By God’s grace, I don’t have a ton of regret from my teen years. However, my one strong regret is my heart toward modesty. I rolled my eyes at dress codes and such conversations. God has been kind to change my heart, and I see the selfishness and immaturity in my teen ways. Now, I’m burdened by the modesty conversation happening, even in Christian culture. Popular posts circulate social media that, honestly, aren’t very biblical. So friends, can we use Scripture as our standard for our dress and actions, not popular social media posts?
MADE IN THE IMAGE OF GOD
Genesis 1:27 is a foundational principle, “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.” The implications are numerous, but simply, both males and females are equal in status and dignity before the Lord. I fear culture’s “women are better than men” attitude has infiltrated Christianity. When we view ourselves as “better than,” we undermine the value God also gives men. We place ourselves on a pedestal, thinking our wants (in this case, how we want to dress) are superior. Dear sisters, our brothers are worthy of just as much dignity, value, and honor as we are, which means honoring the Lord by honoring them in the way we dress.
LOVE LIKE JESUS
The Bible is full of commands of how to love others. Typically, men are more visual. God designed this to be enjoyed in the covenant of marriage, but in our fallen world, the temptation remains outside of marriage. There’s a lot to be said about this. Let me be very clear – Men should do all they can to protect their eyes. My husband is awesome about having boundaries, and we’ll do the same for our boys as they get older (side note- single ladies, make one of your standards be that the man you date/marry does all he can to protect his eyes and purity!!!). Men definitely have a responsibility in this. But sisters, we do as well. Countless verses command us to love others well and not be a stumbling block; please, go check out Philippians 2:3-4, Mark 12:30-31, 1 Corinthians 10:24, James 3:16, and 1 Corinthians 8:9. Also, think of the sacrificial way in which Christ loved us. If we know our brother or sister in Christ struggles with something, then out of love for Christ and them, we should want to do what we can to help them. Many posts and conversations have the attitude of, “Well, they just shouldn’t look.” And like I said, men have a responsibility. However, it breaks my heart because these attitudes aren’t loving. If someone was an alcoholic and really struggled with that, we’d think it absurd to take them to a bar and tell them to “get over it.” Sisters, we need to think of our brothers in Christ as more significant than ourselves (Phil. 2:3-4). We can love them well by striving not to be stumbling blocks. Any other attitude is basically telling them we don’t love them nor do we care about them.
CHECK YOUR HEART
My purpose isn’t to set rules for us or create a checklist of what we can/can’t wear. The Bible doesn’t give specifics about hem lines or straps, because it’s all a heart issue. We could be covered from head to toe with hearts still full of impurity and immodesty. Modesty does have to do with outward appearance, but it has more to do with our hearts. Truly, who are we trying to make much of? The real question is – why do we want to dress so immodestly anyway? Who are we trying to bring attention or glory to? This involves praying and searching our hearts. When it comes to clothes, the question of “How much skin is too much?” is the wrong question. This isn’t about what we can get away with. Instead, it’s about our call to be holy as Christ is holy (1 Peter 1:16). Also, 1 Timothy 2:9-10 says, “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.” This isn’t saying braids, earrings, etc. are bad; in Bible culture, those were symbols of promiscuity. I’m currently wearing earrings with a t-shirt. In 2022, these don’t indicate promiscuity. The theological principle remains, though. Does our clothing promote promiscuity? Do our actions? Let’s be women who dress in a way that’s proper for us who profess Christ is our Lord! Truly, I love clothes. I have to practice self-control and stay away from online shopping. What I should be more concerned about than my outward appearance, though, is being adorned with good works for the glory of God.
Dear sisters, I say this because I love you. The Lord gives these commands for our protection. In Christ, you’re worthy, valuable, and more than an object. Please, dress in a way that reflects that. Save what God created for marriage for your husband. While the attention that dressing/posting on Instagram a certain way may feel good in the moment, that satisfaction fades. True satisfaction is only found in Christ, and no boy (even your husband) can satisfy and love you perfectly the way Christ does. You’re made in the image of God and worthy of all value and dignity. Seriously, I don’t have the words to stress how beautiful you are in hopes that you understand your worth in Christ.
I’ve been married for 10 years, and I can tell you it’s 100% worth it to protect yourself and brothers in Christ from temptations. As a mom to two boys, I pray they’re surrounded with sisters in Christ who respect them in such ways. Let me repeat – men have responsibility for self-control. I can’t say that enough; this is in no way taking the responsibility off them. I fear, though, we spend so much time harping on men, what they do wrong and need to do better, that we fail to take the log out of our own eyes (Matt. 7:5). Women, let’s look at ourselves and ask, “How can we glorify God in both our dress and actions?” Again, this isn’t a legalistic burden, but a heart issue. Let’s dress so we honor the Lord, our brothers in Christ, and also, ourselves. Let’s dress so what we’re wearing isn’t the focus, but the beauty of our hearts and good works for the Lord’s glory.