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Friday, November 30, 2012

Hard Questions – Modesty: What Does Our Clothing Say About Jesus?


A guest post from our pastor’s wife -

Watching the Olympics

For the first time in a long time, I found myself watching the Olympics and of course, pulling for the Americans.  My enthusiasm was dampened though by all of the athletes who were so scantily clad.  It seemed that the lady athletes were often wearing much less than the men who were in the same kind of sport.

I was surprised to even hear a discussion on the radio about the subject as I was driving home from work one day. [Editor’s note: She is also the church secretary. :-) ]  Even those who don’t claim to be Christians were talking about how scantily dressed the ladies were.

I must say that in recent years, I have been shocked at the laxity of Christian ladies and girls in the area of modesty.  So many seem to just follow the fashion trends whatever they may be.  I Timothy 2:9 says, “In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety…”  1 Thessalonians 5:22 says,  “Abstain from all appearance of evil.”

One of the worst influences on modesty in women’s fashion came from a woman whose name has been in the news lately since she died August 13.  Her name was Helen Gurley Brown, and she was the editor of “Cosmopolitan Magazine” for years and was a proponent of displaying the female body in such a way as the entice the opposite sex.  Models wearing the most risqué clothing were featured on Cosmopolitan’s covers under her direction.  Sad to say, one can see girls dressed in like fashion even attending church services today, or perhaps dressing appropriately for church but in their every day life dressing like the world.

Many fathers and mothers are not teaching their girls to be modest at young ages.  So many think the trend of showing more and more of their little girl’s bodies is cute.  Pictures are posted on Facebook in bathing suits and short shorts for all the world to see.

Little girls are being paraded in a very alarming way as they compete in the little girl beauty pageants looking like miniature street walkers.

Yes, it will be going against the world and not an easy battle, but Christian fathers and mothers need to be prepared to say no to the types of clothing that would bring reproach on the name of Christ.  Christian parents should not be encouraging or allowing dress that is provocative.  Parents shouldn’t be deceived into thinking they can allow the wrong kind of clothing when the child is little and correct the kind of thinking that has bee instilled in the young child when she is older.  Barriers to modesty are often broken down when the child is young.  Those who have gotten used to wearing immodest clothing often do not feel any shame in continuing to dress in the same fashion when they mature.

We don’t allow children to lie when they’re young and think that is cute.  We don’t allow them to do other sinful things and think we’ll correct it when they are teens.  At least, we shouldn’t, so why do we become so lax in the area of modesty?

Of course, I’m not talking about the dress of babies and very young toddlers, but I do think when the child is around 2 years old even teaching on modesty can begin.

Last but not least, moms should be good role models in this area.


Editor’s Note: 

As a foot note to this article I’d like to make a further comment on the idea of our dress being a reproach to the name of Christ. 

In Titus 2:9-10, the Bible says,  Exhort servants to be obedient unto their own masters, and to please them well in all things; not answering again;  Not purloining, but shewing all good fidelity; that they may adorn the doctrine of God our Saviour in all things.  This passage is speaking to servants regarding the service to those over them, however I think that last part of verse 10 is an important point for all areas of life.  We ought to live, speak, and dress in a way that will adorn the doctrine of God our Saviour in All Things.  One could write a whole book on that concept alone. 

But, in relation to this article, what about your dress?  What about the dress of your daughters, and even sons?  Is your clothing such that you are an adornment to the holy and righteous doctrines of Jesus Christ?  Or, are you a reproach to His name because your apparel is so immodest, sensual and worldly?  While it is true that clothing is an outward appearance and that God looketh on the heart, 1 Samuel 16:7, it is also true that man does look on the outward appearance.  For many people our outward appearance is all the Bible they will ever “read”.  What does your clothing say about Jesus Christ?


  1. This is something that isn't easy in a place where the weather is SO hot and humid at the moment - Dolly struggles with overheating and sweating an awful lot, and is finding long clothing and sleeves (ie. covered shoulders) very difficult to cope with. We've always preferred that she wear clothes that go mid-calf or longer, but I'm having to take some of her clothes up to just below her knees for the sake of not overheating (and also because her cousins have scooters she's been riding that have been catching on her long skirts and ripping holes in them!).
    However, she does know what is modest and what is not in ways other girls her age don't even consider or think of, and for that I am very thankful. That is one battle I won't have to fight another day. :)

    1. It is a hard question. It is something that each family has to determine before the Lord for themselves. My purpose was to challenge Christians to think about how their dress reflects upon Christ because there are many who sadly don't seem to do so at all. I know you do think about it.

      I probably ought not to have used an illustration for this article at all since it could tempt people to use that as a measure. I like that picture because the kids were dressed decently, but not old fashioned. I don't believe we need to look like we stepped out of the 1800s to look modest and decent.

      I have a friend who has also had to deal with the heat issue. She gets heat sickness so easily that she's had to make adjustments in her clothing in order to deal with that. It's something that you'll have to figure out for your situation. I'm sure you know that cotton clothing is cooler than blends and synthetics. It also holds up better to wear and tear than rayon and challis.

      Regarding modest play clothes, have you ever considered girls' rompers for Dolly? Here are some links. (Sorry they're so long.)




    2. Sorry the links aren't active - you'll have to copy and paste.

    3. Oh, thank you! :) (The links were active when your reply was emailed to me, by the way, so no worries!)
      I agree that we don't need to look like we stepped out of the 1800s... There are so many different opinions on WHAT modesty actually means, and I do think we need to address that personally (or between ourselves as husbands/wives or fathers/mothers) with the LORD rather than making it yet another form of legalism. Some people in different climates or personal/medical issues also have different NEEDS and I believe the Lord knows and understands. :) It is most definitely a heart issue (am I dressing to please myself/my fleshly desires or the Lord?), and something we need to consider very carefully when we raise daughters... and sons. A very sober reminder - thank you for posting about it.

    4. Glad to be of help. I agree with what you said here too. I do believe each family/individual needs to address the issue for themselves before the Lord and not just follow someone's prescribed legal code. For one thing, I've seen people following legal codes who thought they were dressed modestly, and yet certain aspects of their clothing were very revealing/immodest. They didn't realize it at all in some cases, I think, because they never stopped to consider how they actually looked, they just followed the "accepted" code. :-( My desire is to challenge people to think for themselves *before the Lord*, not just follow the orders of some perceived "boss".