As a Christian woman, you’ve probably heard the concept of modesty thrown around at least a few times here and there. However, it does seem like a concept that is becoming lost, even among the church.
But modesty is not by any means an outdated concept. In fact, it is becoming even more important to be conscious of what we wear and how we conduct ourselves as our culture becomes more and more sexualized everyday.
Do you take modesty seriously as a Christian woman? Or do you think it’s not something God really cares about? Well, I urge you to continue reading. Because God most definitely cares about what you wear and how you conduct yourself. And we need to look to the Bible for guidance, and not the world around us.
What does the Bible say about modesty?
Whenever we aren’t sure about a particular topic, it’s important that we seek answers from the Bible. Because the world is quickly becoming more and more opposite of what the Bible teaches. This isn’t a surprise, of course. Because the Bible warns us about this very thing.
But when it comes to what we wear, what exactly does the Bible have to say?
You are the temple of the Holy Spirit
The first thing we must realize when it comes to what clothes we wear is that we are the temple of the Holy Spirit.
“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
So what we put on matters because we are adorning the very temple of the Holy Spirit! This alone should play a huge role in how we allow ourselves to look. Because how we look should reflect what is going on on the inside. It should reflect who God is within is. And God is holy, therefore we should take great care in choosing what we wear and what we don’t.
Wear that which becometh a woman professing godliness
We are also urged in 1 Timothy to, again, take great care in what we choose to wear. Because it should reflect the very thing we are professing to be, which is women of God:
“In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with broided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array; But (which becometh women professing godliness) with good works.” – 1 Timothy 2:9-10
Let your adorning be of the heart
The Bible also instructs us to not be overly concerned with our outward adorning, but rather we need to be sure that we adorn ourselves with those inward things that shine through us, and mean more to God than clothes.
“Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel; But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price.” – 1 Peter 3:3-4
So when we become obsessed with our looks, it’s a problem. Even if we are being outwardly modest, our heart also needs to reflect that modesty with a meek and quiet spirit. It’s not JUST what’s on the outside, it’s more about what’s on the outside REFLECTING that which is on the inside.
Do not cast a stumbling block in front of others
It’s often said in today’s culture that “women should be able to wear what they want, it’s not THEIR fault what dirty thoughts a man has”. Unfortunately this is a lie from the enemy. Because honestly, what WE do actually does affect others.
The Bible says that we should never put a stumblingblock or an occasion to fall in his brother’s way.
“Let us not therefore judge one another any more: but judge this rather, that no man put a stumblingblock or an occasion to fall in his brother’s way.” – Romans 14:13
As women, we have a great responsibility to conduct ourselves and adorn our body in a way that will not cause a brother to stumble. And it’s a simple fact that the more skin a person (male or female) sees, the more easily their thoughts can stray towards those thoughts which are sexual in nature. Some people have more self-control over it than others, but a lot of people don’t have much control over it at all. In fact, it’s even something that is encouraged in today’s society to think sexually towards others.
A glimpse into how the male mind works
Now, I realize that I’m a woman writing this. But I have actually had many conversations with my husband about this exact topic and he has shared some insights that really helped me to understand, and even sympathize, with men who are stuck in a world that is so overtly sexual that even cheeseburger commercials are selling sex.
Men are extremely visual creatures. They are extremely stimulated by what they see with their eyes. This can be a positive thing, or a negative thing. It’s not always a sexual thing. But this nature in them to be stimulated by what they see is exploited by the enemy. Because the wickedness in this world has worked very hard to make things more and more sexual and clothes more and more skimpy over the years.
Is it really any wonder that pornography has become such an epidemic and (simultaneously) divorce rates are through the roof?
Because people (male and female) are continuously bombarded with sex, and not sex in the way that God intended. But sex that is perverse and distorted.
And Jesus has even warned us that it’s not only our physical actions that can cause us to sin, but lustful thoughts towards another person are, in-and-of-themselves, a sin:
“But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.” – Matthew 5:28
How many men (and even women) can you say have committed this sin on a daily basis? Do you want to be the one who causes another to stumble into this sin?
Modesty isn’t just about what’s on the outside
What we wear outwardly matters. Because it can cause another person to stumble into sin. But modesty isn’t only an outward thing. Modesty is really an outward expression of the modesty that’s taken root in your heart.
“Likewise, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands; that, if any obey not the word, they also may without the word be won by the conversation of the wives; While they behold your chaste conversation coupled with fear. Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel; But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price.” – 1 Peter 3:1-4
So being modest doesn’t just mean covering up your skin (which is likewise important), but it also means adorning yourself with a meek and quiet spirit.
Dressing in a way that doesn’t encourage lustful thoughts is an expression of the compassionate and sympathetic spirit within you. Because you are showing compassion to those who might struggle with the sin of lustful thoughts towards others. And you aren’t putting another hurdle before them to be tempted with. It’s an act of love towards your fellow man to dress and act modestly.
Are my clothes modest enough?
Now, I’m not going to get into this post a lot about what type of clothes you should wear. Everyone’s definition of modesty can vary. And I do plan on addressing this in another post. But in this post I’d really just like the stress the importance of modesty first, and then we can talk about what that outward modesty will look like in another article.
However, I do want to touch on a couple of tips that can help you to know if you are dressing modestly enough.
Trust in God to lead you
First, trust in the Holy Spirit. If you put on something and it feels even a little bit wrong to wear, pray about it. Ask God if you are struggling with this because you don’t need to be wearing it. Sometimes God nudges us about these things and we tend to push them back because it’s not something we want to hear.
My own personal rule of thumb is that if I have ANY question in my heart about something I’m trying on, then I don’t wear it (or I ask my husband what he thinks). I will typically just pass and move on to something else. There are plenty of other things to wear instead.
Ask your husband for his feedback
Another way you can test your modesty is by simply asking your husband. Share with him that you want to try to dress more modestly and ask him if what you’re wearing is modest enough. Ask him to be genuinely honest with you so that you can get some constructive feedback from him.
And if you are open to feedback and don’t attack him when he gives it, this can prove very helpful. It’s what I do when I’m not sure and my husband is always extremely helpful and honest with me, for which I’m very grateful. Sometimes a set of male eyes can really tell you a lot that you might not see!
Don’t give in to the world, put on a modest heart and clothes
There’s nothing wrong with enjoying fashion (so long as it’s not an obsession), but it’s important that you trust in what God says regarding what you wear. He has made it clear in His Word that what we wear does matter to Him, and that we need to take great care to show respect towards the Holy Spirit residing in us, and love and compassion towards others in the way that we dress.
There is a spiritual war going on and the enemy is vying to corrupt our minds every day. So don’t give in to what the world accepts in terms of what you wear. Look to the Bible and follow after God with a modest heart, always letting the outside reflect that meek and quiet spirit within.