Summer is near
I live in New York City and can tell summer is right around the corner. The fragrance of blooming flowers, the shade from leafy green trees, the cheery, warm sun contrasted by dreary, wet clouds. These all remind me that summer is near. But perhaps the loudest reminder of all is the seeming scarcity of cloth to cover the abundance of exposed skin.
Last week, Brother Todd Neuschwander gave a compelling case for modesty from the Scriptures. Assuming that you already read his article, I do not plan to focus on the Biblical foundation for modesty. Rather, this article is from the guys to the girls, sharing our perspective on modesty, encouraging you to pursue it for the right reasons, and giving a few suggestions to do so.
Modesty encourages the guys
I want to let you in on a little secret. Maybe it’s not a secret anymore, so I won’t say it too quietly. Guys are attracted to girls. And you know what? That’s the way God created it to be! However, when our passions and attractions go unchecked, they quickly turn into lust which, according to Jesus, is the same as committing adultery.
You may never completely understand how guys are wired, but your modesty honors the men around you. It is as if you were saying, “I recognize that moral purity is a battle and I want to encourage you to stand strong!” As our society continues to undress unashamedly, your modesty is like an oasis in the middle of the desert. Please know that we appreciate you a lot!
I must clarify, so as not to be misunderstood, that we guys carry the personal responsibility to walk in honor and care toward you ladies. We are ultimately accountable for our thoughts and actions, not you girls. Guys who follow the passions of the flesh can conjure up lust toward the most godly young women. And guys who walk in the Spirit can honor and respect the most brazen.
Modesty protects yourself
Simple, modest dress blatantly states that you are a woman of honor. Even the perverts are more likely to treat you with respect. Your apparel clearly signals that you are not up for grabs and boldly declares that you are not a toy for easy fun. While obedience to God never guarantees physical protection from all harm, it is most definitely a way of entrusting your own purity into God’s hands.
Are you asking God for a man who will keep his eyes only for you, who will not dull his passions with pornography and affairs, and who will love and remain committed to you through thick and thin? Your modesty will be most noticed and appreciated by that type of guy.
Using your body to attract your future spouse will only lure the guys who are looking for quick fun. And their quick fun will be at your expense. In contrast, when you pursue purity and live out God’s purpose for your life, you deliberately state to those around you that His way is best. You recognize that the world’s definitions of beauty and pleasure pale in comparison to the peace and fulfillment that are found through submission to His standards.
Modesty fulfills the purpose of clothing
Brother Todd Neuschwander shared a helpful principle for discerning what one should wear. He writes, “The nakedness of the body should be covered in such a way that the eye is not drawn to those parts that are private, personal, and untouchable by others.”1
God created clothing to cover and conceal, but today it is used to exhibit and display. When you dress according to the latest styles and trends, you are, perhaps unintentionally, discarding the whole purpose for clothing!
Fashion designers know what will turn heads and draw eyes, and they are good at what they do. Some of their current techniques to draw attention are: form-fitting, overly loose and open, low tops, high bottoms, sheer material, jagged edges that might give a peek, and lettering that focuses eyes on inappropriate places.
As Christian guys, we ask you to consider eliminating these styles from your wardrobe. Instead, fill your closet with items that intentionally cover the body and honor God’s purpose for clothing.
When unsure about modesty, ask
I really appreciate my (biological) sisters. They have a heart to dress in a way that honors both God and their brothers in Christ. One thing that blesses me is when they ask what I think about their clothes. Sometimes they have questions about modesty and come for an honest assessment.
If you have brothers, a dad, or another authority figure who cares about you, ask for their honest opinion about your wardrobe. Take seriously what they say. If you balk and fume at their input, don’t expect to continue hearing constructive comments from them. Guys really don’t like meddling in girls’ affairs, so if they are brave enough to share with you, don’t take it lightly.
Heart-modesty is foundational
As with all Biblical applications, modesty must flow out of the heart. Tim Reitz, fellow blogger, shares his comments, “Modesty is much more than just the clothes. Two young ladies can be wearing the exact same outfit and one is modest and the other is not. A girl could wear ‘less modest’ clothes and still be more modest than another girl who is wearing the most ‘modest’ clothes one can find. I think the heart shows through immensely. And I think it is noticeable whether the girl is trying to attract guys or honor God with her actions and dress.”
Biblical modesty does not merely modify the exterior clothing one wears. It starts with an inner transformation that flows outward, impacting motives, attitudes, personality, actions, and dress. Biblical modesty is solidly rooted in a confidence in Christ and security in our Heavenly Father.
Do you really realize how loved you are? Just take a moment to revel in the unfathomable love of our Heavenly Father. Ephesians 1 says that He chose us before the foundation of the world to be adopted as His very own sons and daughters. We have been redeemed and forgiven, and have an inheritance right along with His Son Jesus Christ! If this isn’t an identity worth claiming, I don’t know what is!
Modesty must start and end with love for your Heavenly Father. You are a temple of the Holy Spirit, which means God is dwelling inside of you. You are a privileged daughter of The King, which makes you His representative to the lost world around you. True heart modesty springs out of this reality.
Where does your security lie?
Girls, don’t seek your security in us guys. Find your complete satisfaction and identity in your Heavenly Father, your Brother Jesus Christ, and your Helper the Holy Spirit. Only then will you be able to honor your brothers and care for yourself.
Solomon states it well, “Charm is deceitful and beauty is passing, But a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised” (Prov. 31:30).2
|Ian Miller lives in Brooklyn, NY and volunteers full-time with a non-profit organization. He is earning his BA in English through College Plus, which he hopes to use to teach ESL, both at home and abroad. He is passionate about urban, cross-cultural church planting, and verbal, personal evangelism.|
Questions for discussion
Please comment below!
Guys: Share your suggestions for girls who want to dress modestly.
Girls: Ask questions that you would like us guys to answer about modesty.
1. Neuschwander, Todd. “Toward a Theology of the Body.” Radi-Call.com. N.p., 29 May 2016. Web. 29 May 2016.
2. The Holy Bible: Containing the Old and New Testaments ; NKJV, New King James Version. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Bibles, 1992. Print.