Tuesday, April 26, 2011

What Modesty Isn't

There is a movement cropping up in many evangelical churches, that says women can only dress modestly in skirts or dresses. I'm concerned.

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.
-1 Timothy 2:9-10

This is the verse most quoted by women who wear skirts/dresses only. Notice that it says we should adorn ourselves with good works. If a woman only wears long skirts, but lies, gossips, and disrespects her husband, would you think she adorns herself with good works?
Notice modesty and self-control are paired here. It's easy to dress modestly. Anybody can throw on a long skirt and button up a blouse, and still have the heart of a seductress underneath.
It's not easy to have self-control though. When your husband says something wrong or does something stupid, do you have self-control and show respect for him anyway? Or do you correct him publicly and humiliate him? Which shows good works?

I love wearing skirts and dresses. In fact, I wear a skirt almost every day. Skirts make me feel feminine and femininity is an expression of who God made me to be. I love the way I feel when I'm in a skirt. And compared to the tight jeans I used to wear, I definitely feel more modest in a skirt. Please note: I did not say all jeans are immodest.

Let's look at another verse:
Do not let your adorning be external—the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear— but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God's sight is very precious.

-1 Peter 3: 3-4
This is important: Adorning ourselves with a gentle and quiet spirit is very precious to God. It doesn't say that long skirts or dresses are precious in God's sight. It says gentleness and quietness are very precious in His sight.

As the Body of Christ, we need to open our eyes to see the truth. God's Word nowhere says we should only adorn ourselves in skirts or dresses. It says we should adorn ourselves with good works and with a gentle & quiet spirit.

And the Lord said, “Now you Pharisees cleanse the outside of the cup and of the dish, but inside you are full of wickedness."
-Luke 11:39


Mendi... said...

As always, this is really good! I most certainly agree that skirts produce more femininity, no doubt about that. As a matter of fact, I had a business teacher in high school that always said, "Your character and conduct will follow your dress." I have found that so true throughout the years. It's a difficult thing for me as Kyle prefers me in jeans, comfy pants, slacks and such so this post brought solace to my heart. Both of our girls LOVE wearing skirts and I in no way want to be a stumbling block to them yet I desire to do what pleases My Man! :o) For me, jeans are his choice of dress. We have found a good balance here within our home which is a blessing...and as you said, we concentrate on the contents of the heart rather than a legalistic mindset. The main thing is that we glorify God in the person we are and we dress in ways that do not bring negative/seductive attention to ourselves...whether that be through immodest apparel or glitzy clothing/jewelry.

The thing we ask ourselves is, "Would Jesus be pleased?"


The Queen of Brussels Sprouts said...

Thank you for this. We talk a lot about modesty in our home. But, for me and the activities I do, pants are the most modest. They allow me the freedom of movement that I need. However, they are never tight. I do love skirts, they just aren't practical for me.

Christy said...

I've been following a interesting blog series that addresses this.

I'm with you about skirts, I DO like them...when they don't leave me shivering in the cold. I like the first part of the series how they approach the all skirt life.

Bobbi said...

Amen Ginger...you are right! Modesty is first and foremost a heart issue. YES! Out of the heart the mouth speaks...(and the body acts). I think that if we as Christian women got dressed in the morning making sure that our clothing reflected a heart desiring to glorify the Lord (and not ourselves or a body part), a desire of drawing attention to our countenance and ultimately to the Father vs. a statement of look at me for whatever reason, not on convenience or comfort (what if a bikini is most comfortable to me?), but rather what is to be above reproach and not a stumbling block to our Brothers in Christ, ..if that happened, we likely wouldn't be talking skirts vs. pants.

Mendi... said...

In response to Bobbi's comment, I would have to say that if dressing for "comfort" falls short of God's glory, I fall WAY, WAY, WAY short! Although I know alot of people would disagree, our girls and I spend many of our days (especially when it is cold, damp & chilly outside) in our jammies doing school work. Every morning we get around like anyone else would/does, but many days we stay in our pajamas which we love. I guess it's one of those personal preferences that lies between us and the Lord...

Ginger said...

Mendi, I don't see where Bobbi said that. She said that our clothing choices shouldn't simply be focused on convenience or comfort.

This post isn't about clothes, altho almost every commenter seemed to focus on that. The post is about adorning ourselves w/ good works, and with a gentle & quiet spirit.

Mendi... said...

I didn't intend to make it sound like Bobbi said that dressing for comfort was bad... I wasn't downing at all what she was saying...sorry that I gave you that indication. I was simply stating that many days I DO dress for comfort yet that doesn't diminish the fact that my heart is steadfastly set upon Jesus. As I stated in my first comment, the bottom line is that God is glorified in our dress, our conduct and our character! Any one without the other can be confusing or a stumbling block to someone who is seeking, searching or watching... As well and most importantly, it saddens the Lord and lessens our minimizes our witness.

Mendi... said...

To add to that, sorry I missed the sole point or gave that indication in the way I commented. To me our dress follows our heart so they somewhat go hand in hand.

Ginger said...

Thank you for clarifying, Mendi. :)

Mendi... said...

Your welcome! Thanks for allowing me to clarify! :o)