It is becoming increasingly alarming to note the number of Christian women who are showing little or no respect to God by the way they dress. Many have decided modesty is “a personal opinion,” and no one has the right to tell them how to dress.
However, God DOES have the right to tell us how to dress! Read this command, “in like manner also, that the women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with propriety and moderation, not with braided hair or gold or pearls or costly clothing, but, which is proper for women professing godliness, with good works” (1 Timothy 2:9-10).
Although these words were penned years ago, they STILL apply today. God does not change, and His words do not change (James 1:17). Christians are STILL commanded to present their bodies as a living sacrifice to God (Romans 12:1). They also are NOT to be conformed to the world (Romans 12:2).
Modesty is described even by a dictionary as “decent.” God has given us the ability to think and reason; thus we are able to discern what is decent according to standards set by God. The Bible gives us all we need to know in order to understand decency in appearance and in behavior.
This excuse may be used: “That’s the only clothing being sold today and everyone is wearing it, so it must be considered proper now.” Do you really think that excuse will stand before God? Look at what Jesus said in Luke 16:15, “And He said to them, You are those who justify yourselves before men, but God knows your hearts. For what is highly esteemed among men is an abomination in the sight of God.” Are you willing to become an abomination to God in order to be highly esteemed by the world?
Basically, attitude controls what clothing we choose to wear and what behavior we display. In Proverbs 27:19, we read, “As in water face reflects face, So a man’s heart reveals the man.”
Ladies and girls, even a TINY BIT of cleavage does not fit the description of modest apparel, NOR does this show respect toward God! Any display of the thighs is also not a description of modesty. These areas are designed by God as part of the female’s sexuality. Therefore they should remain covered, so they are not attracting the male’s attention. These sexual areas of one’s body belong only within the boundary of marriage (Proverbs 5:19).
Married women sometimes publicly wear clothing which exposes “just a hint” of cleavage or the thighs, believing this is permissible now that they are married. After all, no one else looks at a married woman except her own husband. Ladies, do not be deceived; there will be others looking! Some will deliberately look; others who desire to live godly will not intentionally look, but accidentally see before they can get their eyes turned away. Do you desire to share with all others what specifically belongs ONLY to your husband? Do you desire to show DISRESPECT to God AND your husband in this manner?
Others, while not dressing immodestly themselves, call the display of flesh “cute” on others! No, it is not “cute” in God’s sight, nor is it showing respect to God! Those approving of immodesty are just as guilty of sin as those who are dressing immodesty (see Romans 1:32). Yes, immodesty is a sin, and we need to realize it is sin!
Women desiring to truly please God are willing to be more careful about what is or is not “on display” with each item of clothing worn. Remember even though an item of clothing may appear modest when first put on, as one moves about, clothes also “change positions” and do not continue to stay exactly in the same position. A woman is not a statue that remains totally still and never moves! Here’s a helpful hint: stand before a mirror, full length if possible, and look at your top, bottom, sides, and all points between. Turn, twist, bend over, raise and lower your arms, eyeing yourself from all angles. You may realize you are displaying more than you thought! Sit in a chair in front of the mirror, crossing and uncrossing your legs and note what is seen. Observe carefully every item of clothing you put on. Remember the words of Jesus in Matthew 5:28, “But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” We can cause men, and boys also, to have feelings of lust because of immodest clothing which exposes too much flesh. We must realize the male is affected greatly by seeing a woman’s or girl’s flesh. This is the way God designed us; however He also gave very specific guidelines concerning the sexual behavior of both men and women. If women or girls dress immodestly and cause lust, they are as guilty as the male in this sin.
Women may say they are not able to find modest clothing in stores. Yes, some stores no longer sell much decent clothing. It may take looking a bit longer, but it is possible to find decent clothing. Some express the idea that modest clothing is “too expensive.” However, I have found just the opposite; modest clothing is not as expensive as the “latest styles of immodesty.”
Older women often are deceived by the idea, “No one looks at older women, so it really doesn’t matter what we wear. Just go for comfort.” There is no truth to that idea. All women, regardless of age, are noticed by others. But more important, all are noticed by God, and all are accountable to God.
A Christian woman with the right attitude will be thankful when a Christian sister draws her aside and lovingly talks with her about an article of clothing being immodest. A wife with the right attitude will thank her husband for wanting her to dress modestly before others. Because of the right attitude, she realizes certain parts of her body belong only to her husband and she will not desire to expose these parts to others. A Christian woman with the right attitude will not buy immodest clothing for herself OR for her children, and she will teach her children (both girls and boys) to dress modestly. She will teach both by example and with words, explaining it is sin before God and disrespectful to God to dress immodestly.
If we truly desire to glorify God and show respect toward God, we will gladly dress modestly at all times, instead of trying to justify immodesty! If we respect God, we will teach others to dress modestly also! Dressing modestly is not just inside the church building, but it should be done everywhere we go. By the way, men and boys are NOT exempt from dressing modestly!
1 Corinthians 6:19-20, “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? For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.”
Are you showing respect to God or to the world?
By Dena Ivie
Dena and her husband, Charles serve with the church in Tatum, NM. Charles is the pulpit minister for the congregation of about 20 members from the local area. There are more articles by Dena on the ladies’ page of their website and onher blog.