Modesty: A Definition

I really should have given this post a different title because there will be no clean cut definition of modesty given here. But, if you would like to read my musings feel free…

As I mentioned in a previous post (Modesty: What’s In A Word) , I believe that modesty has very little to do with the clothes one chooses to wear. I do think that can play a part, but lets be real, the underlying motives of your choices and actions are what’s really important. My choice to dress “modestly” most of my life was fueled by the idea that my body was hurting the men around me and that it was my duty to protect them. Ehh, wrong! All that caused was pain for me and pain for others.

As Christians, our motive should always be to serve God and to draw others towards him through love. In doing so we have to recognize that although we are totally unworthy of the grace He has bestowed upon us, we have been adopted into His family and are His children- justified and perfect in His sight.

That being said, the way we live should radiate from that. This leads me to some of my favorite passages on “modest” living, found in Proverbs.

Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life (1). Put away perversity from your mouth, keep corrupt talk far from your lips. Let your eyes look straight ahead, fix your gaze directly before you. Make level paths for your feet and take only ways that are firm. Do not swerve to the right or to the left; keep your foot from evil (2,3). Proverbs 4: 23-27

She is clothed with strength and dignity (4,5); she can laugh at the days to come (6). She speaks with wisdom (7), and faithful instruction is on her tongue (8)Proverbs 31: 25, 26

Here are my takeaways:

  1. Don’t become emotionally attached to people who aren’t your spouse/significant other or friend…most people would say particularly members of the opposite sex and in most circumstances, I tend to agree.
  2. Pursue God wholeheartedly and keep yourself focused on Him.
  3. Figure out what you’re passionate about and do it!
  4. Live a life that is honorable- one of integrity and authenticity. (i.e. don’t gossip, mislead, hang all over guys, flirt with every guy you see…you get the point)
  5. Carry yourself like you are somebody! After all, you are a child of the most high God.
  6. Don’t take yourself too seriously. (I for real need help with this one!)
  7. Ask God for wisdom and discernment and use it!
  8. Don’t shy away from being an example to others…realize that people are always watching you.

Ultimately, I want people to understand the immense amount of freedom that is ours because of Christ’s sacrifice, even in living modestly, and I would venture to say because of it! I would encourage you not to apply modesty to one area of your life, such as the clothes you wear or the things you say or the way you interact with members of the opposite sex, but really integrate it into the person you are. Can you tell I’m a fan of holistic and integrated living?!

I think that immodest living often comes from pursuing things that can only be ours through Christ. Things like acceptance, unconditional love, significance, peace, and joy. Even freedom. Evaluate your motives. Where is your heart? What are you really searching for?

Have any thoughts on modest living or any favorite verses on the subject? I’d love to hear them!


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