Modesty: Should I Even Bother?

There are endless aspects of living set-apart. Not only are we different spiritually, but we’re to be different in behavior, and even appearance.

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To be honest, I’ve been dreading this part of the “Fruit Loop” series because the subject of modesty can be so delicate, and, sometimes taken to extremes. But I can’t just throw it out because it makes me uncomfortable. I still have the responsibility of obeying Scripture, which does have a few things to say in this matter.

So, what exactly does the Bible say about modesty, and how should we as Christians view outward appearance? Let’s take a look at some answers…

4 things to consider…

1. We shouldn’t dress for attention. 

Do not let your adorning be external—the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear— but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious” (1 Peter 3:3-4, ESV)

2. Dressing to flaunt is a sure-fire way to be disrespected, but dressing carefully reflects dignity.

“…Likewise also that women should adorn themselves in respectable apparel, with modesty and self-control, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly attire, but with what is proper for women who profess godliness—with good works” (1 Timothy 2:9-10, ESV).

3. As a guy should control his eyes, so a girl also has the responsibility to aid him by dressing innocently. Both the girl and guy must demonstrate self-control with their bodies.

“But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts” (Romans 13:14, NKJV).

 4From the point of salvation, we are told to put off the world. To be different and seek God’s ways.

Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect” (Romans 12:2).

There’s a lot to take in here, but I’ll try to break it down 🙂

Everyone will have their own standards based on personal convictions and their relationship with God. The Spirit directs each of us differently, so I can’t make a simple list of the do’s and don’ts of fashion. Scripture doesn’t even do that.

But I will include this quote that always pops into my mind whenever I pick out my clothes:

“Dress how you want to be addressed.”

It’s so easy to think clothes are just—well, clothes. Easy to think they have no effect on our Christian testimony. But truthfully, appearance plays a huge role in our testimony and appearance speaks about the inside.

A few months ago, I saw two girls at an event. One girl wore a skintight mini skirt and a low-cut top, and the other, a knee-length pleated skirt and a sweater. Boys immediately flocked to the girl in the tight skirt, looking her up and down, competing for the best flirt-line. The other girl quietly went for the door, when one of those same guys quickly offered to hold it open for her. He asked how she was and led a respectful conversation.

I don’t know the intentions of anyone’s heart, and I won’t make judgments on either girl. But I saw how attitude and appearance affected the way each one was treated, and knew from then on that I wanted to be treated with dignity, rather than like an object.

Though it’s tempting to take clothes off, let’s remember what the Bible says—Put on the Lord Jesus Christ—and put clothes on. Let your inward beauty be seen on the outside 🙂

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