Summary: Modesty is a way of thinking more than a way of dressing: a way of thinking about one’s identity, one’s loyalties, and one’s love for God and others.
Does God Care What I Wear? Sept. 11, 2005
Key Text---Colossians 3:1-14 The Message
1 So if you’re serious about living this new resurrection life with Christ, act like it. Pursue the things over which Christ presides. 2 Don’t shuffle along, eyes to the ground, absorbed with the things right in front of you. Look up, and be alert to what is going on around Christ— that’s where the action is. See things from his perspective.
3 Your old life is dead. Your new life, which is your real life— even though invisible to spectators— is with Christ in God. He is your life. 4 When Christ (your real life, remember) shows up again on this earth, you’ll show up, too— the real you, the glorious you. Meanwhile, be content with obscurity, like Christ.
5 And that means killing off everything connected with that way of death: sexual promiscuity, impurity, lust, doing whatever you feel like whenever you feel like it, and grabbing whatever attracts your fancy. That’s a life shaped by things and feelings instead of by God. 6 It’s because of this kind of thing that God is about to explode in anger. 7 It wasn’t long ago that you were doing all that stuff and not knowing any better. 8 But you know better now, so make sure it’s all gone for good: bad temper, irritability, meanness, profanity, dirty talk.
9 Don’t lie to one another. You’re done with that old life. It’s like a filthy set of ill-fitting clothes you’ve stripped off and put in the fire. 10 Now you’re dressed in a new wardrobe. Every item of your new way of life is custom-made by the Creator, with his label on it. All the old fashions are now obsolete. 11 Words like Jewish and non-Jewish, religious and irreligious, insider and outsider, uncivilized and uncouth, slave and free, mean nothing. From now on everyone is defined by Christ, everyone is included in Christ.
12 So, chosen by God for this new life of love, dress in the wardrobe God picked out for you: compassion, kindness, humility, quiet strength, discipline. 13 Be even-tempered, content with second place, quick to forgive an offense. Forgive as quickly and completely as the Master forgave you. 14 And regardless of what else you put on, wear love. It’s your basic, all-purpose garment. Never be without it.
In Extreme Makeover people with physical challenges get their teeth, hair, skin and clothing changed. .A so-called clothing expert helps the person select a whole new wardrobe. And I was wondering. What if God were the clothing expert and God chose our clothes? What would God choose? Would we all be dressed like the Amish? Would men have to wear coats and ties for worship? Would the women dress with veils? Or would we all wear floor length robes? Does God care what we wear?
In the New Testament God uses the concept of clothing to communicate to us about something that is really important to Him. But rather than telling us how long the ladies’ dresses should be or whether or not men should wear ties and coats, God describes in the letter to the Colossians different attitudes that he wants us to wear. And in 1 Timothy the key attitude is “modesty.” I also want women to dress modestly, with decency and propriety, not with braided hair or gold or pearls or expensive clothes, 10 but with good deeds, appropriate for women who profess to worship God. 1 Tim 2:9-10 (NIV) God through the writer of Proverbs gave this picture. 22 A beautiful woman lacking discretion and modesty is like a fine gold ring in a pig’s snout. Prov 11:22 (TLB)
I don’t know if modesty is every discussed among anyone anymore. We are by and large not very modest about anything. Modesty is another word for humility, simplicity, and moderation. In terms of the way we dress it also relates to showing reservation about sexuality. The Encarta Dictionary of the English Language says that modesty is a reserve is shown especially as a preference for clothes that keep much of the body covered. Nevertheless I want you to consider this: modesty is more a way of thinking than a way of dressing. Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Col 3:1 (NIV) God is very clear. He wants us to change the way we think. Specifically, God says, ‘I want you to think like Jesus. Try to get Jesus’ perspective on life. That is what Paul stresses in all of his letters and we see it in his letter to the Colossians. To think and act “modesty” requires new thinking.
Paul said, if a person wants to clothe himself or herself with modesty, then it will require a whole new way of thinking than the way the world thinks. The first challenge in our thinking that modesty raises is whether the external is most important or the internal. The world says the external is most important. The Christian believes the internal is the most important. The world says “your outside is your identity.” The world says the body, what you look like, the external, is most important and the interior life is second. The Christian view is that the interior is first and the external is second. But the LORD said to Samuel, "Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart." 1 Sam 16:7 (NIV) Our bodies are not our identity.