Modesty. I find that to be such a lovely word, one that stands for purity of heart, mind and dress, yet also so hated among many (even Christians). Those who embrace modesty are so often accused of embracing legalism and violating individualism. Modesty is seen as belonging to a less enlightened time, a past when people only abided by stricter standards because that was the way life worked and they didn’t know any better.
The modern church sees those who embrace modesty as belonging to one of four camps: 1) The ones who think modesty is old-fashioned and should be tossed out the window along with other “stupid” rules. 2) The ones who like to be “modest” to a point, believing that they can be satisfactorily modest while still following the world’s definition for the word. 3) Those who truly want to be modest but are made fun of for having such silly standards. 4) The legalist who follows strict rules about what type, manner, and style of dress is or isn’t modest. Nearly every Christian falls into one of these categories.
Today the world as a whole, including the church, has lost sight of the great importance of being modest. It seems that everyone thinks that the less clothes you have on the better. We are encouraged to believe that going around in nearly nothing proves that you’re grown up and know what you want out of life. Conversely, it seems that if you do believe that you ought to cover yourself up, you’re a legalist of some kind.
None of this has to do with what the Bible says on the subject, mostly the world overlooks what God has to say about the way we dress and argues that one simply has to make up one’s mind up about it. People no longer see the wonderful beauty in modesty, and that goes both ways. I tend to have a good deal more respect for a young man when I see him actively trying to dress modestly in order to represent Christ and to respect the young ladies around him by covering up, than I do for a young man who walks around at the pool/beach without a shirt, or who wears tight shirts with plunging necklines and shorts that should’ve died with the 60’s.
Why I Chose To Be Modest.
1 Timothy 2:9-10 Likewise also that women should adorn themselves in respectable apparel, with modesty and self-control, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly attire, but with what is proper for women who profess godliness—with good works.
Why Is Modesty Important For Every Christian?
1 Peter 3:3-4 Do not let your adorning be external—the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear— but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious.
As children of God we’re called to be Christlike in all ways and to reflect Christ in all aspects of our lives. That means that instead of looking like your every day Joe you look different, act different and want different things; in fact, everything about you is different. Modesty should be a reflection of our hearts, the way we dress should be a perfect picture to all who see us that we’re not defined by the world but defined by one very important Book. In 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 it states that our bodies are temples of the holy spirit, so why then should we not treat something that is holy with dignity? Since our bodies are and are used to the glory of God then we should treat ourselves with some respect. Proverbs 31:12 says “She does him good, and not harm, all the days of her life.”Proverbs 31 gives men the picture of what they are to look for in a wife, but this verse rings true for both guys and girls as to how we’re to act before we’re married, the applies to the way we live, act, think and believe it or not the very way we dress. When you showcase yourself for others, then you are tempting them towards lust and allowing them to comment adultery with you in his or her heart without you even knowing it. I don’t know about you but I don’t want to get to my wedding day wondering how many guys I caused to stumble along the way.
Modesty From The Beginning Of Time.
I consider myself to well read when it comes to modesty but must be honest and say that I turned to some of my books and my Bible for more insight and understanding as to how to present this to you without seeming a legalist. I was reading a book called The Beauty of Modesty by David and Diane Vaughan and they pointed out that when Adam and Eve were created they had no shame and thus had no clothes to speak of, but after sinning and bringing sin into the world they were filled with shame and tried to cover themselves. And when God came and asked where they were, Adam said they were naked and ashamed so they hid from Him, knowing what they had done. Adam and Eve made themselves coverings of fig leaves but God saw that as insufficient. God killed an animal (the first death in history) and made them long robes that came past their knees. So, as a result of sin we now cover as protection for ourselves and others.
What About Legalism? Can We Really Be Totally Modest Without Taking Legalism In Our Lives?
Those who desire to be modest can hardly breath without the word legalist being shoved down their throats. The best way to understand how to be modest without also being a legalist is to understand what legalism really is and I think the best explanation of that is found in the book The Beauty of Modesty by David and Diane Vaughan, “It (Legalism) emphasises rituals over morals. Therefor, its primary focus is the external rather than the internal.” When you place everything on how you look on the outside, when you push everything else aside (such as the reason for even being modest in the first place) you lose all meaning and its worthless~that’s legalism. Thus when it comes to modesty, modesty must first come from a pure heart and because of a pure heart you will want to cover up for the glory of God and out of respect for your husband (or wife if you’re a guy).
It can be easy to see what is considered normal and to ask yourself why you hold yourself to such views, to ask yourself why you’re going through the troubles of covering yourself when everyone else is having it easy by wearing what the fashion magazines, blogs and sites such as Pinterest and Instagram claim to be the “latest”, “hottest” or “cutest” styles. Having people call you a granny or grandpa can get a little old very quickly. As the world pressures you to give up your standards I suppose it can be very tempting, after all showing off a little can’t be too bad…Right? Even Churches seem to be falling into this deep dark almost endless pit.
I attended one church where nearly every young lady there walked around in dresses the length of some of my T-shirts and showed up in leggings and other assortments of clothing that would have been thought to be disgraceful back in the day. We attended this Church for a few months and not once did they ever mention the word “Modesty”. It seemed as if it was the black plague that everyone very carefully stepped over any time you would think it would come up. Every Sunday these young ladies were showing off leaving little to the imagination. Some of the young men at the church were not much better, dressing in tight jeans and rather form-fitting shirts.
The Bible makes it very clear that our body is the Holy Spirit’s temple. As such, we should dress in a way that honors God at all times–that means whether we are at the beach, walking around the grocery store, at church and any other place where we’d be out and about where people can see us. It even applies at home as we should be modest around our family and neighbors.
To end this post I thought I’d ask some three guys who are friends of mine some modesty related questions.
Tatiana: What is one items of clothing that causes you to struggle the most? Josh: Probably short shorts. Since when did it become okay for girls to wear shorts that are shorter than guy’s boxers?
Tatiana: Do designs on the back of skirts/pants present a problem? Josh: Yeah! It’s just like saying “hey, look at my rear in these swirly pattern thingies!”. It just seems like they’re designed to attract the eye to a place the eye shouldn’t be staring at.
Tatiana: Are knee-length skirts/shorts okay or do you prefer for ladies to wear longer ones? Josh: Knee-length skirts are fine, same with shorts. If you’re wearing shorts or skirts to your knee, you will be so much more modest than the average person that it will most likely be totally fine. Sometimes it’s being more modest than those around you that’s important (unless you’re in an Amish community or something ). Like if you’re on a college campus where no one has any concept of modesty and you wear knee-length stuff then you’ll be totally fine.
Now my friend Daniel J. who is from the land of Cornwall England. (I was able to ask Daniel more questions than I was able to ask Josh, as I didn’t have all the questions in mind when asking Josh and Josh is busy with work and thus has been unable to answer these for me as of yet.)
Tatiana: What is one items of clothing that causes you to struggle the most? Daniel: Strapless dresses/shirts.
Tatiana: Do designs on the back of skirts/pants present a problem? Daniel: Not really for me but I know guys who struggle with that.Tatiana: Are knee-length skirts/shorts okay or do you prefer for ladies to wear longer ones?Daniel: No, as long as skirts are to the knee, I don’t see a problem.Tatiana: Do tight/see through clothing cause a problem?Daniel: Yeah, definitely no see through stuff.
Tatiana: What is one items of clothing that causes you to struggle the most? Nathan: A top with a low neckline, with no arms.Tatiana: Do designs on the back of skirts/pants present a problem?Nathan: No
Tatiana: Are knee-length skirts/shorts okay or do you prefer for ladies to wear longer ones?Nathan: There OK to the knee or just above.
Tatiana: What do you think about skinny jeans and leggings?
Nathan: Leggings are not OK. Skinny jeans don’t cause me to struggle, but I really don’t think girls should wear them.
Tatiana: What about bikini’s and regular one piece swimsuits?Nathan: No, they’re not. A girl should keep her legs covered at least almost down to her knees. And also keep the neckline high enough that it doesn’t show any thing. Also they should have some arms even if they are shortTatiana: Do tight/translucent clothes cause a problem?Nathan: Yes.Tatiana: What are your thoughts on modesty and why is it important to you?Nathan: Lots of girls that are Christians need to cover up more. They wouldn’t know how hard it is unless they are a guy. Modesty is important to me because I want to be pure. It would really help if girls could cover up a bit more. I can like girls for what I see in them more than how much skin they’re showing.That’s their thoughts. What are yours?
Thank you for stopping by and reading my post.