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Foundation Truth, Number 3 (Autumn 2000) | Timeless Truths Publications

Let It Not Be the Outward Adorning

A discussion on make-up and jewelry

Please note: The first seven letters in this discussion are taken from an e-mail discussion group where the question was brought up about make-up and jewelry for this purpose.

In this open discussion on jewelry and make-up, we have printed many letters that disagree with one another. We have simply presented sides of thought and do not endorse many of the opinions expressed. We have included our own thoughts and convictions in the section “In Conclusion.” God bless you as you read.

—The Editress

About jewelry and make-up… my feeling is that the key is not to overdo it. I don’t think that it is wrong to spend maybe 10 minutes or so braiding your hair or applying tasteful make-up in the morning. Last summer, I was really wondering about this, and I found the place in the Bible where Job names one of his daughters “Kerenhappuch” (Job 42:14) quite interesting. The notes in my Bible say this means “container of antimony,” which was a highly prized black eye shadow. The verses go on to say that Job’s daughters were the most beautiful in all the land, and that his entire family prospered. This seems to indicate that the wearing of such make-up is okay. I would say that the problem comes when you are either doing such things for the wrong reasons, or else are letting them get in the way of more important things. This can also be reflected in how much money you invest into such habits. Recently I came across some of my old records, and was surprised at how much I spent on clothes and accessories. This was despite the fact that I only bought an item if it was a good value and “inexpensive.” Again, this comes back to the theme of being refined in holiness. In particular, I find it unfortunate that so many people think their rings, etc., need to be of high quality gold and expensive jewels. I mean, if I am engaged, I would like an engagement ring (my “ideal” would be a smooth gold thread with a ripple at the crest, adorned with a single speck of diamond, if finances permitted at the time, and I certainly would like a “real” wedding ring. Even now I have three rings I wear on a daily basis. I bought two of them (for about $15), and one is a ring my mom got for the Christmas she was fifteen, and although I really don’t know how much it’s worth, I’d say about $30-60. Sometimes I also wear earrings or a necklace. I used to wear a dusting of powder, brown eye shadow, and a touch of lipgloss. I had to switch over to homemade lipgloss, which of course is totally clear, due to a sensitivity I developed to the artificial flavorings and additives in the store-bought brands. Then even though my eye doctor said I should be okay sticking with a hypoallergenic brand, (I have minor problems with my eyes and wear contacts besides) such eye shadow still bothered me on occasion and plus I got bored with the single color they offered that I liked. So basically, even though I could probably find some nice things to wear that would fit my needs, I don’t feel like investing the time or money because it’s just not that important, and the only thing I wear is my homemade clear lipgloss with a rare coat of nail polish.

I have gotten the impression from some conservatives that it is practically a mandatory responsibility of a lady to have rosy lips, a smooth complexion, and lightly accented eyes. Others seem to feel it is our duty to abstain from all such things. I just feel that God wants us to enjoy beauty. Although things like jewelry and make-up shouldn’t be the primary source, often times they can add a nice complement to our inherent beauty, God’s lovely world, and most importantly, our spiritual beauty. As far as contentment’s connection goes, I have never really pondered that…. Hopefully some of the rest of you can give us some aspects to consider! I always appreciate hearing more things and the reasons why people believe the way they do. I know some people who can’t stand to discuss such things, they say it’s pointless because everyone has their own opinion anyways. And certainly, it is important to stand up for your convictions. But the sharing of them can help you explore and strengthen your own as you realize new things you might not have even thought of before!

Bonnie McLaughin

About the subject of jewelry: I wear bracelets, necklaces, and rings. I used to wear earrings, too, but I have struggled with deciding whether that is right. In Genesis 35:4, Jacob’s family has to put away the pagan images and charms they had brought from Syria. These things had to be buried before they could meet God at Bethel. It mentions their earrings are buried. This seems to me that earrings are counted as a form of ungodliness. In Judges 8:24, it mentions that the Ishmaelites wore golden earrings. But then, there are other references to earrings which seem to condone the wearing of earrings, like in Genesis 24:22. And the earring which the servant gave to Rebekah, according to notes in my study Bible, was probably very large. And it seems that is true if it weighed half a shekel. In Ezekiel 16:12, God is reminding Jerusalem of what He did for them. And He says “And I put a jewel on thy forehead, and earrings in thine ears, and a beautiful crown upon thine head.” It sounds to me like earrings are a favorable ornament. However in Hosea 2:13, earrings seem to be associated with a harlot. And then, listen to this, “As an earring of gold, and an ornament of fine gold, so is a wise reprover upon an obedient ear.”* (Proverbs 25:12) As far as I can see, taking the New Testament into account as well, we have liberty to adorn ourselves with jewelry, but not in a way that draws attention to ourselves. In other words, have a pleasant appearance without overdoing it.

Love in Christ,
Sara Frisbee

I just thought I’d share my thoughts on adornment. Like those who have written already, I don’t think we ought to be too gaudy or drawing a lot of attention to ourselves. I don’t think that there is a problem with wearing jewelry or using make-up. I also think we should look reasonable. Keep in mind a couple of things…. First, we are the temple of the Holy Spirit (shouldn’t we look our best to honor Him?), and secondly, we are representatives and ambassadors of Christ. And again it comes back to honoring God. Now, I’m not into girls getting really wrapped up in making themselves beautiful. There has got to be a balance. I don’t think we need to go to either extreme of either trying to look just perfect and thinking all about being beautiful, or on the other hand paying no attention whatsoever to how we look. I personally don’t normally wear make-up, I’m not totally against it, but I don’t feel like for me it’s something I want to invest my money and time into. Occasionally I use concealer and maybe some blush and light lipstick, but even that is rare. Maybe someday when I have wrinkles I want to hide or something, or who knows, maybe I’ll decide I want to wear a little make-up regularly at some point, but for now I don’t. Earrings are the same way. I don’t have pierced ears and it’s not something I really care about and I feel like spending money on (and pain!). I do wear necklaces sometimes and occasionally a bracelet. I used to have a necklace that I wore daily with two things on it… one was a gift from my parents when I got baptized and one was a key to symbolize my commitment to purity and courtship… unfortunately I lost it one day when I was piling up branches to burn. A branch got hooked on it while I was throwing it into the pile and the chain broke and the two things went flying and I never was able to find them again. At least things aren’t what matter, and what the necklace symbolized is still there. The necklace was a symbol and only a symbol; I can do without it.

Beth Cardoza

Dear ladies,

I found a few verses that I thought might be of interest to you all.

“I will greatly rejoice in the LORD, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for he hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, he hath covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decketh himself with ornaments, and as a bride adorneth herself with her jewels.”* (Isaiah 61:10)

“And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.”* (Revelation 21:2)

Here in the New Testament, John is referring to the Jewish bride, which we know from Isaiah 61:10, would adorn herself with her jewels. If in the New Testament, the holy city is likened unto a bride adorned for her husband, I feel that the Bible is then condoning the wearing of jewelry even after we were set free from the from of the law. Please, all of you, share with me your thoughts on these verses as well. Maybe there is something I am not seeing that others will.

And this is just my opinion, but are not gold and precious stones part of the creation of God? Doesn’t He want us to appreciate what He has made and give the glory to Him?

In Christ,
Sara Frisbee

The following is in response to the previous letter:

Greetings to all of you in the wonderful name of Jesus!

Sara had mentioned some scriptures concerning the wearing of jewelry, specifically that of a bride adorning herself for her husband. We were talking about it and thought I’d share some of our thoughts.

“I will greatly rejoice in the LORD, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for he hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, he hath covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decketh himself with ornaments, and as a bride adorneth herself with her jewels.”* (Isaiah 61:10)

“And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.”* (Revelation 21:2)

When we think of these scriptures, we would like to suggest looking at them from a spiritual point of view rather than from an earthly one. Let’s take them in context rather than taking the ends of these verses in Isaiah and Revelation and say they would suggest the wearing of jewelry is alright. As Christians, by putting our faith in the atoning work of the cross we are clothed in the garments of salvation and are covered with the robe of righteousness. An earthly bride adorns herself with her jewels (earthly groom with ornaments). Just think of the average wedding today and we can get a good picture of this. But as a spiritual bride, the Bride of Jesus Christ Himself, we “adorn” ourselves with the garments of salvation and the robe of righteousness, which is from Him, not ourselves. This should be with the same delight, joy and anticipation that this earthly bride would have. This scripture is a simile, showing us the contrast of earthly vs. spiritual. The thought here being we, as believers, have a different emphasis. The earthly adornments are temporal and physically put on, for man, not God. The spiritual clothing here mentioned are eternal and God given. The scripture in Rev. is basically the same comparison. The new Jerusalem was built by God for His people. He did use many precious stones, gold etc… to build it. A glorious thing to contemplate. Those written in the Lamb’s book of Life will dwell there (Revelation 21:27). Scripture refers to the city as the Bride but obviously Jesus, the Lamb of God, isn’t marrying the city but the people in it. To us this does not have anything to do with whether we should wear jewelry or not. Rather we should be overjoyed at the grace and mercy of God toward us that as the Bride of Christ He provided salvation and the righteousness of Jesus for our clothing. In heaven we will be clothed in white raiment (Revelation 3:5), and for those who overcome, the promise of a crown is given (James 1:12). Even with that, may we have the vision the hymn writer did as he penned these verses:

Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty!
Early in the morning our song shall rise to Thee;
Holy, holy, holy, merciful and mighty,
God in three persons, blessed Trinity!

Holy, holy, holy, all the Saints adore Thee,
Casting down their golden crowns around the glassy sea;
Cherubim and Serephim, falling down before Thee,
Which wert and art and evermore shall be.*

We pray that this will be a blessing in some way!

With love,
Stephanie Kingery

P.S. We happened to get a picture in the mail today of a Jewish wedding. This was a recent wedding. It was interesting to note that all of the men, groom included, wore plain dark suits with ties and black hats. There were no flowers on their lapels. The women were also in very plain dark dresses. Very modest—high necklines and long sleeves. The bride was in a plain white dress, also with a high neckline and long sleeves. There was no lace, beading, etc…. She had a very simple bouquet, no ribbons hanging down, etc…. There were no other flowers. The father of the bride was [a] Rabbi.

Dear Sisters,

The topic of make-up and jewelry has been very interesting so far. I’m glad we can discuss topics like this without it turning into an argument. I find I always learn a lot from discussing beliefs with others.

Here’s my beliefs on the subjects—please don’t think I’m trying to condemn anyone or anything! This is just what the Lord has shown me is best for me to do at this time. I respect each of your beliefs, and I want to remain open and teachable!

Make-up: I believe God created me exactly the way He wants me to look, and I need to be accepting and thankful for the way I am. One way of demonstrating that I believe God knows best in this area is to not try to change or “improve” the way I look. Of course, we need to take care of our bodies and look our best for His sake, but this can be accomplished without spending time trying to alter our physical characteristics. Instead, we need to focus on developing and improving our spiritual characteristics—that’s what really matters!

Obviously, we need to take care to dress neatly, and keep our hair combed, etc. But I feel that make-up is in a different category, since it’s more along the lines of trying to “improve” upon the way the Lord created us. Personally, I know that once I got started using make-up it’d be very easy to become more and more consumed with it, and end up spending a lot of time and money on it. That’s just one more reason why I’ve felt it best not to use any at all.

I do, however, believe there could possibly be occasion to use make-up—for instance, if someone had a large scar or burned area on their face, and everyone found it difficult to talk to that person because they felt like they couldn’t help staring, or something…. In that case, I would think the person would not be wrong in using some make-up, as long as their attitude was right. If they were thinking all along, “It’s terrible that God let me get this scar—I’ve got to try to fix myself up so people will think I’m pretty again,” then they wouldn’t be honoring God. But if they said, “Lord, I know you let this happen to me for a reason, and I want to learn all I can through it,” and then felt that the Lord’s will was for them to use some make-up so they’d be able to more effectively minister to others, they would be honoring God. This is the main instance I could think of where make-up could be used for a Godly purpose.

Here’s some additional principles and verses on the subject that the Lord showed me:

  1. God has made each person exactly the way they are for a reason.
    We “are complete in him.”* (Colossians 2:8-10)
    We are “fearfully and wonderfully made.”* (Psalm 139:13-16)
    “Shall the clay say to him that fashioned it, What makest thou?”* (Isaiah 45:9)
  2. Outward “beauty” is not necessary for happiness—but Godly inward qualities are.
    Jesus Himself had “no beauty that we should desire him.”* (Isaiah 53:2)
    Man sees the outward, but God looks at the inward (1 Samuel 16:7).
  3. What we see as “defects” can really be a special blessing from God.
    God’s strength is made perfect in our weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9-10).
    “Defects” can be ways of keeping us humble (1 Corinthians 1:27-31).
  4. Our main purpose in life should be to glorify God with our life.
    We are to show Christ and His love to the world (1 Peter 2:9).
    We are to “shine as lights in the world.”* (Philippians 2:13-16)
  5. It is a major testimony to the world when they see that we are able to accept the way God made us (without trying to mask or change it), and to actually praise Him for everything—even physical “defects.”

Jewelry: I believe God is not glorified when I wear jewelry, which only has the purpose of “beautifying” or drawing attention to my body. Instead, I want to focus on making my “meek and quiet spirit” (I Pet.3:3-5) and my “good works” (I Tim. 2:9-10), the things that people notice first about me. Inward qualities are what really matters in the light of eternity, anyway, and I don’t want to let myself be distracted, or be a stumbling block.

I have yet to find a good, Godly purpose for wearing jewelry (other than things like watches, belt buckles, and hair clips, which some people classify as jewelry)… Christians are certainly not commanded to wear things solely for the purpose of physical adornment. As with make-up, I think it would be easy (for me, personally) to become more and more consumed with jewelry, and end up spending a great deal of time and money on it. That’s why I’ve decided to not wear any jewelry that doesn’t have a good function — I always wear a watch and hair clips, but that’s all. It does simplify things.

Here’s some additional principles and verses on the subject (a few are the same as above):

  1. Outward “beauty” is not necessary for happiness—but Godly inward qualities are.
    Jesus Himself had “no beauty that we should desire him.”* (Isaiah 53:2)
    Man sees the outward, but God looks at the inward (1 Samuel 16:7).
  2. Jewelry is worn for the purpose of adorning our bodies—we should focus on making our inner selves and our spirits the most noticable thing about ourselves.
    The best “adornment” is a “meek and quiet spirit.”* (1 Peter 3:3-5)
    People should notice our “good works”—not our appearance (1 Timothy 2:9-10).
  3. Our main purpose in life should be to glorify God with our life.
    We are to show Christ and His love to the world (1 Peter 2:9).
    We are to “shine as lights in the world.”* (Philippians 2:13-16)
  4. Most jewelry distracts from the testimony God would have us be—and that causes harm in the light of eternity.

A fellow pilgrim,
Abigail M. Paul

The following is in response to the last letter:

Ultimately, it is the condition of the heart and whether we have the meek and quiet spirit of Jesus that makes us modest or not, and our inward spirit will manifest itself by outward action.

May I make a quick comment? Not trying to argue or anything, but just something that I thought of…. In what I quoted above, you wrote “and our inward spirit will manifest itself by outward action.” My thought is: if we have an inward spirit of beauty shouldn’t that beauty manifest itself outward not just in what we do, but how we look? Shouldn’t the beauty within us overflow into everything else? God gave people, especially women, the desire of beauty. Yes, it can consume us, and yes, there needs to be a balance, but I don’t think there is something wrong with looking pretty if we aren’t obsessed with it or proud of it.

This is something I think about now and then because sometimes I wonder if I care too little about my “beauty.” I don’t believe we should be sloppy. Sometimes I wonder if I should wear make-up or wear jewelry more because I do represent Christ. I don’t worry about it too much and I do try to keep myself reasonable (ie. keep my hair brushed, teeth clean, etc.).

One more thing, “Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.”* (1 Peter 3:3-4)NIV In the NASB it says it a little differently… “And let not your adornment be merely external—braiding the hair, and wearing gold jewelry, or putting on dresses; but let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is precious in the sight of God.”NASB This seems to be saying to me that we need to be more concerned about the hidden person of the heart than the outward adornment, but I don’t see it saying to neglect the outward.

Okay, point made. I just want to say that I respect your convictions… and if this is the way God has led you, then so be it, don’t let me get in your way with what God has shown me for myself.

For those of you who have no conviction in this area, seek the Lord, read His Word. He will guide you in the way He wants you to go.

In Christ,
Beth Cardoza

Dear Readers,

We thought this topic for discussion was very interesting. We are sisters not only in the Lord but in the same family and thought we would combine our thoughts at the beginning and then share a bit of personal testimony individually at the end. We pray this will be a blessing to you. We look forward to reading other’s opinions on this as well. We have talked about these things off and on over the years within our family, as we have met new people and been exposed to different situations. As Christians, it seems worthy of discussion.

When we have a question about how we as believers should live, our first step should always be to go to the Word of God and see what our Heavenly Father has to say about it. There are Old Testament scriptures that would seem to support the wearing of jewelry and even perhaps the wearing of make-up as well. When we look at New Testament scriptures they may seem to contradict each other. We all know though, that the Word of God does not contradict itself. We must then take the Word of God overall and look at it as a whole rather than pick one scripture here or there to support our view. We would like to share what we feel God’s Word says concerning this subject and how we’ve been led.

The questions were very helpful to us when considering this issue. We would like to try to answer some of them.

We do definitely feel the Bible teaches a standard of Godly dress. We firmly believe that one can find God’s heart on the matter of dress. There are room for preferences and culture, but modesty cannot be dimmed by either. God wants each of His children to be modest. These scriptures are probably very familiar to many of you. “In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with broided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array; But (which becometh women professing godliness) with good works.”* (1 Timothy 2:9-10) Most of you would agree that women who profess godliness should dress modestly. Just what does modesty mean? Modesty, according to “The American College Dictionary” (1958 version), means “a conformity to propriety and decoram; a becoming shyness, sobriety and proper behavior; quiet simplicity. Distaste for anything coarse or loud; free from vanity, egotism, boastfulness.” Many of us would apply this to our clothing and perhaps stop there. This scripture goes on to address jewelry. It specifically says to not adorn ourselves with gold or pearls or costly clothing. While many are quick to “dress” modestly, should we not apply the whole scripture? These scriptures are speaking to believers and seem to us to be giving specific directions. When applying make-up, does vanity and pride enter in? Are we not pleased with how God has made us? When putting on our jewelry, what are we thinking? We have to ask ourselves, are we trying to attract someone’s attention? God says our beauty should be in the hidden person of the heart, the incorruptible beauty of a meek and quiet spirit. “Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting of the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel; But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price.”* (1 Peter 3:3-4)

Some would say that we shouldn’t put so much emphasis on the outside appearance. Make-up and jewelry are unimportant issues. It is the inner man that counts. We see it as what’s on the inside will show on the outside. What is in our heart? “A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is evil: for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh.”* (Luke 6:45) We must ask ourselves, am I so concerned with how others see me as opposed to how God has chosen to make me? Are my eyes too small, my nose too big, lips not full enough? Do we need to feel we must be pretty and attractive to be accepted? Do we need to add adornments to God’s creation to improve it? Is God not pleased with how He made us? Who are we trying to please, if not God? Some say a little make-up is okay or just some simple earrings, not a lot. We ask, how much is too much? How can we know what is “over jewelry” or too much make-up, and is it up to us to decide? This will give ground to a very indefinite line. Too much to one might not be too much to another. We choose to forgo it all in an effort to obey our Lord and not be a stumbling block to anyone.

Let’s consider what we read above in I Timothy and II Peter to what we see in Revelation 17:4: “And the woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet colour, and decked with gold and precious stones and pearls, having a golden cup in her hand full of abominations and filthiness of her fornication.” This is quite a contrast isn’t it? The women who profess godliness compared to the Babylonian harlot. Also in Ezekiel 23:40 and Jeremiah 4:30 which refer to the harlotries and whoredom of Israel in their relationship to the Lord mention is made of jewelry and painting of the eyes. 2 Kings 9:30 refers to Jezebel and how she painted her face. These are definitely not things believers should want to be associated with. “Prove all things; hold fast that which is good. Abstain from all appearance of evil. And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.”* (1 Thessalonians 5:21-23)

We would also like to address how the world looks at the issues of make-up and jewelry. It seems that both are very important. Most women wouldn’t consider even leaving their home without some make-up on. It would be awful if someone would see what they really looked like. They want to cover their true selves. Make others think they’re something they’re not (just think of the words make up themselves). This is being false which is contrary to what Christianity is all about. “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.”* (John 14:6) “Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.”* (John 17:17) Worldly women are afraid of looking older. Christian women are honored as they age and because of their wisdom are encouraged to teach the younger women.

Jewelry is not only adorning the flesh but a status symbol. How much, how big, how glittery. Again, those who say small amounts of jewelry are all right for believers to wear must consider where is the line between too much and acceptable amounts. Who’s to say? Is it not better to just take God at His word? Let’s remember what the scripture says especially about jewelry and the Christian. It goes without saying that if women are to have a particular standard, how much more so the men who are the heads of the home? Do we as believers want to be associated with the world and it’s desires? “Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world.”* (Titus 2:12)

From Stephanie (age 18): Over the years as the Lord has led my family more and more in the ways of simplicity and holiness, He’s led us away from wearing jewelry and make-up. I praise the Lord I was too young to wear make-up and that it has never been an issue in my life. My mom did wear make-up. It was important to her and a very hard thing for her flesh to give up. I did wear jewelry and enjoyed wearing it. When I did stop wearing jewelry, I don’t remember having the Lord convict me personally on it. I stopped because my parents asked me to. Its importance to me had become less and less over time. It didn’t really matter to me if I wore it or not. My friends didn’t wear jewelry and make-up, so I didn’t have any feelings of being a “loner” or rebellion because I couldn’t be like my friends. Many of them were older than me and thus were “old enough” by the world’s standards to wear make-up. As I’ve grown in the Lord, I’ve developed a conviction, a working of the Lord in my heart, that wearing jewelry (and make-up) isn’t for me to do. The scriptures seem very clear to me. There was never any question as to what God would want me to do. I also thank the Lord that I haven’t been persecuted because I don’t wear jewelry and make-up. I desire to please and obey Him. My family has only received encouraging comments on how we (my sister and I especially) are different than most girls and that it is very refreshing for them to see. My mom, sister, and I cover our heads, so even our hair isn’t distracting. Our countenances are clearly seen. The Lord has made me exactly how He wants me to be. His ways are perfect. Why would I want to try to improve on His perfect design with make-up or adorning it with jewelry?

“For thou hast possessed my reins: thou hast covered me in my mother’s womb. I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvelous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well. My substance was not hid from thee, when I was made in secret, and curiously wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. Thine eyes did see my substance, yet being unperfect; and in thy book all my members were written, which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them.”* (Psalm 139:13-16)

From Elisabeth (age 15): My personal thoughts concerning make-up and jewelry are very much based on whether or not I should be a stumbling block to my brothers and sisters in the Lord. If I should wear even what I would consider a small amount of make-up and jewelry how can I know that it wouldn’t trip others up and hinder their walk with the Lord? What if it caused my sister to slip more toward the world and wear more just because “Elisabeth does.” What if I caused my brother to lust? This is a very serious thing. The Lord would require it of my hand on the judgement day. How much better to stand with a clear conscience!

I also feel that contentment is linked with this. Make-up is worn to “enhance.” Why should I want to “enhance” this piece of dust—only worth anything because of Christ? Should I be discontent with the way God so miraculously made me? Rather, I should praise God for giving me what I have. I should thank Him for even giving me eyes, a mouth, ears, and hair. I should be exceedingly happy with every thing God has bestowed on me, rather than fuss over them. “Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.”* (Philippians 4:11)

I pray that we all would come to realize that the greatest ornament of all is a meek and quiet spirit. It is, indeed, of a great price.

“By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep his commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous.”* (1 John 5:2-3)

May God reveal His will to you all. We love you with the love of Christ and hope that somehow we have been an encouragement in your walk with the Savior.

In Christ,
Stephanie and Elisabeth Kingery

Dear Sisters in Christ Jesus,

All my life I have been taught that it was wrong to wear make-up and jewelry, but I never knew why. But when I got sanctified, the Lord opened my eyes and showed me why it was wrong. (I have never worn it but I used to have the desire to wear it). I hope this will help your stand against make-up and jewelry.

Usually when a lady puts on jewelry or make-up it is to look more attractive. (But the shine of God and the world clash so badly that they cannot go together.) I would rather have the shine of God than to have the glitter of this world.

Have you ever thought of hair stuff being jewelry? It can be! Ask yourself these questions:

  • Why do I wear big bows, fancy barrettes, etc.?
  • Do I feel the Holy Ghost around when I wear them?
  • How do I feel when I wear them?
  • How is your hair any different from the world’s? (we are to be set apart)
  • Do I wear that kind of hair stuff to look like the world?
  • Do I desire the world and its things? (these fit with earrings, rings, etc., and make-up)

Pray and let God show you these things. God knows what is best for you. “For if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ.”* (Galatians 1:10)

—A Sister in Christ

Dear Fellow-Pilgrims,

My heart skipped a beat as I read about the discussion which was going to be held on jewelry and make-up. Being a former jewelry and make-up wearer, I knew instantly that God would have me to share. I put it off, and then I put it off some more. Still it seemed like I had that nagging feeling that could not be quenched out by my “human reasons” for not partaking in the discussion. And so with prayer, I feel like now is the time, this rainy Monday afternoon, to sit and write. I share my own testimony and conclusions about the matter not to offend, but with the prayer that someone, somewhere, would benefit.

What is modesty?

Bashful, becoming, chaste, civil, compliant, conventional, decent, decorous, deferential, demure, diffident, discreet, dutiful, forbearing, gentle, humble, humiliating, inconsiderable, innocent, insignificant, limited, lowly, maidenly, meek, mild, moderate, moral, patient, phlegmatic, placid, proper, pure, quiet, reasonable, refined, reserved, retiring, self-effacing, serene, shameful, sheepish, sheep-like, shy, simple, soft, subdued, submissive, tame, timid, tolerant, tranquil, unassertive, unassuming, unproud, unprovocative, unprovoking, virtuous, yielding.

A mouthful, I know! Let’s zero in on a few: Decent. Demure. Discreet. Moderate. Pure. Reasonable. Reserved. Unassuming. Unpretentious. Unprovocative.

My cry is to be a modest young woman. Holding up jewelry and make-up with those words makes the shining jewels and the colorful lipstick look ugly. If I am to be an unassuming, unpretentious, unprovocative girl, what am I doing thinking about adorning myself in such? God’s will for women is “that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with broided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array.”* (1 Timothy 2:9)

It is a miracle I am writing these words. Just a few short years ago I would have sneered at the thought. I loved my jewelry. My favorite glittering necklace was always around my neck. My hands never were without rings and nail-polish. My wrists never were bare; my macramed bracelets clung to them.

My family was becoming more and more plain. Mom and my sister did not wear jewelry. They tried to reason with me, but I brushed them off. “God wants me to be beautiful, doesn’t He? No sense in becoming an old maid. Besides, I don’t wear them to look good. They have sentimental value to me.” My excuses ran on and on. I soon stopped wearing gold and pearls. “The Bible says nothing about silver or sapphires, you know,” I’d say clasping on my silver jewelry. I had already given up my jeans; I was not going to give up my jewelry—or so I thought.

I was at a Christian retreat for a week. I sat smugly in the pew all “dolled” up. The preacher began to speak on how jewelry accents a woman’s beauty. He was not degrading jewelry. He was not putting it in a negative light. In fact, he seemed to rather like the idea of women being more attractive. God used that to smite my heart. I fingered my silver necklace and thought, “God doesn’t want me to be wearing this.” It seemed so clear. I rushed back to my cabin afterwards and with shaking hands unclasped my necklace and slid off my ring.

That was the last time I wore jewelry.

My family had been telling me for so long that jewelry was not right. I read the “evils” of jewelry and make-up in countless tracts and booklets. Nothing ever penetrated. It all fell on a deaf ear until God woke me up and said, “Lauren, this is not My will.” It all seemed so cut and dry, black and white after that night. “God wants me to adorn myself with modesty. He wants me to be beautiful on the inside. He doesn’t want me to be a stumbling block for my brothers. He wants me to be modest,” I thought to myself over and over. There was such peace in my heart!

It has been three years since I stopped wearing jewelry and make-up. I can look back and ask myself, “What were my motives for putting on such things?” The world says it’s necessary to be beautiful. And its solution? Jewelry and make-up. I didn’t question it. It’s just how it was. I blindly followed. But as a Christian, I do not look at the world as my standard. I look at God’s Word. God tells me in His Word that I am not to be adorned with jewelry. I am to be modest.

God does want His daughters to be beautiful, but with a different kind of beauty. The world offers beauty in a bottle; earthly, sensual, and fleeting. God offers true beauty; heavenly, pure, and lasting. Having a beautiful inner man will cause you to glow from within. It is much easier to brush on some rouge, dab on lipstick, and clasp on a necklace; but it is far more lasting to cultivate that quiet and meek spirit which is of great worth in God’s sight.

I have suffered mild persecution for not following the world and what it dictates a young woman ought to look like. It is hard at times to face the scorn and the long stares from those that don’t understand why I dress modestly without any pomp. Romans 12:1-2 comes to mind, “Present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed.”

To those who have decided to dress “plainly,” I would like to encourage you to keep pressing on. Even though people may scoff at your unpainted face and your simple dress, they will remember that there was a girl once who chose to give up worldly glamour for Christ. There was once a girl who was willing to take a stand and say no to the world’s “beauty in a bottle” and yes to God’s true beauty.

The women of the Old Testament adorned themselves with jewels. We do not have to do that. We now can adorn ourselves with Jesus. And, why, dear girls, would we want to adorn ourselves with anything else?

With great love for you, dear sisters,
Lauren Elizabeth Mong
West Virgina

My goal in life was to fit in with the world. I didn’t want to look different or be thought of as “weird” and so fought against my parents wishes and desires. I rebelled against the way that they had trained and raised me. Sometimes I would outwardly submit, but usually I got my own way. Was I happy? No.

Almost two years ago, the Lord began working on my heart. I purposed that I was going to honor Him, no matter what. From that point on, my life changed dramatically. No longer did I desire to follow the ways of the world. I wanted more than anything else to please the Lord. I spent much time in God’s Word and in prayer. I started examining every part of my life and holding it up to the light of Scripture. I realized that many things I did were contrary to the Word of God. They had no part in the life of the Christian, and the Lord gave me grace to let them go. Many of the things that had to go were things that I wore. First, it was the shorts and the pants and the immodest tops and dresses. As one by one these things were pruned from my life, I experienced such peace and joy and renewed assurance from the Lord that this was His will.

The Lord continued His pruning work. He started to convict me about my jewelry and make-up—something of this world I still clung to. I couldn’t ignore the tuggings upon my heart. As I examined jewelry and make-up, I realized that my only reasoning for wearing them was to be attractive and because I liked them. It was like the humanistic mentality, “If it feels good, do it.”

I began thinking about 1 Peter 3:3-4 which says, “Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel; But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price.” God is much more concerned with my heart than my outward appearance. Jewelry and make-up take time, and they also often cause distraction from Eternal things. Satan would love to have us young ladies get caught up in temporal things.

Even though the Lord has led me to not wear make-up and jewelry, I am not going to condemn you for wearing it. I do challenge you to question yourself, “Why am I doing this?” We are so influenced by society nowadays. We nonchalantly accept what our forefathers would have blatantly protested against as wicked. Let us not measure our lives by the world’s standards; we will always come out okay. Let us be willing to measure our lives by the standards set in God’s Word. In eternity, we won’t regret it.

—A Sister in Christ

In Conclusion

After all these thoughts, opinions, ideas, testimonies, scriptures—some agreeing, some disagreeing—what do we conclude? Many have expressed their thoughts and ended with—“but don’t let me stand in the way of what God is telling you—even if it is different from what He is showing me.” Do we, then, simply conclude that we have liberty to pick and choose what we like and what we think God may be telling us? Is there not any lasting Truth on this line that cannot be altered? What is Truth? God’s own Holy Word, written and inspired by Him most High, is Truth. Man’s interpretations do not alter its Sovereignty and absoluteness. If we do not believe and take it as Truth, it remains the same and will prove true to the end. God has been gracious to us to give us His Word—it is our Guide, our light and only hope. We have the privilege of taking everything to God in His Word and finding the answer we desire. We can measure any line of thought, any doctrine, any idea to the Word of God and may find if it is Truth. You may ask, “How can we do this? We are in the flesh. We can get things wrong. We cannot correctly interpret. We must just do the best we can to understand it and not judge others.” How did Brothers John, Paul, Peter, Matthew, Mark write it down correctly? They were human and in the flesh. They were subject to mistakes and human thinking. How could they write down God’s own Word? The Lord gave it to them. He inspired them and filled them—they were simply vessels He chose. He did the writing through these vessels of clay. I believe God wants to do the same with us. He wants us to have His mind and be filled with Him, inspired by Him that we might understand His Word—the Guidebook. After all, my dear sisters, if this is to be a Guidebook to show us safely the way home while we are on our pilgrimage, what good is it if we cannot understand it? We might miss the way home, simply by ignorance of the Book, not heeding our Father’s words, “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the Word of Truth.”* (2 Timothy 2:15) That is what we are here to do today. We have a strong desire to rightly divide the Word of the Lord and trust you do, also. May the Lord shine His light upon us as we search for His Truth.

A good many of you have asked, “What is the motive in wearing jewelry?” That is a good place to start. Why are we doing what we are doing? We are daughters of the King, journeying on our way to our blissful eternal home. We are pilgrims and strangers here in a foreign land. We have found that it is customary in this foreign land for women to paint their faces and adorn themselves with jewels of the country. We have looked in our Guidebook and have found that in the Old Testament many Godly women wore these same jewels and painted their own faces. We find, as some have pointed out, that in the NewTestament it seems to be condemned, making scripture appear to contradict itself. Does God “double cross” Himself?

Let us take a moment and step back, looking at the differences between the Old and the New. Their very names suggest something—“Old” and “New.” In the Old Testament, God had a visible people, the Israelites; they had a visible country to which they were going—Canaan. The Israelites were God’s chosen people, set apart for a purpose. There were other people in the world—for instance, the Chinese or the Indians—but the Bible does not speak of them (regarding special dealings by God) or how God helped them fight their battles. The Israelites were very much a special people—they worshiped the living God, they did not sacrifice their children to idols as did other heathen nations. They wore special clothing that set them apart and their women were very beautiful. Everything about them that set them apart was visible. However their hearts were the same sinful hearts that the Mongolians had—they were not regenerated and could not be in the New Testament sense. Yes, God had a set-apart people, but He was not satisfied. God, in the beginning, created man upright, pure and holy, sinless, with a perfect heart and He wanted a people that was the same. Yes, the Israelites conformed, outwardly—at least at times—but God wanted to go to every human heart and, “whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.”* (Revelation 22:17) Out of that group of people—“whosoever will”—He wanted each individual to have a perfect heart before Him, who obeyed Him from this perfect heart. A people, who, when their hearts were right, He could adorn with meekness, quietness, love, joy, and peace—true beauty. The Israelites did not have this perfect heart, and could not be adorned in this way; so instead they used substitutes of this fading world. God accepted this substitute, knowing that He had given them nothing better at that time.

“For the law made nothing perfect, but the bringing in of a better hope did; by the which we draw nigh unto God.”* (Hebrews 7:19) I am sure you know the sweet story and how He did bring about our Wonderful, Blessed Messiah so we are privileged to be adorned with the rare (in the sense that many people do not accept them) jewels that Jesus offers. Dear girls, are we going to forsake God’s perfect way? Let us not want to go back to the old covenant and hope that God will accept its inadequacy. We have something better. It was bought and paid by Jesus for us. The world, in its unregenerated heart state, endorses, nay, demands, the beautifying practices to cover up for its sad heart condition. They paint their faces, deck themselves with jewels and say, “Look how beautiful I am!” They are living for beauty of this world, which will fade; they are investing in earthly treasures which will pass away and burn. Dear sisters, do we really want to dress in their apparel? Shall we exchange our shining robe of white for their glittering gaudy one which shall be as the grass of the field, which today is and tomorrow is cast into the oven? Shall we say, “It doesn’t matter—we are on our way to the King,” but shall we meet Him in this earth’s soiled garment? If we take such a course, I am afraid, my sisters, we shall indeed meet the King, only to be turned away, though we have done many good works in His name. I want to be ready when He comes to transfer me to my Heavenly, everlasting home. I do not want Him to find me unprepared, and go to face eternity with the great deceiver and enemy, the devil. Dear girls, please don’t take the attitude it doesn’t matter—it does. Please don’t say, “I respect your convictions, but I’m not really sure… I don’t think it really hurts as long as you don’t overdo it.” Look in the Bible. Search until you hear from God. If your heart isn’t right and you find that you cannot give up this world’s glory, dear sister, pray until you are clear. You will not regret it. Eternity is a long time. As I’ve said before, our choices determine where we spend the remainder of our lives. Please don’t let jewelry and make-up bar you from heaven—earth, this world, popular opinion about beauty—it will all fade. God’s Word will not. The Lord doesn’t want us to look beautiful for Him with Belial’s raiment. Leave off the excuses. Forget your own ideas—seek God.

By God’s grace, I mean to be there on the other side, rejoicing, when that Day comes at last. My dear sisters, you will be there on that last day, too. What side will you be on? Will you have any regrets? When you face God, will you be happy? Will you have wished that you had given up the world for God’s ways? Or will you be praising Him for the grace He gave you to stand true?

I know a dear sister who has measured up to God’s Word in this area. She has a sweet spirit that just shines—a true jewel indeed. She is being persecuted by those around her and the pressure is very great at times. She has her eyes on Jesus, on heaven for eternity—she said, “It will be worth it over there.” And she is right. She is happy; she is singing and rejoicing. You can have that experience too, despite persecutions or smaller things like strange stares at the grocery store or cutting remarks from family members. Should we be surprised to be misunderstood and rejected by the world-loving throng? Do we think we can have it easy when our Master and Lord walked the rough road and the stones we laid in the way cut His feet? Would we want to have it easy? Oh, Lord give us what it takes to follow Thee all the way! To give as much as You require, and keep our eyes on heaven and home. It will be worth it there.

With much love,