems anything goes. Hmmm.

According to Oxford Learner’s Dictionaries a fashion statement is “something that you wear or own that is new or unusual and is meant to draw attention to you.”  The objective is intended to make other people notice you.

And yet how we dress matters. Clothes make a fashion statement because they say something about us. Since growing in my spiritual walk I’ve learned how to dress appropriately as the daughter of the King. If you learned as a teen or young adult to get attention from guys by how you dressed, then you may still have that desire as an adult woman. It can feel good and give you a sense of power when you attract the gaze of men. But remember: The power of your sexuality and beauty was not given to you to use to captivate or catch the attention from men.

We are to cultivate inner beauty….whether married or single.  Modesty, it turns out, is first and foremost an attitude of the heart.

Do not let your adorning be the outward adorning of braiding the hair, wearing gold, or putting on fine clothing. But let it be the hidden nature of the heart, that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God.” 1 Peter 3:3-4

On the other side of the spectrum are women who go to an extreme to avoid looking sexy. Perhaps because of body-image issues, or a fear of unwanted attention, or a misunderstanding of what modesty means, these women don't put any effort into looking attractive. I went through this stage early in my Christian walk and ministry. But at some point, I needed to stop wearing unflattering clothing for fear of unwanted attention and get back to being a woman.

As women, we certainly don't have to cross the line of "sexy" in order to feel attractive. Kosmios, the Greek word for "modesty" means "well ordered" or "of good behavior."  Well arranged, seemly, modest.  It's used twice in the New Testament, both times in 1 Timothy. Interestingly enough, kosmios is translated differently in each of those places. In 1 Timothy 2:9-10 (MEV), when Paul is speaking of how women are to dress, it's usually translated as "modest:"

"In like manner also, that women clothe themselves in modest clothing, with decency and self-control, not with braided hair, gold, pearls, or expensive clothing, but with good works, which is proper for women professing godliness."

Hold up, was Paul saying that we could not get our hair braided, wear gold or pearls or buy expensive clothing? Whatever modesty means in the New Testament, it’s about being appropriately dressed; dressing in a "well ordered" way.

And what does that mean? Certain occasions call for certain kinds of dress. For example, we might wear leggings around the house but not to church.  Unfortunately, between yoga pants and thongs that peek out the backside of low-rise jeans, we've lost a little of modesty when it comes to dress. 

Our clothing (along with makeup, jewelry, and so on) should be an appropriate expression of who we are without going overboard.  Ask yourself a question.  What do you want to communicate about yourself to the outside world? Like it or not, people form first impressions largely based on how you look.

So why, as women, do we so often rely on outer adornments to say in flashing lights what our personalities and smarts can say much louder and more clearly?

Women have been influencing society with fashion since the beginning of time. Clothes are necessary. And what we wear reveals a lot about our creativity, our sense of style, our values, our body image, our self-respect—our heart.

“Modesty is about more than a list of rules of what to wear or not wear. It is a choice to express priorities, values, and personality without speaking a word.” -- Juli Slattery 

You are precious in the sight of the Lord!

Be abundantly blessed

Fran

 

Published by Dr. A. Francine Green