Modesty is a profound biblical concept which has long been neglected or undervalued in our modern society. Modesty has been an inner adornment and virtue of pious sisters over the centuries. It springs up from the gentle and quiet spirit (1 Pet.3:4) and manifests its nature through our outward conducts and words.
Along with other biblical virtues such as simplicity and plainness, modesty must be cherished and preserved in the innermost part of our hearts like a priceless treasure. Wolves and foxes, masquerading themselves as respectable modernists and liberators, want to invade our garden and strip off our shamefacedness and discretion at any moment. We sisters, therefore, must be alert and constantly abide under the shadow of the Almighty (Ps.91:1b).
I was not a modest woman. Even after I believed Jesus Christ as my Savior, my behavior and character were far from modest. Accordingly, I was not sensitive to my dress standard as well.
Then one day, one sister came to me privately and rebuked me saying that my way of wearing clothes stumbled one younger brother in the church. Sadly, I was not like David who repented immediately by Natan’s rebuke (II Sam 12:13). I was not humble enough to accept her admonition at that time.
It was not until several years later that I realized the seriousness of my sin. One night as I was reading the Luke chapter 17, the words of Jesus suddenly pierced my heart like a sharp arrow.
It is impossible that no offenses should come, but woe to him through whom they do come! It would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were thrown into the sea, than that he should offend one of these little ones. Luke 17:1,2
“O, woe to me, I have sinned! ” I trembled at His rebuke and lamented over the sins which I had committed. Then I opened the wardrobe and spread each clothes in front of Him asking the Lord to show me which clothes were appropriate and which ones were not. Then I put all the inappropriate clothes inside the plastic bag and threw it out in the garbage box.
From that day on, I have tried to change my dress according to His standard and not worldly standard. I started to wear long skirts and loose blouses and try to choose simple-designed ones. I also stopped using cosmetics and external accessories such as piercing jewelry. The devout life of Miranda which was described in the book of William Law (A Serious Call To A Devout And Holy Life) inspired and helped me a lot as well. In fact, I recommend this profound book to all the sober-minded sisters who are seeking to go modest way. I will quote some of his remarks;
Excepting her (=Miranda's) victuals, she never spent near ten pounds a year upon herself. If you were to see her, you would wonder what poor body it was, that was so surprisingly neat and clean. She has but one rule that she observes in her dress, to be always clean and in the cheapest things. Everything about her resembles the purity of her soul, and she is always clean without, because she is always pure within (p 73).
There is therefore nothing right in the use of clothes, or in the use of anything else in the world, but the plainness and simplicity of the Gospel. Every other use of things (however polite and fashionable in the world) distracts and disorders the heart, and is inconsistent with that inward state of piety, that purity of heart, that wisdom of mind, and regularity of affection, which Christianity requires (p 84).
|Col.3:2 Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. (this picture was taken inside the Meteora monastery, Greece)|
Plain modest dress is beautiful because it can reflect our inner simplicity and modest heart. It also reflects consistency and harmony of our inward and outward state. We wear modestly because we don’t want to stumble our brothers. By doing this, we are pursuing His second commandment; You shall love your neighbor as yourself (Matt.22:39).
Sisters’ clothes can be used as Satan’s tool, but can be used as a godly tool to express our faith to the unbelieving world as well. Isn’t it wonderful that we can glorify Him by the way we wear? By covering our body modestly, we are in fact uncovering the indescribable beauty of our bridegroom Jesus Christ.