Outward adornment

The other day when I wrote a story on vanity which led to a conversation about earrings and makeup and I thought I would look into this a little further.  I enjoy wearing jewellery such as earrings, necklaces and bracelets and I also like to wear a light covering of makeup  to work each day.  Should I be doing any of this and if so, to what extent?

According to Timothy 2, verses 9 and 10 what I wear each day is important, and I do need to think careful about what I select —
  “In like manner also, that the women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with propriety and moderation, not with braided hair or gold or pearls or costly clothing, but, which is proper for women professing godliness, with good works.
This doesn't mean I should dress poorly, the Proverbs 31 woman certainly didn't ".... her clothing is fine linen and purple", but my outward appearance is not as important as  "... a woman who fears the LORD, she shall be praised".
If I started to wear flashy jewellery, thick makeup and expensive clothes the message I am sending others is that my appearance is very important — I want to be notice — I want to appear attractive to others — I want people to know that I am spending big on myself — my focus is all about “me”.  Dressing as the world does says I am part of this world and not behaving in a manner which is proper for a woman professing godliness.  My outward clothing should never become more important than my inner beauty as said in 1 Peter 3:3-4 —
Do not let your adornment be merely outward—arranging the hair, wearing gold, or putting on fine apparel— rather let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God”.  
What about jewellery — I need to make sure that my outward adornment does not give the wrong message — I need others to understand that my focus is on God (and having a gentle and quiet spirit) and not on expensive jewellery.  Therefore wearing jewellery is fine as long as it doesn’t detract from what is important or give others the wrong impression.  It all comes down to moderation.  What message am I try to send — do I look like I am part of this world or do I look like a Christian woman?
As to make-up, this is where so many Christian differ and I don’t know the answer. I use a light coverage of makeup, however to be completely honest with myself I am trying to make improves on God’s handiwork.   Makeup is a worldly activity, in the Bible women who wore lots of makeup were prostitutes — I rarely see women not wearing it (and sadly most young girls)— we think it makes us look better, hides the faults and wrinkles.  I think, once again, it comes down to moderation — I don’t want to look cheap or trashy and it should not rule my life (vanity and pride).

My advice (to myself!) would be “never wear anything you would not want to wear in front of Jesus” — as  a Christian woman I want others to know that my love for God is above “bling”. 

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  1. Hi Jo - I think you have made a wonderful statement with this message. I respect that so many women are faced with this dilemma - I personally have friends who I know face this and they genuinely want to do the right thing. I think my friends are always beautiful - and in so many ways - less is more. You are a beautiful person Jo to address this so openly.


  2. As with so much else, it comes down to the heart. One could be completely devoid of make~up, jewellery, flshhy clothing ~ & be completely dead to the Lord. On the other hand I do believe that a person who is alive to the Spirit's leading will dress in a way that pleases the Lord ~ which allows for differences & shades & hues & as we mature in the Lord that line may shift as we get to know better what pleases the Lord we profess to love & what does not. Nice post.

  3. I love this post and it is something I think about quite a bit. I can't afford pricey clothes and I don't really like jewellery--so that helps a bit. But I do wear makeup. I always have. I have some redness issues and I feel better about myself when I have a little makeup on. I had to stop and think though if I would wear it in front of Jesus. I guess it would depend on the circumstances. I wouldn't not wear it because I thought he wouldn't like it. If I wanted to look my best I would wear it. Thank you for something to think about today.

  4. I think what you said about not wearing anything you would not want to wear in front of Jesus is a good rule of thumb. Moderation in all things.

  5. Good points, once again, Jo.

    The only jewellery I wear is my wedding ring and simple small gold hoop earings. I don't even have a watch at the moment. I like jewellery but can live without it and I don't really think it suits me.

    Well, you already know my thoughts on make-up. I don't wear make-up every day, and when I do, it is very natural looking...not into looking like a painted clown.

    I had to think about this, as in what would I wear in front of Jesus (which is pointless to think too much about because He is already here, in me and with me), but I gave it a little thought anyway. I asked Him would He mind. I felt Him clearly impress upon me, that He is more interested what is within my heart, than what is on my face...

    Self-righteousness, pride, divisiveness, superiority etc, is more of an issue to Him, than someone putting a little colour on their cheeks.

    We can cover a few blemishes on our faces, but we can never cover over heart issues.

    Wow, I love Him... He is so beautiful.

  6. Good post Jo! As Ganeida said, it all comes down to our hearts. We as humans tend to look on outward appearances but God looks at our hearts whether we wear make up or don't, weather we wear expensive clothes or don't, etc.:)
    For me the scriptures in I Peter 3 says that it's not bad to wear jewellery etc but that we should focus more on the inner than the outer. How much time do we spend cultivating inner beauty as opposed to how much time we spend thinking about our looks and spending time improving our outer:)
    Which is pretty much what you were trying to say I think:)

  7. I think this is an intensely personal issue that we are accountable to God for... And I think it's also a bit like the Mary and Martha difference - we might sit here and say "well, if Jesus were here I would rather be like Mary", but Jesus WAS here and Martha was still a woman who wanted to serve and busy herself rather than spending time listening at His feet. So it is with the make-up/adornment issue. I think for the most part what is in our heart and our actions would largely remain the same even if we could physically see Him here in the flesh again, *because* it is an expression of who we are and what we are, and also an expression of where we are in our walk with Him and our understanding of what He wants from us and for us. I hope that makes sense! :)

  8. Jo - THANK YOU for bringing up the Proverbs 31 woman wearing linen and purple. I have thought about blogging on the topic several times, but I'm not really sure if it fits my blog, and might not turn into a bit more of a rant. (As this comment may!) There are many Christian women in this country who point at anyone who wears anything nice and declares it unholy, because it is not of the absolute simplicity. It's to the point where I believe that there is great pride taken in looking mediocore by many. I do NOT see that example in the Bible. P31 looks nice, and wears purple - the best available! - which undoubtedly pleases her husband - a Godly thing to do, I believe. I was taught as a child that we put our best before God, which means that I do try to dress nicely for service, and to put forward a nice, pleasing appearance every day. Does that mean thick make up and jewelry? No, but it does mean that I try to take good care of myself, and put my best foot forward. If that means wearing hats, or gloves, or other things that are unusual, does that mean that I'm doing it simply to attract attention, and am therefore taking the focus off God? No - I am simply offering what I believe to be my best and putting it before the Lord.

  9. I like your advice to yourself, which we can all take to heart. I am thinking I will put that on my dressing room mirror! It is about moderation, isn't it? And of course, it is about modesty, and purity of heart. I love jewelry, too ~ especially earrings. But I make a point of not buying anything expensive (can't remember the last time I did buy any earrings) or anything that is "trendy." Because to me, trendy = worldly. I think it is delicate balance between making the most of what God gave us, and becoming worldly. I agree with Val that we should put our best foot forward, but certainly not in a cheap, tawdry, or self-centered way. Lots to think about here!

  10. Val - I completely agree with you. My point was, dressing nicely is important - but no matter what we do, it should not dominate our lives and take us away from what is important. It is interesting to the P31 woman did dress in fine cloth of purple, so her presentation was seen as very important - however fearing the Lord was her goal. When I went to Sunday meeting as a child I always put on my best clothes, as just like you I was taught to dress in my best for the Lord

    Stacy - Dressing like the world just tells everyone that you are part of the world and to me, this isn't the message I want others to read from my clothing or assessories. I do think God is very interested in what we wear and how much time we dedicate to our appearance as it means I am more interested in me than Him.

  11. Oops - sorry Stacey I spelt your name incorrectly:(

  12. Ganeida - You are quite right, women who are wearing "all the right things" may have no heart set towards heaven at all. They may be doing it becuase they want people to "think" they are being godly. It isn't just our appearance it is our heart and how we behave - it is the whole package we present to God not just the outer wrappings.

  13. Thankyou for all your comments - I find this a very interesting and thought provoking topic.

  14. I just thought I'd throw in the point about Rebekah, who was adorned with jewels of all sorts when Isaac was to marry her, including a nose ring.

    Just an interesting point to consider, especially when telling your kids they can't get their ears pierced or similar.

  15. I agree with you about moderation. I usually will only wear makeup for my husband. He likes it. I don't use makeup at home or to errands.


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