Modesty is one of my favorite things to talk about! So I’ll do my best to keep this short and sweet but I’m not making any promises.
Modesty is a hot topic word in the Christian community. And I totally get it. Clothing trends today can be quite risque! I’m not blind to this. But I feel like the topic isn’t covered fully very often. And that bothers me! I grew up learning about modesty all wrong and thought my body was something to hide for some fictitious future husband to enjoy. I grew up seeing it as an object for some man I hadn’t even met yet! I never felt good about my body. And that’s not what modesty is about! At all!
Here is the thing. The word modest means to be humble. So first and foremost this should be a conversation about humility. Which, BTW, means it’s not just a conversation for girls.
Side story: so I have been a youth leader/intern with a couple churches for years now. And way back when I was first leading in a youth group at this awesome church in NC I was leading middle school girls. Before every Sunday service all the youth leaders met and talked about the day’s lesson and prayed and then went and hung out with and taught the kids. One week we had a lesson on modesty. And this guy youth leader says in our morning meeting something to the effect of, “well I guess I don’t have anything to talk to the boys about today! We’ll just hang out!” And of course being me and not being good at controlling my facial expressions I stared at him as if he had grown another head and said, “Actually modesty is about humility and I for one know that middle school boys are known for their egos. So you’ll probably have some stuff to talk about.” He just rolled his eyes and grumbled. He didn’t like me much. I was only like 16 though and he was a grown man. But the youth pastor liked my point! So that was cool!
Anyway! Back on topic! So let’s talk about this for girls and clothing. If it’s about being humble that also means not drawing attention to oneself. Well why would we even want to do that in the first place? Let me tell you! CAUSE GOD MADE YOU FREAKING BEAUTIFUL! Seriously! God is a creator! An artist! He made you! And said it is good! So the concept that you would want to show that off is understandable! You might not think you’re beautiful. But let me tell you, the God who created the universe made that body and it’s just rude to insult a master’s art work like that. So this is non-debatable. And I get it. Sometimes I don’t feel so beautiful. Actually I seriously struggle with the way I feel about my body. I know it isn’t easy in today’s society to love our bodies. But I’ll say it again for you and for me sister; GOD MADE YOU FREAKING BEAUTIFUL!
Alright so we’re all on the same beautiful page right? You get it. Well then you understand why humility is important. And it’s not because you might one day be married. But because your body is a temple! NOT ONLY IS IT FREAKING BEAUTIFUL AND MADE BY GOD BUT IT’S A FREAKING TEMPLE! 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 says, “Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body” (ESV). So basically if you’re a Christian your body is not yours. And that means there are a few rules. You can't go around being prideful about it as you show it off. Here’s how I like to think about it: Every restaurant I have ever worked in has had a no uniforms at the bar policy. Basically if you’re still in work clothes, even if you’re off the clock, you can’t sit at the bar. Because how does that look to someone coming in to eat there?! That customer doesn’t know if you’re on or off the clock! They’ll probably think that the wait staff is drinking while they work! Because they are representing the company when they do that. And they aren’t representing the company well. I wouldn’t go back to a restaurant with people drinking on the clock. It just wouldn’t happen. The same goes for being Christian. Our body is representing Christ. So using that body in a provoking manner isn’t okay. Your body isn’t for showing off. It’s about being humble with your body.
Now let’s talk body types and the clothing industry! Oh my word is the clothing industry only designed for one body type! So if you’re not that one body type, like me, then it can be hard to find things that feel fully covering. Many things I wear probably wouldn’t pass a summer youth camp dress code. But I keep all the important stuff covered. I understand that we can’t spend all of our time and money finding clothes that fit us perfectly without looking frumpy and staying “modest.” No one has got the time or money for that. But it’s about the humble attitude more than the clothes. I want to point out that I’m not saying you should go wear whatever you want and because you have a humble attitude it will all be fine. Because guess what:
No braids! That’s right. 1 Timothy 2:9 says, “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” (ESV). You’re probably confused now. Here’s the thing. Those things, braids included, were what prostitutes wore. The braid itself isn’t a bad thing. It was the fact that these women of God were being mistaken for prostitutes. It goes back to your body being a temple of God! As a Christian you are representing Christ in your actions. That includes your clothes! Obviously braids in today’s world are fine. Bottom line: don’t dress like a prostitute.
But then there’s the flip of that coin. Humility also means not to draw attention to oneself. So because you are SUCH A FREAKING BEAUTIFUL WOMEN WHO WAS MADE BY GOD AND A TEMPLE OF THE HOLY SPIRIT doesn’t mean you should go all 80’s homeschooling mom denim dress on us. Because let’s be real. That would probably draw more attention to yourself than just about anything. It’s just as attention grabbing as miniskirts in our society today. Yes, everything is certainly covered. But you’re missing the point of humility.
So final point: remember to be humble when dressing your FREAKING BEAUTIFUL BODY THAT GOD HIMSELF MADE AND DESIGNED IT TO BE A TEMPLE FOR HIM! It’s not about rules for yoga pants, leggings, bikinis, or whatever the next controversial clothing trend is. It’s about knowing who you are in Christ and remembering that you are representing Him well. If you can do that in yoga pants, then you go girl. But if you know you’re wearing those yoga pants to get attention, then maybe step back and take a look at what modesty means for your heart and your wardrobe.
So I tried to keep my word count from getting too long. What do you think? Did I leave anything out? Do you agree or disagree with the statements above?