“Modesty is important because you do not want to cause your Christian brothers to lust,” the speaker said before discussing “appropriate clothing” for various situations. I had listened to many similar talks throughout my life, and the more I heard them, the more unsettled and frustrated I felt.
I couldn’t help but question. . .
Shouldn’t there be a better reason to dress modestly?
Isn’t this about more than what I wear (or don’t wear)?
Am I missing something?
Yes, something was missing. A big something, in fact.
I could not have explained to you why I disliked these talks as a teenager, but now, after reflecting back, I can. The messages I was hearing were missing one critical aspect—truth!
The desire to dress modestly (and live a God-honoring life in all aspects) cannot be rooted in human approval. It must be rooted in our desire to love, serve, and glorify God, our Savior.
I knew that my decision to dress modestly wasn’t to “keep guys from lusting” or even to impress my parents and youth leaders, but because I wanted to honor God and what His Word says about modesty. I wanted my clothes to be an outward expression of the way God’s Word was transforming my heart.
Consider these two passages:
I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect (Rom. 12:1–2).
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 Cor. 6:19–20).
God created our bodies in His image and for bringing honor to Him. One way to honor Him with our bodies is to dress appropriately. God should be our true motivation, not guys or outward approval of others.
A Clearer Message
Are you choosing to dress modestly because you want to honor God, or have you also been told that the only reason is so guys don’t lust after you?
I am here today to tell you the real truth about modesty. As your virtual big sister, I want to encourage you to choose modesty and a pure life because it honors God. I want you to have the best life possible, and that only comes from choosing daily to honor God in all things, even the way you dress.
I see the daily struggle of girls trying to live up to the world’s standards for beauty. You are so beautiful in your own God-given way, and I want people to focus on that and not your body parts. I want you to be free to honor God in every area of your life out of a desire to please Him, not others.
What about you? Have you been told to dress modestly to make sure guys don’t lust? How has this approach impacted you? I’d love to know your thoughts below!