by Sarah Lee Bryant
We as the King’s daughters probably hear a lot about dressing modestly.
Sometimes, though, we need to be reminded. That’s because we are constantly bombarded by the world with contrary messages. All around us, we see skin showing. We grow desensitized to impurity.
So why is it so important that we value modesty? While there are many Biblical motivations for modesty both in attitude and apparel, the Lord has been reminding me of these specific areas:
1. Modesty reveals that we are grateful for the covering blood of Christ.
Clothing symbolizes the covering that we as sinners need and have by the blood of Jesus Christ, which was shed for the atonement of our sins. Clothing covers our shame; Christ covers our sin. And when we willingly and purposefully dress for the glory of our Lord, in a sense our appearance tells the world that we are happy to be under His covering, we are grateful for His grace, and we are fully satisfied in Who He is to us.
2. Modesty is an outward manifestation of love.
When we dress modestly – not drawing attention to our bodies in such a way that could provoke unlawful thoughts or desires in others – we are demonstrating true love. Unselfish love. A love that is willing to show we care about others’ spiritual wellbeing before the Lord.
3. Modesty is beautiful and incredibly freeing.
Walking in obedience to the Lord in the area of modesty sets us free to live to Christ. We are free from the world’s standards and trends and vanities. We embrace the holy beauty of the Lord – which will never fade. Modesty enhances the beauty of Christ within our heart.
“Whether therefore ye eat, or drink,
or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.”
(I Corinthians 10:31)
Do YOU desire modesty?
However, have you ever been like I have felt at times… You knew the value and importance of modesty to God, but when it all boiled down to it… You just had no desire to dress modestly? You knew it was right (and maybe you even conformed to the standards required of you) but your heart simply wasn’t in it?
I know it sounds terrible put it so bluntly…but the truth is, in our flesh, we do not desire modesty. The old (sinful) nature within us desires the natural affections of the flesh. We desire the attention that we can get when we wear certain immodest clothing.
“This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.”
We must have a regenerated heart to have wholesome desires and to walk in obedience to the Spirit…and to truly desire to dress for the glory of our Savior!
And as we walk with the Lord, there may be times when we in our flesh simply don’t “want” to do what is right. Therefore, there is a battle between our spirit and flesh. The apostle Paul talks about this in Romans chapter 7.
“For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not. For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do.”
Realizing this when it comes to modesty in particular can be helpful. Modesty is a choice we make in obedience to our Lord and Savior, to bring Him the glory and honor. As we obey, He blesses.
Let me share how the Lord has been teaching me this personally!
I have always been taught the importance of modesty, and I am grateful for this. However at one time in particular, I began to wonder what the big deal was. Although I knew the “whys” of modesty, part of me still pushed against it. I struggled with a constant desire to want to wear things that would make me feel more attractive physically. Nothing radical – just a subtle tweak here and there.
However, I quickly began to see what a slippery slope this road was. Push the standard a little in one area – why not fit the rest of the outfit to match? I didn’t know why I felt so confused about these “little things” – because there were always others who dressed much less conservatively. After all, the Lord has given us liberty within Biblical guidelines – and the way He leads each of His children looks different for us all. No one else knew when I was pushing the line or had wrong motives…however, I knew.
The issue for me was not the piece of clothing – it was the fact that I was pushing against the Holy Spirit’s promptings in my heart.
I knew what He wanted of me. I knew that He was convicting me of these wrong motives. The clothing was simply the outward manifestation.
Finally, one day after wrestling over this for quite a while, I realized I had a choice. I could choose to walk in obedience to the Lord’s leading in this area. I didn’t have to follow my fleshly desires and compromise. What a simple thing – but at the time, it was very profound!
That day, I literally told myself, You know, that piece of clothing may not be defined as ‘immodest’ by someone else…but it is simply not what the Lord wants me to wear at this time. I’m going to obey Him!
So I walked to my closet – and selected the few articles of clothing that I had felt convicted about…and gave them to a thrift shop.
I can’t express the freedom I felt in that moment.
When I choose to stop reasoning it out and justifying myself…and I repented, and heeded the leading of the Holy Spirit, all those fleshly desires for attention disappeared. I wanted to please the Lord in this area of my life!
In my flesh, I didn’t desire modesty. But when I made the choice to simply obey despite my feelings – the Lord blessed and I experienced incredible freedom! (One practical thing I have done since that time is write down a few personal guidelines, so that when I’m shopping I don’t have to wrestle with…is that too short…well it’s not that bad… Instead, I have a guide and can simply say…it doesn’t fit the criteria!)
“And they that are Christ’s have crucified
the flesh with the affections and lusts.”
Sisters, the ways of the Lord really are peace and truth and freedom. If we will just trust Him and obey – we will experience that freedom! So often my faith is weak, and I am not willing to walk in faith and obey. And therefore I don’t experience the many blessings that the Lord wants to freely bestow. What a conviction this is to my heart.
What about you? Where is your heart? Do you desire to dress for God’s glory?
I’m not asking if you can check all the proverbial boxes of the “modesty checklist.”
That’s because you and I can be perfectly conforming to the outward standard…all the while our hearts are lusting after the sin and acceptance of the world. I’m asking…do you really have a heart that desires to bring the Lord Jesus Christ honor in how you dress?
Or has the Lord been gently tugging at your heart…calling your heart to purity? I encourage you to get in God’s Word, study this topic, and understand His heart for you. Confess any sinful desires to the Lord; He already sees it all (Psalm 51). Rid your heart and your closet of immodesty. Say no to your flesh, and say yes to His will. As I have found, you will experience incredible freedom and joy as you embrace His will!
“All the paths of the Lord are mercy and truth unto such as keep his covenant and his testimonies.”
May the Lord make you and I to be young ladies who truly have hearts that are all glorious within…and then our clothing will beautifully reflect that (Psalm 45:13)!
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