The New York Times printed an article entitled, “She’s Got to Be a Macho Girl.” It reads, “John Bernard is sixteen, strapping, handsome, a hormonal hot-pocket of a teenager. Guys like him were once every father’s nightmare. No longer. ‘The girls are way more aggressive than the boys,’ John said . . . . ‘They have more attitude. They have more power. And they overpower guys more. I mean, it’s scary.’”
This is the culture in which we live. And yet Christ calls His followers to be counter-cultural. In fact, Paul says in 1 Timothy 2:9–10 that two attitudes are to characterize a Christian woman’s approach to her appearance and behavior: modesty and self-control.
A Modest Heart
You don’t hear the word modesty often today, at least not in a positive sense. It conjures up images of a dour, frumpy schoolmarm. But that’s a misconception. A woman’s greatest loveliness comes through a modest heart that expresses itself in modest behavior, dress, and attitudes. Modest comes from a Greek word, aidos, which means propriety, decency.
The word also hints at a proper sense of shame. For example, a modest woman would be ashamed if anything about her attitude or appearance dishonored Christ, distracted other believers, or caused men to sin.
A modest woman is disinclined to call attention to herself. There’s nothing wrong with having an outgoing personality, but a modest woman does not try to get people to notice her. In her speech, dress, and behavior, she is free from showiness or ostentation.
Here are some questions to help you assess your level of modesty:
- Do I have a humble view of myself?
- Do I have a high view of God?
- Am I grieved at the thought of offending God or causing someone else to sin?
- Do I wear clothing that is neat, decent, and doesn’t cause distraction or temptation to others?
- Am I guilty of promoting myself?
- Do I come across as controlling, bossy, or domineering?
- Do I talk too much? Scripture says, “In the multitude of words sin is not lacking” (Prov. 10:19 NKJV).
If you’re like me, you can easily get discouraged by reading passages like 1 Timothy 2:9–10 that spell out God’s standard for our lives as women. That’s why we need to call out to the Lord: “Apart from You, there is no way I can be the kind of woman You have called me to be! By the power of Your Holy Spirit, please make me this kind of woman.” If you allow the Spirit of God room to work, He will produce His fruit in your life—including the fruit of self-control.
By practicing self-control, you’ll avoid many difficult situations altogether because you’ll make wise, restrained choices upfront—with your tongue, your eyes, your touch, your spirit.
As you did with modesty, ask yourself some questions to evaluate your level of self-control:
- Do I manage my time well?
- Am I disciplined in my work habits?
- Am I moderate and temperate in my eating, drinking, and spending?
- Is my tongue controlled by the Spirit or do I blurt out whatever comes to mind?
- Am I prone to emotional outbursts?
- Am I restrained in my relationships and demeanor with men?
The greatest freedom comes when you’re under the control of the Holy Spirit. That’s when you can enjoy healthy and wholesome relationships in the Body of Christ.
A heart of modesty and self-control will bring joy and peace in your life—and will make the gospel believable to others.
Adapted from the series “The Beauty of a Modest Heart” by Nancy Demoss Wolgemuth. © Revive Our Hearts