Anytime the topics of modesty and fashion are brought up, girls inevitably have questions about whether or not it is ok to wear make-up, jewelry, and other accessories as a part of their personal style. While a full-orbed study of Scripture on this topic is beyond the scope of this article, there are a few things we can automatically keep in mind on the outset.
The first thing is that make-up, jewelry, fashion, and style are never forbidden in the Bible. Granted, we do see cases of evil women like Jezebel “painting her face” (i.e. wearing cosmetics – 2 Kings 9:30) and Paul does say to not let your adornment be merely outward, with fancy hair styles and costly jewelry (1 Peter 3;3). But, as we will see, the whole point here has always been -and will always be!- the heart and the heart’s motive. Godly women such as Rebekah and Esther wore jewelry and used the cosmetics of the time, so clearly they are not sinful items in and of themselves. They are simply examples of what we refer to as “amoral” things, or things which are neutral, neither good nor bad in and of themselves. Money is another example of this – the issue is never the money itself, but what you do with your money and why.
2 Questions to Ask Yourself About Make-Up, Jewelry, and Style
- “Where is my focus?”
The first question to ask when getting dressed and deciding how to accessorize your outfit or complete your look is, “Where is my focus?” Are you seeking the attention of others? Are you trying to impress others? Are you wanting to tempt someone in some way? Are you putting more of an emphasis on what you look like on the outside than you are on cultivating the inside of your heart, mind, and spirit?
Or is your focus instead a good one? Are you seeking to exercise excellence, care well for the temple of the Holy Spirit that your body is, and wanting to put your best foot forward? Are you simply wanting to exercise the freedom you have to infuse some fun and creativity into your appearance everyday?
There is no problem with wanting to look your best, represent Christ well as His ambassador, and have fun and exert some artistic flair in the process! But the moment your style becomes all about you and a way by which you can gain popularity for yourself, that is when it begins to turn sour.
- “Where will the focus of others be when they interact with me?”
This is the second question to ask when getting ready each day. Have you focused so much attention on your outward appearance that it has now become challenging for others to see Christ in you? Have you failed to cultivate the beauty of your inner heart, soul, and mind, to where people would be surprised to hear you are a Christ-follower? Can others see Christ in you in any way, or when they look at you is it clear that your interest is only in how your make-up looks, what you wear, and what kind of hair day you are having? Is it all about you? Is anything you are wearing disrespecting your body and the intimacy you may one day have with a husband? Or can others see that you value yourself and your body and are therefore seeking to be modest in your fashion choices?
These are the kinds of questions by which we can thoughtfully assess whether or not what we are wearing is honoring to God. The issue isn’t so much with the make-up, jewelry, or other features of your style in and of themselves. Again, make-up and jewelry are amoral. It instead all comes down to the heart. In 1 Samuel 16:7, God tells us that He doesn’t look at man’s outward appearance, but rather at his heart. Throughout Proverbs, too, the emphasis is always on what’s going on at the heart level: our motives, desires, beliefs and thoughts, which then lead to our actions.
Additionally, God’s looking at our hearts also shows that our make-up, jewelry, and fashion -while fun and acceptable in appropriate practices – do not make God value or esteem us any more or any less. You don’t have to wear make-up or jewelry in order to pursue excellence in your appearance. That comes from remembering who you are in Christ and what your identity is in Him!