Let’s face it… we live in an extremely sexualized world. Want to start a heated debate amongst the Christian community? Just bring up the topic of modesty (and what is right and what is wrong) and darts may fly in your eye! Modesty is one of those gray areas where there is a widely varying degree of what the standard should be.
As Christians, we have a different standard than the world. We base what we do and what we don’t do on what God says about it in the Bible. He has the final say. Sometimes God doesn’t spell it out for us when we wish that He would. All of His Word is sufficient and relevant and it never contradicts itself.
This post isn’t about what to wear and what not to wear. This post isn’t meant to make anyone feel guilt or shame. Can we all huddle in close and meet together on some common ground? Maybe we can put aside our differences and preconceived ideas and sit quietly before His feet and ask Him what He thinks?
Let’s dive into 10 simple points together as we search out God’s Word! Do you have a spiritual role over younger women in your life? Are you a mom, spiritual mom, church leader, or aunt? Think about the influence you have to the generations following you regarding modesty. What heartfelt wisdom do you wish someone would have shared with you on this topic?
1) Don’t overthink it — If it’s too short, too tight, or too low cut, it may not be appropriate.
In the book 10 Ultimate Truths Girls Should Know, author Kari Kampakis talks about body image.
Truth #3: Boys are visual creatures. The clothing choices you make affect the way they see you.
- Your body is good.
- Your body is holy.
- Your body holds power.
~ Kari Kampakis
I love how this book explains that as girls grow up, they need to differentiate between negative and positive attention — one hurts you, and the other builds you up. Negative attention would include purposefully wear a revealing outfit to attract attention from the opposite sex.
Using your body to bait boys doesn’t enhance their impression of you; it diminishes it. It positions you as a sex symbol in their mind — someone to lust after and use, not love and cherish. ~ Kari Kampakis
I like how Kari does not put the blame solely on the female, but also the male. He is ultimately responsible for controlling his own lusts and desires.
Every girl deserves to be treated with respect.
Remember, that above all else, as a Christian young lady, your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit.
Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies. — 1 Corinthians 6:19–20)
2) Think the Gospel.
Will your dress point to Jesus and the truth of the cross and the resurrection, or will it simply draw attention to your body and how good it looks? The Gospel is the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Think about how what we wear (or what we don’t wear) should reflect Christ.
3) Godly actions should stem from the heart.
Our actions follow the heart’s lead. What are you thinking about? What are you watching? Who are you hanging out with? What are you filling your time and mind with? All these things will affect our actions. Focus on God first, and godly choices and actions will follow!
Proverbs 4:23 says,
Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.
4) Your body was made to glorify God.
Is it your desire to bring God glory? We can’t simply glorify God with our words. The way we talk, live, and dress should all reflect our faith in Him. How can the choices you make about what to wear bring glory to God? When you are tempted to show more skin, show more of Him instead.
5) Focus on inner beauty first.
Pretty girls are all around us. We all desire to be thought of as pretty and cute. Being beautiful on the outside may grab a guy’s attention, but inner beauty is what makes that attention last.
In the book 10 Ultimate Truths Girls Should Know, Kampakis writes,
If you want to be irreplaceable… if you want to shine… if you want to distinguish yourself from other girls… focus on what no one can compete with: your inner authenticity. You are the only you in the universe; no one comes close to competing with that. Your interior can’t be replicated.
Your inner beauty will far outshine your outer beauty. Did you know that being a beautiful woman on the inside makes you beautiful on the outside? Your countenance will glow when you reflect Christ.
6) Focusing on inner beauty doesn’t mean you need to disregard your outer beauty.
You can still have fun with fashion and feeling pretty! I love fashion and I truly believe it is an art and a form of creativity. But use it wisely and always be careful of which fashion choices you make. It also, like anything, can become a form of obsession. Do not become so overly consumed by latest and greatest fashion trends that you let it become an idol.
1 Peter 3:3-4 says,
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.
A lot of modest choices should come from being more focused on a meek and quiet spirit, versus the outward appearance. Your clothing choices should reflect who you are on the inside.
7) Be secure in God’s love for you.
You are a beautiful and spectacular masterpiece! He loves you more than you or I could ever imagine. When we learn and teach the girls following us the importance of this truth, they will respect and value themselves. When we know how much God loves us, we will automatically be less concerned about attracting the attention of the world.
8) Embrace your own convictions.
Personal convictions change from person to person. Personal style is different. Our culture and customs may be drastically different. Let us be very careful not to become self-righteous. Just because I may believe, for example, that wearing a bikini isn’t the best choice, doesn’t mean that belief is right for you. Let’s each one of us go before the Lord God and ask Him to examine our hearts.
Psalm 26:2 says,
Test me, O LORD, and try me, examine my heart and my mind;
9) Be confident in how God made you.
It’s so important to be confident in how God made us. Young girls and older girls (we never outgrow this) tend to compare themselves to their girlfriends. Being confident in our God made you comes from a heart of contentment.
1 Timothy 6:6 says that Godliness with contentment is great gain! Focus on these two, and you’ve got an amazing package that can’t be beat in God’s eyes!
10) Dress with class and keep it tasteful.
I like these quick go-to questions in 10 Ultimate Truths Girls Should Know, to ask before choosing an outfit:
- Does this make me look beautiful or sexy?
- Does this represent who I am inside? Is it too tight or too short? Does it reflect my inherent dignity or distract from it?
- Does this complement my body, or does it seek attention?
- What “story” does this outfit tell? Is that the story I want told?
- Would I want my grandfather/youth leader/preacher to see me wearing this? What about my future employer?
I hope these 10 simple points got you thinking. It’s something that we should constantly be reevaluating as children of the King of Kings. Just because we may feel something is right today, doesn’t mean it’s the best for us. As we grow and progress in this amazingly beautiful sanctification process, we should be laying aside our pride and need to be right, and seeking His best for our lives. The heart’s desire of our Heavenly Father is that we would walk in holiness before Him and glorify His great name!
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How are you engaging with the girls and young women in your life and in your influence about the topic of modesty? Come share with us on our blog!