A case for modesty.
Many of us as young ladies have heard the case for modesty at some point in our life. Many of us when we hear the word modesty think, "oh great, here we go again talking about how we should dress and not do this or that." One, that is the wrong attitude to have and two, you may be thinking that, because you do not fully understand what modesty means. It truly is not about what you can and cannot do. If you think it is all about rules to follow then you my friend, have missed the whole point. So let me honestly approach this topic with and share some insight that as a young lady I have learned about modesty.
Starting off I am not going to tell you how to dress or fix your hair etc. It's not my job to do so. It's a decision that you have to make on your own between you and God. Many of us have dressed a certain way because of what our parents or someone else has told us. However, do you really know for yourself why you dress the way you do? If your first answer to this question is, someone else told you to wear that, then it's time to find out for yourself.
You will come to a point in your life, if you have not already, where you are going to have to make the decision for yourself on how you will choose to dress. Many times it is after you leave the comforts of home that you begin to question because you have no one to tell you that your skirt is too short or your hair is too crazy to go out in public (thank you mom). If you do not know why you dressed modestly and have only relied on what other people have told you, you will find that having to make that decision is an overwhelming process. I have known many young women who have always dressed a certain way because someone told them to. Then when they were old enough to make the decision for themselves, they fell out of dressing modestly because they did not know why they dressed that way.
It's time to start seeking for yourself what modesty is. If you ask God he will begin to reveal it to you. Seek his word and guidance. In the end it must be a choice you make on your own. Philippians 2:12-13 says, "Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure." In this passage Paul is writing to the church members in Philippi. He is urging these people not only to obey when he is around, but also when he is absent. He is saying that when authority is not present, it is up to you to seek out your own salvation with fear and trembling or with a reverent and humble attitude. Paul knew that these people could handle the responsibility in seeking their own salvation and so can you because if you search God with the right heart, God "works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure."
So I challenge you today. Find out for yourself why you dress the way you do! If you are honest and humble God will not lead you astray. On that same note, if you know for yourself why you dress the way you do, when someone asks you about it, you will be able to explain it to them and who knows what God will start to work in that person!
Now in seeking your own salvation I must make it clear I am not saying to go against your parents or pastor. They have set up guidelines for a reason and if you trust them enough to be under their authority, you must believe that these guidelines are what God has laid on their heart. Many people in ministry are held to higher standards because people look up to them. If you are in ministry I believe God will call you to higher convictions because you do not want to lead people astray or be a distraction from people trying to receive what God has for them.
Now that you are on the path to discovering for yourself why you should dress modestly, let's look at what the Bible says about modesty. 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 says, "Or 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." Your body is a temple for the Holy Spirit to dwell in! Do you think the Holy Spirit wants to dwell in a place that is not holy? Therefore, scripture says glorify God in your body!
So how do we know we are dressing in a way that is glorifying God? A few years ago I was really struggling with the issue of modesty and the main reason (which was revealed to me after I started seeking God about it) was because I was too concerned about fitting in and fitting in especially at school. In that time I felt God reveal to me a question, who are you trying to impress? Isn't that the reason why we question what we are wearing in the first place? Isn't trying to impress someone the reason why we spend hours trying on ten different outfits before we leave the house with the right one!? Who are you trying to impress? Is it a boy, popular girl at school, or a best friend? You attract the people you dress for. If you wear something revealing you are most likely going to attract a guy who is looking for a lustful relationship instead of a godly one. You see we have accepted this idea in our society that dress defines who a person is and because of that, we have to make sure that we fit in to a certain category. We must dress the way that tailors to that stereotype we are trying to portray. On the opposite end you have the people who think they are going against the grain of society and dress however they like because they don't want to fit into a stereotype. Well isn't that a stereotype in itself? The point I am trying to make here is who we are and how we dress should first start from the inside where God's glory dwells. 1 Peter 3:3-4 says, "Do not let your adorning be external- the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear- but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God's sight is very precious." My favorite part of this scripture is the last part when it shows us what a woman glorifying God looks like. Picture her now with me. Her adorning is the goodness and purity of her heart and her beauty is a gentle and quiet spirit. Proverbs 31:25 says, "strength and dignity are her clothing and she laughs at the time to come." So stop trying to impress everyone. It will wear you down and stress you out. Seek to impress God with that beautiful, gentle, quiet, spirit. Find a style that works for you and that you think glorifies God and work it! Odds are you will feel more confident because you are dressing in what you like and feel comfortable in and no one can take that feeling away!
The last point I want to address is attitude and this may be the most important part. Many people and especially women get caught up in the legalism or "rules" that they are required to follow to dress modestly. Rules are important to guide us but they should not be our first focus. Again, scripture says seek out your own salvation with fear and trembling. However, if your sole focus on is what you can and cannot do, then you have missed the point of dressing modestly entirely. Your focus should not be on the rules but on your love for God in that, you love and respect Him so much you want to dress and act in a way that pleases Him! Its all about your attitude and how you approach it. If you believe it is what you "have" to do then you will become bitter and you will be miserable because for you, it is all about the rules. But, if you believe it is what you "get" to do then your attitude changes to see modesty as God living inside of you and shining through you to the outside for all the world to see! Rules scare people away but love draws people to stay.
Like I mentioned above, it is the inside that reflects the outside. The way you dress should reflect your reverence and most of all, your love for God. It's all about relationship! I have seen it over and over and you have too. A person is saved and over time you begin to see them change not only on the inside but the outside as well. Now since this is between you and God you do not have the right to judge others. Many people are in different stages of seeking their own salvation and understanding than you are. Not everyone's convictions are the same. God may be asking you not to wear a certain thing that your friend feels is okay. You have no idea what God is convicting her on so you do not have the right to judge. Provide the truth in the Word that we discussed above and pray that God will give them direction but know that in the end it is up to them to accept God's truth.
Your body is a treasure. What do people do with treasure? They guard it! So you must guard your body because it is the doorway into your heart and "out of your heart will flow rivers of living water." (John 7:38) That water is the Holy Spirit! If you treasure yourself as a beautiful child of God, He will flow from you for everyone to see what a true treasure is. For you my friend were bought with a price.
"You are altogether beautiful, my love; there is no flaw in you." (Song of Solomon 4:7)