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There’s so much out there about Christian women, modesty, the Bible…and religion’s interpretation of what the Bible says. Let’s cut through the noise and have a truly blunt conversation about modesty and Christianity, shall we?
Woman of God, you need to know about modesty. And more importantly, you need to care about it.
Hear me out, okay? This isn’t me getting all hyper-religious on you and telling you your salvation and hem length are eternally connected. That’s just ridiculous.
This is me being your friend and pointing you toward Scripture (and reminding myself, too, because I need the gentle nudge as well).
The Bible tells you all you ever need to know about modesty.
These are things you should have already been told, but probably weren’t because the Truth was lost in a debate over your skirt length, cleavage, and nose-ring.
“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, ESV
What does the Bible say about Modesty?
Let’s break this down…
Women Should Dress Respectably
What is respectable dress? Honestly, that’s a little hard to quantify.
And yet, it isn’t.
If I were having Sunday dinner at my grandparents, it would be disrespectful to show up in my favorite yoga pants and tee-shirt. Nice leggings and a tunic top might pass muster. Preferred would be feminine slacks or skirt with a nice blouse.
I’m respecting them.
Perhaps respectable could also be considered appropriate?
You should dress in a manner appropriate for the audience, environment, and activity you are about to be a part of. This is respectable and modest.
Women Should Dress Modestly
Modestly can be likened to humility here.
It means not drawing attention to yourself, or making yourself the focus. It means being demure or understated.
Your clothes shouldn’t scream, “Look at me!”
Humility points people toward Jesus; pride draws attention to one’s self.
A godly woman will dress modestly in a way that isn’t distracting. It doesn’t eclipse her character or her message, but rather enhances it.
Women Should Dress With Self-Control
Well, geez, Paul. Let’s just step on all.the.toes.
I mean, seriously. I can wear a turtleneck and ankle length skirt much more conveniently than I can wear self-control. Maybe that’s just me.
But Paul is pretty clear here: dress with self-control.
That means use restraint when getting dressed, but also use restraint in your interactions. Bear the fruit of self-control. It looks ravishing on you, girlfriend!
Women Should Not Be Flashy Or Wasteful
It also says not to adorn yourself so that people look at you or to spend excessively on what you wear.
I can’t define “excessive” for you or define “costly.” That’s between you and Jesus.
But I do think that it means not to waste your time and money on something as non-eternal as your appearance. Don’t take resources God intends to use to build His Kingdom to build your wardrobe.
That’s not to say you can’t have a nice leather purse or a pair of killer heels. Or new hiking boots, if that’s more your jam. Not at all.
And it’s not saying you can’t put on your favorite eye shadow and gloss, either.
It is, however, saying to choose those things with wisdom. Remember that your resources aren’t your own; you’re a steward of them. So pray about it.
What does the Bible say is Proper for those who confess Godliness?
Paul really gets detailed here. It’s not just about your clothes, but the overall package.
In fact, it’s really not about the clothes at all. He’s getting that out of the way so he can get to what matters.
Paul says that the important thing -the proper thing- isn’t a style, but a lifestyle.
Walk the Walk
There is a way that is proper for those who confess godliness. It has to do with pointing people toward Jesus and not drawing attention to yourself.
It’s about loving the unlovable. It’s about feeding the hungry. It’s about giving life to the dead.
Your choice of outfit only matters if it pulls the focus off of the Jesus in you and on to you.
What really matters is that you are walking the walk. Put actions to your words and to the Bible; that’s what matters the most.
Related: 5 Ways To Make God Happy
Wear Good Works
While you can’t earn your salvation, you can walk it out.
Any true belief in God will be evidenced by a lifestyle that supports your beliefs. So what do you need to wear, sweet sister in Christ? What does a modest woman of God clothe herself with?
She loves people. She gives generously. She is kind. She cherishes her home and all within it. She sees the world that needs Jesus and runs into it to shower it with His love.
If a toddler knocks her cup of coffee over and it splatters all over her favorite sweater, she laughs and is thankful for the hug. She isn’t hung up on the sweater.
If a teenager borrows her favorite jacket without asking, she corrects the character issue with love because that matters more than the jacket. The jacket is replaceable; the teenager’s heart isn’t.
If she’s getting dressed up to go out, she looks feminine and lovely without drawing undue attention to her body because she doesn’t want to distract anyone from her message. She wants to please her husband, no one else’s.
The message she lives out is 24/7 because she loves Jesus.
Know About Modesty But Don’t Be Obsessed With It
I challenge you, sweet friend, don’t get hung up on the details. Just get hung up on Jesus.
It’s not whether your hemline is below your fingertips and no more than 2 inches above your knee. It’s about whether your legs are getting more attention than your Lord when you walk into the room.
It’s not about whether your earrings and necklace are too sparkly, but about whether or not they make people look at you more than at the Jesus you are presenting to them.
A preoccupation with modesty is still a preoccupation with self.
Don’t let it be an issue that distracts you or causes division; instead, let it be part of your walk with God.
This is Day 84 of the Bible in 90 Days Devotion series.