Christian modesty is a hot topic among faith bloggers. Understandably so, as mainstream media tries to persuade all women from all walks of life that it’s normal and right to show off what you’ve got; many Christian women are falling prey to this lie.
“Be proud of your body” is the message of the day. Because of this pervading message that is shoved in our faces through magazines, music, TV, pinterest, and more day in and day out, dressing in less simply seems “normal”. We’ve seen so much immodesty in our culture that our consciences have almost become desensitized to it. I used to write about modesty on my facebook page and on an old blog years ago, but here for the past few years I’ve kept quiet on the topic. I’ve put it off because I longed to write about it in a way that would win your heart, and not make you feel condemned or offended. It is right to write on the topic of modesty, our hearts should be jealous to persuade ourselves and our sisters in Christ to dress in a way that honors Him. He is worthy of a church who honors Him in all areas of their lives.
A Tricky Topic
Modesty is such a sensitive subject though, because of the way that even most Christians are convinced (not by Scripture, but by worldly influences) that there is nothing wrong with the way they dress, they are comfortable in it, they feel like the way they dress is okay because it’s how everyone else dresses. And how dare someone tell them how to dress when the Bible doesn’t explicitly give out specifications for things like skirt or shorts length , tank tops or sleeves, how low cut is too low cut, one piece or two piece….. Start saying something is immodest, and someone is going to get fired up and offended.
Vague for a Reason
Scripture is a bit vague on the topic of modesty for a reason, although I do think there are places we can dig deeper and search out on dress to gain more insight, but detailed descriptions and rules simply aren’t given. We clearly know that Scripture calls women to dress modestly, but it doesn’t give us all the specifics that maybe we would like to know. God is a very intentional God, if He wanted us to know something then He would certainly have told us, so there is clearly a reason why the “rules” aren’t laid out in a clear cut way for us.
I believe that Jesus gives us some perspective on this reason as he answers the lawyer’s question in Matthew 22:
But when the Pharisees heard that he had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered together. 35 And one of them, a lawyer, asked him a question to test him. 36 “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” 37 And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. 38 This is the great and first commandment. 39 And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. 40 On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.” Matthew 22:34-40 ESV
It all comes down to Love
There are many laws that we could get hung up on (modesty included), but God doesn’t want us to get hung up on dos and don’ts; He wants us to get so hung up on loving Him and loving others that the dos and don’ts naturally fall into place. Should we search the Scripture to understand what is right? Absolutely! But obeying God’s commands out of any other motivation than love for Him and for others is sin. It could be the sin of pride: wanting to look holy and better than others or the sin of self-reliance, not trusting in Christ to fulfill the law for you, but instead trusting in your own good works to make you right before God. Both are very scary! If you feel those things happening in your heart as you obey God’s commandments, run and run fast. Look to Jesus and look to the cross. He calls us to obey out of love for Him.
“If you love me, you will keep my commandments.” John 14:15 ESV
Modesty is an act of love.
I wholeheartedly believe that we may not have the specifics on how to dress because the more we love and desire the Lord, the more our hearts will desire to honor Him in how we dress. And the more we begin loving others by thinking less of our own wants, needs, and desires, and esteeming others as more important than ourselves, the more modestly we will dress.
The Heart of Modesty
As you look in the mirror each day and evaluate what you put on your body. Instead of thinking: hot or not? does this look good? is it stylish? is it flattering? do I look fat? (don’t laugh, you know you do it!) how does my butt look? how do my legs look? how do my arms look? oh this looks cute/hot/attractive!
If these are the thoughts we are thinking when we look in the mirror then we badly need to change our focus. Love is not self-seeking….. and those thoughts are.
Love seeks not to dishonor another, yet those thoughts aren’t even considering others.
(Love) does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking. 1 Corinthians 13:5a NIV
It’s time to put off those selfish thoughts and put on these loving thoughts. Try some of these out the next time you look in the mirror to evaluate your outfit.
Is this loving to the guys that I will be around today? Will I be helping them keep a heart and mind of purity? Will I be leading them into the sin of lust? Is there any part of my clothing that draws attention to or accentuates a certain part of my body?
Is this loving to the ladies I will be around today? Am I trying to draw attention to my figure or how good my body looks? Could I lead another lady into the sin of jealousy? Will I be contributing to the agenda of the culture that says “show it off” and be a stumbling block for another lady leading her into the world’s lies? Would I want another women wearing this around my husband? Am I setting a good example for the young ladies in my life to follow?
Is this loving to my husband (or future husband)? Am I dressing in a way that shows honor and respect for him? Am I showing parts of myself that should be saved only for him?
More importantly, is this loving to the Lord? Is my outift something that a daughter of a Holy God would wear? Am I a good representative with my clothing of what is right and good? Am I being a light with my dress in a dark and dying world? Do I show with my clothing that Christ is my treasure above anything else? Am I seeking some type of glory for myself (beauty, attention) or do I long to glorify Christ with my clothing?
These are just some starting places, and I’m sure that as you seek to love God and love others with your clothing choices that you will think of even more ways to love.
Don’t make the question “hot or not?” turn the question to “loving or not?”
linked up with The Modest Mom