In today’s society, modesty has many different definitions. Some definitions are more strict, others are more relaxed. The way we dress, the way we look, and the way we adorn ourselves are constantly running through our minds and the minds of those who see us. The world has certain views of what we must look like to be accepted, but what are God’s views on this subject? How does he feel about the way we adorn ourselves? Well, we’re going to answer these questions as we study the subject of modesty.
We must first realize what the word “modesty” means. Modesty, in the subject we’re using it as can be defined as “behavior or appearance that avoids indecency or sexual attraction”. In other words, if we are modest, we are humble in the way we dress and appear. This also entails what our intent is when we dress. So what are Christians supposed to wear? Well, unfortunately, God does not give us a comprehensive list of what we can and can’t wear. He does, however, give us insight into how we’re supposed to treat our bodies. Let’s look at a couple of examples.
First off, we must realize that our body is a temple of the Holy Spirit. 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 says, “Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.” Some of us may have heard this verse many times in our life. But what does it mean? Our bodies can be compared to the Holy of Hollies. This was the innermost room of the temple where no man could go except the high priest once a year on the Day of Atonement. Even then, the high priest had to cleanse himself before entering. Why? Because God himself consumed that room. Leviticus 16:2 makes it very clear that God Himself was in that room, and if anyone entered that room except for the high priest on the Day of Atonement, they would die. So why bring this up? Well, Paul tells us that our bodies are a temple in which the Holy Spirit dwells within. If we have received forgiveness from God in the waters of baptism, then we have the Holy Spirit dwelling within us as long as we continue to walk in the light. That’s an amazing gift from God. However, Paul says it’s very important. Paul tells us to glorify God in our bodies. This is a command, not a suggestion. So if we wear clothing that is revealing or draws personal or sexual attention to ourselves, is that glorifying God in our bodies? The answer would be no. We cannot glorify God and draw attention to ourselves, it’s either one or the other. So the next time you are deciding what to wear, ask yourself this question, “Is it glorifying myself?”.
We must also consider that what we wear and the intent we wear clothing with can prevent us from reaching our eternal home in heaven. 1 Peter 3:3-4 says, “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.” Peter is saying that God does not care what we wear or how we look. God looks at the heart and spirit of a person, not the external adorning. Jeremiah 17:10 tells us, “I the Lord search the heart and examine the mind, to reward each person according to their conduct, according to what their deeds deserve.” God will reward us for what we did and why we did those things. He searches the heart and mind for intent.
In conclusion, we should not wear clothing or adorn ourselves with things that will draw attention to ourselves. Why? Because if we do, we are not glorifying God, we are glorifying ourselves. Keep in mind that our bodies are a temple of the Holy Spirit, however, if the temple becomes corrupt the Spirit will leave. If we draw near to ourselves, God will not draw near to us. Always remember, God knows the true meaning behind everything we do.