Sometimes us girls can forget how much our clothing communicates to others. While shopping, we judge a shirt by comfort and print, but we don’t often think about if it represents us as a Christian. Is your clothing sending the right message about who YOU are?
Read 1 Corinthians 3 and join me afterward to discuss modesty!
Modesty is something ALL Christian girls struggle with. You want something stylish and fitting, but don’t want anything revealing. Then comes the challenge of finding that in a store – almost impossible! Yet, I believe that clothing is one of the biggest communicators to other people about who you are.
Don’t get me wrong – clothes do NOT define who you are. What I’m saying is that they communicate a certain image. Your job is to make sure it is the right one.
Think about it like this: you are a company. You have developed a brand around yourself; the way you talk, the things you like to do, and how you relate to people. Your clothing is a huge part of that brand. Other people use your clothing to figure out your brand and who you are – so make it accurate!
The principles of modesty
Everyone defines their brand of modesty differently. Some prefer to wear tankinis, some prefer to wear one-pieces. Yet, there are some general principles of modesty that I think all Christians can agree on. These principles should be the basis of your Christian modesty philosophy.
Your clothing should…
- Communicate that your home is Heaven
- Communicate that your foundation is Christ
- Communicate that your body is the temple of God’s spirit
Let’s take a closer look at each of these. Hint: these should look very familiar if you read 1 Corinthians 3…
Is your clothing communicating that your home is Heaven?
I could not address you as spiritual but as worldly – mere infants in Christ. I gave you milk, not solid food, for you were not yet ready for it. Indeed, you are still not ready. You are still worldly.
Have you been around an infant recently? Maybe you have a younger brother or sister. Did you ever notice that infants or very small children copy everything? They copy whatever noises are around them – that’s how they learn to speak. Paul is comparing the Corinthian believers to babies. They’re copying everything that is around them; worldly habits, customs, and philosophies. Most of all, they are copying a worldly perspective – paying more attention to what is immediate than what is eternal.
Our house rules
How does this all relate to modesty? Think about it like this. Every one of you has a particular home. Now, each of your homes develops a particular culture; some homes are run more like ships, some are more laid back. Wherever you go, you are unknowingly copying your home’s culture.
If your home is the world you would, of course, copy the customs and culture of the world. However, if your home is Heaven, you would still have to copy Heaven’s culture, but it would be slightly more difficult.
Imagine you are sleeping over at a friend’s house for a few months (I know, very improbable). It would get harder and harder to exemplify your home’s culture because you would constantly be surrounded by your friend’s house’s culture – wouldn’t it? That is how our Christian faith is. We are originally from Heaven but are living in the world. So, we must try extra hard to maintain the culture of heaven, even though we are ‘sleeping over’ in secular culture.
Every day, try to remember that you are representing the ‘house of Heaven’. Dress as if you are royalty – because you are!
Is your clothing communicating that your foundation is Christ?
But each one should be careful how he builds. For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ. If any man builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay, or straw, his work will be shown for what it is…
The household of Heaven is built on only one foundation: Christ. If you want to represent this household, your foundation, too, must be Christ. Your clothing is only what’s on the outside. What’s on the inside – your foundation – is infinitely more important. Why?
There is a house across the street that is currently under construction. So far, only the foundation and one wall frame is completed. As we walked by it this morning, my mom and dad were talking about how the wall looked pretty flimsy. But then, my mom pointed out how strong the foundation looked. In contrast to the thin wood frame wall, the foundation at the base of the house was made of concrete block cemented together.
How you dress reflects your foundation
This serves as a wonderful example of our own lives. Throughout life, we build ‘walls’ that might not be the strongest – in fact, they are pretty flimsy. But, if we have Christ as our foundation, our house will never be destroyed – only strengthened. The storms of life roll in and destroy our handmade ‘walls’, but can never destroy our foundation. After the storm, we learn to rebuild our walls with Christ’s help, to make them stronger and firmer than ever.
However, if we build on top of a weak foundation – like our self-confidence, our beauty, or our intelligence – our house won’t stand a chance against the purifying fire that Paul writes about. The entire house – not just our walls – will be completely destroyed.
Your clothing is an outward expression of the fact that YOU have Christ as your foundation. You aren’t seeking attention, affirmation, or praise to strengthen your foundation of self-confidence. Instead, your clothes reveal your confidence in Christ as your foundation.
Is your clothing communicating that your body is the temple of God?
Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit lives in you? If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him; For God’s temple is sacred, and you are that temple.
This verse is strikingly similar to a verse in 1 Corinthians 6:19-20. For those of you not near your Bibles, I’ll paraphrase: God bought you (and your body) for a price. So, you do NOT own your body. I realize that this is probably a highly controversial statement to make in our culture today, since we are constantly told: “it’s your body, you can do what you want with it!”. Paul (and God) clearly disagrees with this outlook.
One of the ways that we can honor God with our body is by correctly representing Him. We have already touched on this a little, but I just want to stress how important this point is. I can’t tell you how many times I have met girls who are completely misrepresenting their character by what they wear. They think that they are being unique and “different” since they have tattoos and belly-revealing shirts. But, in reality, they are just demonstrating how much they enjoy copying the world.
The real difference is when you have Christ’s spirit, and demonstrate it by what you wear.
How you dress impacts you
Although immodesty impacts other people, it can also negatively impact you.
One of Victor Hugo’s quotes that struck me recently was this one:
Women play with their beauty as children do with their knives. They wound themselves with it.
Have you ever thought of it this way? From a practical point of view, how you dress greatly determines who you attract. For example: if you dress in very revealing clothing, like bikinis, you will attract a guy who is probably after mere beauty. However, if you dress as if you respect your body, guys are not distracted by your looks and will be attracted by your character. Don’t you want to be married to a man who appreciates your Christ-like character, not just how you looked when you were 16?
As I said before, the interpretations of Christian modesty varies greatly. The purpose of this post is not to point you to some particular rule for modesty. If Christ is YOUR foundation and the Bible is your guide, I believe that you are mature enough to choose for yourselves what Christian modesty is. For me, it means no bikinis, no low-cut shirts, nothing too tight, and nothing too short.
The Bible doesn’t have too many verses that point out exactly what to wear. But, what it does point out is that your body is Christ’s, and you should not distract people with what’s on the outside, but with what’s on the inside. Is the body you are born with your’s, anyway?
The next time you are buying new clothes, think about this: the way you dress could not only potentially discredit Christ’s name and distract others, but it could also damage you.
How often do you think about what your clothing could communicate?