The word “modesty” can elicit a cringe or a drab set of dos and don’ts for many of today’s Christian women. That’s why Leslie is taking time this week to alter the shape of modesty in our minds and standards by uncovering the heart behind this concept and showing that adorning every aspect of our lifestyle – from our wardrobes to our motives – with the radiance of Christ outfits a woman with the beauty of Heaven itself.
1 Timothy 2:9
If at any time you have believed that modesty is just a list of things we should and shouldn’t be wearing, the Bible gives us a refreshing perspective of modesty simply by studying the word “adorn.” To adorn means “to arrange, embellish, and showcase honor.” It’s an amazing concept that the Bible uses this word when it talks about modesty and means that modesty is a quality that a woman can adorn herself with that makes her beautiful.
Our culture has convinced us that the only feminine beauty we can showcase is sensual beauty. However, modesty reflects the beauty of Jesus Christ and the loveliness of Heaven. And when this concept is embraced, it will liberate Christian women rather than imprison us. So, what is true modesty?
Simply put, modesty means keeping sacred things sacred; being guarded, and adopting a sense of feminine mystery that shows honor to those around us and is attractive to a Christ-built man. Modesty is not dressing in clothing styles two decades out of date, rather it mans drawing out Christlikeness in our appearances. A woman who is walking in modesty exudes selflessness and dresses to reflect the joy and radiance God has worked in her soul. Putting effort into our outward appearance both shows honor and respect for God and others as we pursue the set apart lives God has called us to.
Practicals for Cultivating True Modesty
1. Becoming Dead to the World
Being dead to the world means not being concerned of what others think of you. Rather than dressing or acting to impress others, you are alive only to the applause of Heaven. The easiest and most common way to become dead to the world is to check your heart in regards to trendiness.
Trendiness is opposites of being dead to the world. As a daughter of the King we are to dress as His own rather than a product of pop-culture. Prayerfully consider the way that you dress, the trends that you follow, the way you carry yourself, and the motives of your heart. Be willing to lay down any trends that are a distraction so that Christ can be more clearly seen in your life. As you desire to shine only with His radiance He will show you if there are any “jewels” you need to lay aside — be it for a short or long season.
- Does the way that I dress place value on the status symbols and materialism of this world?
- Am I so consumed with keeping my look up to date that I spend an inordinate amount of time and energy shopping and obsessing over what I’m wearing?
- Do I have to have the latest and greatest in fashion trends and technology?
- Am I insecure and uncomfortable if I’m not keeping up with the latest trends?
- Do I look down on people who aren’t following the current trends?
- Is there anything in my appearance that is sending the wrong message to the world about what my true priorities are?
In light of eternity, the pursuit of jewelry and clothing are trivial at best. View your appearance as a way you can serve Jesus Christ and utilize as a tool to point others to Him.
Become dead to the world and its applause; to all the customs and fashions
and laws of those who hate the humbling Cross.
It seemed to me that it was clear from the teaching of the Bible that Christ’s people should be separate from the world in everything which denoted character, and that they should not only be separate but appear so. As I advanced in religious experience, I became more and more convinced that my appearance ought to be such as to show everybody with whom I came in contact that I have renounced the pomp and vanities of the world and that I belonged to Christ.
2. Dress With Dignity
Modesty means exchanging the culture’s cheap counterfeit of feminine appeal and charm for the God-designed version of feminine beauty. However in today’s Christianity we generally see two main fashion “trends” for women today — sensual or sloppy. While how we dress and what principles will guide our individual modesty standards may vary from person to person, the goal is to reflect Christ everywhere you go. Here are a few key questions to ask when selecting clothing.
- Am I reflecting a beauty that is sensual or am I reflecting a beauty that is radiant and Christlike?
- Am I being a distraction with dressing or behaving sensually or am I drawing attention to things that should be kept hidden?
As you ask these questions with an open heart, God will specifically guide you on how to walk out this area of your life with beauty and modesty.
3. Honor Men By Dressing Modestly
Lastly, modesty is an important way to honor the men around us. It does not mean being ashamed of being a woman, but presenting yourself in a way that honors your husband (or future husband) and gives a silent message that you respect the men around you in not putting a stumbling block of temptation before them.
- How can I honor and serve the men around me in dressing selflessly?
A truly set apart woman can radiate with Christlike beauty whether she is in a place or a prison cell! Honor what God has entrusted you with and live to reflect His nature instead of the empty charm of the culture. He will be more than faithful to show you what modesty means for you specifically.