modesty in dress speaks volumes for the christian believer

Modesty in dress speaks volumes for the Christian believer in that it demonstrates his/her separation from the world, honoring Christ in daily walk with Him.

This can be a frustrating topic for some Christians in that they may feel undue attention is being placed on the clothes he/she wears whenever stepping out the door into the world to go to work, school, church, shopping, or meeting people outside the home.

I have found this attitude and thinking among those believers who wish to do as they want, who want to live the lifestyle that includes all the latest styles, fashions, and trends of apparel, not caring so much of what others think about how they dress, nor regarding what the Bible has to say about it. 

why modesty has such a bad rap?

Seemingly, not all Christians feel compelled or convicted to dress modestly these days; nor is it discussed in our small groups, Christian meetups, or preached much about in some of our church sermons. Why do some believers deem this as a highly important issue, while others rarely give it credence to their spiritual lives?

Could it be that modesty in and of itself has gotten a bad rap over the years? Here are a few reasons this could be so:

  • It cramps my lifestyle. Maybe you are one who enjoys the various "looks" of fashion and clothing styles that come out every year in the magazines or the fashion runways. Some of these styles/fashions however are very risque and questionable for the Christian believer to wear.
  • It is yet another rule for the Christian to follow. However, this should not be the attitude one should take as a follower of Christ. When you are saved, you want to do as God commands and to gladly obey His Word regarding everything, including how you should dress.
  • It messes with my image or self-esteem. Maybe you feel like an oddball if you wear plain, or dowdy clothing, or something that does not draw attention to your nice figure. Personally, I have found that if I do wear those outfits that draw attention to my figure, it makes me feel very self-conscious and an oddball as well. Our confidence and esteem however, should be only in that of Jesus Christ and in representing His nature and character. All else does not. It's not about looking cool or fitting the certain image of someone who is put together nicely, but of honoring the Lord in obedience to Him and in the way you present yourself to the world.
  • People won't talk to me, take me seriously, or include me in their group. To this I say, "So What!!" Honestly, you probably do not need to associate with those types of people who will put you down because of how you dress anyway. Dressing modestly helps to tell the world that you are not like them in their thoughts, attitudes, or ways in lifestyle. Instead of associating with these kinds of people, seek out like-minded Christians who share your biblical principles and standards. Additionally,
  • Others might feel threatened by your honest living and modest carriage. This I have come across in my college years-even at the Christian university I attended! You would think believers there would understand, uplift, or even agree with me. I was a young student who wanted to dress modestly, follow the Bible, and not dress in those scanty outfits as I witnessed other young girls do. Sadly though, in many situations this was not the case, even among those who claimed Jesus as being Lord and Master of their lives. They felt that dressing like the world made them appear more popular, than what dressing modestly would.

consequences of dressing wrongly, compared to dressing modestly

Dressing like the world can bring about negative connotations to the live of the believer. Of course, it is only natural for those who have not heard or accepted the gospel to dress any 'ole way they want to or to whatever suits their fancy. They just don't think about modesty regarding their apparel. 

Whenever you go out though, whether you are a Christian man or woman, boy or girl, the way you dress speaks volumes to people, and especially to those who do not know Christ. Even if they do not know Him, they are seeing someone who is Christ-like in you. You see, other people are watching you out there in the world, although you may not think or sense it; it's the truth.

Here's what may happen in the believer's life as a result of wrong apparel/dress:

  • Dressing immodestly can result in the questioning and ruin of one's Christian testimony. If you want to show that Jesus lives in you, it will very difficult to approach others in a spiritual way, attempting to spread the gospel while wearing pants that drop below the buttocks (for men), or wearing skin-tight, low-cut dresses or blouses (for women). How will people take you seriously? Your life will seem like a contradiction.
  • Dressing immodestly can cause your brother or sister in the Lord to stumble and fall in their own Christian lives, resulting in temptations to sin. You may have heard of various preachers, TV evangelists, or other men of God, who were brought down by lust and sins of fornication, adultery, or homosexuality within their own congregations. Could it be that they were also tempted by women in the church dressing in seductive fashions? Or think of where you worship. Do you find men and women there who come to church in very tight-fitting, low-cut dresses, short skirts; or very tight pants, or loose pants that drop below the buttocks? These types of fashions in dress do not show modesty at all and can contribute to a sister or brother in Christ to fall into sin.
  • Dressing immodestly hinders your close fellowship and connectivity with God. Your own prayer life and daily walk with Him suffers when you are not in His will, or behaving in the ways that are not right with God, including that of modesty. You will begin to notice that your relationship with the Lord is not the same as when you are walking in obedience to Him. Finally,
  • Dressing immodestly makes you "look" like the world. As a believer in Christ you will want to emulate Him and His character. While Jesus lived on earth, He was known to be a man of humility, kindness, unassuming, meekness, unobtrusive; not arrogant, nor prideful of a man. He was and is our true example of all that modesty is! However, if you claim to be a Christian, but live, act, behave, or even dress like the world, then how can others who do not know Christ learn of Him through you? Analyzing ourselves is very hard to do. I've been there as well, but it truly requires a heart change first before the mind and body will follow suit. If this is your situation, ask the Lord to change your heart and life right now, and He will do so, giving you the peace and contentment in living a life of modesty.

biblical principles of modesty

As you begin to dress appropriately, feeling confident that you are doing so as to emulate Christ, then other areas of your life also change, which will create modesty in your thoughts, behaviors, mannerisms, speech, and your overall countenance.

This too is how God changes you when you become saved, in that, you don't do the same things or behave in the same ways as you did before accepting Christ as your personal Savior. You are "putting on" Christ. This is modesty; He is changing you into a new creation. 2 Corinthians 5:17 tells us so, "Therefore, if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away, behold, all things are become new."

Scripture gives us clear indication and instruction on the values of modesty. Here are a few passages to guide you along:

  • 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 instructs us, "What? Know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost, which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's."
  • Romans 14:13 says, "Let us not therefore judge one another anymore: but judge this rather, that no man put a stumblingblock or an occasion to fall in his brother's way."
  • 1 Corinthians 8:13 says, "Wherefore, if meat make my brother to offend, I will eat no flesh while the world standeth, lest I make my brother to offend."
  • 1 Peter 3:1-6 tells us, "Likewise, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands; that, if any obey not the word, they also may without the word be won by the conversation of the wives; While they behold your chaste conversation coupled with fear. Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel; But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price. For after this manner in the old time the holy women also, who trusted in God, adorned themselves, being in subjection unto their own husbands: Even as Sara obeyed Abraham, calling him lord: whose daughters ye are, as long as ye do well, and are not afraid with any amazement."
  • Ephesians 6:11 reminds us to, "Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil."
  • 2 Timothy 2:15 also says for us to, "Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth."
  • Leviticus 19:28 says, "Ye shall not make any cuttings in your flesh for the dead, nor print any marks upon you: I am the Lord."
  • 1 John 2:16 says, "For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world."
  • 2 Corinthians 6:17 instructs us, "Wherefore, come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you."
  • 1 Timothy 2:9-10 also says, "In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with broided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array; But (which becometh women professing godliness) with good works." Lastly,
  • Galatians 5:16 says, "This I say then, 'Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.'"

While modesty may have a "bad taste in the mouth" to all the world and its fashion systems, we know as Christians that we are called to be separate from them; in our thoughts, actions, speech, and of course, in the ways we dress. 1 Peter 2:9 makes this clear as it states, "But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of Him who hath called you out of darkness into His marvelous light:..."

Make modesty your rule of standard as a believer and follower of Christ. Allow it to be the catalyst which propels your Christian faith in witnessing to those who have never heard the gospel message. Adorn yourself with the love of Christ and His Spirit, giving Him the precedence over all, which He so richly deserves.

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