So Sarah from Trusting in The Lord has joined me in making a modesty post. Each of us came up with some questions, and we gave our personal answers to each one. I’m curious to get some feedback from you, the readers, though – I’d like to hear what you think about the topic.
A quick disclaimer to any guys reading this: please don’t stop reading this just because it’s a modesty post!! Modesty is not a “girl” thing, and is often taken for granted by guys. I’ve tried to make it apply to guys and girls equally where I could.
That being said, here are thoughts on the topic from two different girls.
1.) What do you think modesty means?
It means that we as women have personally chosen to dress for our Lord, and not for men. It’s a personal conviction, and each and every one of us has different standards. Modesty means that we have chosen not to put ourselves out in the world without wearing inappropriate clothing so we don’t lead other people to sin. If more women would dress modestly, men (and women) would respect us. We are not “things” to be toyed with, we are human beings that God has created just as He has man. By not putting ourselves out there hardly wearing clothes at all, we are respected. People have addressed me and my sisters as “ma’am” several times. If you aren’t dressing modestly, what kind of man are you going to find who “likes you?” A man who will do the same with any other women that he sees. Dress for the God-and the man He has chosen for you someday.
What do I think modesty means? I think it means honoring the Lord with our actions, attitudes, and dress. Modesty doesn’t just mean the clothes you wear – it’s also determined by the way you interact with and treat members of the opposite sex, and the attitude driving that interaction and treatment. Actions and attitudes frequently get passed over, when in truth they are just as important a factor as clothes. You could be dressed from head to toe and still act immodestly.
A big note, modesty does not just apply to girls. In Christian circles, modesty is primarily focused on how much cloth covers the girl, while the same principles are very much so overlooked in guys. There are just as many girls that stumble over the way that guys dress and act as guys that stumble over the way girls dress and act. So guys, please don’t dismiss any of this, as most of it applies to you as well!
2.) What is the significance of modesty?
Our motive. Are we wishing to please God, or man? Why should we want to please man… God has “the one” out there for us, the one who will love us as we are. The motive is important… you really have to discover what YOURS is.
Because it’s significant to God! Paul charges the women in 1 Timothy 2:9-10 to “dress modestly, with decency and propriety… but with good deeds, appropriate for women who profess to worship God.” This verse is commonly brought up in those Christian circles, so I won’t go into it much, but where do the guys fit in here? He’s flat-out obviously addresses women!
There’s one more passage that I believe applies to this same general thought that is found further on in 1 Timothy, 5:1-2. “Do not rebuke an older man harshly, but exhort him as if he were your father. Treat younger men as brothers, older women as mothers, and younger women as sisters, with absolute purity.” Girls, are you going to try to act immodestly with your brother, and dress as immodestly as possible? Guys, are you going to act and dress immodestly for your sisters? Please tell me not! The same goes for your girl and guy friends, y’all. Treat them with absolute purity. Not with any alternate intentions, not with any selfish intent, or trying to trip them up and cause them to stumble. Good rule of thumb: if you wouldn’t do it to your sibling, then don’t do it to those of the opposite sex around you!
3.) Why do you think modesty honors God?
I think it honors Him IF we dress for Him, and only for Him. It’s a sign that we are saving our hearts for the man God choose for us, and we will dress the way God wants us to. It honors Him, because people may see us as different, but not in a bad way, quite the opposite. We give honor to God through living our lives dressing modestly, and having the RIGHT attitude.
I believe it is obeying His Word, and if we love Him, we will obey His commands. By obeying His commands, we are honoring Him. By dressing and acting modestly, I can (hopefully!) encourage my brothers in Christ in pure thinking, instead of being a stumbling block for them, which isn’t Biblical (Romans 14:13, “Therefore let us stop passing judgment upon one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in the way of a brother or sister.”). As an added bonus, modesty says a lot about you! People are going to almost always respect the one who is modest in deed and dress more than the immodest, flirtatious one.
4.) Why do you think attitude has a great affect on the way you dress?
Because attitude, is our main, TRUE, focus. We want people to see who we are INSIDE, not outside-our looks. We want people to know who we truly are.
Our attitude will determine how we dress. Whether we dress for attention or to glorify God, it reflects our attitude and ultimately reveals our hearts. I read once that girls who feel insecure about themselves tend to dress more immodestly. Those that dress modestly reflect a heart that strives to honor the Lord in their dress. So attitudes have everything to do with how we dress.
5.) Do you think guys should dress modestly?
In fact, I do. I don’t think it’s necessarily right for guys to have no shirts on at beaches, or even on the street. I think guys should be covered as well. Why should it just be “oh, girls should always be covered,” I believe they do, but I also believe men should as well, *real* men will.
Goodness, yes. I personally don’t find most guys’ choice of dress really that stumbling, but a lot of the time, when guys dress immodestly, it’s just disgusting. It’s really hard to respect a guy who dresses to catch a girl’s eye. That being said, I’ve heard seeeveral girls moan before about guys’ lack of modesty. Guys, it really does make a difference to girls. Please show a little consideration!
6.) Why do you think other people around you have an affect on the way you dress?
Because or peer pressure, and it may even look “cool” at moments when everyone is doing it. Fads die away, faithful hearts do not. It may be tempting at moments to want to follow the crowd, it may seem easier… but do not stray from the Path. Stay close to Jesus.
Often times I find it comes from wanting to be accepted and fit in. No one wants to stand out. No one wants to be eyeballed for the kinds of clothes you wear. (Believe me, I’ve gotten a lot of those looks…) We want to be accepted and loved, and the philosophy that this world teaches is that you have to fit in and be like everyone else. A big factor there is in choice of clothing. The more immodest you are, the more people will like you, is the draw.
7.) Do you think that we should only dress modestly outside of the home?
I do not, especially if you have brothers. It may become “normal” for them and it won’t even bother them, it will become so normal they will be blinded from the sin… Modesty is true, when you make a commitment to dress modestly everywhere, inside the home-and out.
Certainly not! That totally defeats the purpose of dressing to glorify the Lord. It then only becomes an appeal to show your righteousness to man. Then you’re only doing it for your own glory, not for God’s.
8.) What do you think is appropriate for swimming in?
Many girls I know wear shorts and a t-shirt to swim in, which I agree is modest! One piece, sleeveless swimsuits I think, however, are not. I have seen many girls who normally dress modestly, and wear one-piece swimsuits that are not modest… My sister created her own design for swimsuits and she makes them for each of my sisters and I. Coverupforchrist.com. She also has an Etsy shop that you can go to-to see what I wear for swimwear. I don’t think we have to wear dresses to swim modestly, but one-piece I don’t believe work either. My sister created a swim skirt, which is a shorter skirt attached with swim leggings. They are all made out of the same swim material you would normally have. Then she has different style swimtops she makes. The elastic band I have on my swimsuit lets me swim freely without my having to constantly pull it up and worry about it gaping and it allows me to swim freely.
Oooh boy. Well, this is one of those areas that people tend to disagree on; it’s very controversial. For me personally, I wear a one-piece with leggings and an exercise shirt on over it. It does the job for me. However, there are so many different ideas, strategies, and outfits that I’m not in on that probably work all the same. As for guys, though it doesn’t really bother me, I’ve heard a lot of girls complain that when y’all don’t wear shirts, it’s a distraction. Something to keep in mind there.
9.) What are your personal standards for modesty? Why do you hold to these standards?
First of all, we all have consciences, and we know what works for us and what doesn’t-though, sometimes we need help from parents or siblings. My personal standards are, no low cut shirts, no writing on shirts (because they draw unwanted attention), no sparkles, or anything on jeans, skirts, shirts, ect. No tight, thin shirts. No tight pants, no sleeveless shirts. I think jeans and shorts are fine to wear, as long as they are NOT tight, and the shorts don’t go above the knee. It’s pretty simple, we all know if we are truly dressing for God-or man. I hold these standards, because God says in 1 Corinthians 6:19-20, “Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in your 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.”
I won’t even try to be brief here, ‘cause that’s not my main focus. I really don’t have standards for guys, simply because guys’ clothing doesn’t make me stumble. There are things I find extremely unattractive for guys, and I know that there are lots of things that guys wear that cause girls to stumble, but unfortunately every girl is different so my personal standards aren’t that applicable here. So I’ll focus on the girls for this one.
I’ve heard varying approaches from guys to pants vs. skirts, but again, all guys are different, so I’ve heard from some “yes, skirts!” but from others “both are okay”. Honestly, I wear both. So here go my personal convictions and standards for how I dress:
For pants, there’s to be no flashy pockets (i.e. rhinestones, glitter, bright patterns), no rips, no tightness in places there ought not be *ahem*; nothing that draws the eye. Shorts… honestly, yeah I wear those every once in a while too. I don’t see anything wrong with them, as long as they come down to the knee. Things ride up when you sit down. And the same principles that apply to pants apply to shorts as well.
Skirts, there are to be no slits, no flashy pockets, no tightness, and at least to your knees. Preferably lower, please.
For shirts – yeah, girls, y’all had to go and figure out every way to make clothes as revealing as possible! Thanks a lot! – no gaping, no tightness, nothing too short, no necklines too low, and no bold labels or lettering where there ought not to be.
I think that covers it… attitudes are different. When I think of immodest attitudes and actions, I think of flirting, and purposefully doing things to catch a guys’ eye. I won’t even go into that, y’all already know what I’m talking about. Guys, the same thing applies to you. Please don’t immodestly flirt (please don’t flirt period!). Please don’t do immodest things just to get the girl to notice you. I’ve had it happen to me, and it doesn’t make any girl who holds to Christian standards appreciate or respect you.
Why do I hold to these standards? Because I try to dress and act in a way that won’t make guys stumble, to honor God, and try to treat young men as brothers. I wouldn’t do anything to make my brother stumble, so why should I do it to other guys? I know I can’t control a guy’s thoughts, but I can do my best not to encourage anything.
10.) What might you tell a guy or girl who asked for advice in this area?
To girls: Guard your hearts. Dress for God, not man. Don’t put yourself out in the world wanting attention-it’s attention you don’t really want. The men who truly love you, will see your heart-not your outward appearance.
To guys: Watch your eyes. A woman who dresses for man-will not truly love you. She may seem to-for the moment, but you want someone who will love you life long. Follow the Lord, He has the “one” for you planned. Just wait, and guard your heart, eyes and soul.
Firstly, please don’t get legalistic about this! I know of the people who are constantly worrying “oh no! Will this one particular shirt make guys stumble?” about every little thing. Please don’t turn into a modesty legalist. It’s good to determine what’s modest and what’s not, but don’t be a modesty-Nazi.
Second, watch your motive. Don’t try to dress and act modestly in the hopes that you will catch the eye of that member of the opposite sex. Yes, I know of those people too. Don’t do things so that that particular guy or girl will make a note of how spiritual and holy you are in your code of dress and action. That’s the wrong heart. Do it ultimately to please God. Forget about the rest. Everything you do is to be for His glory, right?
Third, determine what clothing is modest for you. Things look different on different people. But actions and attitudes remain the same for everyone.
I’d love to hear your thoughts on the topic of modesty for both guys and girls!