Archive for January, 2012

Modesty and the Attitudes of Your Heart

Monday, January 30th, 2012

I was surfing the Internet today, watching some music videos on youtube and reading some webpages when I stumbled across a forum regarding Carrie Underwood’s Christian profession.  A few posters were raising concerns about some seriously questionable outfits Underwood had worn, and how that reflected on her as one who claims to be a Christian.  In response, some other posters who called themselves born-again Christians were defending her style of dress, claiming that it doesn’t matter how a Christian dresses.   You can be a Christian and still wear “short shorts.”

I couldn’t disagree more with the stance these posters were taking.  How a Christian dresses is very important, particularly a Christian woman.  Why?  Because your outward appearance is a reflection of your heart attitudes.

What does a seductive outfit say about you?  That you want men to lust after you.  On the flip side, what message does a modest outfit send?  That you are concerned about purity and holiness, both before God and men.

I’ve seen a lot of girls become defensive when the topic of modesty was raised.  Objections come thick and fast:  “Guys won’t notice me!” “Everyone else is doing it!” — and the clincher — “It’s their problem, not mine.” (For more reasons why women avoid dressing modestly, click here).

That speaks volumes.  This is not the heart of a godly, mature, Christian young woman.  A woman who spouts off such objections isn’t concerned about her brothers in Christ struggling with sin, or about seeking after the heart of God in this area of her life.  In this aspect, she is only concerned about herself, her social standing, her ability to attract male attention, etc.

As Christian women, we need to be distinguishable from the world.  We need to have a godly vision.  We need to live for something more meaningful than that second glance from Joe, Billy, and Sam.  We need to be holy women of God: upholding purity, fighting sin and temptation, promoting faithfulness on the part of Christian men to their wives and young men to their future wives.

I know what some of you reading this post –particularly single young ladies — are thinking: that this pie-in-the-sky vision is great, but not in touch with the real world.  Immodest clothing is a “necessity” if a girl wants to attract a husband and fit in with her friends.

Not so, although I can relate to that kind of thinking.  During highschool and the first few years of university, I often wrestled with the question of modesty. (To be honest, I generally erred on the side of being frumpy, dressing in clothes that were too big, old styles, or weird neon colours.)  I fretted about, cried over, and brooded on the issue.  I even remember a heated conversation with my parents, in which I gave voice to my frustrations regarding the apparent lack of interest shown by the young men around me.  At times I too pondered whether immodest clothing was a “necessity.”

But Sister in Christ, if you choose to follow after God’s heart, if you choose to honour Him with your body and your dress, if you choose to protect the purity of your brothers in Christ, God will honour that.  I mean that 100%.  Now, I’m not saying that Prince Charming will show up on your doorstep tomorrow if you start dressing modestly today.  God will work in His time, and according to His good plans. But God will honour your obedience and your desire for holiness.

After seven long years (age 13 to 20) of worrying and wondering what God had in store, I met Ryan.  Not long into our courtship, Ryan and I had a conversation in which he specifically thanked me for dressing modestly.  He thanked me.  Not as a passing comment about one outfit, but a deliberate statement about my wardrobe. I don’t know if he realized just how much that meant to me.  I was so moved, I cried about it later.  I had waited a long time to hear those words.

Sister in Christ, may the attitudes reflected in your style of dress be pure, right, and pleasing to your Maker and Redeemer.  May your clothing testify to your intent to guard the minds and hearts of your brothers in Christ.  And may the true and lasting beauty of your godly woman’s heart shine forth for all to see and admire.



To clarify, I am not promoting wearing burkas or frumpy old dresses.  Modesty and attractiveness are compatible, although one has to be thoughtful and deliberate in choosing articles of clothing that have both of those qualities.

As a starting point in determining what crosses the line into being immodest, here is a survey taken of Christian young men which will offer some guidance as to what styles and cuts cause men to struggle: