Show of hands--who grew up with the mantra "modest is hottest" shared liberally throughout their youth group? Shoved down girl's throats whenever they wore "too short" shorts? I'm a part of the generation of girls that could not grow up without hearing the phrase "modest if hottest" several thousand times. But what does God really say about modesty? Is it really an issue that the church should be concerned with? And how do we handle modesty in adulthood?
I began thinking more about modesty after the sermon at my church this past Sunday titled "Fashion" (click the link to hear the sermon in its entirety). We are in the middle of a series called Culture Shapers, which is (you guessed it) all about the things that shape our culture. Each message is based upon Romans 12:1-2:
Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.God calls us to treat our bodies as a "living sacrifice, holy and pleasing" to Him. If we are walking around in the skimpiest, tightest clothes we can manage, are we treating our bodies as living sacrifices? It is easy in the world we live in to dress a certain way to get attention, without even thinking about the spiritual side of things. The media we encounter every day tells us that in order to get a man, we must show off our "assets" through the clothing choices we make. But in the Scriptures, we are told that our value does not come from who we are on the outside, but who we are on the inside.
The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart. -1 Samuel 16:7Our "inner beauty" is of utmost importance to God; it should be of the same importance to us, even though it is more "culturally acceptable" to place the emphasis on outer beauty. So I don't think the real issue is "what can I wear" and "what can't I wear." The real issue is a heart change--aligning our desires with God's so that clothes aren't our concern anymore. Our concern becomes the beauty that comes from a deep personal relationship with our Creator and treating our bodies as what they truly are--a temple for the Holy Spirit.
So what should we do? Throw out all of our clothes, run to the store and buy a wardrobe of turtlenecks? I don't think that's the answer. I like the clothes I have, and only two of my shirts are turtlenecks. ;] But I am more mindful about the clothes that I wear out of my house. As a sisters in Christ, I feel that we should not purposefully put a stumbling block in the path of our brothers in Christ. We cannot control what goes on in a person's head, but we should not be enabling inappropriate thoughts by dressing provocatively. And you know what they say...the fish you catch depends on the bait you're using. I don't know about ya'll, but I don't want to catch the type of fish that likes me because of my low-cut top. That type of fish isn't around for the long-haul. Instead, I want the type that is attracted to me because of the part of me that God is most concerned with--my heart.
pic from here