Revive Our Hearts Podcast

Affirming Our Faith

Leslie Basham: Here’s Nancy Leigh DeMoss.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: Your appearance and your actions and your attitudes will never make you a Christian. You can't say, "I'm a good Christian because I dress like a good Christian; I act like a good Christian, and I have good Christian attitudes." But if you are a Christian, you absolutely will have appearance, attitudes, and actions that confirm your profession of faith.

Leslie Basham: This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss for Wednesday, June 7.

You probably don't leave the house with your clothes inside, out but when it comes to modesty, that is exactly what we need to do. First, work on the inside on our hearts, then let that be reflected on the outside in our clothing. Here's Nancy, continuing in a series called The Attractive Christian Woman.

Nancy: If we were to take a little inventory of your life, do you think people would describe your life as being well-ordered, or would they describe it more as being chaotic?

That's the question that really penetrated my heart last night as I was working on this session. I was alone in my study and the Lord was there with me, speaking to my heart about what it means to have a well-ordered heart as opposed to a chaotic heart.

The Scripture has something to say about that. We're looking this week at a very important New Testament passage that talks about how we as women are to conduct ourselves in the family of God.

We are given some instructions that are a little different than the instructions given to men. That's because we have distinctive roles and responsibilities and callings in the Body of Christ.

We’re looking at 1 Timothy, chapter 2, verses 9 and 10. The Scripture tells us

That women should adorn themselves in respectable apparel, with modesty and self-control, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly attire, but with what is proper for women who profess godliness—with good works.

We said that it's so important that our appearance and our attitudes and our actions confirm and affirm our profession of faith.

Ladies, it’s not enough to claim to be a Christian. There are millions and millions of people in this country who claim to be Christians and whose names are on the role of some church membership, but they are no more Christians than the "man in the moon." They don't have a relationship with Christ and the evidence is in their appearance, in their attitudes, and in their actions.

Listen, your appearance and your actions and your attitudes will never make you a Christian. They cannot earn you salvation. You can't say, "I am a good Christian because I dress like a good Christian; I act like a good Christian, and I have good Christian attitudes." That won't make you a Christian. But if you are a Christian, you absolutely will have appearance, attitudes, and actions that confirm your profession of faith.

I believe that many, many women who call themselves Christians today need to let the Holy Spirit search and examine their hearts with passages like this one where Paul says, "If you profess to be godly, if you profess to be a woman of God, here is the evidence. How does your life measure up?"

I want us to look today at the first part, and that is the appearance of the Christian woman, the woman who professes to be a Christian. He says that these women "should adorn themselves in respectable apparel."

The New International, if you are using that version, says that they should "dress modestly." The New American Standard says they should "adorn themselves with proper clothing." Similar words. I'm using the English Standard Version which says "that women should adorn themselves in respectable apparel."

Now, as we jump phrase by phrase and word by word into these two verses, I want us to have a little Greek lesson to see more of what these words mean. We're going to take five words in verse nine, three of them today and then the other two in the next couple of sessions. I want us to learn more about what these words mean.

The first word is the word that is translated adorn. Women should "adorn themselves." That is the word kosmeo. Now, there is a similar word, and that's the word respectable. Women should adorn themselves in "respectable apparel." The word respectable is translated from the Greek word kosmios. Kosmeo, which means "adorn," and kosmios, which means "respectable."

Now, when I say those Greek words kosmeo and kosmios, what English word does that make you think of? Cosmetics. The word, cosmetics: makeup, putting on our face. That comes from these two Greek words: kosmeo, "to adorn" and kosmios, respectable."

Let's look at those words. The word adorn, kosmeo, is a word that means "to put in proper order." It's used of decorating a house, of arranging furniture, of trimming oil lamps in the New Testament culture: "to put in proper order, to arrange, to decorate." It means "to make ready."

The apostle Paul is saying here that when a woman comes to church, when she goes to be with the people of God, that she needs to arrange herself appropriately to join God's people as they worship.

By the way, let me say that a lot of the insights that I am sharing this week from 1 Timothy chapter 2 have come to me through John MacArthur's commentary on the book of 1 Timothy. It has been very helpful along with some other resources.

The apostle Paul is saying that when we are with the people of God, when we come together particularly for public worship, we should make sure that we arrange ourselves appropriately in terms of our outward appearance.

The outward appearance isn't the only important part of our preparation. We need to make sure our hearts are prepared above all. But an important part of our outward preparation is the wearing of what he calls "proper clothing" or "respectable apparel."

Now, that word apparel is the word katastole. It is a word that speaks of loose-draped garments. Without belaboring the point here, I think it goes along with the concept of what is modest dress. That's dress that is not form-fitting or tight-fitting on us as women. This is a word that speaks of something that is loosely-fitted.

He is talking here not only about the clothing but also about our whole look and our demeanor. When we come to corporate worship as women, we are to come ready to face the Lord, and ready to face the Lord as He’s in His people. We are not to be in disarray; we are not to be exhibitionists; we are not to be extreme; we are not to be in any way that is unbecoming of us as believers.

We are to be in respectable apparel, to adorn ourselves in respectable apparel. That's the word kosmios. It's a word that means "orderly" or "decent." John MacArthur says that word is the opposite of chaos.

Paul says we are not to be extreme. He is going to go on and talk about that. We are not to be obsessed with our clothing, yet we are to be dressed in a way that is arranged. It's put together. It's thought through. It's not just thrown together. It's arranged; it's orderly; it's decent; it's modest.

Again, he is talking not only of dress but also of our attitude, our demeanor, the way we carry ourselves, and then of our inner spiritual life. But always that inner spiritual life will express itself outwardly. He is talking about what kind of woman a Christian woman should be—inwardly or spiritually, but also outwardly, reflected in the way she looks.

I just want to remind us that modesty and clothing issues are first and foremost heart issues. If a woman has an orderly and decent and well-arranged and appropriate heart, then her outward appearance will show that.

Let me say, by the way, not just her outward appearance but her environment.  I was really convicted of this about midnight last night as I looked around at my study, and I thought, "Chaotic would be the word to describe what this looks like right now. This is not well-ordered. This is not decent." It was a concern to me as I was reading this passage.

God is not saying here that we are to be perfectionists, that we are to be obsessive about having everything perfectly neat; but that our lives should be characterized generally as being orderly and arranged. John MacArthur says, "Proper adornment on the outside reflects a properly adorned heart, a heart that is well-ordered."

When you go to be with the people of God, when you go to church, are you prepared? Are you appropriately attired? Have you arranged yourself in a way that reflects well on the Lord?

We have talked in the past on Revive Our Hearts about how women in the church can be a real source of seduction and temptation to men. I've heard this expressed so many times in different ways from men who say, "Look, it's one thing to go out in the world; you expect women to be immodestly dressed there. But to come to church and to have to wrestle with your thought life as a man . . .!"

Oh ladies, the apostle Paul says, "When you come to church, make sure you've been arranged, ordered, in respectable clothing, modest clothing." So let me ask you:

  • Is your inner life well-ordered?
  • Do you have a well-ordered heart?
  • How about your emotions? Are you one of these people who lives on an emotional roller coaster?

Now, if you are a woman, the answer is, "Sometimes, yes." I've been a little bit on one myself this week. But I've been challenged as I studied this passage to ask the Lord to give me well-ordered emotions.

I'm not talking about emotions that are just flat. But I am saying, too many of us as women are living from these very high highs to these very low lows, and we're just like yo-yos, up and down, back and forth. Your husband walks in the house and he doesn't know what to expect.

God says, "If you have a well-ordered heart, if you are adorned with respectable, well-ordered apparel, that will be a reflection of a heart that is well-ordered." I want to have a mind that is well-ordered, to be thinking thoughts God's way and to have all my thoughts brought into captivity to the obedience of Christ.

One of the things God has been speaking to me about recently is the need for greater mental discipline in the way that I study and in the way that I work. I am highly distractible, and email doesn't help. So I find myself, when I am in my study hour, just going back again and again and again to check my email, and I find that my thoughts become garbled and jumbled and erratic and distracted.

So I am saying, "Lord, order my heart. Arrange my heart. Make it decent. Make it proper." In my schedule, in my use of time, I need be filled with the Spirit and grounded in the Word of God so that my heart and my emotions and my mind will be well-ordered; and then it will be reflected in my outward appearance. My hair, my makeup, my clothing styles, my environment, my home, my workspace will reflect the beauty of a well-ordered heart.

Does yours? Let's ask the Lord to give us well-ordered hearts that are reflected in a well-ordered and decent and appropriate appearance.

Leslie Basham: Did you ever realize that order could bring glory to God? Nancy Leigh DeMoss has been talking with us about the attributes of an attractive Christian woman.

If you would like to develop this kind of attractiveness, I hope you’ll order "The Attractive Christian Woman Package." It includes the booklet The Look and the booklet Becoming a Woman of Discretion. These booklets from Nancy will help you develop modesty in your clothing, in your actions, and in your heart.

The package also includes this current series on CD. You can order the package when you make a donation of $25 or more. For more information, visit ReviveOurHearts.com.

While you’re there you can find out what other women think about today’s program. Take a look at today’s transcript. Scroll down to the bottom and view today’s comments. It’s just one example of the resources available at ReviveOurHearts.com, which also offers podcasts, emailed newsletters and emailed transcripts.

What comes to mind when you hear the word, modesty? If the idea isn’t very attractive to you, get a new picture by listening tomorrow on Revive Our Hearts .

Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss is an outreach of Life Action Ministries.

All Scripture is taken from the English Standard Version unless otherwise noted.

*Offers available only during the broadcast of the podcast season.

Join the Discussion