Ah life in the summer. Isn’t it glorious? Well if you are a reader in the Midwest you definitely think so, but if you are reading from my native homeland of Texas…you probably have mixed feelings. In the past couple of years I’ve noticed an Internet trend that arises with the onset of summer. The modesty posts. Perhaps it was a video or a cleverly written letter, or just a straight up old blog post…but we all saw those, right? Well here’s my version of just such a post.
Modesty is not about our body. WHAT?! Yep, you read that right. Modesty is not about the clothes you choose when you go somewhere, it’s not about wearing a tankini or one piece instead of a bikini. Modesty isn’t about skin or cleavage or legs. Modesty is about the heart. Let me say that again…Modesty is about THE HEART. Yes the heart. Remember the heart? The wellspring of life itself? That’s where modesty is found friends. Don’t believe me? That’s totally fine, cause I came with back up.
“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 3:4)
The hidden person of the heart, the person filled with love, gentleness and peace—that’s modesty.
“Put on then, as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience” (Colossians 3:12)
--Seems pretty straight forward. Shall we continue? Ok, let’s!
“Likewise, you who are younger, be subject to the elders. Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” (1 Peter 5:5)
That’s innnnnteresting because it doesn’t say “clothe yourself in modest attire at all times” it speaks to the heart issue…again.
Here’s what I’m not saying: I’m NOT saying that you can wear some skanker outfit and justify it by saying you love Jesus and you’re humble, so it’s all good! In fact I’m saying the opposite. I’m saying that if you love Jesus and you walk in humility…then wearing clothes that send people’s thoughts running in the opposite direction of Jesus…wouldn’t even be appealing to you. It just doesn’t happen. Jesus on the throne of you heart shines light to expose dangers of idolizing your body, or the attention your body can bring. Jesus fills the holes where you need to be loved. Jesus overtakes the need for acceptance, attention, and admiration. Jesus is bigger than our vanity or insecurity. Putting Jesus above all else in our lives isn’t something that just naturally comes to be, it takes work. And by work I don’t mean doing good stuff, I mean it takes the same kind of work that a marriage requires to stay vibrant. Making Jesus Lord over our minds, bodies, hearts and even closets is something that has to be intentionally pursued. But the good news is that He has been pursuing us with that vigor all along. Your devotion won’t return void.
So that’s a great reminder. That’s a great encouragement or challenge. But what does that mean for immodesty? That means…all things in love, just take a step out of love for Christ. If you struggle with immodesty (and sometimes that temptation is real and it is hard not to give into, it’s not just an issue for strippers and porn stars and sluts, it’s faced by many a lovely lady) then seek out a woman you respect and trust and ask her opinion, ask for her prayer; and when all else fails, send her a picture text if you are in doubt about what you are wearing. But the deal is…I strongly believe that the majority of you reading here on this particular blog don’t struggle with showing too much of your ta-tas. The majority of you reading this blog struggle with your sinful sense of duty to reside as modesty police in your community. I’ll just say it straight out and then back peddle in order to elaborate.—You need to throw that junk off. As someone who has known the cheap thrills of self-righteousness very well—it’s a temporary high, I promise. I say throw that junk off, because trust me…you are not living in the freedom that Christ brings when you choose anything but reliance on grace and HIS righteousness for yourself. If you find yourself gossiping about, sub tweeting (oh heaven help us), or judging the attire of other women or girls in your community (online counts dudes) you have a MAJOR MODESTY PROBLEM. You are not judge, so by elevating yourself that way…you stand in pride. Your heart is not in a posture of humility. And frankly, God opposes you. Dang. That’s real y’all. “But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.”(James 4:6) So take the grace friends! Take the grace. Unless you are close enough to a gal to know her story, to love her heart, to walk beside her through good and bad…you have no place thinking about what she is wearing. You have been given freedom from self-righteousness (again, trust me…I know first hand). If you are in a loving and trust-bound relationship and you speak in love to a lady who might be mislead about her clothing…by all means, all things in love. You know who you are. You know if you are walking in true righteousness or if you are delighting in yourself.
Don't just dress modestly, live it.
"First clean the inside of the cup and the plate, that the outside also may be clean." Matthew 23:26b
*Oh and a little bonus note…I’ve known my share of modestly dressed promiscuous women. So…yea…for all those “Open Letters From The Mother’s of Boys”….covered skin doesn’t equal strong character and purity. Just…something to think about. ;)