Likewise, I want women to adorn themselves with proper clothing, modestly and discreetly, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly garments,1 Timothy 2:9(NASB)
Christian conduct in the Church is a frequent topic in the epistles of Paul. Here in the second chapter of 1st Timothy, we receive instruction on inner purity and outer adornments.
Paul opens the chapter with instructions on prayer and supplication for all people - including kings and those in authority. When men and women maintain a close relationship with their Heavenly Father through intercession and prayer for others, it engenders an increasingly intimate relationship with God, concern for our fellow man, and an inner beauty which is most likely to be manifest in a gracious and attractive spirit, yet a modest exterior.
Paul gave brief instructions to men in the congregation to pray everywhere, lifting up their hands in praise and thanksgiving to the Lord, rather than in anger or argument. However, he spent somewhat more time instructing the women of the congregation who professed to be godly - by discussing the inner beauty and outer apparel of the virtuous Christian women.
Just as the men were called to lift up there for hands without anger or irritation, so too their wives and the other women of the congregation received instructions: "I would like to see women wearing modest clothing," Paul says. "They should adorn themselves in modest apparel, and clothing that does not call attention to themselves." Paul is not saying women should be dowdy, drab, or unfashionable, but rather that they should abstain from excessive ostentation in their appearance. He particularly mentioned braided hair, gold, pearls, expensive clothing - or indeed anything designed to direct attention towards themselves.
None the above-mentioned things are sinful or ungodly in themselves... however any one of them could have a propensity towards worldliness, self-absorption, fleshly attitudes, unhealthy materialism, or misplaced values. Paul is outlining the qualities of the virtuous woman of Proverbs 31 - for her price is above rubies!
Whether we are men or women, old or young, as Christians we should remember that we are in the world but not part of the world. We should not allow our attitude, actions, comments, or clothing to be adversely influenced by the pagan culture of our day, lest we are tempted do develop a careless attitude towards godly behaviour and neglect our spiritual development - or lest we leave our first Love, the Lord Jesus, and adopt the profane values of the society in which we live.
In addressing the issue of wearing modest apparel and being dressed in unpretentious clothing, Paul is pointing out that godly conduct and high, moral values are manifest in the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit. Whether we are men or women, let us seek to live godly in Christ Jesus... to abide in Him and to submit to His leading and guiding so that we may grow in grace and become increasingly transformed into the image and likeness of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ.
Heavenly Father, thank You for the many instructions on godly living we receive in Your Word. I pray that I may grow in grace and conduct myself in a manner that honours Your name. Keep me from drawing attention to myself inappropriately. May my inner thoughts be pure and holy, and my outer clothing bring honour to Your name. I pray that all I say and do is always acceptable in Your sight. This I ask in Jesus' name, AMEN.
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