From Modest Clothing Bible Study by Ray and Elaine Powell
Please realize that it is possible to be modest in your dress and appearance and yet be immodest in conduct or speech. Modesty includes more than what you wear on your body, even though it does include what you wear on your body. Modesty includes your heart, your attitude, your motive, and your behavior. Modesty is more than an outward action. You can wear all the right things and appear to be a very conservative Christian and yet be very immodest in your thoughts, your gestures, your glances, your speech, or in the way you stand, sit, or carry yourself.
Modesty is a heart issue. Creating a list of rules for you to follow will not transform you or anyone else into a modest person. True Christian modesty is the fruit of Christ living in you. Please do not fail to look at your own heart as you examine your outward person in the mirror. Outwardly, we represent what we are in heart. Only the pure in heart can be truly modest in every way! External obedience cannot substitute for internal Godliness, but internal Godliness will produce external results.
Remember to focus on your own heart, your own goals, and your own motives. Outward modesty can become legalistic if it does not come from a heart centered on Christ. God wants people whose hearts and bodies are clothed in righteousness. Sniff out the inconsistencies in your own life, but beware of the temptation to begin sniffing at others around you and becoming a judge or jury of your brethren.
Galatians 5:14-16, "For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. But if ye bite and devour one another, take heed that ye be not consumed one of another. This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh" (KJV).
Matthew 7:1-5, "Judge not, that ye be not judged. For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again. And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye? Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother's eye" (KJV).
Acts 9:36-39, “Now in Joppa there was a certain disciple named Tabitha (which translated in Greek is called Dorcas); this woman was abounding with deeds of kindness and charity, which she continually did. And it came about at that time that she fell sick and died; and when they had washed her body, they laid it in an upper room. And since Lydda was near Joppa, the disciples, having heard that Peter was there, sent two men to him, entreating him, 'Do not delay to come to us.' And Peter arose and went with them. And when he had come, they brought him into the upper room; and all the widows stood beside him weeping, and showing all the tunics and garments that Dorcas used to make while she was with them” (NASB).
Sewing may be a new skill to learn, but eventually, sewing may save you time and money over shopping for ready-to-wear modest clothing. If your sincere desire is to dress modestly, seriously consider learning to sew. Perhaps this would be a good ministry for the “older women to teach the younger women” (see Titus 2:3-5). How helpful it would be to have a wise, Godly, mature, and modest woman who is skilled in sewing to help a new Christian or a young mother learn how to make her own clothes. Perhaps women who have sewing skills could serve other Christians by becoming like Dorcas and sewing modest clothing for others.
How about you? Do you have sewing skills? Would you be willing to use your skills to help a busy young mother sew modest clothing for herself and her growing children? Would you be willing to invest your life for the good of others and the glory of God? If you know new Christians or busy young mothers, why not offer them your services!
If your husband is reluctant when you wish to make changes toward a more modest wardrobe, consider making a humble appeal. First, discover why he feels the way he does, then try to find creative ways to help him accomplish his desires.
Is he concerned that a new wardrobe will be expensive? Perhaps you could re-style some of your present clothing. If not, try shopping at resale and used clothing stores. Sewing is one of the best options because you can customize the style and material to ensure a modest fit. It is possible for a woman to function with only three or four outfits. Make sure your husband knows that a closet full of clothes is not necessary. A new wardrobe does not need to be expensive.
Is your husband afraid you will go too far in changing your appearance? Sit down with with him and go over each item in your closet. Explain why you consider each piece of clothing to be immodest. For example, “This skirt is too short. I am uncomfortable because I have to constantly tug on it to keep it down and it reveals too much of my legs.” Try on each piece, if necessary, so that you can show him exactly what you mean. Then give him some visual idea of how you want to dress. If necessary, take him to a fabric store and show him the kinds of fabrics you have in mind. Look through pattern books and talk about styles and fit with him, if needed. Give him a tangible idea of what you want your appearance to become. Perhaps in his mind he has pictured you wearing some kind of dumpy, sloppy-looking tent dress and he just cannot bear the thought of seeing you day after day looking that way.
Only when a woman goes to the true source of lasting beauty, which is God and His Word, and puts her time and treasure there, will she obtain true beauty! As you begin to evaluate your own modesty, do not be deceived into thinking that being more conservative is the same as being more holy. Conservative dress will not make you holy. Only a changed heart, a renewed mind and the cleansing blood of Jesus Christ can give true holiness. If you consider yourself to be “holy,” then you may be tempting to think that only those who are a mirror image of you and who wear exactly what you wear are also holy. It is possible for you to do the right thing (dress modestly) for the wrong reason (to appear more conservative and thus more holy). Become Christlike in your appearance and in your thoughts and motives as well.
We have attempted to stir you up and cause you to question your past practices, thoughts, and convictions in the area of appearance. As a Christian, you must examine everything carefully (I Thessalonians 5:21) and find out what pleases the Lord (Ephesians 5:10). You must deal with your outward appearance because it has a great impact upon others. As a Christian, you are in a continual growth process.
Is your prayer, “If I could know Your heart’s desire, what would it be Lord? I live for You and not for myself. I am not interested in what I am at liberty to do, but Lord, what would please You the most in my appearance. What would please You in length? In fit? In style? In color? In material? In cost? I am not interested in whether I can dress stylishly but in what pleases You, Lord.”
We often say we are not our own, that we are bought with a price. We say we would die for our witness of the Lord if He asked it. However, are we willing to be conformed to His Word in little, everyday ways, in external things which may mark us different? The day-to-day of the Christian woman’s walk proves whether or not her life is truly surrendered to Him. How sad to tell Him on the one hand that we would die for Him but be unwilling, on the other hand, to live each day, in each and every way, for Him!
Psalm 139:23-24, "Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting" (KJV).
If this book has been used for a group study course, consider holding a friend and family presentation at the conclusion to share concepts that were learned. You may include a presentation of outfits that study participants sewed, purchased or put together from their existing wardrobes that demonstrate the principles in this book. You may also display drawings of designs that participants developed for clothing that is yet to be made.
Copyright 2010, W.R.P. Publishing, all rights reserved. Used by permission. Copies may be reprinted for non-profit personal or educational use only.