A Modest Heart

Happy first day of Summer!! The warm air has been here in the South for a while, but now it’s official!
I’m more of an autumn person myself, but I must admit, there’s just something about summer… 🙂
This seems as good a time as any to have a conversation about modesty. I like to think of it like that: You and I are just sipping coffee and having a conversation. (If you don’t drink coffee, just imagine a different beverage.) 🙂

Modesty is a touchy topic that evokes responses such as: “Heathen! Liberal!” or the opposite end of the spectrum: “Pharisee! Legalist!” There usually isn’t much middle ground when it comes to people’s feelings on modesty.

Many get quite combatant in their stand on the subject.
I’m not here to do that. I’ve just read a couple of discussions on it recently and decided to share my thoughts on the topic.

Everyone has their own definition of modesty.
When you hear the word, you automatically form the picture of your definition in your mind.
I seriously doubt our versions are the same, but to me, modesty is much more than a list of dos and don’ts.

I believe it’s more than what you wear (or don’t wear, as the case may be). It’s more than what you say. It’s more than how you act.

I believe true modesty originates in the heart.
A heart that loves God and seeks to please Him in all things will produce a modest lady.

This isn’t something most people like to discuss, especially in our churches. It’s become such a taboo topic that many of our young people have never been told what is appropriate and what is inappropriate.

“Everyone’s ideas are different so why even bother? Let them make up their own mind.”
This statement is fundamentally flawed.
Even if the young person is a Christian who loves the Lord, they still need to be taught. Why?
Because we still carry around our flesh, and left to ourselves, the flesh will never, not one time, choose righteousness.
No one, young or old, will ever stumble into what’s right. We have to be shown, instructed, taught. We have to make a conscious decision by the light of God’s Word to do right.
Left to ourselves, we’ll choose wrong every. single. time.

“What does it even matter? What’s the big deal anyway?”
It matters because as children of God, we are commanded to be separate from the world, to be holy as God is holy…and this is certainly not limited to, but does include the way we dress and act.

“But I don’t want to dress like an old, frumpy lady!!”
Neither do I. Modest doesn’t have to equal ugly or old. It’s true, a lot of the world’s fashions cannot be labeled “modest” by anyone’s definition, but you don’t have to dress like a bag lady.
I love sparkles and bright colors and sparkles and polka dots and sparkles and stripes and…did I mention sparkles?! 😉
You may have to put in a little extra effort and get creative, but it’s definitely possible to be modest and cute. I read a quote the other day that I liked:

“In the case that nothing cute and modest is available, a Christian woman will side with modesty, not fashion.”

“But I’ll never get married if I don’t dress this way!”
Friend, it’s true that dressing the way the world dresses will more than likely get you attention…but is that the kind of attention you want?
If you are a child of God seeking direction for that area of your life, will the men you attract by wearing skimpy clothing be the type of man God has in mind for you? I’m going to go out on a limb here and say no.
Put yourself in his position. If he is praying for a godly wife, will he be looking for someone who dresses and acts just like the world, or will he be looking for a lady who has set herself apart to honor God in all she does, including honoring Him with her closet?

“Don’t judge me! God sees my heart and He is the only One who can judge me!”
This excuse doesn’t hold water. Yes, God does see our hearts….but men do not. Men and women see only the outside, and like it or not, the outside speaks volumes.
Also, if we have a heart that longs to please God, the items in our wardrobe will reflect that desire. What we put on our bodies is a pretty good indication of the condition of our heart.

That brings it back to the beginning… True modesty (or the lack thereof) originates in the heart.

If we wear what the people around us expect us to wear, but are continually pushing the envelope, getting as close to the line as possible, would one not reach the conclusion that this is the case because it isn’t in our heart to wear such clothes?
Anyone can put on the right clothes, but if our heart harbors resentment for the clothes or the people around us who we feel are pressuring us to wear those clothes, does that mean that we are right with God?

I’m not here to tell you what to wear and what not to wear.
I am asking that you examine your heart.

Is true modesty found there?
Is a desire to honor the Lord found there?
Is a love for the people of God (including your brothers in Christ) found there?

If this is an area you struggle with, ask God to help you. Ask Him to show you in His Word what He would have you to do. He will, and when He does, just obey.

If this is something the Lord has already helped you with, be thankful…but don’t think you’re above sin.
It would do us all good to examine our hearts for the pride and arrogance that is often found in those who do dress and act right.
Let’s not look down our noses at those who are walking in the light they have and assume they don’t know the Lord because they don’t look exactly like we look.
Don’t think you’re better than them… Pray for them.

We all carry around this flesh and all have the tendency to sin. Please don’t trade immodesty for pride or hypocrisy.

Let’s ask God to give us a modest heart, to keep us humble, to make us into a vessel He can use, to help us live in a way that reflects Christ to those around us, to point others to Him.

“A modest dress is a very good thing, if it be the genuine indication of a humble heart, and is to instruct; but it is a bad thing if it be the hypocritical disguise of a proud ambitious heart, and is to deceive. Let men be really as good as they seem to be, but not seem to be better than they really are.” ~ Matthew Henry


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