Biblical Modesty: It’s Not What You Think


(Photo: source )

Being a Christian in a materialistic world is difficult.  It is trying because everywhere we look there are new styles to be worn, new make-up to put on, new jewelry that we must have and the list goes on and on.  We want to be beautiful, we want to be noticed.  Some of us even work in industries where we are constantly slammed with materialism, whether it be at a boutique, a hair salon, or as a make-up or nail artist we are inundated with earthly-oriented things.  Is it wrong to work in these positions?  Let’s talk about a great biblical woman, Lydia.

Acts 16: 13-15 “And on the Sabbath day we went outside the gate to the riverside, where we supposed there was a place of prayer, and we sat down and spoke to the women who had come together.  One who heard us was a woman named Lydia, from the city of Thyatira, a seller of purple goods, who was a worshiper of God. The Lord opened her heart to pay attention to what was said by Paul.  And after she was baptized, and her household as well, she urged us, saying, “If you have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come to my house and stay.” And she prevailed upon us.”

Meet the peddler of purple, Lydia.  In Lydia’s time purple was the color of nobility, of royalty.  She was a seller of the finest cloth.  Her cliental were the wealthiest of the wealthy.  Christianity is unique because Christ accepts all kinds of people from all walks of life.  His followers were tax collectors, doctors, tent makers, ex-persecutors, centurions, and peddlers of purple.  Christ lets us immerse ourselves in all walks of society to spread his word.  Lydia could reach people in her chosen profession that some of the others would not encounter on a day to day basis.

This is our job, ladies.

Whether we are stay at home moms, college students, doctors, hair dressers, teachers, or secretaries we are to be a river of Jesus that flows through every crevice of our jobs.  We are how Jesus is spread to the lost.

I am not saying materialism is a good thing.  In fact, materialism is a focus on earthly-minded things and we are to be a heavenly-minded people.  So, how in a materialistic world do we set ourselves apart?

1 Peter 3:3-4 “Do not let your adorning be external—the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear— but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious.”

We are a people who are set apart, a people whose focus is so heavenly-minded that we are literally clothed with virtues.

Do we have to be plain Jane’s?  No.  Is it sinful to wear jewelry?  No.

If you are asking yourself these questions then you are missing the point.  As mature Christians in the faith we should be choosing not to adorn ourselves with fine jewelry and clothing, instead we should be adorning ourselves with a gentle spirit and an imperishable beauty that is the hidden person of the heart.

But I have to wear clothes.

You are right, but you are still missing the point.  How many times a day does someone say to you, “I love those (insert article of clothing or piece of jewelry), where did you get that?”

If our ultimate example is Jesus, let’s look at how he was described.  After all, he is the son of God, right?

Isaiah 53: 2-3

“For he grew up before him like a young plant,
and like a root out of dry ground;
he had no form or majesty that we should look at him,
and no beauty that we should desire him.
He was despised and rejected by men;
a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief;
and as one from whom men hide their faces
he was despised, and we esteemed him not.”

Our ultimate example had nothing in his appearance that drew people to him.  Maybe that is why people from all walks of life felt it so easy to come to him.  The lepers, prostitutes, tax collectors, the common people did not feel intimidated by this man.  This “common man” changed the world.  He healed the sick, he gave sight to the blind, he forgave sins.  He did not dress in the finest robes of purple, even though he could.

I am afraid we are like the people described at the beginning of Isaiah.  We are sick and cannot even see it.  We have so much that we are blinded by our things.  We read 1 Timothy and think it is talking about being modest.  We are missing the entire point.  We draw attention to ourselves daily because we are full of pride in ourselves.  We don’t want people to see Jesus.  We want to be seen.  We want to be beautiful.

In Isaiah 1:5-6 the writer describes a people like this:

“The whole head is sick,
and the whole heart faint.
 From the sole of the foot even to the head,
there is no soundness in it,”
We are sick.  The whole HEAD is sick.  The whole HEART is faint.  From the sole of the foot even to the head.  Wow.
If you read on you learn why and quite frankly they sound a lot like us:
Isaiah 2: 7-8
“Their land is filled with silver and gold,
and there is no end to their treasures;
their land is filled with horses,
and there is no end to their chariots.
Their land is filled with idols;
they bow down to the work of their hands,
to what their own fingers have made.”
Isaiah 3:16-24
“The Lord said:
Because the daughters of Zion are haughty
and walk with outstretched necks,
glancing wantonly with their eyes,
mincing along as they go,
tinkling with their feet,
therefore the Lord will strike with a scab
the heads of the daughters of Zion,
and the Lord will lay bare their secret parts.
In that day the Lord will take away the finery of the anklets, the headbands, and the crescents; the pendants, the bracelets, and the scarves; the headdresses, the armlets, the sashes, the perfume boxes, and the amulets;the signet rings and nose rings; the festal robes, the mantles, the cloaks, and the handbags; the mirrors, the linen garments, the turbans, and the veils. Instead of perfume there will be rottenness;
and instead of a belt, a rope;
and instead of well-set hair, baldness;
and instead of a rich robe, a skirt of sackcloth;
and branding instead of beauty.”

When was the last time someone complimented you on your spirit, your gentleness, your kindness or patience?  I imagine it’s not as often as they compliment you on your flashy clothing and jewelry.

When was the last time instead of thinking days ahead on what we are going to wear for certain events we prepared our hearts?  When was the last time we spent hours preparing our quiet spirit?

Let’s change this.

Let’s be the light of Christ in the world.  Let’s be women not of fashion but of virtue.

1 Peter 2: 9-10 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.

1 Peter 5:5 “Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.”

Like Lydia, we are to be lights in this world.  Jesus does not want us to take ourselves out of the world, just to be separate, different.  A light in a room full of darkness is noticed, not because it is outside the dark room, but because it is inside the room, for all to see shining like a beacon for all to draw towards it.

John 17:15 “I do not ask that you take them out of the world, but that you keep them from the evil one.”

Let’s stop giving people reasons to compliment us on our external appearance (it’s going to happen no matter what, I understand that), but let’s start giving them a reason to notice our Christ like hearts.

Let’s be virtuous women.

-Anna Maynard




In 2008 I was privileged to travel to the Chimala mission in the country of Tanzania as a teacher in the program of preacher training on the campus of the mission. Since then I have become the director of the school and a missionary to the native population. We have graduated numerous young men and women who are now spreading the “boarders of the kingdom.” Along with some amazing native and American teachers in the heart of east Africa we have a dedicated group of young adults who are going to work on the mission this summer. They are going to come to teach and minister with both spiritual and physical help. We have a church deacon, trained schoolteachers, a nurse, college students and construction workers. They all have a heart of compassion and a desire to share what they have received in Jesus. Most of them have expressed the desire to let this be the first of many trips in going to fulfill the Biblical mandate. Numerous others have said they want to go next year.

Their joy, zeal and excitement to do God’s work is so rewarding and heartwarming. I know this experience will change their lives and help them grow spiritually. We covet your prayers, thoughts and encouragement. Their hard work and dedication will reap not only benefits to the Tanzanians for now but most importantly for eternity.

We are going to Tanzania, from America, because we want to be like Jesus. Jesus left his home, the comfort of the Father to go. (Philippians 2:5-11) He left the comfort of heaven to be among the people. So we are going, going to live among the people, learn from them, eat what they eat, observe what they observe. We are going to glorify our Father in heaven.


Garry L. Hill

Director: Chimala Bible Institute

You Are Radiant



I am radiant. I am beautiful. I am wonderfully made.

My entire life I have been taught by my mom that in order to believe in God all I needed to do was open my eyes. By looking at the sunsets and stars I could see God’s existence. By feeling the wind and rain I could feel His power. By helping other people I could share His love. His fingerprints are everywhere. They are in the shape of the clouds and in the size of the mountains and in the faces of everyone around me. Every little thing is a beautiful miracle created by God to show me that He would always be there. This world and its people are beautiful because God made it that way.

I am going to Tanzania, Africa in one month. My sisters and I will be teaching the high school girls on the mission in the afternoon. Our theme for the classes with these girls is beauty. The only problem is that the world has the incorrect translation of the word “beauty.” To be beautiful in this world you have to be physically beautiful. Your outward appearance is what people notice first about you. Those who do not have the best features are thought of as “ugly.” Who are we to think that we have any right to call someone beautiful or ugly based off of his or her outward appearance?

In 1 Samuel 16:17 the Lord says to Samuel “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things man look at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”

We are a shallow world. We look for beauty in all the wrong places.


God tells us we are made in his image. Nothing ever made in God’s image could be ugly so why do we think of others or ourselves as not being beautiful? Because we have been looking at the picture wrong. We are like the Jews who thought Jesus was coming with an earthly kingdom. We are foolish and naïve. God would not create a beautiful world and fill it with ugly people. We are His people. He will care for us, protect us, watch over us, and save us. We are beautiful through knowing Him.

In Psalms 34:5, David calls those who look to the Lord radiant.
I am radiant. You are radiant. WE are radiant.

Ecclesiastes 3:11 states that “God has made everything beautiful in its time.”
I am beautiful. You are beautiful. WE are beautiful.

David sings to the Lord in Psalms 139:14, “I praise you for I am fearfully and wonderfully made…”
I am wonderfully made. You are wonderfully made. WE are wonderfully made.

I am going to Tanzania, Africa in one month to share the beauty that God has given to everyone.
And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written,
“How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!”

You are radiant. You are beautiful. You are wonderfully made.


-Samantha Edwards

Radical Christianity



I have an obsession with the book of James. Maybe I am way off base but I feel like James and I are kindred statements. Possibly because he makes giant, soul searching statements that shake you to your core. He isn’t someone to read if you want to be a “comfortable” Christian. If you want to examine yourself, strip away what you think Christ wants from you, and then fill yourself with a fervent passion to change all aspects of yourself, to be a true radical Christian… read James.

He makes statements about suffering being a blessing.

“Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have it’s full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” James 1:2-4

That is how he starts out his letter. Yes, that is only the beginning. Who starts out a letter with saying to consider suffering and trials a blessing? James, that is who. He is radical.

We think of being radical in a negative way. I don’t mean it that way at all. Merriam-Webster defines radical in this way:

very new and different from what is traditional or ordinary

: very basic and important

: having extreme political or social views that are not shared by most people

James was different from what is tradition and ordinary. He was a Christian, and Christianity is of the upmost importance.

James warns us against the sin of partiality in James 2. He then goes on to tell us how faith, without works, is dead. They go hand in hand folks, “Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works. You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe and shudder. Do you want to be shown, you foolish person, that faith apart from works is useless?” James 2:18-20

This should be an eye opener for us. James is being radical again. He is telling us we can’t simply believe and be saved. We also can’t “work our way to heaven”. We have to show our faith BY our works. We have to be true Christians who not only mean what they say, but do what they say. We can’t preach and not act out what we preach.

In chapter 3 he tells us how dangerous our words are. He compares our tongue to a fire, a small light that in any given moment of carelessness can set a forest ablaze. James tells us to bridle our tongue for it is a small member of our body, yet it “boasts of great things”. Chapter 3 is where I struggle daily, but James, by the inspiration of God, has called ME and YOU to be radical. So I am working on taming my tongue.

Chapters 4 and 5 are where I fall in love with James. It is where he tells us that making friends with the world makes us enemies with God. Whoa. Radical? Right. But for James that is mild. Here is where he gets really radical, “Do not speak evil against one another, brothers.” What? Okay, so as Christians we get the whole no pre-marital sex, no drunkenness, no stealing or lying, we can’t murder or commit adultery, but James is taking this a step further. James through the inspiration of God is telling us that we are not even to SPEAK evil against our brethren.

Chapter 5 is a real doozie from this radical Christian. James begins with a warning to the rich. He basically tells us that storing up for ourselves here on earth is not going to get us to heaven. In fact, it will do the opposite. Storing up for ourselves here leaves us with nothing but moth-eaten materials and a selfish heart. The selfish won’t be inheriting the kingdom of God.

So, why am I bringing up the book of James in this blog? As I look toward our mission trip next month to Tanzania, Africa I am seeing how much I need to change my life. I want to become more radical, like James, but with the heart of David. I have skipped a couple of verses from James that I want to bring up now. These verses don’t just apply to our upcoming mission trip but to the mission field right outside our own door. Let’s change the world, brothers and sisters, let’s become radical Christians.

“Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.” James 1:27

I am going to be radical here, so listen up. I do not care how many times you sit your fanny in a pew. I do not care if you believe in God. If we are not out taking care of the orphaned and the widows, feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, and living the words that we preach… then that fanny in that church pew isn’t going to get you to heaven, and neither is your belief. We have to get out into the world, whether it be at school, work, or Africa and BE Christ to this dying world.

How are we going to do that? James has already told us. We need to count our trials as blessings. They are shaping us for our battle against the dark forces, so that we can overcome the evil one. These trials are pushing us one step closer to our goal of eternity in heaven. Rejoice!

We need to start taming our tongue. Out of the same mouth we bless God, we curse our brethren. This has to stop. Instead, let’s fill our mouths with God’s word, with praises, and with blessings. Let’s be a joy and light to others.

Here is a hard one, here is where we really have to be radical. Stop trying to be rich. Stop working your life away for earthly gain. God will provide the necessities, food, shelter, clothing. Everything else we don’t need! Instead let’s use what we have stored up and help those around us. Let’s feed and clothe the world, let’s house and love the orphans, let us give until it hurts!

God has called us to be radical. To set our eyes on things above and never look back. How are you going to do that? Tanzania has changed me and I have not even been there yet. Read the book of James and be transformed.

I will leave you with these last words of James. Here is how James ends his radical book:

“My brothers, if anyone among you wanders from the truth and someone brings him back, let him know that whoever brings back a sinner from his wandering will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins.” James 5:19-20

How many sinners are you willing to save from death? Let’s start today.

-Anna Maynard