We are called to live modest lives, whether that is in dress, character, or actions.
Likewise, wives, be subject to your own husbands, so that even if some do not obey the word, they may be won without a word by the conduct of their wives, when they see your respectful and pure conduct. 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. 1 Peter 3:1-4
Slow down, stop and read that verse again. There are a few very important lessons to take from this passage in 1 Peter.
Our modest behavior can have an effect on others
Peter began this section explaining to wives how they can have an effect on their husbands. As a wife, even if we have an unbelieving husband, we can win them to Christ by our behavior!
As women we are to be respectful and have pure conduct. This begins in our hearts. Luke 6:45 tells us, “The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure produces evil, for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.”
If we have a pure heart and practice good, then our conduct will reflect that pure heart. Likewise, if our heart is a black hole of deceit and sin, then our lives will eventually pour that out.
Our outward expression of a pure heart is modest dress, speech, and actions. And because the Lord commands it, we must do our best to follow it, even if we often stumble in this area.
The Heart is more important than the outside
There is nothing wrong with wanting to dress in a cute way or have some trendy clothing. At the same time, however, modesty can be made out to be an idol. Some can become self righteous when it comes to modesty and judge others who don’t feel the same convictions as themselves.
But this verse makes it clear that the focus should be on the hidden person of the HEART. It is not sinful to do such things as braid your hair or put on makeup, but that should not be your sole focus.
Your focus should be on your heart and that you are conducting yourself in a pure manner. Focusing on your heart will help you to produce the imperishable characteristics of a gentle and quiet spirit.
Your modest dress is simply an outpouring of your pure and modest heart.
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 lure 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
As MacArthur so eloquently put it, a woman who is more concerned with worshiping God and following his commands than pleasing man and her own selfish desires, will work on having a modest heart and the outpouring of modest dress, speech, and character. We will not always be perfect at this. And sometimes the Lord convicts women differently.
My sisters and I all have a strong desire to serve the Lord and honor him in our dress, and we disagree sometimes on certain modesty issues. But that is okay. The point is, we shouldn’t look at other women and judge. Some women are seasoned veterans in modesty and have walked closely with the Lord for years. Others are new to the Christian faith or have maybe never had an honest discussion about modesty.
I am not here to judge the way others dress, and we should be careful on how we look at those in the church. The Lord convicts each of us differently and at different seasons.
But I would ask women to listen to the Lord. Just because we shouldn’t judge others for what they wear, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t judge yourself. Take an honest look at your clothing. Ask yourself (and your husband/dad) what is modest and what isn’t. But be careful, it is easy to lie to yourself and make yourself feel better about what you are wearing.
Proverbs 30:20 says, “This is the way of an adulterous woman; she eats and wipes her mouth, and says, ‘I have done no wrong.’”
Tomorrow we will look at the more practical side of modesty and delve into some of the nitty-gritty practical details and tips to help us dress modestly.