When I was a boy, the term modesty was one of the more familiar words bandied about by members of evangelical churches across America. In almost all of the discussion about modesty I overheard in the ’80s and ’90s, it was inevitably framed around young Christian women who were supposedly not wearing enough clothing to church or school. The Bible actually does have quite a bit to say about modesty, but, contrary to what one might expect, it is not with regard to how much clothing a young woman is (or isn’t) wearing. Rather, it’s focused on how women of any age were adorning themselves in order to gain attention.
God is more concerned with inner beauty than He is with external beauty. Peter sums this up so well when he tells wives, “Don’t let your beauty consist of outward things… but rather what is inside the heart” (1 Peter 3:3–4). In a day when we are consumed with body enhancement surgeries, cosmetic and health products, and fitness regimens, it would do us a world of good to reconsider what is most important to God. The fact of the matter is, God is far more concerned with the hearts of His people.
This truth should animate godly wives to give the better part of their time and energy to cultivating the beauty of “a gentle and quiet spirit” within (v.4). This should also motivate Christian men to value and encourage what is most beautiful in this precious gift of a godly wife. A godly husband delights in what is most valuable—the image of Christ renewed in his bride. As the book of Proverbs tell us, “Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised” (Proverbs 31:30). There is something more worthwhile, more glorious, and more desirable than the external beauty the fallen world prizes above all else.
Cultivating and valuing our spouse’s inner beauty is the key to a lasting and God-honoring marriage. When wives seek to adorn themselves with a spirit that is “precious to God,” and when husbands seek to lovingly dwell with them in understanding, beauty abounds. May God give us grace to cultivate and value the reflected beauty of Christ in our marriages.
Written by Nicholas Batzig