I’m going shopping. I’ve been out for hours with my mom shopping for some clothes that are actually modest. This includes jeans that are not skin tight, shirts that are not too clingy or low, and shorts, skirts, and dresses that are not too short.
After shopping for hours, the day usually ends with only a couple items that were tirelessly searched for almost the entire day. Of course, this is very frustrating, but it is so worth it. Why? It’s worth it because I want to ensure that I don’t cause any of my brothers in Christ to stumble because of my apparel.
I know that many girls push against this insisting that guys should control themselves. Although this is absolutely and one hundred percent true, most of the time girls say this so that they can wear what they want to wear, even if it means causing guys to be tempted. Most of the time, sadly, they say this out of selfish motivation.
So does modesty mean that we must wear clothes that don’t have any appeal whatsoever? No, it doesn’t. It simply means that we must evaluate and analyze what we wear and examine our heart motivation for dressing the way we dress.
So why shouldn’t men just control themselves? We must help our brothers through what we wear because we don’t want them to stumble into temptation and distract others from the Gospel. But our motivation to be modest isn’t merely to help guys. Our clothing portrays the condition of our hearts, and we are exhorted in Scripture to be modest in our apparel.
Paul writes in Romans 14:13, “Therefore let us not pass judgement on one another any longer, but rather decide never to put a stumbling block or hindrance in the way of a brother.” He goes on to say in verse nineteen, “So then let us pursue what makes for peace and for mutual upbuilding.”
Having a dad and brothers, I know that it is a struggle for them to go anywhere where there is immodesty, although they are constantly fighting the battle against lust. For guys specifically, sources of this temptation are ever before them.
I know that sometimes we girls want to wear all of the newest trends and styles, or just clothing items that we want to wear, but when doing so causes temptation and stumbling to guys, we must be willing to change what we wear out of love for our brothers. Although we may not understand the struggles associated with men’s fight against lust and may even look down at them for it, let’s think about others and try not to hinder their walk with the Lord.
Modesty is not merely a word that causes girls to wince when mentioned. It is, as C. J. Mahaney describes, “humility expressed in dress.” Rather than drawing undue attention to our bodies, we should promote purity through our dress.
2 Timothy 2:9-10 states, “Likewise also that women should adorn themselves 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.” Adorning ourselves with “respectable apparel” reveals our good works, therefore revealing the condition of our hearts.
Modesty is a virtue. The way that we dress comes from the outflow of our hearts. What is your reason for wearing what you wear? Is it because it’s the new, popular style, or because you want to honor God through your clothing? Is it to draw guys’ attention, or is it because you desire to help your brothers in their fight against temptations?
Is there a difference between how you and your unbelieving friends dress? Is there a difference between what you wore previous to your conversion, and what you wear currently? The Gospel’s transforming power spreads to every area of our lives, including the very clothes that we wear. Our adornment can and does serve to distract others from Christ and the Gospel message, so we must try to prevent this in whatever way we can.
Our manner of dress should also be consistent with our profession of faith. When others see us, they should see a difference between us and the world. Instead of dressing for yourself, you can dress in order to point to Christ and the Gospel.
It is so very difficult to determine what clothing is modest and what isn’t, and there is no absolute standard for what you should wear and what you shouldn’t. I would encourage you, though, to just examine what you wear and ask yourself, ” Why am I wearing what I wear? Will this outfit serve as a frame for my face, or will it draw attention to my body? Will it potentially cause one of my brothers in Christ to stumble?”
We can do more than to simply follow the world’s expectations of clothing. And no, this does not mean that we cannot have fun with our clothes. I love clothes and I do enjoy wearing some stylish outfits. Girls are made to love beautiful things and it’s not wrong to wear stylish and trendy clothing.
However, throughout our shopping and searching through our wardrobes, let’s be mindful of our brothers. Ultimately, it is our love for Christ that will guide us in what we wear. As we determine our clothing, let us remember the one that we’re seeking to glorify through every aspect of our lives, including our adornment-Jesus Christ.