1 Timothy 2:9-10 (NKJV): "in like manner also, that the women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with propriety and moderation, not with braided hair or gold or pearls or costly clothing, but, which is proper for women professing godliness, with good works."
Wow, God has really been showing me a lot! I have heard this verse so many times in my life, and whenever I would hear it, I would automatically associate it with two ideas: 1)dress modestly, as in not causing a man to stumble, and 2) let my beauty come from within. These are very true concepts that are taught here; however, this time around the Lord has taught me one more truth from these verses, that had never occurred to me before. And it happens to be an area where He wants me to change! Uh oh....
Modesty...what does modesty mean? What definition comes to your mind? If you're like me, you think of shirts that are not too low cut, skirts that are a decent length...basically not showing off too much. That IS one definition, and it is an important one. But if you look the word "modest" up in the dictionary, the first definition that you will get is "having or showing a moderate or humble estimate of one's merits, importance, etc; free from vanity, egotism, boastfulness, or great pretensions". The second definition is "free from ostentation or showy extravangance".
Ouch. OUCH. What?? Huh??
There was a time in my life when I wanted to plug my ears and run away from this verse in the first place, for two reasons. One, I didn't want to hear about dressing modestly, because I was blessed with a figure and I didn't see any need to hide it (I'm being very candid here); and two, I wanted my beauty to come from outside! And now....here we go with a third whammy to the verse!
Let's take a quick break and give you a little background on me. Growing up, I was the poor kid in a rich kid's school. I never had the "in" clothes, and the kids were mean, and the teasing was constant. As a result, I came to believe that my identity came from what I wore...not true, my identity is in Christ....but I believed that at the time. If I just had the right clothes, then I would have lots of friends and everyone would like me. This concept followed me into adulthood. It followed me to the point that it became an obsession... I'll even go as far as to say it was an idol. Then from there, as I bought nice clothes and started looking more pretty and "in fashion", it turned into being prideful and showy and arrogant ....dressing to get attention. This was not good either!
Okay, now that you understand where I'm coming from, back to the verse. The third thing that the Lord has shown me recently in this verse, is that we are not to dress in a way that draws attention to ourselves. This meaning never, ever occurred to me before! But really, it makes total sense, as it fits in with the rest of the theme of the Bible. Dressing to bring ourselves attention is being self-focused, and when we're self-focused we're not Jesus-focused. It becomes all about what I look like, what I can do....hey everybody, look at ME! So let's review the definitions of modesty again: "having or showing a moderate or humble estimate of one's merits, importance, etc; free from vanity, egotism, boastfulness, or great pretensions"; "free from ostentation or showy extravangance". 1 Timothy 2:9-10 states that we are to be modest in our dress. Being modest in our dress takes the attention OFF of us, and keeps it where it should be: on JESUS.
Jesus is what life is all about. It's not about us. We are here to bring people to Jesus and to work for kingdom purposes and for God's glory. We should be working on bringing people's attention to God, rather than to us.
Am I saying that we shouldn't dress nicely? That we shouldn't wear make-up or jewelry? Not at all! But we shouldn't be purposely drawing attention to ourselves by our jewelry, our hair, or our clothes, AND we need to keep our motives pure. For many years my motives were not, and it is our hearts are that the Lord looks at.
"for man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart." 1 Samuel 16:7
Now, there is one last thing I want to throw out there....dress for your husband!! He is the one person whose eyes you should be attracting! That is one exception the the "rule".
I really hope that this post doesn't sound too disjointed. I haven't had a lot of quiet time to write and I've had a hard time pulling my thoughts together. May God bless you!