Friday, August 17, 2007

There is More to Modesty

As maidens, it can be very hard not to stereotype what modesty is or should be. We might look at a girl wearing capris and say, “she isn’t in a skirt of dress; therefore, she isn’t modest.” Or we can see along jumper and naturally assume the wearer is modest. We can make these same judgments in relation to hair, shoe height, even length of other garments. However, there is more to modesty than just dress code.

In fact, the Bible never says how long a maiden needs to wear her hair or skirts. To Christ, the dressing of a person’s heart is of far greater importance than the dressing of a person’s body. 1 Peter 3:3-4 read, “Do not let your adornment be merely outward—arranging the hair, wearing gold, or putting on fine apparel—rather let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God.” Now this verse doesn’t mean a maiden cannot look nice. In the Bible, we see that Esther went through beauty treatments, Ruth anointed herself before going to Boaz on the threshing floor, and the Proverbs 31 woman was arrayed in fine linen and purple. The Lord has taken the time to mention these “styling sessions,” so it obviously mattered to Him that we know what women wore. However, what was their heart wearing? We find Esther obeying what Mordecai and the king’s eunuchs instructed. Ruth cared about Naomi’s future, and the Proverbs 31 woman was the picture of servanthood and love. And when we read these women’s stories, it is their character qualities that leave an impression, not in what they are clothed.

Besides 1 Peter, there are other verses that show God’s instruction for maidens. Titus 2:5 is a good one. Among other exhortations, a maiden was told to be “discreet.” So, by using discreet, quiet and meek from other Bible translations, we can see that a maiden is one who does not draw attention to herself. Instead her actions speak and proclaim who she is. A young woman who might be dressed in decent, not form fitting capris, and yet is loving, compassionate, and self denying more readily fulfills God’s design than a long-skirted maiden who is harsh, lazy, and self-serving. In all actuality, the skirted maiden in this case is really no different than a person in a provocative miniskirt.

So, what is modesty? To me, it is a maiden who yes, has certain neckline and length requirements, but is more concerned with lining up her life to God’s plan and following His path. It is hard to do the latter, perhaps even harder than finding clothes. =) Our flesh seeks to get its way and the attention. When in a room of people, it is far easier to be the one whom everyone notices than it is to have a deep conversation with one person. It is a daily, hourly, minutely, battle to die to one’s self, but by God’s strength, we can! We have only to ask!

I am far from being a truly modest maiden. Sure, my clothes might be fine, but my heart isn’t always “properly attired.” Perhaps you feel the same way? I want to encourage you (as I remind myself) that God is only a prayer away. When it seems so difficult to have that right attitude, or to play with a sibling when a book is beckoning us, let’s cry to Him. God will take us through the “Refiner’s Fire” as we humbly seek His face.

May we become maidens whose outfits, and actions, leave an indelible mark that future generations remember, just as Esther, Ruth, and Proverbs 31 do for us today. May we strive to never stereotype modesty by a person’s attire anymore. Instead, may we remember that there is more to modesty; may we look at the heart before we are quick to judge!

Original post found here. This post ties in perfectly with the posts we've done about modestly recently. It's a wonderful reminder to be discreet and modest in actions as well as dress.

Ella is a maiden who blogs over at How Great is His Faithfulness! She is 17 years old and committed to modesty, courtship, and seeking God's best for her life. She has a heart for ministering to young ladies, through her blog and as an editor for HopeChest magazine. Her prayer is that through her blog, you will be able to see the Lord lifted high.

I have known Ella for over a year now, and we've been penpals for almost as long, writing good, 0ld-fashioned letters as well as emails. She's been a constant source of encouragement for me, and has always inspired me to press on in my daily walk. She's truly a "sister", though several states away!

I'd highly encourage you to check out her beautiful blog, and leave her an encouraging comment. I enjoy enjoy reading what this lovely writer has to say, and I'm sure that you will as well!


Ella said...

It was so hard to write this and not run on tangents!!! I am big into femininity, but I won't say that you have to wear skirts in order to be modest.

Anna and Miriam, thank you for posting this. It was a great honor, and quite humbling actually. I pray that it will minister to others...and that people will read future posts! Also, thank you two for being good friends!

Anna S said...

Excellent post, Ella! Thanks for sharing, Anna and Miriam! Yes, modest clothes should be just a reflection of a quiet, gentle spirit! And if we *don't* have this spirit, no length of skirt can cover up for this...

Laura H said...

Excellent, Ella,
Would you like to write on Mayden Fair? We could use your skills, and writing, in that blog!

God bless!
Laura H

puritanismtoday said...

Dear Maidens,

I like the mention about 'good old-fashioned letter writing'. It is almost becoming an extinct practice. Such letters can be a truly rich form of Christian fellowship - emails are never quite the same. They may also prove helpful to future generations when all the emails and text messages are deleted!


HappyMe said...

Thanks, Ella! So true, so thought provoking! though I want to learn how to look feminine and modest, I realize that the stuff in my heart means more.
And out of my heart are my words, actions... and clothes =)