Throughout my life, one hot topic has always been popular: modesty. But what really is modesty, anyway? Usually I hear modesty as it related to dress. And while I do think that modesty and clothing are certainly linked (1 Timothy 2:9), I don’t think its limited to just how we dress. Let’s explore this idea and further unpack the concept of modesty.
I think modesty is decidedly meek. And modesty undoubtedly applies to more than just clothing. Modesty is an attitude of the heart. It is a way that we communicate that there is something greater than us. I think modesty is an important virtue for a biblical woman to aspire to develop. Modesty flows from a heart that acknowledges that there is something greater. As a woman begins to see herself in light of the Gospel (namely, the Jesus Christ made her righteous unto the Father), modesty will evidence itself in her. And this modesty is not just limited to how she dresses; it will be manifest in other areas of her life. She will refrain in her speech, will refrain in her actions, and will refrain in her dress. You will see meekness in her. Modesty is the fruit of meekness, and meekness is a fruit of new life in Christ (Colossians 3:12).
I had a friend in middle school that dressed however she wanted. She wore low cut tops, tight jeans, short shorts, and showed lots of skin. These were symptoms of the condition of her heart, but not the disease. The disease was a lack of communion with the Father. But she was treated like she had the immodesty disease. She was told to pull up her tank top, buy bigger jeans, and cover her midriff. This caused her to rebel by wearing even more revealing clothes than before. Whoever “treated” her was certainly misdiagnosing the disease. What she needed was to be loved unconditionally, to be shown the Gospel, and to be treated with grace. My friend had a Gospel issue, not simply a modesty issue.
And the Gospel teaches us that we are far more diseased than we realize. In fact, we are dead. And Christ is the only cure (Ephesians 2:1-10).
So, to conclude, modesty is a virtue developed through Gospel transformation. Here is the bottom line: pursue Christ and you will understand modesty. You will speak differently, act differently, and dress differently. You will become all about Jesus.
As an addendum: Oftentimes I hear modesty as the only virtue attached to clothing. And while modesty applies to dress, it is not exclusive to it. Thus, other virtues include purity, beauty, self-control, gentleness, respectfulness, and creativity. Thus, I want to display all these virtues in the way I dress.
Stay tuned for more on modesty in upcoming posts