Today, there are many women who are focused on the topic of what they can and cannot wear and how men should react to their decisions in these areas. Understandably, a lot of harm has been done by both men and women alike. The focus has become outward and not inward. Consequentially, the definition of modesty has become skewed. To help clear up this confusion, I want to speak to my Christian brothers and sisters about what modesty is and what it isn’t. Let’s begin.
Modesty is not:
- Wearing specific clothing.
- Making sure you do not look attractive.
- An outward issue that helps other people.
- Only for women.
- A heart not focused on materialistic value
- Practicing frugality and humility to benefit others
- Beauty on the inside that flows outward
- Being an example of what is important in life
You see, what is in the heart will surface in our actions. We serve a God that judges the heart, not the actions. He looks at our intentions because ultimately that is what will produce good or evil actions. Therefore, when it comes to modesty, He is not judging your clothing and if your belly button sticks out. He is searching your heart.
What is in your heart?
Having said that, what is in your heart? Men, are you blaming women for your decision to lust? If you are, you are excusing yourself from your responsibility to respect God’s daughters. Women, are you excusing yourselves from your responsibility to dress appropriately? If you are, you are refusing to respect the body that God has given you.
Having said that, let’s reverse the questions. Men, are you excusing yourselves from your responsibility to respect the body God has given you? Women, are you blaming men for your decision to lust? These questions are not gender specific! God does not judge a man or a woman differently. He is impartial to gender.
What about the body?
You see, we all have the same responsibility when it comes to our bodies. When God created humanity, he designed our bodies to be exciting and powerful, and this demands respect. Any able-bodied man and woman understands that temptation is stalking daily. It is never sleeping.
Because I am a man, I will speak to the men regarding sexual temptation. Yes, when a woman dresses inappropriately temptation is increased. This is just simple fact and every man knows the results of this. However, this does not mean the woman is to blame for the man staring a second too long or looking back for a second glance. This is entirely the man’s fault. Instead of focusing on her outer appearance, men need to pray for and love these women as God’s daughters, and nothing less. Even if a woman is completely naked, she is still not an object or a temptation. She is still a human being created in the image of God! You have no right to blame her for your desecration of God’s creation.
Now Christian ladies, as your brother, please allow me to speak to you. I’m about to tell you something you’ve heard a million times, but I promise you this will end differently. Your body is powerful. When it is unveiled, a man’s eyes are drawn, his mind is excited, and his body is awakened. With all reverence for beauty and the way God has made you, your body is reserved for your husband and his eyes only. Even if you already have sexual experience outside of marriage (whether you were willing or not), your body is still reserved for your husband. So when your body is disrespected by anyone, you are not “damaged goods” or “seconds” for anybody. In fact, your modesty and purity are completely separate from your sexual past and the way you dress!To my knowledge, Scripture has never equated purity to sexuality. It has always been about the heart and its sinful condition in the sight of God! Having said that, please be encouraged to know that you can continue respecting your body and demanding respect from everyone else, because you are worthy of respect, honor, and praise in the sight of Christ, who has cleansed you. Just never forget that you must respect the body God has given you, just in the same way men must respect their own bodies as well.
So what does Scripture have to say about modesty?
Ladies, God has revealed to you in His word that you must not be focused on outward appearances, but that you must be focused on doing the will of God.
”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
”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
So this is what Scripture is saying: You are more than the way you look and dress! Modesty is not outward; it is internal. If you lack modesty, you will be focused on your outside appearance, and not on the inward development of your character as you learn from the leadership of Christ! Modesty is not found in fancy hair, expensive jewelry, or clothing. It is found in your heart that is transformed by Christ!
What’s the point?
Having said all of this, I want to make one point clear. If you could walk away after reading any of this, what I’m about to say is all I could ever want you to leave with. Ladies and gentlemen, your body is not your own, it is God’s! As Christians, we have absolutely no right to do with our bodies as we please. Instead, we obey what Scripture has commanded:
I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. 2 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 12:1-2
Don’t focus on what the world has told you about men or women. Women are not objects and men are not dogs! Instead, my brothers and sisters, remember that Christ has bought us with His own blood, and we have committed our entire lives to Him. That means we are to honour God with the way we dress, talk, act, live, and breathe. With whatever we do, we are to strive to ensure our actions are good, acceptable, and perfect in the sight of God. Our bodies are not our own, they were bought with a price and are now God’s!
So as you now move on to continue with your daily life, please remember that we are family. As brothers and sisters, we need to help each other in our walks with Christ by forgiving and looking past the shortcomings of one other and being full of encouragement and support! We are all the Body of Christ, and I pray that we will continue to be united until the glorious return of our Savior and Lord, Jesus Christ.
With great love,