Modesty culture is a concept in western Christian culture that is almost completely frowned upon. Not only is it completely frowned upon but it is completely misunderstood. When I was a lukewarm Christian and growing up in and out of the church I thought of modesty as “Not wearing anything cute or fun” – HA! If only I could’ve told my younger self how cute my modest outfits are now, right? As I continue onwards in my journey of sanctification, I have come to understand what biblical modesty for women truly means.
Modesty is not an “outdated concept that doesn’t let women wear anything cute and fun.” What I’ve come to realize is modesty is essential, especially in our modern society to glorify God in our daily life. In a culture that happily sexualizes everything from movies produced in Hollywood to merely dolls for little girls, it is a profound way to glorify Christ in the midst.
“So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.”1 Corinthians 10:31
We are temples of the Holy Spirit. We represent the Holy Spirit in all of His glory and how we dress should reflect our heart that God guides. In the bible it reminds us that we were bought at a price – the blood of Jesus Christ. At the expense of the price that we have been saved it is fruitful to obey God and honor this command. We are also nothing without our creator because our body is not our own. This is quite a humbling and comforting reminder.
“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
The bible instructs that our adorning should be of the heart – modesty should reflect Christ and our heart. However, modesty also goes further than what we wear! In the bible it discusses having a meek and quiet spirit as well.
“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
In the our western culture music is filled with Megan The Stallion, Cardi B, Rico Nasty and more. Not only is the music overly sexualized and absolutely disgusting but their influence in fashion is not a physically modest one either. Their music is overly sexualized and encourages a woman to be “independent” along with fighting and being loudly obnoxious. As someone who is now on their journey of sanctification, one of the things that makes me stumble is modern pop and rap music from female artists. We must understand the music that is being created and promoted does NOT demonstrate how God wants us to behave as Godly women representing Him. How can you listen to these artists, copy their clothing and attitude, yet glorify Christ?
A popular feminist phrase you hear propagated is, “Women can wear whatever they want and it’s not OUR fault a man sexualizes us and has derogatory thoughts.” When I was a feminist in my teens this was one of my FAVORITE phrases! I would post it frequently on social media and wear whatever I wanted. I would hide behind that phrase as a feminist but I was lying to not only others but myself. I wanted male attention as a teenager and wanted an excuse to wear immodest clothing out to the mall, concerts, and dates. It wasn’t for “body confidence” and to “love myself.” While men are responsible for maintaining modesty, women being immodest is completely normalized and allowing this feminist phrase to carry any sort of validity causes our men to stumble. In the Bible, God instructs us to use righteous judgement in this area:
“Let us not therefore judge one another any more: but judge this rather, that no man put a stumbling block or an occasion to fall in his brother’s way.”Romans 14:13
This year I recently had a conversation with two Christian young men who were discussing how they have to look down when walking to their classes on their college campus because of how many girls are wearing see-through leggings, skin tight jeggings, low cut shirts, and crop tops. This problem is very much real and prevalent for millions of young Christian men. This problems starts as early as middle school in our modern society. It’s a no wonder why the rate of pornography viewership is going up and being normalized – Only Fans girls are capitalizing on young men’s stumbling.
Merely looking at someone lustfully (yes women, this goes for you too!) is a sin. I didn’t know this until I stumbled upon a Ray Comfort video before I became a born again Christian.
“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 do we assure what we’re wearing is modest then? By studying God’s word to ensure that our behavior, heart, and clothes are in alignment with His word. Women can ask their sisters, husband, parents, or Christian friends! Men can ask their parents, brothers, wife, or pastor! We are called to ensure our brothers and sisters in Christ do not stumble and going to trusted Christian family or friends is essential.
Transitioning into a modest way of life can be overwhelming at first. However through continuous prayer and support from our brothers and sisters in Christ we can truly find peace in obeying and glorifying God by obeying this commandment from God. This journey is not perfect overnight and might make you clean out your closest or even bite your tongue (trust me, I have to as well!) What you should know is this: You are loved and you are not alone.