Modesty is one of the most beautiful subjects of our day but like so many lovely, good things it’s been distorted, mocked and robbed of its heart. I’m so excited to share my journey and my heart for this beautiful, biblical principal and all it can mean.
I haven’t always been a pursuer of modesty. Back when choker necklaces and butterfly hairclips were the rage I struggled with an intense desire to be seen and wanted. To get the affection and attention I thought I wanted I chose outfits that were as low cut and tightfitted as a Baptist teenage girl could get away with without being rejected by her Christian circles.
But this article isn’t about me.
It’s about the Creator God Who made our bodies to reflect His glory, handiwork and care. Our Abba Daddy has made our bodies worthy of covering, not out of shame, but out of beauty.
When God turned my heart towards Him and began His redemptive work in my life He set me on the path of pursuing modesty and everything it meant. Instead of attracting attention and lust I discovered that I was to dress in a way that pointed to Christ.
So, what is modesty and how can we apply the beautiful principal to our modern lives?
First, modesty is biblical. We live in a time where many in the Church say that their Christianity gives them the freedom to live according to their own opinions, standards and desires — of course, they may not say those words but their forsaking the biblical command of modesty is their choice to live unblessed, disobedient lives. When we refuse to be modestly dressed we refuse to love and obey our King.
Because modesty is biblical it is not a dresscode. The heart of modesty does not argue about whether leggings are appropriate or double-coverings required; instead, the very heartbeat of modesty is, “Am I presenting (or adorning) myself in a way that pleases my flesh and/or pleases others or am I presenting myself as a living sacrifice willing to give up that which is fleshly for that which is holy?”
Do you see the difference there? Instead of focusing on the texture, color and style of an outfit we simply need to ask ourselves if we are living a life where we “present our bodies to be a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable …” ?
(Honesty time: As a woman I know when I’m putting something on to look sexy. I can feel the excitement of wearing something that will turn others on and, to be honest, that feeling feels good. This is my flesh and this, I believe, is the enticement for sin. Over time I’ve discovered the huge difference between dressing to get attention/excite others or dressing because I enjoy the outfit and find it pretty. There’s a time and a place to be sexy and that’s for your husband’s enjoyment alone.
Because we’re all in different stages of our Christian walk this looks different for everyone of us. Thankfully, we have a faithful Guide, the Holy Spirit, Who will send a nudge our way whenever we are tempted to pursue our flesh and the excitement it brings.)
The reason for modesty is that it is biblical and the joy of modesty is that it isn’t a dresscode. However, I would argue that God has set very clear guidelines of what His Body, the Church, should and should not look like:
A third, awesome aspect of modesty is that it reveals the beauty of our assigned roles. Men and women are gloriously different from one another; our values are unarguably equal but our roles radiantly differ. And it’s perfectly, wonderfully designed to be that way. Likewise, our attire should define us from each other — this is important to God.
Instead of diving into the divisive and peace-breaking discussion on whether pants are too masculine for women I simply want to ask two questions: Does the way you dress proclaim that you are gloriously different from the opposite sex? Are you obeying Christ?
I’ve heard so many arguments against women wearing pants because pants are masculine in nature. I feel like this is an irrelevant point for 2015; women have regularly wore pants for nearly a century and pants no longer represent what they once did. Instead of laying down a dresscode let’s ask ourselves if we are dressing in a way that let’s the world know that we are rejoicing in the sex God designed us each to individually be?
A fourth aspect of modesty is that it doesn’t have to be frumpy; in fact, modesty is more about our hearts than our attire. In this world sex-appeal, fashion sense and being “on-point” matters — to God adorning ourselves with a meek and quiet spirit and good works is worth His attention. Being a woman with a trusting, gentle, meek heart pursuing good works is of more value to our Lord than all the jewels Tiffany’s could put on us.
Imagine, the God of the whole universe, the Owner of all the pearls, gold and silver, says that our character-filled, noble spirits are of great price. I feel like this is something worth chasing! ♥
That’s the crazy, wild, life-giving heartbeat of modesty. It’s radically different from the world, it requires us to die to our flesh and sensual desires and it asks us to put on good works and nobility of character.
Do you see how modesty transcends fabric, texture, fitting, color and style? Can you catch the vision God has for His people?
My final point is the why. Why is it important to practice biblical modesty? Why should I alter my wardrobe and die to myself?
Modesty is all about protection; it’s your armor. In a world that sees modesty as chains it’s important that we as Christians see the great gift that it is. Modesty let’s us focus on what really matters: dying to self and living for Christ in holiness. It sets us apart from the world making us salt and light to a dark and tasteless society. Personal experience has taught me that more people respect and notice you when your attire matches your message; I cannot count the people who have used my headcovering and dress as a means for asking questions about the things in life that really matter.
Most of all, modesty is our armor because God always blesses obedience. The prosperity gospel isn’t real but rewarded obedience is. And when we choose to say, “Yes, Lord, I’ll go where you lead me in this modesty journey” we will begin to enjoy the great, life-giving freedom and joy obedience brings.
So, what do you think? Where are you on the modesty-train? Do you feel like God is leading you deeper in your modesty journey? Have you embraced this opportunity or are you afraid and holding back? Wherever you are I’d love to hear –we’re all about community, grace and growth so feel welcome to share your heart. ♥
With love, blessings and coffee,