What Christians Ignore About Modesty

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"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'" (1 Sam. 16:7, ESV).

In our haste to avoid the temptations of lust and flee from sin, we Christians often do two things. In the first place, we remove the responsibility from the one committing the sin (and forget the lust that women in the church also feel—there are plenty of immodestly dressed men in attendance any given Sunday). In the second place, we neglect the other aspects of modesty: the modesty of spirit, the modesty of faith, the modesty of giving, the modesty of prayer. We cater our outward appearances to be modest, but that is not solely what the Lord is looking at, and it is not the metric by which the Lord will judge.

Clothe Yourself in Grace

"Likewise, you who are younger, be subject to the elders. Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for 'God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.' Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you" (1 Pet. 5:5-6, ESV).

In my research for this column, I was able to find many resources for modest fashion, including common guidelines and arguments about stumbling blocks. But I wasn't able to find anything on modesty of the spirit. However, when I searched for the individual tenants of modesty—humility, graciousness, meekness, a quiet spirit—I found a wealth of writing and apologetics and speculation. The problem isn't that we are unfamiliar with these points. It is that we have shifted focus away from them, severing their ties to modesty and therefore how much time is spent on them at the pulpit.

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