I’ll be the first to admit that modesty is a complex & challenging issue for today’s woman, more so than any man can fully appreciate! Taking my own deficit of understanding, my cultural conditioning, bias of conviction, lack of sensitivity, and countless personal shortcomings into account, I do believe that modesty is an issue which both men and women must speak too as we strive to live in community together. Today I want to exhort my Christian sisters, especially, to embrace and champion modesty as love.
The mere mention of modesty is viewed as an infringement upon today’s hyper-feminist culture. Do so, and you’ll immediately be painted as antagonistic and regressive, or even worse, dismissed as irrelevant, and this by the “professing Christian” crowd! That’s because many professing Christians are actually more cultural than “Christian” in their worldview. They’ve done the very thing the Bible warns against, and that’s “conform to the patterns of this world.” (Rom. 12:2) This is particularly true of many professing Christian women today, who claim to faithfully espouse and embody biblical womanhood, when in actuality, they’re espousing, and operating from some various shade of feminism. Feminism has infiltrated the church, and hijacked the conversation about modesty, dressing it as a women’s rights issue; making it primarily about you, as a woman, feeling “comfortable in your own skin,” and having permission to freely “be yourself” and dress however you want to.
I want to lovingly challenge my “culturally conformed” sisters: when we follow Jesus we give up our right to dress how we want. Romans 14:7-8 says plainly, “For none of us lives to our self alone and none of us dies to our self alone. If we live, we live to the Lord; and if we die, we die to the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord.” Modesty is a virtue which the ancient Scriptures, and therefore, the eternal Lord, speaks over our lives, both directly and indirectly, and this virtue (in regards to clothing) is expressly, though not exclusively, for women: 1 Timothy 2:9-10 says, “I also want women to dress modestly, with decency and propriety,…with good deeds, appropriate for women who profess to worship God.” Simply put, women, if you claim to be a Christian, or a worshipper of Jesus, but disregard the Bible’s call to modesty, then you are living in serious “disconnect” from your faith. Furthermore, you are failing to love. 2 John 6 says, “And this is love: that we walk in obedience to his commands…”
When viewed through the lens of Scripture, what readily emerges is that modesty is love for your fellow sisters, for your brothers, for the Lord Jesus, and today, let’s consider how:
“MODESTY IS LOVE” FOR YOURSELF—Several years ago, a woman named Jessica Rey presented a compelling case for modesty as she introduced findings from a (2009) Princeton study in which male students were shown images of women dressed in different degrees of modesty. As these men viewed images of women dressed in less (esp. the bikini) the region of their brains associated with using tools, such as hammers and screwdrivers, lit up! But the part of the brain associated with showing empathy and appreciation for another person’s thoughts and feelings was virtually turned off! As Miss Rey reiterated, “Researches found this shocking, because they almost never see this part of the brain shut down in this way!” As it turns out, modern feminist notions on “freedom of self-expression” are actually regressive and exploitive of women, whereas the Biblical admonition towards modesty is actually empowering to women. Miss Jessica brings this home when she states that dressing immodestly gives a woman “the power to shut down a man’s ability to see her as a person, but rather as an object. This is surely not the kind of power that women are searching for; the power to be treated as an equal, to be seen as in control, and to be taken seriously. It seems that the kind of power they are searching for is more attainable when they dress modestly.”
Dear Sisters, the Bible declares that you are “fearfully and wonderfully” made, that you bear God’s image (Ps 139:14, Gen 1:27, 31), that after God created you, he stepped back to admire all of his creation, concluding that, “It is very good.” By design, you are more, not less than your outer beauty. The Bible says (II Cor 6:18, I Pe 3:7) when you trust in Christ as your Savior you become daughters of the Lord Almighty and heirs of the gracious gift of eternal life! According to I Peter 3:4 God has endowed you with an “inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.” Modesty invites you to embrace and display this fuller picture of your person-hood, and then safeguards your self-worth in the midst of a broken world which constantly seeks to reduce you to less. As Miss Rey so elegantly states, “Modesty isn’t about hiding ourselves. (shame) It’s about revealing our dignity.” .