In a culture that celebrates being loud, obnoxious, impolite, and less private, modesty appears to be a virtue that’s disappearing from society. Moreso, at a time when female empowerment is portrayed as being somewhat synonymous with how much skin one shows, today, modesty is seen as an archaic, dictatorial ideal imposed on women by men. So much so that even Christian women find it repulsive.

One needs only to scroll through social media to be met with curated images of women dressed in skimpy clothing that barely leave anything to imagination. And any exhortation to adorn oneself in “respectable apparel” is often met with a harsh “It’s none of your business!” or “My dress my choice!”. 

It’s clear that as a society, we’ve determined that the ability to grab attention is the metric by which we measure our value, making immodesty a popular trend in our day.

But while our culture becomes more and more averse to modesty, as Christians, we should ask ourselves what the Bible teaches. Therefore, in this blog post, I aim to shed light on the Biblical reasons why Christian women should embrace modesty as a virtue.

But first, let’s look at what modesty means.

What is modesty?

At its core, modesty is a reflection of the condition of one’s heart. It goes beyond clothing choices and encompasses our words, actions, and attitudes. A modest Christian embodies humility, self-control, decency, and avoids drawing undue attention to oneself.

As Christian women, embracing modesty means recognizing that our worth is not found in outward appearances. But in our identity as beloved children of God. Christian women, in particular, are encouraged to adorn themselves in “respectable apparel” in 1 Timothy which says,

Likewise also that women should adorn themselves in respectable apparel, with modesty and self-control, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly attire, but with what is proper for women who profess godliness with good works. 1 Timothy 2:9-10 ESV

Also, 1 Peter beautifully emphasizes the significance of inner spiritual beauty over external adornment in the following verses:

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. 1 Peter 3:3-4 ESV

As you can see modesty is not just about having an appearance of godliness. Rather, it should be an expression of godliness that flows from within. It’s from having a purity of heart that godly women are expected to exercise modesty. Both in their behavior and appearance. They are to control their emotions and avoid going overboard in terms of hair, clothing, and makeup. And they are to refrain from being vain and boastful as well as being loud and obnoxious. 

Additionally, when it comes to dressing, everyone has specific body parts that are considered “unpresentable”. That need to be “treated with greater modesty” (1 Corinthians 12:23). And while exposing these parts is becoming more and more tolerated, as Christian women, we should treat these parts with great honor.

Nonetheless, it’s crucial to note that dressing modestly does not equate to frumpiness or a lack of style. The Bible is not arguing against putting on any jewelry or nice clothes or being ashamed of our bodies. Rather, it’s arguing against drawing attention to ourselves by going to extremes. Likewise, Philippians 2:3 encourages believers to “do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility, value others above yourselves.

Dressing modestly isn’t looking outdated, it’s respecting yourself…and looking killer at the same time!
Clothed in Glory

Reasons Why Christian Women Should Embrace Modesty

Out of respect for God

Reverence for God should be the driving force behind modesty. It goes without saying that a woman’s faith should affect her clothing choices. Just as much as it should the rest of her behavior.

Colossians 3:23-24 says “Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ.” A woman whose heart has been renewed in Christ should take great pleasure in dressing in a way that humbly submits to God’s standards and exemplifies obedience to His Word.

As believers, we have a much higher calling. We should endeavor to glorify God rather than seek to attract attention through our appearance and behavior. Our goal should be to cultivate a godly character rather than concentrate on having an outward appearance that impresses others. We ought to be recognized for how we honor God, not for how we look or present ourselves. 

“A woman who focuses on worshipping God will consider carefully how she is dressed because her heart will dictate her wardrobe and appearance.”
John MacArthur

1 Corinthians 6:19–20 says, “Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.” 

This means that every action we do involving our bodies must be done with the understanding that our bodies are not our own. Embracing modesty means recognizing that our bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit.

And as Christian women, we have the privilege of choosing clothing with the intention of honoring our redeemer. Not to adhere to a legalistic set of rules, not to have a godly appearance, or to please people. But to please Him.

Out of respect for fellow Christians

Often, the Christian culture chastises women for the potential impact their dressing has on men. Almost always placing the entire burden of masculine lust on feminine shoulders. I do not agree with this school of thought primarily because women dressing modestly isn’t the solution to men’s lust, repentance is. 

Moreover, the Bible makes no mention of women being held accountable for men’s lust. If anything the Bible squarely puts the responsibility on the one who lusts. Matthew 5:27–28 says.  “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart.

That said, no man is an island and how we dress has an effect on fellow believers. Sadly, we live in hypersexualized society. And since men are particularly drawn to the visual, their struggle with lust is a reality that cannot be wished away.

“Prostitutes dress obviously, so as to draw attention. It’s their business, isn’t it? The last thing that a Christian woman is thinking of is being like a prostitute.”
Elizabeth Elliot

It’s in such cases that followers of Christ are encouraged to bear with the scruples of the weak. It’s our Christian duty to care for the hearts of those who have a weak conscience. Even if it means giving up our rights for their sake. For the Bible says: 

Therefore let us not pass judgment on one another any longer, but rather decide never to put a stumbling block or hindrance in the way of a brother. Romans 14:13 ESV
We who are strong have an obligation to bear with the failings of the weak, and not to please ourselves. Let each of us please his neighbor for his good, to build him up. For Christ did not please himself, but as it is written, “The reproaches of those who reproached you fell on me.” Romans 15:1-3 ESV
For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. Galatians 5:13 ESV
“All things are lawful,” but not all things are helpful. “All things are lawful,” but not all things build up. Let no one seek his own good, but the good of his neighbor.  1 Corinthians 10:23–33 ESV

Based on these verses, it follows that as Christian women, we should be concerned about the spiritual well-being of our fellow brothers in Christ. A Christian woman will avoid being a stumbling block or obstacle in the way of others. She will refrain from acting in a way that would attract unwanted male attention to her body or clothing. 

Moreover, when we embrace humility, moderation, self-control, and simplicity, not just in how we dress but also in our language and behavior, we help promote an atmosphere of respect. Reducing envy, and comparison. This way, we avoid being a stumbling block to our fellow sisters as well.

All of this is predicated on the premise of love. As Christians, we shouldn’t love the world or ourselves more than the church. We are called upon to love our neighbors just as we love ourselves. This comes with enormous responsibility because the bar is set exceedingly high for our love. God’s love for us through Christ should compel us to lay down our lives for another (John 15:13). 

This also means that we will exert all of our efforts to help fellow believers become more holy. According to 1 Cor 1:2, we are “called to be saints together.” Therefore, should be prepared to make decisions that support the spiritual growth of fellow saints.

Out of respect for the world

Not only does immodesty have the potential to lead fellow Christians to stumble, but it’s also a terrible witness to the unsaved world. The fact that the culture of the day accepts dressing to attract attention doesn’t mandate that we follow such norms. Romans 12:2 says,  “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind,” 

We should carry ourselves in a manner that is consistent with our Christian identity. Because how we conduct ourselves reflects on our Lord Jesus Christ. 2 Corinthians 3:2 says, “You yourselves are our letter of recommendation, written on our hearts, to be known and read by all.” Christians, according to the apostle Paul, are living embodiments of Christ’s teachings. 

Therefore, when believers become too fixated on external factors, like flaunting their wealth or beauty, it can lead to a misrepresentation of the Christian faith and God’s nature by the world.

As such, we should always keep in mind that we are Christ’s ambassadors and that we are called to set a godly example to the world through our language, behavior, and how we dress (2 Corinthians 5:20). As ambassadors of Christ, we have the opportunity to be a light in the world by reflecting the holiness of God in a world that prioritizes immodesty and sensuality (Matthew 5:14-16).

“Modesty is a humble attitude that points others to the God you profess to worship.”
Bethel Grove

Moreover, it protects us from objectification and the pressures of conforming to societal standards of beauty. At the end of the day, we should show that our value is found in Christ. Not in the things the world values.

Final Thoughts

Embracing modesty should challenge us to bring our motives into question. If we behave or dress in a particular way with the aim of attracting attention, arousing lust, sparking jealousy, or to feel superior, then I’m afraid we need to work on our hearts.

We need to spiritually adorn ourselves with humility, self-control, and gentleness. For this is the imperishable beauty that God finds precious. Once we do that, then we will be able to demonstrate godly external adornment that empowers us to embrace our true identity as beloved children of God,

May we never forget that modesty is not a rigid set of rules. But a heartfelt response to God’s love and grace. By living modestly, we become beacons of light, that reflect the glory of our loving Creator.

Disclaimer: Male modesty is undoubtedly a topic worth discussing. And a lot of what I said here may also apply to guys. But since this blog is primarily meant for a female audience, the topic of male modesty is outside the purview of this post.


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