Note: This is a touchy subject which Christians have different views on. While I do not wish or mean to stir up a disagreement or hard feelings, I believe that it is important to get to the bottom of this one, given the time of year and how popular the subject of modesty is within the church today. Please do not be offended by what I say here, and feel free to contact me if you have a problem with anything that I have written. Although I definitely value your comments and hope that you leave a reply with your thoughts, please refrain from anything rude or judgemental. Of course, we are all entitled to our own opinion but make sure, as always, that what you write is something that you would want God to hear you say. Thank you!
Dress codes, and layers, long skirts, and knee shorts, swim dresses, and a site that rates female apparel…all for the sake of Biblical modesty. If you look it up online, you’re sure to find sites about “what guys really think,” and “why I dress modestly now,” and “what a Christian girl should wear to be modest.” Read any book on Christian purity, and you’ll find a section written specifically to girls (often by a man) on the evils of immodest dress, and what she should do to cover-up. Wherever you look, you find the same old thing with the same old reason: “dress modestly because God wants you to.”
However, what if we actually looked at the Bible for once? Yes, the Bible. You know that book that God has given us with the instruction to meditate on it? I did that the other day, and the results were very interesting…
Did you know that the Bible speaks very little on modesty? And actually, the majority of it speaks about inward modesty. Nowhere could I find a specific dress code for what I should wear. In fact, I didn’t even find a verse pertaining to how we should treat those Christian guys who have no control over their lustful minds.
Here are some things that God says about modesty, or rather, says through his servants, Paul and Peter.
I also want women to dress modestly, with decency and propriety, not with braided hair or gold or pearls or expensive clothes, but with good deeds, appropriate for women who profess to worship God.
1 Timothy 2:9-10
What does that tell you? While we could deduce that God doesn’t like braided hair or jewelry, I think that not only is that a debate for another time, but that God cares more about your heart than anything else. Although He instructs women to dress modestly and not to wear specific items, what He tells them to replace them with is nothing like what Christians today are saying. This makes it obvious to me that God doesn’t care whether you’re in a bikini or a burqa, He wants your heart to be focused on Him and loving others. He wants your modesty to come from within.
Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.
1 Peter 2:8
Again, God only addresses the heart. He commands women to have a gentle and quiet spirit, not to wear the biggest potato sack you can find. He wants your modesty to come from within.
From these verses as well as the skimpy amount of passages on the subject, I see modesty and God in a new light. I believe that God doesn’t care as much about what we wear on the outside as Christians have thought. If He did, then the Bible would be all about that and the verses on modesty would give us a dress code, right? However, the Bible actually talks about love, and its few verses on modesty speak about the heart.
Does this mean that we should give up all our previous standards or clothe ourselves in next to nothing? No, not at all. I won’t do that and I am not asking you to either. The point is that I am not telling you to dress in any specific way because I have found that to be unbiblical. I just want you to look at it in a new light, the light that I believe God looks through when He sees us and our clothing. He doesn’t care whether we wear a mini-skirt or a trailing gown to a formal banquet, a bikini or a swim dress to the beach. On the other hand, He desires and asks for us to know Him, and to work on clothing our hearts with modesty, purity, and most of all, love. God looks beyond spaghetti straps and shorts and into the heart, as we should too.