Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Straight Talk About Modesty

As I begin to write this article, the sun is shining outside and the weather is warming up and the anticipation of springtime is upon us. It is usually in this time of year that elders and preachers all over our nation begin to focus on at least a sermon or two or an article about modesty. Warm weather sparks the beginning of less clothing for all of us - let's face it, you just don't need as many clothes in July as you do in January. It makes sense to be functional and to dress according to the weather.

That being said, we haven't needed to wait for warm weather to have this discussion. Christianity is a year-round lifestyle and our church building is heated enough that people have been wearing far too little to our worship services already. It is hard to imagine some wearing any less, and it is almost scary to begin to think about what might come through the doors of our building in the coming months.

There is no official dress code for worship - but there is an official dress code for Christians. It is what God calls modest and decent and appropriate. Our number one goal in life and in worship should be to please God. If that is not our focus then we need not leave our homes until that attitude is in place. What I am about to write in the next few lines is specifically intended for our worship services on this occasion - but I would like to think that on some level it can be applied to how we ought to clothe ourselves every single day and in most every situation.

1. Some have argued that they are wearing what they are wearing because "It is comfortable." But much of what people wear to services for their comfort makes everyone else uncomfortable. We have men that have commented to me that they will not enter some of our Bible class rooms because they do not want to see what they have been seeing. Too much leg exposure, not enough coverage up top, and so on.

2. Some have argued that they are wearing what they are wearing because "It is fashionable." I realize that it is difficult in this world in which we live to find modest clothing on the rack at the mall. But my question is "fashionable to whom?" I sincerely do not care about the fashion world. I am sorry but that is what is going on in the world, and if I have to sacrifice what is godly in order to be fashionable I will take a pass. My soul and my influence are worth far more to me than fitting into the world's mold for my life.

3. Some have argued that they are wearing what they are wearing because it is their prerogative and that it is "none of anybody's business." This is a selfish attitude. When I leave my home everything I project becomes the business of others because I am subjecting them to it. If I am cross I need to change my expression. If I am judgmental I need to change my heart. If I am derogatory I need to change my language. If I am immodest I need to change my clothes.

This is not a fun topic. It gives me no pleasure to discuss it. I need to think about how this applies to how I dress, and I feel the need to examine myself about it and apply it to me first. Sometimes you just have to say what needs to be said because you love God and mankind too much to remain silent. So this is some straight talk from your preacher. I love you. Let's work together. Let's make sure not to be a stumbling block to each other, but rather a blessing to the adoration and praise of our God. Let's look in the mirror before we leave home and come to worship and ask the sincere question, "Is God pleased with what I am wearing to worship today?"

"Therefore let us not judge one another anymore, but rather resolve this, not to put a stumbling block or a cause to fall in our brother’s way." ~ Romans 14:13

"This is what the Lord spoke, saying: 'By those who come near Me I must be regarded as holy; And before all the people I must be glorified.'" ~ Leviticus 10:3


  1. The saddest part for me is that I had no idea, even several years ago, that modesty was such an issue. My culture led me to believe that as long certain areas were covered, I was fine. I am sad to say that it is only in the last few years that I realized the "heart" is where modesty begins. It seems that this topic it is just not thought about deeply enough.

  2. It is sad that articles such as this must be written. But as another preacher has said, modesty is a heart problem. If we aim to please ourselves rather than God, no matter the situation, we have a heart problem. This is something we all struggle with in our own personal weaknesses.

  3. Our minister has spoken about this subject multiple times. And it extends to pre-teens and teenagers as well. It seems to go unheeded though. My belief is that it starts back as babies and small children! The are dress scantily through their childhood and when they become of an age that modesty really becomes an issue, the children can't understand the problem. They've dressed this way their whole life so the feel "What's the big deal?" We as parents will answer for this one day.