Modesty doesn’t define faith
“You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot.” Matthew 5:13
This is typically not the Bible verse used when discussing the way Christian women should dress. I think that since we are representing ourselves within society that it could appropriately be considered as part of what God calls us to do. He appointed us to be the means of preventing or curing the growth of that corruption which prevails in the world, and of seasoning people’s minds with wisdom and grace.* Typically, when discussing the way women should dress;
1 Timothy 2:9-10 (NIV) 9 I also want the women to dress modestly, with decency and propriety, adorning themselves, not with elaborate hairstyles or gold or pearls or expensive clothes, 10 but with good deeds, appropriate for women who profess to worship God.
I could go on and on about how literal some people take this verse without doing their research. Paul the apostle, had no problem with jewelry or dressing nicely. He was referring to women dressing like the non believing women of his time and how they dressed, more specifically Roman women of the time.
I grew up in a very legalistic religion that had a doctrine for all the different facets of life. It took this verse by verbatim to define the way women should dress. When I became a young adult I left my faith for a variety of reasons. As a rebellion my modesty was one of the first identities of the world that I adorned. I got my ears pierced and would wear obnoxiously large Cubic Zirconia that sparkled from miles away. Plastered my face with way to much makeup (one thing was because I could; The other, I did not know how to properly apply it.) I bought midriff, form fitting, low cut tops; (that was the criteria: must be form fitting, low cut, midriffs.) Way to short, shorts and skirts. Now that I have been born again, I have a yearning to represent Christ. A struggle I have is finding a suitable definition of modesty.
1 Corinthians 12:23 (NIV) and the parts that we think are less honorable we treat with special honor. And the parts that are unpresentable are treated with special modesty,
I was raised that to be modest you need to be covered from your neck to your ankle, preferably in a skirt; (definitely when attending church) but not required. Makeup, jewelry, and fancy hairstyles were not acceptable or appropriate. That lead me to do research of a new definition of modesty. In the last week, I have read conservative to liberal Christian perspectives. Observing other Christians, people in my church and leaders as well as celebrity public Christian personalities. Then, I had a conversation with a sister in Christ on the issue of bathing suits at the beach, which led me to this post. After reading some strong opinions and fear based views. I turned to the source the Bible and Bible commentaries. I have a definition of what my family and I will teach my three daughters as being modest or representing Christ.
Godly women can be fashionable and attractive and I don’t mean sexually attractive. I mean the dictionaries definition of having beneficial qualities or features that induce someone to accept what is being offered. What is being offered in our case is the truth of Christ. This doesn’t mean that we should be dress for other peoples approval. That we are not sloppy or frumpy and take care of our appearance. I do believe modesty is something which families need to take a very close, careful, prayerful look at for themselves. Then determine to be a woman after God’s own heart and what that would outwardly look like to represent their inward beliefs. “Your clothing should be tight enough to show that you’re a woman, but loose enough to show that you’re a lady!”
Even if you dress the part doesn’t mean that you have a corner on truth. It’s possible to have a modest outward appearance while having the immodest heart of (critical, self-righteous, and judgmental towards those who do not see things the way you do).
1 Timothy 4:12 (NIV) Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity.
Showing grace to everyone no matter what they appear to look like. Whether, you are wearing tank tops, shorts, skirts, dresses, and a bathing suit. Yes, my daughter wear bathing suits, to the pool or beach, I just don’t feel a bikini is essential to them becoming faster swimmers. Respect your body, your family and most important honor God in all that you do including what you wear.
Do you feel that modesty has an effect on your faith?