Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Why I Don't Dress Modestly for Men

I'm a young Christian woman who seeks to dress modestly. However, when I get ready for the day, I do not choose modest clothing to "keep men from stumbling."

Let me clarify.

I agree that we should serve our brothers in Christ. 1 Corinthians 10:32 says, "Do not cause anyone to stumble." It's important to live like this. But our modesty should be an act of worship to God before it is any response to man.

Something I've found is that modesty frequently becomes more about our relationship with men than our relationship with God. We receive constant reminders like: "Do not cause your brothers in Christ to stumble by how you dress. It is your responsibility to do your part in keeping men from temptation by dressing modestly." However, in the Bible, women are called to dress modestly as worship to God (1 Timothy 2:8-10).

When the focus of anything is man, it quickly becomes entangled in legalism. In Galatians 1:10, Paul says, "Obviously, I’m not trying to win the approval of people, but of God. If pleasing people were my goal, I would not be Christ’s servant." 

When I was a teenage girl, I understood "modesty" as a collection of rules and what-not-to-do's that controlled how I dressed. These rules were stretched and blurred as I walked the line as closely as I could between what was modest and what was not. Modesty became an inner wrestling match between my will and my consciousness of the men around me. "If I dress this way, the lust is their fault. If I dress that way, then it is mine."

Asking the question, "Did how I dress today cause boys to stumble?" without the focus on worship brings about legalism because the standards of man are changing and broken by this world. How I dress can easily become shame-centered this way. "My jeans can only be this tight. My skirt may only be this short."

When the question becomes instead, "Did how I dress today bring glory to God?", every piece of clothing I wear becomes an act of love instead of a source of guilt.

My modesty is first and foremost an act of worship to the Lord and only then it is a way to respect and love the men around me.

It is a precious thing to love my brothers in Christ by how I dress, but it is a far greater treasure to clothe myself first and foremost in worship of God: ethically, modestly, and with righteous deeds.

"This is how we know that we love the children of God: by loving God and carrying out his commands. In fact, this is love for God: to keep his commands. And his commands are not burdensome." - 1 John 5:2-3

Three years ago: Bounce Houses are the BEST!
Four years ago: Take someone out for coffee.