Good morning, readers! I’m bringing up modesty again, whether you’re ready for it or not. 😉
If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. 2 Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. 3 For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.
If you’ve not read my previous two posts on this topic, Beautifully Modest and Look at My Heart, I would love for you to check them out and give me your thoughts.
So, thoughts on modesty have been invading my head lately. I’ve come across heartfelt Youtube videos on it, and it’s just been on my heart and mind. Not in a heavy, scary way. But, perhaps, in an “I-want-to-do-better” way.
I want to be more intentional about walking by the Spirit in this area. I usually try to be very intentional about what movies I watch, books I read, songs I listen to … especially if people are looking to my example … like, is this honoring to God? Is it edifying to others who see me? To my own walk? Am I representing my God well?
12 Therefore, brethren, we are debtors—not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. 13 For if you live according to the flesh you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. 14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.
I have always been naturally more modest. And I had to come to a place of realizing my freedom in Christ and that I am not personally responsible for men’s sin. They make their choices. I don’t have to walk around always fearful that I might make someone sin because I wore the “wrong” thing.
However, it occurred to me that I could be more intentional in this area, just as I am striving to be in every other area of my life.
Not in a fearful way. Not in a legalistic way. How about in an intentionally loving my brothers and sisters in Christ way? Intentionally serving them? Intentionally sacrificing my own wants and selfish desires for them? Intentionally striving to represent my holy King well?
1 Timothy 5:1-2
Do not rebuke an older man, but exhort him as a father, younger men as brothers, 2 older women as mothers, younger women as sisters, with all purity.
Isn’t this what Jesus Christ did? Made Himself a servant for us?
3 Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into His hands, and that He had come from God and was going to God, 4 rose from supper and laid aside His garments, took a towel and girded Himself. 5 After that, He poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet, and to wipe them with the towel with which He was girded.
Yes, girls. Yes, do this for your brothers. Do it for Christ first, but also dress modestly for men. There is nothing weak about humbling yourself and sacrificing your wants for the sake of another.
Why do I think that I haven’t been intentional? Well, there are times that I put on an outfit and feel a slight hesitation in my spirit. But I brush it off because:
I’m not wearing a bikini. Check.
I’m not wearing leggings as pants. Check.
I’m not revealing any cleavage. Check.
I’m not showing my midriff. Check.
Right? I’m good. So I ignore the check in my spirit and go on with my day. But maybe it was the Holy Spirit? Maybe I should have gone to a trusted man and asked his opinion. Is this something that you believe, as a man who understands men’s brains, would cause my brothers in Christ to stumble?
16 I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. 17 For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.
I have worn things that I later looked back and thought: Would I have worn that if a bunch of young men who I cared about were coming to my house? Would I feel upset if a woman wore a similar outfit in front of my brothers or future husband?
I don’t want to be the woman who’s causing boys to stumble and men to struggle.
I don’t want to pass by my future husband on the street one day and him have to bounce his eyes.
But the thing is, I’m not a man and I truly can’t fully understand the male brain.
What amount of tightness is the “too tight” that causes that initial reaction which could lead to sin if not fought against?
What amount of skin?
What parts of the body? Are sleeveless shirts and shorts a couple of inches above the knee no problem? If a girl wears a somewhat low-cut shirt but shows no cleavage, is that just fine?
I think Christian men and women need to come together and seek God on this matter.
12 Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering; 13 bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do. 14 But above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection. 15 And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful. 16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. 17 And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.
Because perhaps not too many years ago, all the blame for a man’s lust was put on women. Her body was oversexualized. She was seen as more an object and temptation than human and soul.
This scarred women deeply.
And it was not right. Boys need to be taught that they are fully responsible for their thoughts and actions. Their lust and their sin. They need to be taught how to view a woman and how to value, honor, and protect her. They should learn practical tips like bouncing their eyes, taking every thought captive, and meditating on Scripture when unable to avoid scantily-clad women.
But, to the same measure, girls need to be taught their responsibility. That their body is a temple of God and their sexuality is sacred and private. That dressing in a “sexy” way – in a way that is showing some nakedness – will automatically cause a struggle for boys and men. Because God (did you catch that? God.) created men to desire a woman’s body. This He created for the beautiful, sacred, private sexual relationship between a husband and wife.
Thus, women should dress in a way that does not trigger those desires made for within the bonds of marriage alone.
We can dress beautifully. Cute. Fashionably. Trendy. We can have our own, individual style.
But not sensual. Not sexy. Not in a way that draws overwhelming attention to our curves. That shows off private parts or leads the eyes toward private parts.
Wear colors that make your eyes pop and your face glow; that compliment your hair color. Wear styles that show you’re a beautiful, feminine woman, but don’t cling to your body to show every curve and line.
1 Peter 3:1-4
Wives, likewise, be submissive to your own husbands, that even if some do not obey the word, they, without a word, may be won by the conduct of their wives, 2 when they observe your chaste conduct accompanied by fear. 3 Do not let your adornment be merely outward—arranging the hair, wearing gold, or putting on fine apparel— 4 rather let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God.
So, these are some helpful tips. But I still deeply wish I could study this topic with other Christian women. But I can’t hardly.
24 And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works,
Do you know why?
Because women refuse to talk about it or acknowledge there’s a problem.
It seems, after being hurt, scarred, and stripped of their innate worth to be made merely an object of temptation or to be played with, women hardened their hearts.
I say this with all seriousness.
The Bible talks about modesty, and purity, and humility, and your body not being your own, and not being a stumbling block for your family in Christ.
But the Church doesn’t want to talk about it. Christian women don’t want to talk about it. They ignore it. They get massively defensive. They get angry. They say things like: “I can wear whatever I want.” “It’s the man’s problem, not mine.” “Don’t tell me what to wear; it’s my body!” “Get your mind out of the gutter.”
Women viciously attack any man or woman who would dare tell them what to do.
She flies in the face of her husband when he brings up modesty and concerns about her manner of dress, and then gets upset when he admits how hard it is to be out and about when women are dressed immodestly.
Why do you have to be like that?
Because God made me this way.
Women, do you hear the plea in these unspoken words from the men in your life?
No, God did not create man to sin. To objectify you in his mind. To lust after you. To use your body for his gain.
But He did create him to be attracted to and desire a woman’s body. For within the confines of marriage.
Yet when we women are dressing in a way that shows off our bodies and nakedness that should only be seen within a marriage covenant, temptations naturally arise for men.
Think about your temptations. How would you feel if your brothers in Christ shoved them in your face? Or brushed off your concerns and asking for help?
1 Thessalonians 5:11
11 Therefore comfort each other and edify one another,
In this culture, the truth is:
Women have made themselves their own god.
You can’t tell me what to wear.
You’re the sinner. It’s your issue.
I don’t care about your struggle.
It’s my body.
I can wear whatever I want.
No man is going to tell me what to do.
Those phrases should grieve your heart, Christian women. Look at them. Hear them spoken in your head. Line them up against the Word of God.
Does that sound like a woman of God?
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. 24 And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. 26 Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.
1 John 4:20-21
20 If someone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen? 21 And this commandment we have from Him: that he who loves God must love his brother also.
5 A fool despises his father’s instruction,
But he who receives correction is prudent.
Woman, you were never meant to be trampled on. Beat down. Objectified. Oversexualized. Abused. Hurt. Treated less than men.
But this that you have turned to, it is no solution.
Dressing half-naked. Being sensual. Flaunting your body to every boy and man you walk by. Enjoying this power it gives you over men. Baring yourself in public while nursing a baby because it’s your body and it’s natural. Celebrating other women who flaunt their nakedness in public. Blaming all the sin, putting all the fault on men.
Don’t you see? This is worship of yourself and your body.
You’re putting yourself and your wants and your freedom before everything else. You plow over everyone else and disregard their struggles and hurts because it’s your body and it’s natural and you’re a woman!
Like women are gods who can do whatever they want.
3 Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. 4 Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.
1 Corinthians 10:23-24
23 All things are lawful for me, but not all things are helpful; all things are lawful for me, but not all things edify. 24 Let no one seek his own, but each one the other’s well-being.
You’re getting angry at brothers in Christ (and sisters) who try to rebuke in love or bring up sensitive topics. You’re trying to be independent of men. You’re not respecting or honoring any men – because you’re a woman and they can’t tell you what to do. You’re refusing to submit to men – to your husband.
Do you know what God created marriage to be a picture of? Christ and the Church.
22 Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. 23 For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body. 24 Therefore, just as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything.
25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, 26 that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, 27 that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish. 28 So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself. 29 For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as the Lord does the church. 30 For we are members of His body, of His flesh and of His bones. 31 “For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” 32 This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the church. 33 Nevertheless let each one of you in particular so love his own wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.
When you have this pride, this angry independence, this bitterness, this self-focus, this arrogance, this refusal to submit – do you know who you’re really refusing to submit to?
Feel the heaviness of that.
Women, we have been blinded.
When we go sauntering around like: I don’t have to submit to no man and no one can tell me what to do or wear. It’s my life and my body!
Then we are not following Christ. We have made ourselves independent of God. We are not submitting to Him and we are not loving Him.
I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called, 2 with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love, 3 endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.
This is grievous.
It’s time to repent, women.
30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31 Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. 32 And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.
40 And the King will answer and say to them, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.’
I’m not saying that you haven’t been hurt. I’m not saying it’s easy to sacrifice your wants for others. I’m not saying that your husband is easy to submit to. But you chose him.
And you can’t pick and choose what to believe and what to follow from the Bible. That’s not a true follower of Christ.
God says: women, submit. (As the Church is supposed to willingly submit to Christ because He is her head and has saved her and given up His life for her.)
God says: Be pure. Be holy. Dress decently. Don’t cause your brother to stumble.
Does the way you dress make you feel pure and holy? Does it cause anyone to stumble?
Romans 14:12-13 & 21
12 So then each of us shall give account of himself to God. 13 Therefore let us not judge one another anymore, but rather resolve this, not to put a stumbling block or a cause to fall in our brother’s way.
21 It is good neither to eat meat nor drink wine nor do anything by which your brother stumbles or is offended or is made weak.
God says: love.
1 John 3:16
16 By this we know love, because He laid down His life for us. And we also ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.
9 Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil. Cling to what is good. 10 Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another; 11 not lagging in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord;
When did we decide it’s alright to ignore, deride, and trample on men (and people in general) to elevate ourselves?
When did we decide that no matter the harm it may cause someone else, we can wear and do what we want because it’s our body?
Well, I have news. It is not your body. Your body belongs to God. He bought it with His blood. Have you ever bought something with your blood?
1 Corinthians 6:19-20
19 Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? 20 For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.
And, if you are married, your body belongs to your husband.
1 Corinthians 7:4
4 The wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does. And likewise the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does.
Just as his belongs to you. So if he comes to you with concerns about what you’re wearing or how you’re presenting yourself, LISTEN TO WHAT HE HAS TO SAY. Just give him the respect, honor, and love he should have as God’s adopted son. Or, even if he’s not a Christian, he’s still a human created in God’s image and you should respect him.
1 Peter 2:17
17 Honor all people. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the king.
Women, if a man comes to you with a concern, like: Hey, what you were wearing the other day was really a stumbling block for me. I had to keep looking away and it made it difficult to be normal and comfortable talking and hanging out with you because I was constantly fighting in my mind to keep myself from sin – to honor you and to honor God.
Listen to him. Don’t get all defensive and angry. Here’s a man who is striving to serve and glorify God. To fight his sin nature. To honor and respect you.
Listen to him and pray earnestly about it.
1 John 2:9-11
9 He who says he is in the light, and hates his brother, is in darkness until now. 10 He who loves his brother abides in the light, and there is no cause for stumbling in him. 11 But he who hates his brother is in darkness and walks in darkness, and does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded his eyes.
And men, I would insert here, be very careful about having these conversations. If you’re going up to one specific girl, be sure you consider what your relationship is with her, and where her own walk with the Lord is. Pray a lot about it.
But don’t be afraid to be real and honest with women in general. We want to know what men have to say about this topic. I’ve watched some Youtube videos from men that weren’t condemning, but really helped me to understand more how it is for men and what I can do to pursue purity with them.
To love them.
Because, we are called to love our brethren. To think of them before ourselves. To humble ourselves. To sacrifice our own liberties if it causes a brother to stumble.
10 Love does no harm to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.
We are not our own. But the life we live, we live for Christ.
All things were created through Him and for Him.
So we need to stop living for ourselves and our pleasure, and start living for our God and our beloved sisters and brothers in Christ.
9 For this reason we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; 10 that you may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him, being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God;
5 thoughts on “Continuing the Modesty Conversation”
Men struggle, stumble and lust after women no matter what they wear. Simply dressing modestly does not ensure men you will treat you well. In fact the opposite may happen, men may treat you worse, as those who encourage modesty the most often have a view of women as less than. Been there, done that,
Hello, Kate! Thank you for joining the conversation.
It is true that a man can lust after a woman no matter what she’s wearing (I’ve heard this from men.) Which is why it’s so important for boys to be taught to value and respect women, and to guard their minds and their eyes. And flee sexual immorality.
However, I’ve also talked to Christian brothers who’ve thanked me, or other women, for dressing modestly because it really helps them in their pursuit of purity.
It’s true that some men aren’t going to respect or honor you no matter what you’re wearing. That’s why, in my thinking, dressing modestly should be more about honoring & loving God and honoring & loving your brothers in Christ than gaining the respect of people.
(And also, I do understand that some men who push modesty do so in twisted thinking because they themselves are entrapped in sexual sin and abuse of women. BUT, I also know there are truly godly men out there who do appreciate and respect a woman’s choice to dress modestly.)
I hope that makes sense. 🙂 I know there’s sin, and selfishness, and hurt on both sides, which is why I feel both sides need to step up and start serving the other. It’s hard! I know! But we can do it through Christ’s strength.
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I was raised that girls should dress modestly, for our brothers in Christ. Because we don’t want to cause people we love, or any one out in the world, to fall into sin.
Yes, dressing modestly does not STOP men from falling. If someone is living in sin, or has a struggle in certain areas, no matter what you do, they can still fall.
Yet, just because “it won’t stop all men” from falling, doesn’t give us the right to do as our flesh would allow us to do. We may dress modestly, and just as importantly, ACT modestly, and a man still may stumble. But, that isn’t our fault. And it isn’t on our conscious. We did our best.
My Mom always told me, we do our part. We do what we believe is right, and if someone stumbles, it’s their heart. Not ours. But, we are to do our best so that it isn’t so easy for them to fall.
Thank you for commenting with your thoughts, Felicity! ❤
Absolutely. We walk by the Spirit and do our best to live purely and righteously before God as He sanctifies us. And if we know we are striving to let the Spirit lead us, we don't fret about possibly causing someone to sin.
Dressing modestly is perhaps less about "keeping someone from sinning" and more about lovingly coming alongside our brothers as we ALL strive for purity.
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