Modesty is SO much more than just covering up. The topic of modesty has come up a lot lately, and I think many people are misled about what all modesty really is.
Many people scoff at modesty. Some associate it with dressing frumpy. Many view it as a bad thing. And you know, I understand that from how many untrue representations of modesty there are out there.
In truth, modesty is beautiful. It is respectful and honouring. It doesn’t mean dressing in a bag. It means respecting your body as the Lord has commanded.
“What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.” (1 Corinthians 6:19-20 KJV)
And actually, for a minute, throw off the idea that modesty is about clothing. Because that is not all it is about. I think how we dress is the fruit of modesty, not the tree. Modesty is an attitude. It is really an out-pouring of respect – for God, for ourselves, and for others. It’s how we act, how we speak – what words we choose to use that reflects us, (or more importantly, reflect God), and how we choose to live our daily lives. It sets us apart. Which is what God asks of us – to be set apart, not like the world.
I, personally, don’t think dressing modestly means you have to wear straight jean skirts, or only dresses, or always wearing sleeves. You have to dress to the level of conviction the Holy Spirit has placed on your heart – not what the world says modesty is. Dressing modestly does not have to be dull and terrible. We need to change our perspective about it, to think of it as a good thing, a way of honouring the Lord with our bodies. I disagree about following some ‘code’ of modesty, that there is only one standard for how modest something is(for example: “modesty is only wearing dresses” “modesty is never wearing jeans” “modesty is only wearing floor-length skirts” etc.). Let the Lord convict your heart. For me, I don’t feel I am over-stepping modesty boundaries when wearing a medium length skirt and a T-shirt. Having said that, I want to also say that we do have our own free-wills, and that means we do have to make a choice to dress respectfully. Though I don’t think there is a set-description for modesty, I do believe that you shouldn’t push the line, in otherwords choosing not to wear a skirt that is quite a bit above the knees is a good choice to not cause stumbling for others. Also, tight skirts seem to kind of defeat the purpose of being modest. Just because it’s a skirt, doesn’t mean you are, without a doubt, dressing modestly. I’ve seen many people wear very immodest skirts, calling themselves modest. Yes, we need the Holy Spirit’s conviction. But we also need to make the choice to follow that conviction.
This world is lacking in modesty, even among Christians. I see so many Christian singers/bands/speakers etc. that are not displaying their bodies in a way that would bring glory to God. They are not being set-apart. It’s also very prevalent in Christian music videos. I’ve had quite a few people send me videos of their favourite Christian groups, and I have a hard time watching most of them, because of how the girls/women act. Even if they are sufficiently ‘covered up’, their actions do not speak Christ. Please look for that, please want to be set apart. Modesty is not just about clothing. It’s about us. How we live. I want Christ to shine through me, and that requires a level of modesty as well.
The point is: Modesty isn’t simply about us and our clothing – it is about our heart motive – our attitudes towards God. It’s about pleasing Him, not us. What I ask is that each individual takes time to pray about what modesty means. That they seek God to give them the standards He desires. I pray that He will turn modesty into something beautiful for each of us.