By Cindy Bryant
Dressing modestly is not a matter of choice, but a command of God. God has revealed how we are to dress and, if we are to be pleasing in his sight, we must do as he commands. In 1 Timothy 2:9, we are told that women are to adorn themselves in modest apparel, with propriety and moderation. Vine’s Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words defines modesty as “orderly, well-arranged, decent” and he goes on to add that it is not only the outward dress and demeanor which are important, but also the inward spirit and how we use it to conduct our lives.
Much clothing that is readily accepted by the world would have to be rejected by the child of God. The world will think us strange for not going to the same extremes as they do in their dress, but one who has died to sin and been raised in Christ will seek to please God and not man (I Pet. 4:4; Rom. 6:3,4). The world accepts shorts, halter tops, swim suits, low cut blouses, see-through clothing, tight clothing, and other types of revealing apparel, but the child of God seeking to dress modestly and with shame fastness will not run with the world by wearing such clothes. The Christian’s attitude should be to shrink back from the line that separates modest and immodest clothing.
We are not to look to the world as our standard of dress, but let God’s Word be our guide. In today’s society, there is a great temptation to follow fashions and styles. How-ever, we must remember these fashions are set by the world, without God in mind. In 1 John 2:15-17, we are told not to love the world nor the things in it. We should “blush” at even the thought of dressing ungodly. If we get to the point where sin does not make us ashamed, that is when we will fall (Jer. 6:15). Worldly things are temporary, but those who obey the will of God will abide forever. If we truly love the Lord, we will be obedient to his commandments (Jn. 14:15).
Jesus tells us we are the light of the world and it is our responsibility to let our lights shine before others (Matt. 5:14,16). We are told to study God’s Word diligently, but we cannot stop there (2 Tim. 2:15). We must take what we learn and practice it. It is our duty as young people to be an example to those around us (1 Tim. 4:12). How will people in the world know we are Christians unless the proper example is set before them?
We must also think about how others will view us when choosing our dress. As Christians, we are to be the salt of the earth (Matt. 5:13-16). If we dress immodestly, our influence will be severely damaged, besides causing others to sin (Matt. 5:28; Lk. 17:1,2). We are commanded to teach the lost and rebuke their sins (Mk. 16:15; 2 Tim. 4:2). We cannot do a very effective job if we are living just like them (Matt. 7:1-5).
In 1 Corinthians 6:19-20, we are told that our “body is the temple of the Holy Spirit” and we belong to God. We should use our bodies to glorify God and not to shame him. Not only does God want us to do those things that are pleasing to him, but also he wants us to do them for our own good (Deut. 6:24). God tells us what is good for us just as our parents teach us things that are good for us. God looks down on us with love and he has made the greatest sacrifice for us in giving up his only Son. Our goal in life should be to please God in everything we do.
Sometimes we do things in our lives that we are ashamed to tell our parents and we know that if they find out they will be sorely disappointed. God is not only disappointed when we sin, but it grieves him, the Holy Spirit, and Christ, who have done so much to save us (Gen. 6:6; Eph. 4:30; Lk.19:41). We must always remember that if we will confess our faults to one another and repent of the sins we have committed, God will forgive us (1 Jn. 1:9; Jas. 5:16). He is always ready for us to come back to him (2 Pet. 3:9).
1 Peter 3:2-5 tell us that we are to be chaste, or pure, in our conduct. We are not to be overly concerned with outward beauty, for God looks at the inner spirit. He expects us to have a gentle and quiet spirit, not boisterous or loud. This is how the holy women who trusted in God adorned themselves. If we have the inward beauty de-scribed in this passage, it should be revealed in our outward person. How we act, dress, and speak will be brought forth from that inward beauty. Our bodies belong to God and they are to be used to his honor (1 Thess. 4:4).
As Christians, we are “to present our bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reason-able service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God” (Rom. 12:1,2). This will mean that we will give up wearing immodest clothes which are popular in the eyes of the world. Considering the sacrifice God made on our behalf and the reward that God has for those who love him, this truly is a minor sacrifice. Modest dress is a must for the child of God modest apparel, with propriety and moderation.
Guardian of Truth XXXIX: 6 p. 21
March 16, 1995