Answering 3 Important Questions About Modesty
It’s almost Memorial Day weekend, which means summer is just around the corner! I can smell the pollen and fresh cut grass already (and so can my allergies). Along with warm summer weather comes summer fashion, which often leaves Christians asking questions about modesty.
Are these shorts long enough? Are tank-tops modest? And what about swimsuits!? Almost every Christian girl has asked herself these questions at some point, including myself. In fact, I’ve written about modesty a few times on this blog.
I think that many of us have questions about modesty that seldom get answered. I want to use my experience, the Word of God, and the Holy Spirit to tackle 3 important questions about modesty.
1. What Makes Clothing Modest?
When reading scripture on modesty, it’s only natural to have the desire to reflect that in your life. I know that when I was exploring modest fashion, I went a little crazy trying to discern what was appropriate or not.
However, I’ve learned that it’s easy to border on legalism if all we focus on is hemlines. In fact, we can become so obsessed with modesty that we lose our focus on Jesus! Instead of asking what is modest, we need to remember the why behind modesty.
Modesty is not about rules or regulations; it’s about giving Jesus the glory by taking the attention off of ourselves.
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, but, which is proper for women professing godliness, with good works. (1 Timothy 2:9-10 NKJV)
This verse about modesty addresses the core issue behind why we choose to dress immodestly. We want the focus on ourselves. When we dress in revealing or flashy clothes, we are basically wearing a huge sign that says, “look at me.”
Modesty is about dressing with moderation. Instead of trying to have all the latest brands and follow every trend, we should be focused on the mission of spreading the Gospel.
That doesn’t mean we can’t focus on our looks at all or must dress like we’re from the 1800’s. That in itself would be immodest because it’s not following the concept of moderation. Modesty is about balance and turning our hearts toward Jesus as we care for our appearance.
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Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. (Colossians 3:2 NIV)
2. Is Modesty Oppressive Toward Women?
The secular argument against modest fashion is that it’s oppressive toward women. The only case that I would agree with this is when a church or organization starts imposing legalistic rules about women’s clothing.
However, this is not true Biblical modesty. We’ve already established that modesty is a heart response to giving Jesus glory with our fashion choices. This is a choice we make freely out of love. How awesome is that?
Modesty actually empowers women by allowing us to root our confidence in Jesus Christ instead of our bodies or clothes. We can focus on the more important eternal qualities, such as helping others and learning new things, when we’re not obsessing over our outward appearance.
True Biblical modesty is not about controlling or oppressing women. It’s about freeing women to celebrate the beauty God gave us inside and out.
Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight. (1 Peter 3:3-4 NIV)
3. Is Modesty Only for Girls?
When the topic of modest fashion comes up, it’s often addressed to girls or women. This is probably because modesty is often associated with the goal to prevent men from lusting after us.
This, however, is not the true purpose for modesty. Don’t get me wrong–I’m all for helping out our brothers in Christ. I also realize that we live in a sexually perverted culture due to sin. Therefore, it is wise to teach both our sons and daughters how to dress and act in a way that honors purity.
But we need to remember that modest fashion is about moderation and keeping the focus on Christ instead of ourselves. I know I sound like a broken record, but this really is what modesty is all about.
And this applies to guys as well. Although women commonly struggle in this area because of society’s pressures on outward appearance, there are plenty of men who dress immodestly or for attention.
Modesty is something both men and women should follow in order to honor God and each other. When we seek to love the Lord and one another over our own desires for attention, we build a culture of respect and humility.
In the same way, you who are younger, submit yourselves to your elders. All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because, “God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.” (1 Peter 5:5 NIV)
Modesty is more than just rules and regulations. It’s empowering for women by encouraging us to root our confidence in Christ. Modesty also teaches both men and women about respect and moderation. The most beautiful truth about modesty is that it guides our hearts back to our amazing Savior. And that, lovely one, is a goal worth pursuing with our whole lives.
Thanks for reading! Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below 🙂
(Photography by Zack Minor and Leon Biss)
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Wow! This is such a relevant post for our culture. You did a fabulous job of helping women to see how empowering modesty is. Amen!
Thank you so much Beckie! That is my goal 🙂
“Modesty actually empowers women by allowing us to root our confidence in Jesus Christ instead of our bodies or clothes.”–My favorite part!
Thanks Laura! Isn’t it amazing how much freedom there actually is when the focus is off of us and where it truly belongs?
Be blessed xoxo.
I like the point that it’s all about honoring God. It reminds us that the focus isn’t on us, but always on Him
You’ve found the secret to everything Dani! The way we live our life, including how we dress, should be to honor Jesus. Thanks for commenting 🙂