Monday, March 22, 2010

My Thoughts on Biblical Modesty

I hope these few thoughts will be a blessing to you. Feel free to share or copy in any way that you wish.


What is modesty?

Modest = chaste, decent, virtuous

Modesty can simply mean dressing appropriately and decently, but true modesty is deeper than that – it is a matter of character and attitude.

Is your clothing modest? What about your behavior? What instructions are given in the Bible?

1 Timothy 2:9 says ‘…that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shame-facedness and sobriety…’

In other words – it’s important to dress modestly, but let your behavior be modest as well, with gentleness and prudence ruling your speech and actions.

So, why all this fuss about clothing? Why should you dress differently from anyone else?

Did you know that what you choose to wear affects other people?

Romans 14:13 ‘…judge this rather, that no man [or woman] put a stumbling block or an occasion to fall in his brother’s way.’

As they get older – guys struggle a lot with their eyes, is your clothing designed to draw eyes to you lustfully? Are you a stumbling block to your brothers in Christ? God wants us to be a help to the young men around us – not a hindrance.

In Matthew 5:28, Jesus said that for a man to even look at a woman in the wrong way is a sin. Does your clothing invite people to look at you in the wrong way? If you cause someone else to sin – won’t it also be your sin? That’s one of the main reasons that young women must be very careful with their clothing choices.

Our family used to go to a large church. There were lots of young people. After a time, we began to feel very uncomfortable with the immodest clothing that the girls and young women were wearing to church. Partly because of this, we decided to stop attending that church.

Now, were those girls intentionally wearing inappropriate clothing so that people would be annoyed? No. They just didn’t think. They simply wore whatever modern fashion decreed as ‘cute’ and thoughtlessly wore it. Don’t be a slave to ‘fashion’ and what everyone else is wearing. You never know how your actions will affect someone else.

Women’s clothing styles have only in very recent history changed dramatically. In the ‘old days’ the ideal traits of womanhood were gentleness, grace, cheerfulness and meekness. The fashions reflected this in their styles of beautiful, feminine simplicity and elegance. In our recent history, the popular ideas of what a woman should be have radically changed. Now, traits such as boldness, sexiness, and independence are the supposed ideal to what a young woman should aspire. This is also reflected in modern fashions – they have become more masculine as women wearing pants became common and acceptable – the styles also became increasingly brash, revealing, and tacky. Unfortunately, the manners and decorum of young lades have followed right along the same pathway.

That is why it is so important not to follow along with what the world deems to be right, without first finding out what God (and your parents) have to say, and how you should apply it to your life. Even in a matter as seemingly insignificant as what is in your wardrobe.

A popular phrase in modern culture – movies, and elsewhere, is to ‘follow your heart’. This type of advice is actually quite misguided. Jeremiah 17:9 says just the opposite: “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?”. So, it’s really not a good idea to ‘follow your heart’ and make decisions just because it ‘feels right’. Acting on emotions will lead you wrong many times. Instead, think, pray, ask – find out what is truly the right way.

The clothes you wear have an effect on your behavior. If you wear slouchy, boyish clothing – chances are you are more likely to act slouchy, and boyish. If you wear feminine, modest clothing – you are more likely to act feminine and modest.

Think about your normal, everyday clothing. Is it tacky or sloppy – too tight or revealing? Do you think it accurately represents who you are(or who you want to be)? What does your clothing say about you?

Your clothing should make you feel beautiful – it should represent that you are a special, unique girl – someone that shows respect for herself and others by dressing decently, modestly and beautifully.

Proverbs 31:10 says “Who can find a virtuous woman? For her price is far above rubies.”

1 Peter 3:4 says “a meek and quiet spirit in a woman is in the sight of God of great price.”

To God you are priceless – like a precious ruby. Rubies are so valuable that their worth is often more than diamonds! You are that valuable and that beautiful in the sight of God. Don’t hide under clothing that displays the wrong message about you. You are not a piece of cheap costume jewelry – but a lovely, precious ruby.

8 comments:

Nina said...

Great post! The only thing I would disagree with is that women used to be praised for modesty, etc. - I mean, they WERE praised for that, but there were very strict standards for what was beautiful (just as today) - a deal of importance was placed on outer beauty. I'm actually about to do a post on that today!

I suspect you have, but have you seen the modesty survey?
http://therebelution.com/modestysurvey
I don't agree with everything The Rebelution's main site says, but it's got some very interesting info. I never realized that boys had such difficulty and I definitely don't want to make things any harder for them!

Caroline said...

What beautiful, inspiring words! Thank you so much for having the courage to display such Biblical wisdom as this in such a public place!

Atlanta said...

Nina,

You are right - physical appearance has always been a dominant factor for women at any period in history. I didn't mean that beauty/outward appearance wasn't praised in the 'old days', but that character virtues were much more important as well. (can you imagine modern media praising a young woman for being meek and modest?)

I look forward to your post!

Yes, I actually have just recently been to the modesty survey. Most of it wasn't surprising to me, but it is always a very good reminder that guys have a much harder time than we realize sometimes.

Good thoughts, as always Nina!

Thank you Caroline!

--A.

Atlanta said...

Nina,

You are right - physical appearance has always been a dominant factor for women at any period in history. I didn't mean that beauty/outward appearance wasn't praised in the 'old days', but that character virtues were much more important as well. (can you imagine modern media praising a young woman for being meek and modest?)

I look forward to your post!

Yes, I actually have just recently been to the modesty survey. Most of it wasn't surprising to me, but it is always a very good reminder that guys have a much harder time than we realize sometimes.

Good thoughts, as always Nina!

Thank you Caroline!

--A.

Gina said...

My problem with The Rebelution and some of its related sites (and I know you said you're not fully on board with them, Nina): Sometimes they lean too far in the direction of putting all the blame on women. Some of the sites they link to go way too far, along the lines of "If you're not wearing a gunnysack that covers you from head to toe, you're defrauding your Christian brothers!" I exaggerate, but not much.

I'm a conservative Christian and fully on board with the idea of modesty. But I prefer what I think is the more balanced approach of a site like Modestly Yours, at http://blogs.modestlyyours.net/ . (In the interests of full disclosure, blog owner Wendy Shalit is an online buddy of mine.)

I appreciate and admire all of you modest young ladies and your desire for *true* beauty!

Fiddlin Girl said...

Hey Atlanta,
Great post!! We have had the same convictions and try to dress modestly and femininely as we know how. I hope we are doing a good job! Becca and I always have one thought in our heads if we shop for clothes, or make our clothes. "If Jesus were in the room right now, and I was wearing -, would I feel comfortable?" It has helped a lot in our choice of clothing, styles, etc. I don't think we should dress so that we cover up every part of skin and look downright dirty, ugly, etc. We want to dress femininely too! And, we are God's princess's, so we want to dress like it and be proud of it!

Thanks for that really great post! miss and love you!! Sarah

Amber said...

Love this! It is one of the most thought out and true "articles" on modesty I've read. Thank you so much!

Loree said...

Amen!

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