“Also, the women are to dress themselves in modest clothing, with decency and good sense, not with elaborate hairstyles, gold, pearls, or expensive apparel,” 1 Timothy 2:9
The word “modesty” leaves a bad taste in my mouth. I am pretty sure I have a little PTSD from the uniforms I was required to wear at my private Christian school. I also associate modesty with long denim skirts and families that need a school bus to go to the grocery store. Plaid skirts or denim skirts? Neither connotation appeals to me.
I’m a jeans and t-shirt kind of girl, I rode horses and played basketball growing up. I never put too much thought into what I was wearing. Did it match? Was it clean? Could I wear my converse with it? That was the extent of my thought process.
If my school uniform had the options of pants or culottes and a polo, I was content. I wore what was comfortable. Not, because it was particularly modest, but because it was what I liked. There was this expectation to be pure and modest with no explanation of what that meant or why it mattered.
Proverbs 4:23 says “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.”
Modesty really starts with the posture of your heart. Are you being modest because your parents, teachers, or pastors required it? Are you trying to be modest out of obligation, guilt or shame? “They worship me in vain, teaching as doctrines human commands” (Mark 7:7) Or are you conscious about the way you dress because you want to honor God and your body? “I will praise you because I have been remarkably and wondrously made. Your works are wondrous, and I know this very well.” (Psalm 139:14)
Making a choice out of obligation will eventually cause resentment and cause “modesty” to feel like chains. Chains cause resistance. That is slavery, not freedom. We can bring glory to God literally from head to toe with our actions and our words. We can do all of this with a cheerful heart, not out of obligation, but because of His love for us.