Saturday, September 19, 2009

Modesty = Humility Part III

My mother is a great lady. She taught me something that was very common-sense when I was a teenager, that has stuck with me all my life regarding the use of makeup. Her words were something along these lines:

"Wear just enough makeup that people will say, 'Oh, what a pretty girl!' Don't wear so much that they say, 'Oh, look at that makeup.' Makeup is intended to enhance your natural beauty, not cover it up. When you are old and wrinkled, you can use it to cover up the wrinkles. When you're young, you don't need it so much. A young girl is beautiful already!"

Wasn't that good advice? God has given young ladies a natural beauty that simply needs to show, with subtle touches here and there. Yes, the acne needs covering sometimes. But why cover up God's handiwork?

Usually when I see a young lady use a heavy hand with her makeup, I jump to the conclusion that she is insecure about her appearance and feels it necessary to improve upon it. Perhaps that is an unfair judgement; but "man looks on the outward appearance", and I am human.

Too much adornment and makeup has the appearance of evil. It sends the message that the young lady is advertising for male attention, and competing with other females for that attention.

I challenge you, young lady, to examine yourself with this question:
What is my motive? Is it
-to draw undue attention to myself?
-to compete with others?
-to attract male attention?
-to bolster my self-esteem?
OR is it
-to glorify God?
-to honor the King?
-to enhance my natural God-given gift of beauty?

I encourage you to ask an older woman who you consider to be godly, "What do you think about my appearance? Have I gone overboard?" We women need to help each other in this area. My own children have often let me know when I wore something too low-cut or short, and I appreciate their input. Likewise, my husband and I have tried diligently to coach and correct our daughters--and sons--in this regard.

We often think of modesty as referring only to the amount of flesh that is showing. A "modesty piece", according to Webster, was "A narrow lace worn by females over the bosom [read: cleavage]." But I hope I have shown that modesty is more than skin-deep; it involves the heart and character of the whole person.

Modesty means humility and discretion in appearance, in speech, and in spirit. Our tone of voice even displays a spirit we may be unconscious of. Women can have a high-pitched nasal whine that is so unpleasant, it's no wonder Solomon says a contentious woman can sound like "a constant dripping". We need to modulate our voices to be pleasant, not nagging or whiny. And we need to choose our words carefully, so as not to be frivolous or flirtatious.

The I Peter passage I previously quoted said, "...[do] not be frightened by any fear". This is directed at all women in regard to one's dress and submissive spirit. So, if you are not yet married, do not be frightened by the fear of never finding a good man to marry, or not attracting enough attention. Leave that in God's hands, and let him make you beautiful in that young man's eyes--that one man which God has intended for you. You need not play the field--God already has a wonderful future for you, if you obey His Word.

The spirit of modesty shows itself in how much we are willing to share the limelight with others and put their needs before our own. A woman's greatest asset is not her physical beauty but her heart condition. When her heart is humble, and the joy of the Lord is there, it naturally spills out unconsciously in her countenance. This is the type of beauty we should strive for.

If you've read this part first, read parts I and II below for a biblical view of modesty.

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