I started dressing modestly out of pure obedience after being born again September 2017 which I shared in my testimony. Being obedient in itself made this process very challenging because I had let go of what I had learned from society about dress as well as my own opinions without the support of scripture. God’s standards are not our own, and modest dressing separates how you look from the majority. “Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you.” 2 Corinthians 6:17 KJV
Overtime I’ve learned that modesty is not only how you dress, but how you carry yourself, what you say, and what you choose to engage in.
God asks believers to “ Be ye holy; for I am holy.” 1 Peter 1:16 KJV Holiness or sanctification is obviously not something one can boast about as it is a quality that is imparted by God through the Holy Spirit. I can best describe the process of sanctification similarly to a serious and very intense detox. Sanctification is spiritual purification with life changing benefits that is a life long process.
The Greek definition of holiness is “to consecrate” or “to dedicate formally to a religious or divine purpose”. When you are born again in Christ, you are no longer living for yourself, with selfish ambitions, and for the pleasures of this world. Therefore everything in your life changes if you allow it, as it is not something that is forced on you. You choose.
The word modest is the English translation of the Greek work kosmios which means “seemly” or “appropriate”. Other Biblical words used to describe godly women are chaste (pure), discreet (prudent), shamefaced (bashful), and meek (gentle). I find that modesty completely opposes what I was taught in society which is to be bold, shameless, aggressive, and sexy.
There is a hidden strength in the qualities of being pure, prudent, bashful, and gentle because it takes more self control.
In terms of dressing appropriately, I was taught if you show your legs, you cover your chest and arms. If your back is out, you cover your legs and your chest, but never show everything. It was an idea of being partially sexy without “giving it all away”. After being born again, I learned something very different. All of my body was precious in the sight of God. None of it was to be given away.
“What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.” 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 KJV
Understanding why modesty is important to being new in Christ has helped me tremendously especially when facing criticism from family and friends. It is impossible to stay the same once you are born again. How you present yourself is only a part of this transformation called sanctification. Initially when I began a scriptural study on modesty I came across two frequently cited scriptures on this topic. “In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with broided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array; but (which becometh women professing godliness) with good works.” 1 Timothy 2:9-10 KJV
I find it interesting that two different writers in the New Testament wrote very similar passages. “Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel. But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God great price.” 1 Peter 3:3-4 KJV
When I speak of or even refer to modesty, I usually get an immediate resistance which I do understand. Resistance is the opposite of surrender. “This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.“ 2 Timothy 3:1-5 KJV This passage could not be more blunt. What also struck me hard when I first read this scripture was “for men shall be lovers of their own selves” more than lovers of God. I’ve definitely put myself first many times, even as a “good person”.
I’ve put my own personal ambition and desires before God most, if not all of my life before it was renewed in Christ.
“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.” Romans 12:1 KJV My testimony shares why I completely surrendered my life to following Jesus. I don’t honestly know if I would still be here otherwise.
“Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.” Matthew 22:37-39 KJV Following Christ has had lessons upon lessons, and much of the process is putting aside my own ideas of everything including how I dress and present myself.
The blessing of modesty has been very unexpected.
The more I am obedient to the word of God and my personal convictions, the more peace I have which is consistently abundant. And yes I literally had to get rid of everything in my closet and trust God to replace it. Surprisingly He did just that. I easily found modest pieces at thrift stores, bought a few handmade dresses from Etsy, started sewing pieces that brought me contentment, and God provided the money for all of it.
After years of being career and success driven, pursing my passion for the arts, 14 years in the performance industry as a professional dancer, I find the rewards of walking with Christ to be much more of a blessing. I shared The Beauty of Modesty in a previous article. I will share more on modesty as I am led.
Image by Dawn Michelle