True refinement does not find satisfaction in the adorning of the body for display.  {CG 423.1}

Ellen White

Ellen White

The Bible teaches modesty in dress. “In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel.” 1 Timothy 2:9. This forbids display in dress, gaudy colors, profuse ornamentation. Any device designed to attract attention to the wearer or to excite admiration is excluded from the modest apparel which God’s Word enjoins.  {CG 423.2}
Self-denial in dress is a part of our Christian duty. To dress plainly and abstain from display of jewelry and ornaments of every kind is in keeping with our faith. Are we of the number who see the folly of worldlings in indulging in extravagance of dress as well as in love of amusements?  {CG 423.3}

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Jesus teaches about relationships based on Mark’s Gospel available in print.

Conformity to Christ or the World.–A sister who had spent some weeks at one of our institutions in _____, said that she felt much disappointed in what she saw and heard there. . . . Before accepting the truth, she had followed the fashions of the world in her dress, and had worn costly jewelry and other  ornaments; but upon deciding to obey the Word of God, she felt that its teachings required her to lay aside all extravagant and superfluous adorning. She was taught that Seventh-day Adventists did not wear jewelry, gold, silver, or precious stones, and that they did not conform to worldly fashions in their dress. When she saw among those who profess the faith such a wide departure from Bible simplicity, she felt bewildered. Had they not the same Bible which she had been studying, and to which she had endeavored to conform her life? Had her past experience been mere fanaticism? Had she misinterpreted the words of the apostle, “The friendship of the world is enmity with God, for whosoever will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God”?  {Ev 270.1}
Mrs. D, a lady occupying a position in the institution, was visiting at Sr. _____’s room one day, when the latter took out of her trunk a gold necklace and chain, and said she wished to dispose of this jewelry and put the proceeds into the Lord’s treasury. Said the other, “Why do you sell it? I would wear it if it was mine.” “Why,” replied Sr. _____, “when I received the truth, I was taught that all these things must be laid aside. Surely they are contrary to the teachings of God’s Word.” And she cited her hearer to the words of the apostles, Paul and Peter, upon this point, “In like manner, also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with broidered hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array; but, as becometh women professing godliness, with good works.” “Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting 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.”  {Ev 270.2}

The Influence of a Meek and Quiet Spirit

Mark 9 16

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Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting 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  {ML 123.1}
The apostle presents the inward adorning, in contrast with the outward, and tells us what the great God values. The outward is corruptible. But the meek and quiet spirit, the development of a beautifully symmetrical character, will never decay. It is an adornment which is not perishable. In the sight of the Creator of everything that is valuable, lovely, and beautiful it is declared to be of great price.  {ML 123.2}
Shall we not seek earnestly to gain that which God estimates as more valuable than costly dress, or pearls, or gold? The inward adorning, the grace of meekness, a spirit in harmony with the heavenly angels, will not lessen true dignity of character or make us less lovely here in this world. The Redeemer has warned us against the pride of life, but not against its grace and natural beauty.  {ML 123.3}
Self-denial in dress is a part of our Christian duty. To dress plainly and abstain from display of jewelry and ornaments of every kind is in keeping with our faith.  {ML 123.4}
It is of the greatest importance that we . . . show by precept and example that we are cultivating that which the Monarch of the universe estimates of great value. In doing this what an influence for good can we have.  {ML 123.5}
Children and youth who devote time and means to make themselves objects of attraction by outward display and affected manners are not working in the right direction. They need to cultivate true, Christian politeness and nobility of soul. . . . The beauty of mind, the purity of the soul, revealed in the countenance, will have more power to attract and exert an influence upon hearts than any outward adorning.  {ML 123.6}

Ellen White on Jewelry and Dress

Where Are We Drifting?

A sister who had spent some weeks at one of our institutions in Battle Creek said that she felt much disappointed in what she saw and heard there. She had thought to find a people far in advance of the younger churches, both in knowledge of the truth and in religious experience. Here she hoped to gain much instruction which she could carry to her sisters in the faith in a distant State. But she was surprised and pained at the lightness, the worldliness, and lack of devotion which she met on every hand.  {3SM 246.1}
Before accepting the truth, she had followed the fashions of the world in her dress, and had worn costly jewelry and other ornaments; but upon deciding to obey the word of God, she felt that its teachings required her to lay aside all extravagant and superfluous adorning. She was taught that Seventh-day Adventists did not wear jewelry, gold, silver, or precious stones, and that they did not conform to worldly fashions in their dress.  {3SM 246.2}
When she saw among those who profess the faith such a wide departure from Bible simplicity, she felt bewildered. Had they not the same Bible which she had been studying, and to which she had endeavored to conform her life? Had her past experience been mere fanaticism? Had she misinterpreted the words of the apostle, “The friendship of the world is enmity with God, for whosoever will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God”?  {3SM 246.3}
Mrs. D., a lady occupying a position in the institution, was visiting at Sister—–‘s room one day, when the latter took out of her trunk a gold necklace and chain, and said she wished to dispose of this jewelry and put the proceeds into the Lord’s treasury. Said the other, “Why do you sell it? I would wear it if it were mine.” “Why,” replied Sister —–, “when I received the truth, I was taught that all these things must be laid aside. Surely they are contrary to the teachings of God’s Word.” And she cited her hearer to the words of the apostles, Paul and Peter, upon this point, “In like manner, also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with broidered hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array; but (which becometh women professing godliness) with good works.” “Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting 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.”  {3SM 246.4}
In answer, the lady displayed a gold ring on her finger, given her by an unbeliever, and said she thought it no harm to wear such ornaments. “We are not so particular,” said she, “as formerly. Our people have been over-scrupulous in their opinions upon the subject of dress. The ladies of this institution wear gold watches and gold chains, and dress like other people. It is not good policy to be singular in our dress; for we cannot exert so much influence.”  {3SM 247.1}

3. Modern Forms of Idolatry.–Many who bear the name of Christians are serving other gods besides the Lord. Our Creator demands our supreme devotion, our first allegiance. Anything which tends to abate our love for God, or to interfere with the service due Him, becomes thereby an idol. With some their lands, their houses, their merchandise, are the idols. Business enterprises are prosecuted with zeal and energy, while the service of God is made a secondary consideration. Family worship is neglected, secret prayer is forgotten. Many claim to deal justly with their fellow men, and seem to feel that in so doing they discharge their whole duty. But it is not enough to keep the last six commandments of the decalogue. We are to love the Lord our God with all the heart. Nothing short of obedience to every precept–nothing less than supreme love to God as well as equal love to our fellow man–can satisfy the claims of the divine law.  {2BC 1011.7}
There are many whose hearts have been so hardened by prosperity that they forget God, and forget the wants of their fellow man. Professed Christians adorn themselves with jewelry, laces, costly apparel, while the Lord’s poor suffer for the necessaries of life. Men and women who claim redemption through a Saviour’s blood will squander the means intrusted to them for the saving of other souls, and then grudgingly dole out their offerings for religion, giving liberally only when it will bring honor to themselves. These are idolaters (ST Jan. 26, 1882).  {2BC 1012.1}

We see the world absorbed in their own amusements. The first and highest thoughts of the larger portion, especially of women, are of display. Love of dress and pleasure is wrecking the happiness of thousands. And some of those who profess to love and keep the commandments of God ape this class as near as they possibly can and retain the Christian name. Some of the young are so eager for display that they are even willing to give up the Christian name if they can only follow out their inclination for vanity of dress and love of pleasure. Self-denial in dress is a part of our Christian duty. To dress plainly, abstaining from display of jewelry and ornaments of every kind, is in keeping with our faith. Are we of the number who see the folly of worldlings in indulging in extravagance of dress as well as in love of amusements? If so, we should be of that class who shun everything that gives sanction to this spirit which takes possession of the minds and hearts of those who live for this world only and who have no thought or care for the next.  {3T 366.1}
Christian youth, I have seen in some of you a love for dress and display which has pained me. In some who have been well instructed, who have had religious privileges from their babyhood, and who have put on Christ by baptism, thus professing to be dead to the world, I have seen a vanity in dress and a levity in conduct that have grieved the dear Saviour and have been a reproach to the cause of God. I have marked with pain your religious declension and your disposition to trim and ornament your apparel. Some have been so unfortunate as to come into possession of gold chains or pins, or both, and have shown bad taste in exhibiting them, making them conspicuous to attract attention. I can but associate these characters with the vain peacock, that displays his gorgeous feathers for admiration. It is all this poor bird has to attract attention, for his voice and form are anything but attractive.  {3T 366.2}

Christians are not to decorate the person with costly array or expensive ornaments. All this display imparts no value to the character. The Lord desires every converted person to put away the idea that dressing as worldlings dress, will give value to his influence. The ornamentation of the person with jewels and luxurious things is a species of idolatry. This needless display reveals a love for those things which are supposed to place a value upon the person. It gives evidence to the world of a heart destitute of the inward adornment. Expensive dress and adornments of jewelry give an incorrect representation of the truth that should always be represented as of the highest value. An over-dressed, outwardly adorned person bears the sign of inward poverty. A lack of spirituality is revealed.  {BTS, May 1, 1908 par. 4}
Extravagance in dress requires the expenditure of means that is needed to advance the work of the Lord. Extra ribbons and bows mean pennies and shillings spent needlessly.  {BTS, May 1, 1908 par. 5}
The trimming of ladies’ hats with high-standing bows is a needless expense, and is unbecoming to a Christian. In the house of God the over-trimmed hats are a positive annoyance. The congregation desire to see the face of the speaker as well as to hear his voice; but the ladies’ hats with their high-standing ribbons and bows, obscure the view. Many in the congregation may be seen peering this way and that way to get a glimpse of the speaker; but often their efforts are in vain. Their enjoyment of the services is marred, and the minister who observes all this is disturbed.  {BTS, May 1, 1908 par. 6}
Satan has a snare laid to captivate unwary souls by leading them to give more attention to their outward adorning than to the inward graces which a love of truth and righteousness displays, as the fruit borne upon the Christian tree.  {BTS, May 1, 1908 par. 7}
Many indulge a passion for dress. They spend their money for that which is not bread, and are as foolish as was Esau, who sold his birthright for a mess of pottage. Many bar their own souls from entering the straight gate because they can not indulge their love for display and yet believe in Christ and walk in His footsteps.  {BTS, May 1, 1908 par. 8}
“If any man will come after Me,” said Christ, “let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.” Self-denial and self-sacrifice will mark the Christian’s life. Evidence that the taste is really converted will be seen in the dress of all who walk the narrow path of holiness, the path cast up for the ransomed of the Lord to walk in.   {BTS, May 1, 1908 par. 9}

The fearful effect of a worldly, unconsecrated influence at the head of the work is felt by our own people throughout the land. An instance of this came under my own notice not long since. A sister who had spent some weeks at one of our institutions in Battle Creek, said that she felt much disappointed in what she saw and heard there. She had thought to find a people far in advance of the younger churches, both in knowledge of the truth and in religious experience. Here she hoped to gain much instruction which she could carry to her sisters in the faith in a distant State. But she was surprised and pained at the lightness, the worldliness, and lack of devotion which she met on every hand.  {RH, March 28, 1882 par. 5}
Before accepting the truth, she had followed the fashions of the world in her dress, and had worn costly jewelry and other ornaments; but upon deciding to obey the word of God, she felt that its teachings required her to lay aside all extravagant and superfluous adorning. She was taught that Seventh-day Adventists did not wear jewelry, gold, silver, or precious stones, and that they did not conform to worldly fashions in their dress. When she saw among those who profess the faith such a wide departure from Bible simplicity, she felt bewildered. Had they not the same Bible which she had been studying, and to which she had endeavored to conform her life? Had her past experience been mere fanaticism? Had she misinterpreted the words of the apostle, “The friendship of the world is enmity with God, for whosoever will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God”?  {RH, March 28, 1882 par. 6}
Mrs. D., a lady occupying a position in the institution, was visiting at Sr.—–‘s room one day, when the latter took out of her trunk a gold necklace and chain, and said she wished to dispose of this jewelry and put the proceeds into the Lord’s treasury. Said the other, “Why do you sell it? I would wear it if it was mine.” “Why,” she replied Sr.—–, “when I received the truth, I was taught that all these things must be laid aside. Surely they are contrary to the teachings of God’s word.” And she cited her hearer to the words of the apostles, Paul and Peter, upon this point, “In like manner, also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with broidered hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array; but, as becometh women professing godliness, with good works.” “Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting 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.”  {RH, March 28, 1882 par. 7}

Christians are not to decorate the person with costly array of expensive ornaments. All this display imparts no value to the character. The Lord desires every converted person to put away the idea that dressing as worldlings dress will give value to our influence. The ornamentation of the person with jewels and luxurious things is a species of idolatry. This needless display reveals a love for those things which are supposed to place a value upon the person. It gives evidence to the world of a heart destitute of the inward adornment. Expensive dress and adornments of jewelry give an incorrect representation of the truth that should always be represented as of the highest value. An overdressed, outwardly adorned person bears the sign of inward poverty. A lack of spirituality is revealed. {6MR 159.2}
Extravagance in dress requires the expenditure of means that is needed to advance the work of the Lord. Extra ribbons and bows mean pennies and shillings spent needlessly. The trimming of ladies’ hats with high-standing bows is a needless expense, and it is unbecoming to a Christian. In the house of God the overtrimmed hats are a positive annoyance. The congregation desire to see the face of the speaker as well as to hear his voice; but the ladies’ hats with their high-standing ribbons and bows, obscure the view. Many in the congregation may be seen peering this way and that to get a glimpse of the speaker; but often their efforts are in vain. Their enjoyment of the service is marred, and the minister, who observes all this, is disturbed.  {6MR 160.1}
Satan has a snare laid to captivate unwary souls by leading them to give more attention to the outward adorning than to the inward graces which love of truth and righteousness display as the fruit borne upon the Christian tree. If the enemy can keep the minds of believers centered upon their dress and outward appearance, he is well pleased. They injure their influence, and the cause of truth which they profess to love.  {6MR 160.2}
Many indulge a passion for dress. They spend their money for that which is not bread, and are as foolish as was Esau, who sold his birthright for a mess of pottage. Many bar their own souls from entering the strait gate because they cannot indulge their love for display and yet believe in Christ and walk in his footsteps.  {6MR 160.3}

Ellen White on Jewelry and Dress

Jewelry and the Spirit of Jesus.–Those who have bracelets, and wear gold and ornaments, had better take these idols from their persons and sell them, even if it should be for much less than they gave for them, and thus practice self-denial. Time is too short to adorn the body with gold or silver or costly apparel. I know a good work can be done in this line. Jesus, the Commander in the heavenly courts, laid aside His crown of royalty and His royal robe and stepped down from His royal throne, and clothed His divinity with the habiliments of humanity, and for our sakes became poor, that we through His poverty might come into possession of eternal riches, and yet the very ones for whom Christ has done everything that was possible to do to save the perishing souls from eternal ruin feel so little disposition to deny themselves anything they have money to buy.  {9MR 117.1}
The Lord is soon to come, and His reward is with Him and His work before Him to give every man according to his work. I try to set before the people that we are handling the Lord’s money to accomplish the most important work that can be done. They can, individually, through denial of self, do much more, if all do a little, and the many little rivulets will make quite a current sent flowing heavenward.  {9MR 117.2}
True, it is difficult for all to take in the situation. Self, self, self, must be served and glorified, and how hard it is for all to become laborers together with God. Oh, that a spirit of self-sacrifice might come to every church, and thus every soul nigh and afar off might learn the value of money, and use it while they can, and say, “Of Thine own Lord, we give Thee” (See 2 Chronicles 29:14).–Letter 110, 1896, pp. 2,3. (Oct 29, 1896.)  {9MR 117.3}
A Prospective Convert and Jewelry.–Today I have had an interview with one who is just taking her stand for the truth, but she is much adorned with gold bracelets and rings. I think she is good material, and will bear to hear kindly advice. The word must be presented: “Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting 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). I believe that this sister has received the truth and will practice the truth. If she loves the truth she will obey the words of Christ.–Letter 112, 1896, p. 3. (To Sister Wessels and Children, October 16, 1896.)  {9MR 118.1}

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