“Modesty isn’t about covering up our bodies because their bad, modesty isn’t about hiding ourselves… it’s about revealing our dignity.” – Jessica Ray
Controversial subject warning! This is a soap box for many preachers, and a sensitive topic for others. Unfortunately, many have made a BIG deal of it, and taken the Scriptures, manipulating them to fit their narrative.
Modesty, dress standards, and attire convictions should be discussed, but I honestly believe not to the degree they have been. Many churches spend a disproportionate amount of time dealing with this topic. I want to present a Biblical and honest approach.
Modesty is a very Biblical truth. We ought to be modest, both men and women. The question arises, “what is modesty”? Simply put, modesty is caring more about what God thinks than what others think, and what you want. Not to oversimplify this, but I have never met someone who was in love with the Lord and sought to please the Lord that struggled with modesty.
A lot of the controversy comes from verses like Deuteronomy 22:5 – “The woman shall not wear that which pertaineth unto a man, neither shall a man put on a woman’s garment: for all that do so are abomination unto the LORD thy God.” The verse is not “archaic”, as it is in the timeless Word of God. But, we would do well to remember context and proper hermeneutics. This is settled in the middle of Jewish laws, giving by God to the Israelites of the Old Testament before they enter the promised land.
Laws such as “Thou shalt not plow with an ox and an ass together” (vs. 10), and “Thou shalt not wear a garment of divers sorts, as of woolen and linen together.” (vs. 11) are not applied as convictions today. No one would think twice of wearing a cotton polyester blend, or having a garden with corn and green beans growing in it. Yet these were the Law for Israel.
I agree that we have scriptural principles that extend beyond this text. From the Garden of Eden all the way to the New Testament we have ample illustrations that men and woman are different, and ought to be distinct. This truth has become lost in our society today as genders become less and less distinguishable. If we are honest though, only a small part of that is related to dress.
Do we really have a systemic problem of immodesty in our churches and among Christians? Honestly, I believe not. Is there an overemphasis on dress? In some circles, yes. It is unfortunate that some have reduced a person’s “rightness” with the Lord to what they wear. I have seen many people who dress right, but whose hearts are far from God.
It might be wise to identify the difference between a Biblical conviction and a standard. A conviction is universal, as it is based of a biblical truth from the world of God. Convictions are clearly explained in Scripture, and are to be obeyed. We ought to witness to others because the bible says to, that is a conviction. A standard is a personal decision that you make to help you keep your convictions. Standards fall in the area of liberty, and will not be the same from one person to the next. My conviction is that I should witness, my standard is that I will carry tracts and go soul winning on Tuesday… you see the difference.
Unfortunately, many have taken their personal standards are raised them to the level of universal convictions. Be modest, I believe this is a clear Biblical Conviction you ought to have. Develop personal standards in your life to help you be modest.
I have learned that a person who focuses on being close to the Lord will have no problem with modesty.
My desire is not to embolden those who have a desire to dress inappropriately, or empower those who attempt to impose their standards on others. I honestly want people to be in love with the Lord, and make the main things the main things. Far too many are concerned with women wearing something “that pertains to a man” and far less concerned with “…the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith…”(Matthew 23:23)
Take some time today and evaluate your wardrobe… is it modest? Is it Christ-honoring? If your attire is not pleasing to the Lord, change it. Not because I told you to wear or not to wear, but because YOU developed your own standards based on Biblically derived convictions.
If you have been bound by a mindset of legalism, and your identity in Christ has been solely based on what you do or don’t do in your attire. May I implore you to give attention to the weightier matters of the Christian life. I will say along with Christ, “…these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone.” (Matthew 23:23)
Daily Scripture Reading
Deuteronomy 21 - 23
“For the LORD thy God walketh in the midst of thy camp, to deliver thee, and to give up thine enemies before thee; therefore shall thy camp be holy: that he see no unclean thing in thee, and turn away from thee.”