When I was a Youth Pastor in Nebraska, I would take my students to our District Summer Camp each summer. Every year we would go to a water park for a day during summer camp. The camp rule was that while we were at the water park, girls needed to wear a one piece…or wear a dark shirt over a two piece. One year there was a girl who was complaining about this rule.
We got complaints about this rule every year, but this particular girl was complaining more than usual. So I decided to ask her a question; I asked her how she would react if she saw a girl at the water park in just her bra and panties. She replied that she would laugh at her, to which I said “what’s the difference between that and a bikini? They cover the exact same amount.” She just looked and me, but didn’t say anything else after that.
Modesty, I believe, has become a lost art in today’s world. And unfortunately I see little difference between the church and the world with regards to this lack of modesty.
1 Timothy 2:9 says, “I also want women to dress modestly…” In Proverbs 11:22 it says, “A beautiful woman lacking discretion and modesty is like a fine gold ring in a pigs snout.”
2 piece bathing suits; short shorts; shirts that show cleavage, midriff, or are too tight; and pants with words on the butt personally really bother me. They bother me for 2 reasons; 1- when a girl dresses that way are asking for the wrong kind of attention (if you don’t want guys looking at your butt, don’t have words there that draw their attention to that area), but then get mad when a guy stares at them or is “checking them out”, 2- the more skin they are showing off or attention they are attracting to their body in this way, the less it looks like they have respect for themselves and their bodies.
However, it bothers me just as much to see how guys often look at and treat girls. Guys will stare at them and talk about girls in a very disrespectful and objectifying way. Often guys will give attention to girls who dress in immodest ways, which causes many girls to want to dress like that because they want the attention from the guys.
In 1 Timothy 5:2 men are told how to treat women…”older women as mothers, and younger women as sisters, with absolute purity.” When a guy is staring at a girl because her clothes are revealing, there is a lack of absolute purity going on.
When it comes to modesty, Christians way too often look and act just like the world. Way too often, Christian girls often dress just as immodest as girls who are not Christians, and Christian guys lust after girls dressed immodestly just the same as guys who are not Christians. Which is a sad truth since God calls his followers to be holy and to act differently than the world.
In Genesis 1:27 we are told that we are created in the image of God. Think about that for just a moment…the creator of this universe created us as humans, both male and female, in his own image. WOW! Now think about how we so often display and treat that image. Again, WOW (but with a different emphasis).
Girls, the next time you get dressed ask yourself this question, “If Jesus was hanging out with me would I wear this?” Guys, the next time you begin to stare and lust after a girl ask yourself this question, “How does Jesus see that girl?”
It’s time to recover the lost art of modesty, which is way more beautiful and attractive than showing as much skin as you can. It’s time to treat God’s creation…his very image…as something worthy of proper honor and respect. It’s time to show the world that we don’t just claim to follow Christ, but we actually live according to his word too.