When people hear the word modesty they usually think of the way we dress. But modesty means so much more. The dictionary defines modesty as ‘freedom from conceit or vanity’, ‘propriety in dress, speech, or conduct’. It not only has to do with our appearance but also with the way we speak and carry ourselves.
The topic of modesty is not something I hear talked about as much now as I did when I was younger. Maybe it’s because I’m an adult now and it’s assumed that I know how to dress appropriately and carry myself properly. I do not participate in our youth group classes nor do I have a child in youth group at this point, so I am unaware if this topic is discussed on the regular basis that I remember. I hope that it is!
Although it’s something that needs to be taught when we are young, should it stop when we are grown? Does it not apply at a certain point? In 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 the Bible says, “Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, who you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.” Nowhere in this verse does it only address youth nor does it give a time limit. This is something that is intended for us to carry on throughout our entire lives. Do you think of your body as a temple of God? Do you glorify God in your body?
As I see and associate with many people, I notice that modesty seems to be slipping away. Not only with our youth, but also with adults. Many seem to have lost their modesty or were not taught about it when they were young. At the grocery store, at the school, at sporting events, and yes even in church people seem to be wrapped up in acting a certain way, talking a certain way, dressing a certain way and all the while becoming more of the world and less of the way God intended.
Just setting an example in modesty for those of the younger generation seems to be difficult. Our culture makes it very easy to dress not so modestly and act not so modestly. I know from experience as I shop for clothes or hear the way people talk to each other. But just because it’s harder to find modest things to wear or speak in a modest and respectful way, does that mean we should settle for what’s easy? The answer is NO! We should go above and beyond to live the way God wants us to. To not be of the world!
Modesty is something that was instilled in me as a child. I was to speak to others with kindness and respect. To not interrupt and to apologize to others when needed. The clothes I wore were to cover the majority of my body. Some may view that as over the top, but I am SO grateful that my parents set that example and also engrained those values in me. My daughter probably won’t like that I am so passionate about this at some point in her life, currently she just wonders why I won’t let her wear certain things. She will have to learn to love it like I did! Did I always like the rules my parents had in regards to this? No, but they were always sure to tell me why they had these certain guidelines. In Matthew 18:7 it says “Woe to the world for temptations to sin! For it is necessary that temptations come, but woe to the one by whom the temptation comes!” This verse, to me, sums up why dressing modestly is important. The way we dress has the power to cause another person to sin! Think on that one for a minute.
Is it difficult sometimes to find clothing that suits the modesty bill? Yes, but I don’t settle! I find something else or find an additional item to make it modest. Is it always easy to speak kindly and with respect to all those I encounter? No, but I do my best and I seek forgiveness when I fall short. I want to glorify God with my body and my words!
In 1 Timothy 2:9-10 God asked that we, as women, “adorn ourselves 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.” These words are an encouragement to you! Set the example for those who you associate with. Dress modestly, carry yourself highly, speak kindly, and do good works for the glory of His kingdom!