I wonder what people think when they hear the word "modesty." Some people might think of humility, as in, not bragging. Personally, I think of modestly dressed, as in, a woman dressing appropriately so as not to cause a guy to stumble when he sees her. But modesty involves much more than just wearing an outfit that adequately covers all flesh. Primarily, modesty is a heart issue. The key to true modest behavior is a mindset that thinks modestly. (While men can dress or act immodestly too, my focus here is women because men struggle so much with visual temptations.)
Whatever the Church refuses to address, Satan distorts. So let's talk straight. Summer has been on a stroll, but she'll be rounding the corner soon, and we'll start seeing more of each other, quite literally. Perhaps certain parts of the country aren't as bad as others--like California, where letting it all hang out seems common even in Christian environments--we nonetheless want to guard ourselves from worldly values.
Sporting tight pants and shirts, super-short mini-skirts, spaghetti straps, and low-rider jeans don't provoke men to think wholesome thoughts about you. How you sit, carry yourself, bend over, and walk all say something about your heart.
A popular worldly value says, if you've got it, flaunt it. But a relevant biblical value is spelled out in 1 Timothy 2:9-10: "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."
I encourage all Christian women to think more seriously about modesty. I'm not asserting that every Christian woman in America dresses immodestly, but wanting to stress that there's room for improvement in almost every culture. Becoming a modest person, or a more modest person, is a simple way you can stand as a Christian example in a world gone amuck. You don't have to take a snooty attitude and lord it over others that you dress more modestly than they do. You can simply be a bold witness by living counter culturally to the world. While you don't want to become legalists--emphasizing what you do or don't do ritualistically to make you right with God--how you dress affects men. What you wear (or don't wear) matters. And while the outerwear counts, the deeper issue is, how you think affects how you live and dress. So let's change the way we think.
The Bible helps us here. First Peter 3:3-4 says, "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." The problem with outward adornments is that people tend to invest too much in the outward person while neglecting the inner self. Virtue and integrity should always win the gold medal in the character race when competing with outward beauty and fashion.
Men, teach your daughters and wives that they don't have to, nor should they, show off their God-given beauty in a way that harms others. Ladies, be examples to our younger girls in how you dress and act.
A danger regarding modesty is that one can dress appropriately but still posses an immodest heart, flirting and seducing in other ways. So let's all check our hearts, both men and women, as we move closer to the summer months when the heat from the sun invariably tempts us to shed more clothes and strut our stuff in public.
One Man's Plea for Christian Women to Dress Modestly