During a time in the Word this morning, I found myself pausing over the familiar passage in 2 Peter 1:5-8 which says:
5For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; 6and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; 7and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love. 8For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Since I definitely want to be fruitful and productive in my knowledge of Jesus, I went to Strong’s concordance to see what these words meant. I didn’t even make it past the first verse.
To my surprise, I discovered that the word “goodness” in verse 5 is aretē, which translates “a virtuous course of thought, feeling and action; virtue, moral goodness; any particular moral excellence, as modesty, purity” (my emphasis added).
I have been troubled over the years at the growing trend toward sexual promiscuity that has infiltrated the church–not just in action, but in loose conversation, in choice of television/movies to watch, in risqué joking, and (especially) in inappropriate clothing. I have also made poor choices of my own many times in each of these four categories, all the while condemning others around me. For this, I must repent.
However, if one of the keys to bearing good fruit is modesty then it is worth taking the time to find God’s heart on the subject. Finding His heart is ultimately abiding in Him, and Jesus said that it is by abiding in Him that we bear fruit and the Father is glorified.
Therefore, the time has come to do a study on Biblical modesty. Unfortunately, as in all things, it is hard to walk the road between legalism and grace. One of my primary struggles in life (along with the condemnation/judgment issue) is the deep-rooted conviction that I can earn God’s favor. As I push into knowing the true love of God, I find I must constantly confess my futile efforts to be worth His love. So the essential thing to keep in mind here is that what I wear will not affect God’s love for me. Period.
Furthermore, I have to realign my heart to remember that it’s not about what I can get away with–it’s about how much I can honor God in my clothing choices. Purity is more than what I wear. My clothing is merely the expression of what is in my heart; and this is God’s primary concern.
We all have different standards, and I want to know yours; so I’m throwing these questions out to my friends–how do you define Biblical modesty? What Scripture do you use to help decide what is appropriate to wear?