a. How and why is modesty described as a Christian duty? 1 Timothy 2:9, 10.
“There is a decided contradiction between the love of outward adorning and the grace of meekness, the quiet spirit. It is only when we seek in all things to conform to the will of God that peace and joy will reign in the soul.
“The love of dress endangers the morals and makes woman the opposite of the Christian lady characterized by modesty and sobriety. Showy, extravagant dress too often encourages lust in the heart of the wearer and awakens base passions in the heart of the beholder. God sees that the ruin of the character is frequently preceded by the indulgence of pride and vanity in dress.”—Testimonies for the Church, vol. 4, p. 645.
b. How does emphasis on the outward adorning deprive the inward, spiritual? 1 Peter 3:3–5.
“Many of our sisters are persons of good ability, and if their talents were used to the glory of God they would be successful in winning many souls to Christ. Will they not be responsible for the souls they might have saved had not extravagance in dress and the cares of this world so crippled and dwarfed their God-given powers that they felt no burden of the work? Satan invented the fashions in order to keep the minds of women so engrossed with the subject of dress that they could think of but little else.”—Ibid., p. 629.
2. HEALTH AND CLEANLINESS
a. How is God’s concern for our health and well-being to affect the way we dress—particularly in colder weather? 3 John 2; Proverbs 31:21 (marginal reading for “scarlet” = double garments); Isaiah 3:16, 17.
“The body must be kept in a healthy condition in order that the soul may be in health. The condition of the body affects the condition of the soul. . . . Faithful adherence to right principles in eating, drinking, and dressing is a duty that God has laid upon human beings.”—Evangelism, p. 261.
“If the feet are clothed with good-sized, thick-soled, warm boots or shoes, for comfort rather than for fashion, the blood will be induced to circulate freely in the limbs and feet, as well as in other portions of the body.”—The Health Reformer, April 1, 1871.
b. How important is cleanliness in our bodies as well as in the way we dress? Exodus 19:10, 11; 1 Corinthians 3:16, 17.
“A great amount of suffering might be saved if all would labor to prevent disease, by strictly obeying the laws of health. Strict habits of cleanliness should be observed. Many, while well, will not take the trouble to keep in a healthy condition. They neglect personal cleanliness, and are not careful to keep their clothing pure. . . . The impurities of the body, if not allowed to escape, are taken back into the blood and forced upon the internal organs. Nature, to relieve herself of poisonous impurities, makes an effort to free the system. This effort produces fevers and what is termed disease. But even then, if those who are afflicted would assist nature in her efforts by the use of pure, soft water, much suffering would be prevented. But many, instead of doing this, and seeking to remove the poisonous matter from the system, take a more deadly poison into the system, to remove a poison already there.”— Counsels on Health, pp. 61, 62.
c. How does following Jezebel’s example deprive a person from their natural beauty and affect the health? 2 Kings 9:30; Ecclesiastes 3:11.
“Many are ignorantly injuring their health and endangering their lives by using cosmetics. . . . When they become heated, . . . the poison is absorbed by the pores of the skin, and is thrown into the blood. Many lives have been sacrificed by this means alone.”—Healthful Living, p. 189.
3. RESPECTING GOD’S NATURAL ORDER IN CLOTHING
a. How does God view individuals wearing the clothing characteristic of the opposite gender? Deuteronomy 22:5.
“God designed that there should be a plain distinction between the dress of men and women, and has considered the matter of sufficient importance to give explicit directions in regard to it; for the same dress worn by both sexes would cause confusion and great increase of crime.”—Testimonies for the Church, vol. 1, p. 460.
“In my article on dress in How to Live I tried to present a healthful, convenient, economical, yet modest and becoming style of dress for Christian women to wear, if they should choose so to do.”—Ibid., p. 462.
“In wide contrast with this modest dress is the so-called American costume, resembling very nearly the dress worn by men. It consists of a vest, pants, and a dress resembling a coat and reaching about halfway from the hip to the knee. This dress I have opposed, from what has been shown me as in harmony with the word of God; while the other I have recommended as modest, comfortable, convenient, and healthful.”—Ibid., p. 465.
“God’s order has been reversed, and His special directions disregarded, by those who adopt the American costume. I was referred to Deuteronomy 22:5. . . . God would not have His people adopt the so-called reform dress. It is immodest apparel, wholly unfitted for the modest, humble followers of Christ.”—Ibid., p. 421.
b. How does wearing clothing that is characteristic of the opposite gender affect the character and reputation of those involved?
“Those who feel called out to join the movement in favor of woman’s rights and the so-called dress reform [that adopts the American costume] might as well sever all connection with the third angel’s message. The spirit which attends the one cannot be in harmony with the other. The Scriptures are plain upon the relations and rights of men and women. . . . With the so-called dress reform [that adopts the American costume] there goes a spirit of levity and boldness just in keeping with the dress. Modesty and reserve seem to depart from many as they adopt that style of dress. I was shown that God would have us take a course consistent and explainable. Let the sisters adopt the American costume and they would destroy their own influence and that of their husbands. They would become a byword and a derision.”—Ibid., pp. 421, 422.
4. APPEARANCE AND WORSHIP
a. Besides our dress, how should our appearance distinguish between men and women? 1 Corinthians 11:14, 15.
“There is an increasing tendency to have women in their dress and appearance as near like the other sex as possible, and to fashion their dress very much like that of men, but God pronounces it abomination. ‘In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety.’ 1 Timothy 2:9.”—Testimonies for the Church, vol. 1, p. 421.
“A person’s character is judged by his style of dress. A refined taste, a cultivated mind, will be revealed in the choice of simple and appropriate attire. Chaste simplicity in dress, when united with modesty of demeanor, will go far toward surrounding a young woman with that atmosphere of sacred reserve which will be to her a shield from a thousand perils.”—Education, p. 248.
b. How do we know that there is to be a difference in the way we come before God in worship on His holy day than at any other time? Isaiah 6:1, 2.
“Many need instruction as to how they should appear in the assembly for worship on the Sabbath. They are not to enter the presence of God in the common clothing worn during the week. All should have a special Sabbath suit, to be worn when attending service in God’s house. While we should not conform to worldly fashions, we are not to be indifferent in regard to our outward appearance. We are to be neat and trim, though without adornment. The children of God should be pure within and without.”—Testimonies for the Church, vol. 6, p. 355.
“God purposed to make the occasion of speaking His law a scene of awful grandeur, in keeping with its exalted character. The people were to be impressed that everything connected with the service of God must be regarded with the greatest reverence. The Lord said to Moses, ‘Go unto the people, and sanctify them today and tomorrow, and let them wash their clothes, and be ready against the third day: for the third day the Lord will come down in the sight of all the people upon Mount Sinai.’ During these intervening days all were to occupy the time in solemn preparation to appear before God. Their person and their clothing must be freed from impurity. And as Moses should point out their sins, they were to devote themselves to humiliation, fasting, and prayer, that their hearts might be cleansed from iniquity.”—Patriarchs and Prophets, pp. 303, 304.
5. OUR RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD
a. What must we realize about worldliness—and why is it such an attraction? James 4:4.
“ ‘Like all the nations.’ The Israelites did not realize that to be in this respect unlike other nations was a special privilege and blessing. God had separated the Israelites from every other people, to make them His own peculiar treasure. But they, disregarding this high honor, eagerly desired to imitate the example of the heathen! And still the longing to conform to worldly practices and customs exists among the professed people of God. As they depart from the Lord they become ambitious for the gains and honors of the world. Christians are constantly seeking to imitate the practices of those who worship the god of this world. Many urge that by uniting with worldlings and conforming to their customs they might exert a stronger influence over the ungodly. But all who pursue this course thereby separate from the Source of their strength. Becoming the friends of the world, they are the enemies of God. For the sake of earthly distinction they sacrifice the unspeakable honor to which God has called them, of showing forth the praises of Him who hath called us out of darkness into His marvelous light. 1 Peter 2:9.”—Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 607.
b. For what place is the Christian preparing? 1 Corinthians 2:9.
“Let all that is beautiful in our earthly home remind us of the crystal river and green fields, the waving trees and the living fountains, the shining city and the white-robed singers, of our heavenly home—that world of beauty which no artist can picture, no mortal tongue describe.”—The Adventist Home, p. 545.
PERSONAL REVIEW QUESTIONS
1. Why are we to be concerned with modesty?
2. Why is cleanliness so important and how do cosmetics affect that?
3. What is an abomination before God and what does that mean?
4. How are we to come before God when we are worshiping Him?
5. Why are we constantly affected by worldliness?