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Modest is Hottest

By Rebecca St. James

CBN.comI want women to be modest in their appearance. They should wear decent and appropriate clothing and not draw attention to themselves by the way they fix their hair or by wearing gold or pearls or expensive clothes. For women who claim to be devoted to God should make themselves attractive by the good things they do. - 1 Timothy 2:9-10, NLT

One of my most embarrassing moments ever came while I was touring Europe. I was doing a concert in Wales. On one particular night the people at the show seemed very distant. I should have thought at the time, There’s probably a good reason they’re acting that way. I was wearing a black skirt over some pants that night. The skirt had red stitching with an “s” pattern all over it. At the end of the show, a girl came through the autograph line and asked, “Did you know that your skirt spells ‘sex’ over and over again?” I was mortified because I didn’t know that’s what the pattern said. As usual I had talked about my virginity and the call for sexual abstinence during the concert. I asked the girl, “Do you know if very many people noticed this?” And she said, “Well, it kind of was going around at intermission.” I was humiliated and wanted to sink into the floor.

Inadvertently, that skirt broadcast a message completely opposed to what I had been singing about, and not at all what I had hoped to communicate. That brings up a really good question: Are the words you say consistent with what you are wearing and how you act?

I saw a T-shirt that read “Modest is hottest.” That’s a great motto. Modesty means way more than just not dressing provocatively.  The word modesty has to do with walking in humility, being meek and unassuming. Someone who is modest places a moderate estimate on her abilities, is not bold or in-your-face, is not vain or conceited.

In contrast to those who seem to be full of themselves, modesty really is hottest—it’s attractive to others because people know that a modest person is more concerned about others than about herself. A modest person usually prefers that others be in the spotlight. She’d rather take a behind-the-scenes role. In my profession this can be a struggle as performers are constantly thrust into the spotlight. Because of that, modesty is an attitude I am always working on. But just because we seek to be modest does not mean we are weak. In fact, a modest person may be very self confident because she is comfortable with who she is and doesn’t have to spend all her time proving herself to others.

Looking Further

Our model is Jesus, who was strong but meek, confident but compassionate, and knowledgeable in every way yet humble. Paul challenges us to have the same modest attitude as Jesus:

Don’t push your way to the front; don’t sweet-talk your way to the top. Put yourself aside, and help others get ahead.  Don’t be obsessed with getting your own advantage. Forget yourselves long enough to lend a helping hand.

Think of yourselves the way Christ Jesus thought of himself. He had equal status with God but didn’t think so much of himself that he had to cling to the advantages of that status no matter what. Not at all. When the time came, he set aside the privileges of deity and took on the status of a slave, became human! Having become human, he stayed human. It was an incredibly humbling process.  He didn’t claim special privileges. Instead, he lived a selfless, obedient life and then died a selfless, obedient death—and the worst kind of death at that: a crucifixion. (Phil. 2:3-8, The Message)

And James wrote about this too:

Do you want to be counted wise, to build a reputation for wisdom? Here’s what you do: Live well, live wisely, live humbly. It’s the way you live, not the way you talk, that counts. . . . Real wisdom, God’s wisdom, begins with a holy life and is characterized by getting along with others.  It is gentle and reasonable, overflowing with mercy and blessings, not hot one day and cold the next, not twofaced.
(James 3:13, 17, The Message)

Living It Out

Spend some time thinking about how you live, how you dress, and the way you talk. Is the message you convey through each of these aspects of your life consistent, or are you ever two-faced? Would people who know you best use words like modest and humble to describe you? If not, what can you do to change their perception?

Excerpted from Pure Copyright © 2008 by Rebecca St. James. Published by FaithWords, Hachette Book Group USA. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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