I was recently talking with the group from our church that will soon be in Guatemala for a mission trip. I was discussing proper dress code while there. I informed them that we could not wear any inappropriate clothing: nothing too short, too low, too thin or too tight. I also asked them not to wear excessive jewelry or make-up.
After this meeting, I started thinking how strange it was that this issue of modesty needed to be addressed at all. As committed Christians, shouldn’t this be the norm for us every day? We will be representing Christ to others in Guatemala, yet aren’t we always representing Christ? What an eye opener for me in how I dress for Christ in my day to day life.
As Christian women do we need to be so concerned about how we dress? Is it really that important? Let’s check the Word:
“Likewise also that women should adorn themselves in respectable apparel, with modesty and self-control, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly attire, but with what is proper for women who profess godliness—with good works.” – 1 Timothy 2:9-10
The answer is yes, we need to dress ourselves in respectable apparel with modesty and self-control. Why? We need to remember our purpose here on Earth, why God continues to allow us to breathe. We were created by him and for him (Colossians 1:16) and all we do needs to be done for the glory of God (1 Corinthians 10:31). This includes how we dress. We should dress in a way that pleases God and reflects his goodness.
Here are the hard questions to ask yourself: Do you dress for your own glory or for the glory of God? Does what you wear distract from the gospel purposes in your life? Does it distract others from the gospel purposes in their life (causing lust, envy, confusion, etc.)? If you dress to illicit attention or approval from others, you are what Carolyn Mahaney calls a “glory thief” in her book, True Beauty. We are stealing glory from God; we are desiring it more for ourselves than for him. These are strong words, but they hit the mark - I certainly do not want to be a glory thief!
So, what are the limits, just where is that line that we should not cross in how we dress? Ladies, don’t give me this. The rule is not to play with the line, but to stay away from it. I believe we women are very aware of what is acceptable and what is not. We know when we are wearing something that accentuates and draws attention to certain areas. I’m telling you (and me) to knock it off. If you stand in a mirror before leaving the house and feel sexy, time to change. Sexy stays home with your husband.
Listen carefully, the opposite of “modesty” is not “beautiful” or even “stylish”. The opposite of modesty is immodesty which is direct sin. If you don’t like modesty it means you prefer sin and that is living in opposition to God. Whoa, more tough stuff! Yep, sure is. God takes what we do with our bodies very seriously:
“Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.” – 1 Corinthians 6:19-20
Our bodies are not our own, they were bought with the blood of Jesus Christ. Our bodies are to be used to glorify God and not ourselves.
Beautiful modesty is in no way an oxymoron. You cannot be beautiful unless you are modest. You must possess a godly modesty that flows from your love of pleasing God through obedience to him in your outward appearance. Beauty is a radiance from the inside to the outside.
This begs the questions: how then should we adorn ourselves? How are we to be beautiful? Is it even okay to be beautiful? So glad you asked! Our gracious God does not leave us without help in this important area. One week from today, I will answer these very questions.
I enCOURAGE you to take this seriously. Train yourself and teach your daughters to be beautifully modest for the glory of God.