Recently, we received an email from a new friend inviting us to write a guest blog post on her website. Allie Shirley started Marque Modest Apparel almost two years ago with the intention of making Jesus known through rebranding the concept of modesty as "fashionable, not frumpy." In her own words, our society views modesty as a way of dressing to a certain degree, but it's also a way of valuing the human body. In a "less is more world", this message needs to be claimed and shared boldly.
Graciously, Allie asked us to help her promote this message, and we gladly accepted her invitation. With this post, our goal is to discuss the topic of modesty from a guy's perspective. We pray the Lord will guide our words below as we address the men and women of today on this ever-important topic.
WHAT IS MODESTY?
Mitchell Traver: Merriam-Webster defines modesty as “the quality of behaving and especially dressing in ways that do not attract sexual attention.” A good base to start with, but modesty is more than that. 1 Peter 3:3-4 says, “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.” So, modesty is more than trying to avoid sexual attention. Modesty is valuing what God values: imperishable beauty. What’s imperishable beauty? A gentle and quiet spirit. Where’s imperishable beauty found? The heart. Daughters of God, I’m not saying feeling physically beautiful is a bad thing; it’s a good gift that’s meant to glorify God. However, there is a greater beauty that trumps the physical because a Spirit-filled heart doesn’t have an expiration date. And remember, modesty isn’t about trying to act like you aren’t beautiful any more than humility is thinking less of yourself. No, just as humility is thinking of yourself, less, modesty is the act of taking your eyes off of yourself and placing them on Jesus. You think of Him, delight in Him, and that’s what triggers the transformation in your heart. You begin to desire what He desires; namely, a gentle and quiet spirit, and a heart that delights in Him.
Spencer Traver: Modesty means to ascribe value to the created work of God by preserving its innate beauty through the act of revering the body as holy, pure and priceless. Yes, that's a lot. But these statements build off one another. We'll start here: you must value God's design in order to value the human body. If you find your worth and significance in your physical beauty (i.e. your curves, your edges, your triangles, whatever) you will ultimately be left unsatisfied. This is true because modesty is more than feeling beautiful or even treasuring God's design. It means freely believing you are not your own because you were bought with a price. As the apostle Paul wrote in his letter to the Romans, "I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind..." (Romans 12:1-2). You are not holy, pure, and priceless because you say so, but because God says so. Therefore, in a world where the common belief remains focused on what we say about ourselves, or what other people say about us in person and online, be transformed by what the God of the universe says about you. Recognize you cannot do whatever you want with your body, if you believe the Bible to be true. God ascribed value to the physical nature of humanity, and it's our gift to protect, honor, and cherish this for his glory.
WHAT DOES MODESTY ATTRACT?
MT: First, I think it’s important to note what immodesty attracts. Immodesty encourages lust and sexual attention. You’ll attract a boy that is driven by sexual desire. He likes what he sees, and will chase after you with reckless abandon. Why? Because he’s hungry, and he’s all about himself. But that’s not what he will tell you. Don’t be fooled, it’s all a part of the hunt, and the hunt is rooted in brokenness. Flee from the boys. So, what if you want a Godly man? You know, someone who’s more interested in loving you than lusting for you? Truthfully, Kingdom Men will turn away from immodesty. Matthew 5:28-29 says, “But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart. If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body be thrown into hell.” That’s serious stuff from the mouth of Jesus. There’s not a single Jesus-loving Kingdom Man that wants to be associated with adultery. Even the best of them aren’t perfect, but Kingdom Men will flee from anything that could take their eyes off of Jesus. So what does modesty attract? Kingdom Men. Kingdom Men want Godly wives. Proverbs 31:10-12 says, “An excellent wife who can find? She is far more precious than jewels. The heart of her husband trusts in her, and he will have no lack of gain. She does him good, and not harm, all the days of her life.” More precious than jewels. No lack of gain. She does him good, all the days of her life. That’s special; that’s attractive.
ST: Simply put, modesty attracts what modesty is. From a guy's perspective, I don't think immodesty attracts modesty. Maybe it's just me, who knows. But if a man remains deeply rooted in Scripture, prayer, and gospel-centered community, I believe he will not be attracted to a girl who is living another way. This is true because there's a difference between lust and attraction. Lust focuses on sexual desire, while attraction goes beyond sex and into the realm of intimacy and relationship. Therefore, modesty attracts godly men who want you for more than just sex. These are men who choose to be leaders in purity by viewing modesty as divine beauty. On the flip side, an immodest lifestyle will likely attract immodest people. This includes people who want you for sex. People who aren't submitting to God before choosing to faithfully love you. People who clearly don't understand what it means to be a man. It's more than just the physical, remember? For those of you who think you have not encountered faithful men of integrity, they are out there. Maybe you've been fortunate enough to know some of these guys. Maybe not. However, I invite you to extend grace to your brothers in Christ, daughters of God. No man is perfect. Lust is a real battle. But their affections for godliness will be stirred once their affections for God grow first. Use the platform of how you dress to set an example in purity for young men and women. And don't ever sell yourself short by believing the lie which says you must lower your standards to get the attention of some guy. If you need to lower your standards to get his attention, he isn't worth your time.
WHAT DOES MODESTY REFLECT?
MT: Godliness. Modesty reflects the heart of a Godly woman. 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.” Modesty is the reflection of a Godly woman- a good work that puts her love for The Lord on display. Whether you’re Miss America, or Sally Smith from down the street, physical beauty will never take precedence over Godliness. Proverbs 31:28-31 says, “Her children rise up and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: “Many women have done excellently, but you surpass them all.” Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised. Give her of the fruit of her hands, and let her works praise her in the gates.” Modesty reflects Godliness, and a woman who fears The Lord is to be praised. The Spirit is in her, and I’m telling you, there’s no light like the light of the Holy Spirit in the eyes and in the heart of a human. It’s beyond beautiful because it’s from The Lord. Reflect that light. Let Him shine through you.
ST: A modest woman displays confidence in the design of God and the finished work of Christ. In other words, modesty reflects godliness, just like Mitchell said. Check out what the apostle Paul (man, I love his writings) wrote in his first letter to his disciple Timothy, "I desire...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 2:8-10). From a guy's perspective, Paul essentially says that godliness is more attractive than anything a woman can do physically. This is because godliness exudes more confidence than any dress, attire, or feature a woman can rock. If you choose modesty, you are deciding more than to protect yourself physically. You are actively buying into the Gospel, which says you were bought back with a price and are not your own, but belong to God. You believe outer beauty will fade, but the light of Christ in you shines forever. A woman rooted in this sort of theology remains unshakeable, as her identity remains fixed in Christ. As it says in the Old Testament, "Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised" (Proverbs 31:30).
WHY IS MODESTY IMPORTANT?
MT: Modesty is important because we are called to glorify God in our bodies. 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.” We were bought with a price. What does that mean? That means we are much more valuable than we think. God sent His Only Son to die for us- that’s what God thinks of us. Why? Not because of anything we’ve done; brokenness and sin marked our lives before Jesus came. No, God values us in this way because God IS love. 1 John 4:8-9 says, “Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him.” So why is modesty important? Because you belong to The Lord; you’re a Daughter of God. God loves you and values you more than your mind can understand, and He’s called you to follow Him, to trust Him, to glorify Him, and to delight in Him. So, if anything, dress modestly because God calls you to value things beyond physical beauty. Let His great love and grace move you toward obedience. Daughter of God, hold close to your Heavenly Father and walk in His ways!
ST: While modesty is priceless, it is not incalculable. It can be measured. No, I'm not implying you are only worth a limited amount. I'm suggesting quite the opposite actually. If you wonder what you're tangibly worth, I'll direct you to the only tool we can calculate our worth from: the cross of Christ. When everyone else saw the worst in you, the Son of God saw the best in you. Sin placed an enslaving price on you, and Jesus paid it in full. Sure, it'd be nice if girls wore longer skirts or less revealing shirts, but that won't excuse man's lustful desires. God isn't having it with our blame game against his creation because he sent his Son to die for each of us. So, we focus on what can be tangibly measured: the arms of our Savior extended, nailed to a tree, where the blood of Christ shed for you and me. If you think the act of flaunting body parts for the purpose of sexual desire or attention is new to God, you're wrong. God isn't questioning his creation. He understands how ugly and pervasive sin and evil are. In fact, he saw it in us. And yet, Jesus knew you were worth dying for. If not for your brothers and sisters in Christ, modesty should be honored and revered simply because Jesus died to grant you the freedom to live modestly. I try and echo the words of the apostle Paul when he reminded the Corinthians of where their value remains, "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" (1 Corinthians 6:19-20). Lastly, modesty is meant for the glory of God. He differentiated modesty from immodesty for a distinct, divine purpose. Choose modesty for his glory.
We hope our perspectives on modesty partnered with Biblical truths helps shed light for some of the young ladies and young men out there. Our prayer is that we would join together, men and women, to live and lead lives which pursue purity and delight in the perfect design of God.