With hot weather fast approaching, there are bound to be many bloggers, especially Christian bloggers, who will write about being modest. These articles will be specifically geared toward women and girls. I figured at some point I would hop on the bandwagon. I haven’t seen any articles come across my newsfeed yet but I’m sure they will once June hits.
I believe the Bible and I believe if you claim Christianity then you better be following it. Before we get to the definition from the dictionary, let’s take a quick look at a little of what the Bible says about modesty.
1 Timothy 2:9 – “in like manner also, that the women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with propriety and moderation, not with braided hair or gold or pearls or costly clothing,”
1 Peter 3:3-4 – “Do not let your adornment be merely outward—arranging the hair, wearing gold, or putting on fine apparel— rather let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit”
(Also, here is a helpful list of more verses)
So, these verses talk about modesty and something I notice is that in no place does it say that my skirt has to reach below my knees. Also doesn’t say that I should think about men’s reactions to me when I put my outfit together. If you grew up in the Christian community then you might find that odd. “You mean to tell me that God DIDN’T ban two piece swimsuits from summer camp?!” Crazy, right? It’s almost like modesty isn’t a legalistic matter but a matter of the heart.
Here’s where the definition comes in: moderate, humble, free of vanity, no showy extravagance, decent, etc. I don’t know how this can be any more clear. Your clothing is a way you express yourself to those around you. If you’re dressing to show off then you’re not dressing modestly. That doesn’t mean you have to dress down all the time or that you should feel like garbage about your appearance. It simply means that when you dress, you think about honoring God instead of trying to honor yourself. You can look nice and not be showing off extravagance. I try to put together cute outfits for myself and I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that.
I think it’s pretty obvious when someone is dressing for showing off. Whether trying to show off wealth or trying to show off bodies, you know who you are. God says our bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit and dressing with modesty is part of honoring Him, with that gentle and quiet spirit.
A quick few words about the inevitable modesty dialogue that comes up: “If girls don’t dress modestly then they’ll cause their Christian brothers to stumble into sin!”
Here’s a verse for you, “But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” Matthew 5:28
Wow, look, God really blamed that woman for someone lusting after her. She was obviously in the wrong. WAIT A SECOND. THAT’S NOT WHAT IT SAYS AT ALL! Yeah, it’s not, because God isn’t unreasonable. It’s not my fault if someone sins. Me dressing modestly is between me and God. Your sin is between you and God. The end.
My parents played a role in teaching me modesty by setting legalistic boundaries when I was young but now that I’m an adult I set boundaries for myself. I think legalistic boundaries can have a place in the conversation regarding young children. My modesty boundaries may be different than another Christian’s boundaries. There’s nothing wrong with that. It always bothered me at youth group events growing up when us girls were held to different standards than the boys. We couldn’t wear two piece swimsuits but the boys could wear their swim-shorts below their hip bones. Like yeah, THAT wasn’t distracting at all for the girls. But I digress.
Modesty is a matter of the heart. With warmer weather coming I’d say the most applicable thing right now for Christian girls is to remember that we are in the world but not of it. God has placed your true beauty in your heart and the value He places on you is worth infinitely more than any validation the world can offer. Dress accordingly.