Brothers & Sisters, Let’s Talk About Modesty.

Driving to various events with hubby and the kids in this heat wave (that we are blessed to be experiencing in London and Essex) has really brought my attention to the trend of women and men confidently showing too much skin in their dressing. *covers eyes*

Last week Saturday, we drove past a young lady showing very revealing clothing and my husband and I had to cover the eyes of our children to ensure they did not see how she was dressed. To protect their minds and also so that they don’t grow up thinking that it is acceptable to dress a certain way.

As a parent, I truly believe that parents have a huge part to play in teaching the youth the essence and values of dressing modestly as a young female.

A scripture that comes to my mind is…

1 Thessalonians 4:4-6   “that each of you should learn to control your own body in a way that is holy and honourable, not in passionate lust like the pagans, who do not know God; and that in this matter no one should wrong or take advantage of a brother or sister.] The Lord will punish all those who commit such sins, as we told you and warned you before”

Before I carry on discussing further about modesty. I want to start with addressing the meaning of dressing modestly. Within the Oxford dictionary it describes dressing modestly as:

  1. (of a woman) dressing or behaving so as to avoid impropriety or indecency, especially to avoid attracting sexual attention.
  2. (of clothing) not revealing or emphasising a person’s figure. ‘modest dress means that hemlines must be below the knee’

In reading the meaning of dressing modestly this season is the perfect time to discuss the issue of modest apparel. The sun is out everybody wants to be outside, in the park, sitting by the pool or in the park having a picnic with an ice cold soft drink. Even so the sun being out in its full glory, this shouldn’t give us the go ahead to disclose our entire God given assets for the entire world to see.​

While reading up and researching this topic through bibles teachings, videos from ministers and bloggers I have noticed that modest dressing is not only a sensitive issue being discussed and aimed at non or new believers, but also refers to us Christians, and ministers in the Body of Christ. The issue of modest apparel also seems to have a higher sensitivity towards women. However whilst looking at our new millennial generation. I do feel that the issue of modest apparel applies to our fellow men as well as women. Men keep your shirts on…help us sisters out, please. Lol.

In the beginning of the bible we see that the first consequence of Adam’s and Eve’s sin in Genesis 3:7 is that “the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked. And they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loin cloths.”

Due to sin and rebelliousness against God Adam and Eve were no longer innocent, they had now become self-conscious and ashamed about their bodies. Before their rebellion against God, there was no shame. “The man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed” (Genesis 2:25).

The reason for Adam and Eve’s sudden feeling of shame was because the foundation of covenant-keeping love had been dismantled. The foundation of covenant-keeping love meaning the love between a man and a woman that is an unbroken promise between Adam, Eve and God. The foundation of covenant-keeping love where God is the third strand that keeps Adam and Eve together. God being the third strand that governs both Adam and Eve for their good. Also, enjoying God in that security and relying on God alone.

So the shame had set in once they ate of the tree of life and so Adam and Eve made effort to clothe themselves. Cloth themselves in an effort to conceal what had really happened. They tried to hide from God (Genesis 3:8). They tried to hide the broken promise. Their nakedness felt too revealing and too vulnerable. So they tried to close the gap between what they were and what they were supposed to be by covering up and presenting themselves to God in a new way. Genesis 3:12 “The Lord God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife and clothed them.”

Notice that God agreed with their effort of trying to conceal their sin. God clothed them to illustrate that Adam and Eve were not who they are & were not what they were supposed to be. The gap between what you are and what you are supposed to be is huge. Covering yourself with clothing is a right response to this—not to conceal your sin but in fact to confess it. Therefore, we wear clothing, not to conceal that you are not what you should be, but to confess that you are not what you should be. Relating Genesis Chapter 3 to today, is that public nudity and indecent dressing is not a return to innocence but actually a rebellion against moral reality.

God ordains clothes for us to bear witness to the glory we have lost, and it is an act of rebellion to throw them off. Reasoning for why God insists on modest apparel to be worn amongst his people. Those of us who rebel against this and move towards the opposite direction, choosing to make the object of wearing as minimal clothes as possible a means of power and prestige and attention getting God replies with an answer in 1 Timothy 2:9-10; “I also want the women to dress modestly, with decency and propriety, adorning themselves, not with elaborate hairstyles or gold or pearls or expensive clothes, but with good deeds, appropriate for women who profess to worship God.”

Here are also some other reasons why we should dress modestly….

We should not seek to present our outward beauty but focus on our inner self

1 Peter 3:3-4 “Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewellery or fine clothes. Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.”

We should not conform to the world’s way of thinking…

Romans 12:1-2“Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.”

We should set examples of dressing modestly

Titus 2: 7-8 In everything set them an example by doing what is good. In your teaching show integrity, seriousness 8 and soundness of speech that cannot be condemned, so that those who oppose you may be ashamed because they have nothing bad to say about us.

we should Honour our bodies, cover it up and keep it sacred.

1 Corinthians 6:19-20 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.

Let’s make that clear distinction between the world and the Body of Christ. Let us not follow what the world is doing but let the world follow us, the Body of Christ. Let’s lead the world to Christ in every expect of our lives, including the way we dress. Let our dressing not be a form of distraction in bringing Gods people into their calling. But let us be a good helper, aiding Gods people to His ultimate glory. We should be able to lead in such a way that when the world looks at us they can see that you love God, they can see that Holy spirit, they can see that anointing before you have even opened your mouth.

Some people may say that Christianity it’s not about your appearance it’s about your heart and the faith you contain, therefore it should not matter what we wear. Yes I agree with this notion when we are talking about people who have nothing else to wear and want to come into church, i.e. new believers. But those of us who have been Christians for years, serving the Lord for years and are ministering……There is no excuse! However, we do slip sometimes though and we just thank God for His grace and mercy.

I like this phrase “Dress the way you want to be addressed”. Yes we come to Christ as we are but we are definitely not meant to stay in that same place, the same condition in which we first meant Christ, we should have evolved and grown from that to be more Christ like.

The church has to lead such conversations about modest dressing with love, without appearing judgemental and condescending. Sometimes it’s a simple issue of us just needing some guidance, demonstration and tips on how to dress modestly. For some of us the issue is more complex and deeper than this and we need to dig deep and face and tackle others issues such as rejection, attention seeking, experiences that have happened in the past that have not been dealt with.

Love….Love…Love is the key word. Correction with Love goes a very long way.   We need to invest more into discussing the issue of modestly dressing with women and it should be fellow women who lead these conversations. A good way of incorporating this is to hold workshops and practical sessions within our Women’s conferences and Women ministries.   Let’s not shy away from the topic but deal with the issue at hand. Let’s initiate the conversation and demonstrate the change we want to see.

From Naa- Anyima Boateng xx

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