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Is Modest Really Hottest?

By Summer Lane

Fashion has taken a sharp left turn, teetering somewhere between a return to the 1970s attire of bell-bottoms and the 1980s fad of high-waisted jeans, while simultaneously pushing skin-tight leggings, crop-tops, and Kardashian-esque lips and camera filters.

In today’s rushing world of fluctuating trends and styles, young teens are exposed to presentations of celebrities and models on Instagram, TikTok, Facebook, and Twitter every day. The dichotomy between what is real and what is not is hard enough to sift through without bringing the issue of modesty into it, but the conversation needs to be had.

What is Biblical modesty? How does it compare against the fashion of today, which celebrates both overt sexuality or the complete erasure of it? Let’s look at some of the key tenants of Biblical modesty, and how we can use these truths to help our children navigate a world of questionable morality.

Fashion and Social Media

First of all, fashion changes constantly. Fashion can be fun. Picking out colors, outfits, and even makeup (for girls, of course!), can be great way to express yourself and play with the creativity that God gave us when it comes to clothing. Yet we see in our society a type of fashion that is demonstrated on social media that seems to seesaw between two extremes: genderless fashion or overly-sexualized fashion. As culture pushes the envelope on the erasure of biological sex, our children are bombarded with images of either sexless celebrities pushing an agenda, or influencers pushing a radically sexual type of fashion (again, think of the Kardashians).

Sometimes, the response from Christian parents is to shield their children altogether from these types of influences, but the truth is, there will come a point where kids are exposed to fashion and stylistic choices in society that will not be cohesive with their Christian standards. What then? Let’s take a look at what the Bible says about modesty and presentation to find out.

Standards of Modesty in the Bible

The Bible has plenty to say about how Christians should think and act in their daily lives. But does the Bible address our outward appearance at all? Certainly! 1 Timothy 2:9 says that women should “adorn themselves in respectable apparel, with modesty and self-control, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly attire…” Further, we are reminded in 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 that our bodies are temples for the Holy Spirit. “You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.” Need another example? 1 Peter 3:3-4: “ Do not let your adorning be external—the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear— but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious.”

Does this mean that vanity on any level is a sin?

God knows that personal hygiene and clothing are essential to human life. The Bible’s message on modesty is simply that we shouldn’t dress to please the world or please the standards of the world. The verse above (1 Peter 3:3-4) reminds us that God much prefers a beautiful, gentle and quiet spirit above fancy clothing. Additionally, in the Old Testament, we are reminded that gender roles and the clothing attached to each is actually very important to God. “A woman shall not wear a man’s garment, nor shall a man put on a woman’s cloak, for whoever does these things is an abomination to the Lord your God” (Deuteronomy 22:5). This is a great reminder for our children as they are faced with a celebrity culture that is pushing the flawed theory of gender identity and the deliberate changing of one’s outward presented gender by using clothing and makeup. 1 Samuel 16:7 says this: “But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.”

Do Not Be Conformed

When it comes to the fashions and trends of today, Christians parent should remind their children that God commands us not to be conformed to the patterns of this world, but rather, to be transformed through the renewing of our minds (Romans 12:2). We are not meant to follow every whim and want of culture. Society is fallen and sinful, and we cannot trust the direction that it is headed in. We can however, trust the Holy Word of God. Modesty really is hottest, because it shows humility, love, gentleness, and a submission to the Creator. We can enjoy dressing and going our hair and choosing colorful shoes without being swept up into the duplicitous trap of vanity and self-indulgence. We can ask ourselves if what we are doing is pleasing to God. Does it honor Him? Does it form a cohesive bond with who we say we are and how we claim to be living? Are we dressing to impress others or are we dressing to be obedient to God?

Culture tells us to dress in whatever way makes us feel good – in whatever way empowers us.
God tells us to dress in a such a way where we are focused on the “hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit.” Perhaps Proverbs 31:30 says it best: “Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.”

Summer Lane is the #1 bestselling author of 30 books, including the hit Collapse Series and Resurrection Series. She is an experienced journalist and columnist who reports on news within the U.S. and abroad. Additionally, she analyzes politics and policies in weekly op/Eds at The Write Revolution.

Summer is also a mom and wife who enjoys rural country living, herding cats, and gardening. She is passionate about writing about women’s issues, parenting, and politics from a theologically-grounded perspective that points readers to the good news of the gospel.

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