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what is modesty, anyway?

By August 20, 2010Uncategorized

Dear friends, it excites me to once again have the opportunity to share some of God’s truth with you through this blog! Inspired by a conversation our leadership team had on our San Diego retreat, I wrote this with the intention of starting a conversation about what modesty means to God’s girls. The original version can be found on my personal blog. Enjoy!

What is Modesty, Anyway?
by Natalie Horne

Since my recent post on Satan’s pride in his beauty, I’ve been dwelling on the verse I ended with in 1 Peter, as well as another in 1 Timothy:
“Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.” (1 Peter 3:3-4)
“I also want women to dress modestly, with decency and propriety, not with braided hair or gold or pearls or expensive clothes, but with good deeds, appropriate for women who profess to worship God.” (1 Timothy 2:9-10)
Modesty has been on my thoughts lately. My mind first started reeling on the topic while the Wonderfully Made girls were in town and we got into a discussion about whether or not bikinis were appropriate for us to wear as Christian women. Then Jenn and I talked about it on our coffee date last week. And then Brian and I discussed it on our run on Monday. I think it’s time to talk about it!
My first question is, what is modesty anyway? Sometimes I feel like it’s a term thrown around loosely, but is rarely defined. In order to approach this topic with integrity, it’s important that we all have a common ground to start from. According to Merriam-Webster, modesty is,
  1. freedom from conceit or vanity
  2. propriety (appropriateness) in dress, speech, or conduct
I’ve come to the conclusion that much of our immodest behavior and dress is due to our inability to recognize two things about ourselves: our worth and our innate attractiveness.
Firstly, I’ve come to realize that I tend to dress in a more “sexy” manner when I’m in need of affirmation (i.e. not grasping my worth in the Lord alone). Whether it be glances from others as I walk by, or verbal praise when I’m talking to someone, I dress that way because I subconsciously need to feel valuable and that’s the quickest and most tangible way to receive it. However, when I’m rooted firmly in the Lord, I see that He values my modesty and that He is the only true source of my value.
Secondly, ladies, we are sexy by nature. Unless you are part of the 2% of women who call themselves beautiful, you probably just laughed at that comment; but let me tell you, it’s true. I’ve talked to enough guys to be confident in that fact. Women are attractive to men because that’s how God created it to be, no low-cut shirts required. By dressing immodestly, we are being selfish–we are taking attention away from God’s character by encouraging others to focus on our externals, and we are putting our brothers in Christ in a difficult situation.
Yet, day after day I see women in short shorts, low-cut shirts and itty-bitty bikinis. I’m not talking about non-believers, though that is certainly characteristic of many non-believing women; I’m talking about my sisters in Christ. The women I go to church with, the girls in the bible studies I’ve led, and even myself!
Let’s recap:
  1. Girls are attractive.
  2. Immodesty reflects and is rooted in insecurity.
  3. Modesty is a selfless way to love our brothers and show others the beautiful character of God.
What are your thoughts? Should God’s girls be dressing with modesty today, or is that a concept that has become irrelevant in our American culture? Let’s get the discussion going–I’d love to hear your comments and questions!

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