2 Corinthians 4:16-18 “For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.”
Anytime you draw a line to define boundaries, there will always be those who seek to cross the line. It is that nature of the rebel to defy boundaries. The rebel lives in the stronghold of belief that boundaries are limits to true freedom when in fact, they are polar opposites. True freedom has limits; true freedom has boundaries.
I have been meditating and studying a topic for which I have been called on to teach – Transformation. The thought of modesty or modest dress comes to mind when any in depth discussion of transformation or being a transformed child of God.
There is set, in the Word of God, boundaries for every area of our life. From our speech to our habits; from our relationships to the raising of children; God has set a way of life for His children that will define us; set us apart from the world to show that there is a difference. That is just the very beginning.
God always deals with the heart first when changing or transforming His children. The inner or inward man is where God does His work – the outward is just a reflection or fruit of that work. When I received Christ as my Savior, something changed within me – I knew I was different. There was no impartation of divine knowledge, but what I did have, was the conduit to that knowledge through the Holy Spirit.
He was the One speaking truth to my heart. He was the One saying those are not the words that a child of God should speak; those are not the places a child of God goes; those are not the people your Father wants to influence you any longer and because your heart is changing, other things will change as well.
My work and ministry is with the addicted. Many who come to our program have never been in church or been alienated from it in some way. So, to get someone to come to a church service takes great coaxing and cajoling just to get them through the doors. So, when the local ‘fruit inspector’ comes and makes the comment, “Is that the best you have to wear for church?” (I have heard worse…), it takes all my strength to restrain from doing something so in the flesh… but I digress.
We become legalistic when we use outward dress to define the holiness of a person. But may I quickly and emphatically add that a person SHOULD be moving toward more modest and God-honoring dress if their heart is moving toward a deeper and more intimate walk with God. That one who comes in jeans and a t-shirt may not know, or have just come from work to get something from God.
The renewing of that inward man is and should be a daily exercise. Not a duty, but a desirable invitation to fellowship with the God of Heaven. Even today, I felt a deep desire to spend more time in prayer not knowing exactly what awaited me there. But a full hour later, I had found that there were those in my life who my Father wanted me to pray for.
Often, we try to fit in and be just like everyone else. We don’t want to rock the boat, stick out or be known as the ‘fanatic’. Yet, we will literally make a fool of ourselves over our favorite sports team or spend hours bingeing on a series that has no eternal value. We are fanatical about some things – just not God.
Webster’s 1828 dictionary defines modest as:
MOD’EST, a. L. modestus, from modus, a limit.
1. Properly, restrained by a sense of propriety; hence, not forward or bold; not presumptuous or arrogant; not boastful; as a modest youth; a modest man.
2. Not bold or forward; as a modest maid. The word may be thus used without reference to chastity.
The blushing beauties of a modest maid.
3. Not loose; not lewd.
Mrs. Ford, the honest woman, the modest wife.
4. Moderate; not excessive or extreme; not extravagant; as a modest request; modest joy; a modest computation.
Even in defining the word they use the word ‘limit’. So, why does one desire to stretch the limits of acceptable dress, music, speech or with whom we fellowship? I believe it is because WE desire to set the limit as to how ‘holy’ we will become and just how fanatical we will be in this ‘Christian’ thing.
At salvation, I gave up all rights to who I am and to Whom I belong. My Father bought and purchased me with a price that cost Him everything – He went to the extreme limit to redeem me from sin’s punishment and penalty. I became wholly His. He went all in for me; wouldn’t it make sense to go ‘all in’ for God?
Yet, we limit the work God does in us by saying, “God, I’ll let you touch my soul to save it from Hell, but “Don’t touch my music”, or “Don’t touch my friends”, or “Don’t touch my clothes, my time, my work, my dreams…” We limit the ability for God to work when we exercise our free will over His will.
The command from God is:
1 Peter 1:14-16 “As obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance: But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.”
Holiness is not something you ‘do’, it is what you are. I can no more be holy than I can change myself into a frog. But when I yield to the power in me – the Holy Spirit – He can be holy through me.
Simply, modesty on the outside is a reflection of the amount of yieldedness on the inside.
Our desire every day, should be to put off the old man, the old music, the old clothes, the old ‘friends’; those things which detract from that which God desires to be in my life and put on the new man.
Ephesians 4:24 “And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.”
Colossians 3:10 “And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him:”
The ultimate goal is for God, the Holy Spirit, to continually make us into the image and likeness of Jesus Christ. May we allow God to set the boundaries for all the areas of our life, not just what suits us. The image of just who you might become will surprise you!