A Guest Post by Sandra Bretschneider
“Close your eyes!” I blurted to my husband.
Unfortunately, my warning came too late.
We were sitting next to each other, scrolling through my social media newsfeed when a sexually-suggestive, immodest picture appeared on my screen.
Instinctively, I turned over my phone, let out a sigh, and paused for a fuming moment.
“Okay.” I gritted, “You really shouldn’t have seen that. Sorry.”
“I know,” he sighed.
At that moment, I finally understood why my husband refuses to have his own social media account.
One minute we were nonchalantly admiring pictures from friends and family, and the next minute I was guarding his eyes against an immodest photo.
Unfortunately, immodesty is everywhere.
My husband might escape it on social media, but he can’t avoid it everywhere. Sadly, the church body is no exception.
But it should be.
In all honesty, there have been times when I’ve dressed immodestly—in public places and at church.
The struggle to choose appropriate, God-honoring attire can be a real struggle for me at times, and I know I’m not alone.The struggle to choose appropriate, God-honoring attire can be a real struggle for me at times, and I know I’m not alone.
Many other women and men struggle with this same issue.
A step in the right direction for many of us may be to choose less-revealing clothing, but what about the underlying sin of immodesty?
If we don’t address the sin of our struggle, then we may fall prey to a legalistic-way of living—void of gospel hope.
In contrast, if we desire to live in the freedom of the gospel, we must first address the sin of our hearts.
A gospel-centered perspective will enable us to tackle any deep-rooted sin, remind us of who we are in Christ, and compel us to live for the praise of God’s glory.
What is Modesty?
There can be many assumptions as to what modesty refers to, so it’s helpful to clarify its meaning.
Let’s look to Scripture to help us establish a biblical understanding of modesty.
1 Timothy 2:9-10 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.”
According to this passage, modesty is meant to be an outpouring of godliness. It is a reflection of the work that God has done in our life.Modesty is meant to be an outpouring of godliness. It is a reflection of the work that God has done in our life.
The Merriam-Webster Dictionary also provides clarity to our understanding of modesty by defining it as “propriety in dress, speech or conduct.”
According to this definition, modesty involves more than simply the appropriateness of our dress.
Unbeknownst to many, speech and conduct are also included.
For example, a conservatively dressed woman could be considered immodest when she acts flirtatiously to draw superfluous attention to herself.
In this article, we will mainly be addressing the issue of immodesty and how it relates to physical appearance.
Specifically, we will consider the type of immodesty that intentionally entices men who are not our spouses.
This category of immodesty can include any sexually-suggestive appearance that exposes or exaggerates the form of the body.
The Problem with Immodesty
We are made in the image of God. Nothing else in creation bears His image.
Isaiah 43:7 also reveals we were made for God’s glory: “’everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made.’”
The problem is, we have a heart that longs to glorify ourselves.
Like the people in the story of the Tower of Babel, we want a name for ourselves (Genesis 11:4), which is sin.
But the sin of immodesty goes beyond our personal desire for self-glorification.
Unfortunately, our appearance also has the potential of impacting men in their struggle with sexual sin.
The choices we make will either support our brothers in Christ or hinder them from purity.The choices we make will either support our brothers in Christ or hinder them from purity.
As Christians who desire to live in continual repentance, it is important that we prayerfully consider the motives of our dress and appearance.
When we prayerfully seek the Lord for discernment and direction, the Holy Spirit will faithfully lead us in the way of obedience.
Who We are in Christ
Even though we will continually struggle with sin, including immodesty, we are completely forgiven and set free by the blood of Jesus.
As recipients of grace, we need to remember who we are in Christ. Recognizing truth will ultimately help us in our fight against sin.
So, who are we in Christ?
In Christ, we are:
We are sons and daughters of our Eternal King; our salvation is sealed by the Holy Spirit.
The truth is, we will always long to be seen, accepted, and loved, but we must remember that Jesus is the only one who can satisfy our inner longings.
Living For the Glory of God
God lavished his grace upon us through the death of His Son. He is worthy of being praised!
Ephesians 1:12 says, “so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory.”
We were saved to glorify God and to declare his praises.
One way we can do this is by making sure our appearance honors God.
As we look in the mirror each morning, some questions we might consider are:
- Will this “look” support or hinder my brothers in Christ?
- Would I want another woman to look like me around my husband or future husband?
- Am I radiating the love of Christ by choosing to look this way?
Taking a moment to consider the weight of our choices is important.
Thankfully, we can joyfully choose God-honoring attire when we live for the praise of God’s glorious grace.We can joyfully choose God-honoring attire when we live for the praise of God’s glorious grace.
When the truth of the gospel takes precedence in our lives, change will happen.
And by God’s grace, our longing to pursue conditional love and acceptance will begin to fade as the Holy Spirit works within us.
“As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct,” 1 Peter 1:14-15
Sandra Bretschneider enjoys pursuing outdoor adventures with her husband and three young daughters. She is a writer and speech-language pathologist who is passionate about helping other women dive deeper into God’s Word. She holds a certificate in biblical studies, which equipped her to write several “Going Deeper Guides” as a creative partner for Living by Design Ministries. Her book, “Knowing the Shepherd: A Names of God Bible Study for Moms” is designed to help women develop a deeper understanding of God’s character. You can also connect with Sandra on Instagram.