Monday, April 4, 2016

Modesty is Not a Dirty Word

I expect nothing good from secular culture. Minds closed to the things of Christ will never live according to biblical standards.

I expect a lot of good from the church. Minds enlightened by the Holy Spirit both can and should live according to what God desires. As with so many things, however, the church often disappoints. One particular area where this is the case is with modesty. In particular, I'm referring to modesty of dress.

How is it that just about any Christian who brings up modesty is almost immediately accused of being a legalist or a prude? One time I actually dared on social media (my mistake) to speak out against women wearing bikinis. I of course received a ton of push back along with the all too frequent question, "Do you expect women to wear burkas?" It is sad that any suggestion that men and women dress modestly is rejected by (it seems) the majority of believers.

Paul tells us in I Timothy chapter 2:

I desire then that in every place the men should pray, lifting holy hands without anger or quarreling; likewise also that women should adorn themselves in respectable apparel, with modesty and self-control, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly attire, but with what is proper for women who profess godliness—with good works (I Tim. 2:8-10).

The only explanation I have for this phenomenon - that of the church rejecting modesty of dress - is that the church has largely adopted the values of the world. This is not news; we've seen it all our lives. It is simply a very troubling thing.

A basic reading of the New Testament teaches us that followers of Christ will live far differently from the world. We will, in fact, be a peculiar people. Peter actually refers to us as aliens. When the body of Christ looks and acts like what it is (something unique), that pleases God. On the other hand, when the church looks and acts like secular culture something is very wrong.

Modesty of dress is not legalism. No one is calling upon Christian women to wear burkas. What I am calling for is the body of Christ living as what we are - a holy people. When it comes to dress, we should not be flaunting our physical bodies for the world to see. Rather, when we dress modestly it allows God to be glorified through what stands out - our acts of righteousness and service.

Please brothers and sisters, let's all embrace a lifestyle of modesty. When it comes specifically to dress, let's fault on the side of covering up as opposed to showing it off. There will certainly be some gray areas in this; we will not all agree, for example, what constitutes shorts that are too short. However, if we will strive to please Christ and embrace modesty we will look far different from the world around us. This pleases our Lord.