At 59, I’m at that point in life where I feel like, to the old people I’m young, but to the young people, I’m old, and I’m just bewildered about how I got here so fast! I’ve been in full time ministry with my husband since age 20, while I surrendered my life to serve the Lord at age 13. (And I must admit that I’ve felt the need to re-surrender more than once!) In those years, I’ve seen a lot of things change.
I have lived long enough that I’m now looking at classic cars that I saw when they were brand new! I chuckle when I see some of the “Do you remember?” lists and it’s no longer about things from my parents’ and grandparents’ generations. No, it’s the common everyday stuff from my growing up years. I remember the pink rotary phone that hung on the wall downstairs. Now even my first cell phone looks like a dinosaur! I not only remember listening to eight track tapes and cassette tapes, I remember when they were the brand new rage everyone was so excited about! Even the typewriter I learned to type on in high school is a vintage antique now.
I’ve seen a great many changes in people, as well. Some changes were for the better, but many were not. I’ve even wept over a few people who I considered to be friends who chose to become strangers, or even enemies. People often change. But I’ve also seen God change lives in a miraculous way, where a person who was once steeped in sin has now become a dedicated servant for the Lord. I’ve seen people turn away from sin, and turn to the Lord, but I’ve also seen some who turned away from the Lord and His church, and turned back to sin and worldliness.
Thank the Lord for things that NEVER change, the most important of which are God and His Word. “For I am the LORD, I change not: therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed.” (Malachi 3:6) “Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.” (Hebrews 13:8) “For ever, O LORD, thy word is settled in heaven.” (Psalm 119:89) There are a few ‘hot button’ topics among people and churches who have changed, and many more who are in the process of changing. Maybe the one we hear about most has to do with what the Bible says about our apparel and appearance as ladies.
So I looked in my Bible, and yes it is still there! God and His Word have not changed. First Timothy chapter two still says, “In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with broided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array; But (which becometh women professing godliness) with good works.” (I Timothy 2:9-10) Modest apparel - katastole - a let-down long, flowing robe. Modest apparel is loose and flowing, not tight or form-fitting. Modest apparel covers the body from neck to below the knees, and is not provocative or revealing. Modest apparel gives us plenty of choices to be feminine and look attractive while still striving to please the Lord in our manner of dress.
When I was growing up, I wore just the same clothing as the unsaved world and never thought anything about it. I think I was 14 before the thought ever crossed my mind. It was what I was accustomed to and I never questioned it. But when I came face to face with the fact that God might be pleased or offended by what I wear, suddenly it became a serious matter to me.
Lately I’m hearing echoes of “Who really cares about what we wear? Is modesty really all that important? Does it really matter?” So I’m here to say, “Yes, it does! It matters to God.”
Isaiah 47 speaks of Babylon spiritually making the downward progression from being a lady to being a harlot, and verses two and three speak interchangeably, as if they are the same thing, about exposing nakedness and uncovering the thigh. Shorts, mini-skirts, ‘walking shorts,’ ‘basketball shorts,’ halter tops, lowcut tops, midriff blouses, and definitely anything that the world calls swim-wear are several things that do NOT fit the definition of modest apparel, yet many girls and ladies in our churches continually insist that there is nothing wrong with wearing those types of garments. Am I a woman who professes godliness, like verse 10 talks about? Am I attempting to grow closer to God in relationship and more like Him in my character, spirit and testimony before the world? First Timothy two clearly links ‘women professing godliness’ with wearing clothing that fits the description of modest apparel.
Deuteronomy 22:5 still says, “The woman shall not wear that which pertaineth unto a man, neither shall a man put on a woman’s garment: for all that do so are abomination unto the Lord thy God.” Do you have any idea how shocking and repulsive it is for me to see (or even think about) a man in a woman’s dress or skirt or ruffled, lacy blouse? We know, don’t we? It’s nasty and repulsive. But since our culture has conditioned us for so long to think that it’s okay, now it’s no longer shocking to us to see a woman in men’s apparel. I have to admit, I’ve seen women wear pants most of my life, and it doesn’t hit me with the same revulsion as when I find out that some guy wants to wear a lace negligee. Over the years we may change in our opinions of what is ‘okay’, the world may change it’s styles, the culture may change what it deems acceptable, but God has not changed. He still views women in men’s pants with the same disgust as we view men in women’s dresses. He is not going to be influenced or conditioned by the world. He never changes.
An abomination might be illustrated as something so horrific and revolting that it turns the stomach and makes God sick. He can’t even bear to look at it. He is offended by its presence. All kinds of sexual perversion and satanic practices are called an abomination; it’s not a category that I want to be in. My aim is to please the Lord as His child and His servant, not to be an abomination in His sight. I don’t know about you, but I’m not willing to be offensive to God over a piece of clothing, no matter what anybody else says, or who might be offended that I have such a conviction. There is no piece of fabric, styled in any fashion whatsoever, that means more to me than pleasing the Lord and having a relationship with Him.
Guys wearing girls’ jewelry, makeup, hairstyles, and clothing styles is becoming more of an issue with every year that passes, right along with girls wearing masculine attire. Stop and think about this for a moment. At the same rate that ‘cross-dressing’ becomes more acceptable and more popular, homosexuality is becoming more and more of a threat to our nation and our children and our churches, and the problem didn’t start last week. It’s been a constant parallel, especially since television shows started heavily promoting it back in the 50’s and 60’s. I still remember in the early 1970’s when, for the first time in American history, girls were permitted to wear pants to public school, and businesses began letting their female employees wear pant-suits, which were essentially a short dress over a pair of loose slacks. That was the world, not the church. That really hasn’t been very long ago ladies, but how quickly we forget.
Cross-dressing, men wearing women’s clothing and women wearing men’s clothing, is clearly not okay with God, who calls it an abomination. In fact, He does not say that the clothing is an abomination; instead the Bible says that when we wear men’s clothing, WE become the abomination. “...for all that do so are abomination unto the Lord thy God.” That is a pretty scary mouthful right there.
I heard my husband say something like this in preaching recently that caused me to pause and ponder. “Most of us, as God’s people, have no argument with the fact that God calls sodomy an abomination. We agree with Him completely on that, because it’s an abomination to us, too. But many of the same people are appalled that God would also call cross-dressing an abomination, and they don’t see why God thinks it’s such a big deal. We need to remember that God sees everything in the eternal present, so He can already see the apple tree and the fruit it produces while we only see the seed. He sees the beginning and end simultaneously, past, present and future, while we can only see the present.”
“The practice of cross-dressing promotes a gender-neutral society, and a gender-neutral society paves the way for acceptance to homosexuality and transgender. The reason why cross-dressing is an abomination in the Bible just like sodomy is an abomination is because you are looking at the seed and the full grown harvest, but it is exactly the same thing. While we are just looking at the little seed and saying it’s no big deal, God can see years down the road to where this leads. He says that the seed is abominable because the end result, the harvest that it produces, is an abomination.” We don’t like the things being shoved in our faces today like sodomite marriage and men entering women’s bathrooms and dressing rooms and locker rooms, yet we have unintentionally helped to advance their acceptance. Most of us would never choose to lend our support and influence in favor of the homosexual agenda and practices, yet we unwittingly give it a helping hand every time we participate in the dress practices that promote and further it’s cause.
Modesty Matters in Your Walk With The Lord
In a perfect world, before sin entered the picture, I believe that the ‘main event’ of every day was when they walked with the Lord in the cool of the day and enjoyed fellowship and communion with God Himself. But when God came to Adam and Eve in the Garden after they had disobeyed His command, for the first time ever they were hiding from His presence. “And they heard the voice of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God amongst the trees of the garden. And the Lord God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou? And he said, I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself. And he said, Who told thee that thou wast naked? Hast thou eaten of the tree, whereof I commanded thee that thou shouldest not eat?” (Genesis 3:8-11) The omniscient God already knew what had taken place, but you still can’t hide from God. You will always have to face Him and confess your sin.
The main story here is that Adam and Eve chose to disobey God’s command, which is sin. Sin separates us from God, and the only hope we have for fellowship with God in this life, and a home in Heaven with Him when this life is over, is for our sin to be paid for through the blood of our Saviour, Jesus.
Please notice that several verses in this chapter point out that their nakedness was a hindrance to their daily walk with the Lord. Before the Lord came and called, they had already sewed together aprons of fig leaves, yet they were still too ashamed of their nakedness when it came to spending time in God’s presence. Notice that God provided them with much more covering than just aprons. “Unto Adam also and to his wife did the Lord God make coats of skins, and clothed them.” (Genesis 3:21) The Lord made them coats of skins, and by anyone’s definition, a coat covers much more of the body than an apron ever covers! It was after they were dressed in the ‘coats’ that God provided that they were described as ‘clothed’. God’s word doesn’t say they were clothed when they had on the aprons of fig leaves, what a sinful human being deems ‘okay.’ He made coats and clothed them. I submit to you that there is still a huge difference today between what God approves as sufficiently clothed and what you and I in our sinfulness might think is acceptable. Nakedness and shame go together, even if it’s barely camoflauged nakedness. Being modestly clothed and covered is important to our walk with the Lord and daily relationship with Him.
Now there is great significance in the fact that innocent blood was shed to provide the covering that they needed, and the first blood sacrifice to atone for sin and point to our Saviour is in the same chapter with Genesis 3:15, the very first promise of Jesus, the Lamb of God who would take away the sin of the world.
Sin is what interrupted their walk with the Lord. But I also want to point out that their immodesty was a problem that interfered in their walk with the Lord. Please keep in mind that there were no other men around to lust after Eve’s nakedness, so why was it an issue? Modest apparel was important, even when God was the only One besides her husband who would see her. In fact, God required both the man and the woman to be properly clothed in order to fellowship with Him, and He is the One that provided the proper clothing. When it comes to our walk with the Lord, modesty matters.
Modesty Matters in your Testimony Before the World
Okay, I may not have heard it all, but I’ve definitely heard a bunch of it, and the first verse everybody quotes is I Samuel 16:7. “But the Lord said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature: because I have refused him: for the Lord seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart.” First, this was not said in reference to how a person was dressed, or what the Bible instructs concerning modesty. Samuel saw on the outside that David was just a young boy doing the work of a shepherd and he thought David’s older brother was much more impressive as a likely candidate to be the next king. God could see David’s heart, his devotion, and his love for God’s Word. God could see what David really was on the inside, as well as what he would become in the future. God is not limited to seeing only what’s in our hearts; He knows us inside and out better than we know ourselves. But just because He can see what’s in our hearts does not make Him blind to how we look outwardly. If it was important enough that God took the time and space to give us instructions in the Bible about modest apparel, He must expect us to obey.
Secondly, we are commanded to have a testimony in this world, to let our light shine, to be the salt of the earth and have an impact on those around us as ‘Christians,’ copies of the original Christ. Since ‘man looketh on the outward appearance,’ that must mean it’s even more important to dress in a manner that’s pleasing to the Lord and supports the testimony of godliness. Some people will tell you that this verse says it doesn’t matter how we look on the outside, but in truth, it teaches just the opposite.
Other people will say, “Wearing a dress doesn’t make you spiritual. Why I know someone who...” I would never say that dressing right is the only thing that is important in the Christian life, but that doesn’t mean that it’s not important at all. Since God said it, I believe it, so it’s settled for me.
Even if I didn’t have so much Bible that instructs me to dress in a manner that is modest and feminine, I’d still be convinced of it’s importance because of how often people have stopped my daughters and I in public and commented on the way we were dressed. Without exception, they always thought it was because we were Christians. A few asked if we were a preacher’s family. One man in the airport even said, “You must be an independent, fundamental Baptist!”
Something I once read concerning radio ministry said that for every person you hear from, there are 100 more who never write the letter, but they think the same thing and feel the same way. If that rule of thumb applies, then for every person who has stopped and commented on how we were dressed, there were at least 100 more who noticed. I’m convinced that modest, feminine clothing is something that the world takes great notice of, and it truly is a vital part of our Christian testimony and witness.
Does it really matter? Yes, modesty matters in the importance of your testimony before this old world. When it comes to where God’s Word stands on any topic or issue, we don’t need to wonder about what might have changed, or whether it will change in the future. Whatever was right is still right. Whatever was wrong is still wrong. Whatever was modest apparel in the past is still modest apparel today. God has not changed, and He promised that He will never change. The Bible still says exactly the same thing it always did, and it always will.
Yes, modesty matters!