An Ornament of Great Price
If Jesus were here in person, watching everything we do and say, do you think He would be pleased with what He hears and sees? Could He truly tell we were different from those around us? Could He see in our actions that we are different?
One Sunday we had a guest speaker who was preaching on obedience and why it is so important. One of his points was that people only look at the outward appearance. They don't look at the heart like God does. All they have to go on are our actions. If they see us as just one of themselves, they won't want to change if we tell them that what they are doing is wrong.
Also, people sometimes hide behind the way they act in public. They use excuses like, "Well, I go to church every Sunday, and I'm involved in Sunday School and Bible School." I don't think these things are wrong, but we should not hide behind them. I myself had a problem with this.
What Exactly is Modesty?
Winston's 1947 Dictionary says that modesty is "regard for what is decent and proper, as in behavior and speech. Synonyms: virtuousness, bashfulness, humility, decorum, and shyness." As we can see, modesty is not only in regards to dress, but also in behavior and speech. Wearing clothes that are proper and completely cover you is one step to modesty. Imagine, actually wearing clothes that cover you -- who would have thought that was what they were for? :-)
Also, if you are going to play outside or some such thing, you shouldn't do things that would be improper like climbing trees or doing somersaults. I have a problem in this area the most. I've been told that I tend to lean toward being a tom-boy, which is true but I wish it were not.
Why is Modesty so Important?
If we act like the rest of the world, how can we tell them to change? It is only by acting different ourselves that we are able to be a witness to those around us. If people know we are Christian and we act no differently than the rest of the world, in essence what we are saying is that God doesn't care what we act like. God commands us to be a light in the darkness. If the people around us are in the dark and we're acting like them, we are in the dark as well! We are breaking God's commandment when we act like those around us.
Some verses that refer to inward and outward modesty are 1 Tim. 2:9-10 and 1 Peter 3:3-5. We are told not to adorn ourselves with special clothing and jewelry and the like, but to adorn ourselves with a meek and quiet spirit which God considers of great price. God wants our inward selves to be pure. If we are truly children of God, we should want to do everything to please Him, should we not?
What Has Helped Me be Modest?
This may sound funny to you, but I think that playing dress-up has helped me to be more modest. My best friend and I get dressed up in long, full dresses and pretend we're living in colonial days. I've gotten into the habit of acting like I'm in the colonial days (even when I'm not playing). I automatically remember to act proper and walk gracefully. Mind you, I don't always remember, and I have to check myself and apologize if I've done something wrong. Playing the piano, picking flowers, and singing help me to remember to act properly.
A few verses I've found seem to fit here, although they don't pertain precisely to modesty. 1 Peter 1:13-15 which reads, "Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace which is to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ; as obedient children, not fashioning yourselves to the former lusts in your ignorance: but as he which has called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation." You see here that it's important to protect your mind from the evil things of this world.
Verse 15 says to be "holy in all manner of conversation." I need to keep this verse in mind because I have many unsaved relatives and my testimony around them is of utmost importance. Because of my testimony, many of my cousins know my opinion on boyfriends and all that, and they know why I'm against it. They respect me in that sense because they know I will tell them I don't agree with what they're doing, or saying, and I'll tell them why.
I would just like to remind you of the importance of your testimony. You might be the only one an unsaved person ever sees that believes in the true God and if you aren't being a good example then their chance to hear and see Christ's love is lost.
One last verse that I like very much is in Psalms 45:13 -- "The King's daughter is all glorious within."