So we’ve discussed modesty in the past before, but this post is dedicated toward understanding the spirit of modesty. I examined this in the previous post, but there are many different lines of arguments for why God values it.
I think one of the interesting things is that God’s word is univeral. It is applicable to everyone in society. That means it must address even the lowest common denominator.
When we consider this from the perspective that God’s commands address humanity from the lowest possible denominator, we realize that the majority of the Scriptures is addressed to sinners and not saints. This is the good news. God is, first and foremost, concerned about salvation.
Luke 5:29 And Levi gave a big reception for Him in his house; and there was a great crowd of tax collectors and other people who were reclining at the table with them. 30 The Pharisees and their scribes began grumbling at His disciples, saying, “Why do you eat and drink with the tax collectors and [n]sinners?” 31 And Jesus answered and said to them, “It is not those who are well who need a physician, but those who are sick. 32 I have not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance.”
If this is true, then why a command of modesty? Let’s hypothetically think about modesty from the lowest common denominator.
If you play dress up — not at a dress up party — as a nerd with out of date clothing, glasses, and a grungy appearance are people not going to think you’re a nerd? Or if you plaster yourself with tattoos and worn out too short clothes are people not going to think of you as trailer trash?
Thus, it follows that if you dress like a slut or prostitute and act like slut or prostitute then people are going to think you are a slut or prostitute.
There is a reason why there are laws against impersonating people. For example, if you’re impersonating a police officer or federal officer is illegal then people are going to think you are one when you’re not. This can lead to all sorts of problems especially if there is an emergency situation.
Now, why would God be against judging people for dressing up like other people? Doesn’t He say not to judge in his Word?
For all of the talk about feminism and women as sex desired there is some half truths in there. If you dress like a prostitute or slut then you’re going to be viewed as a sex object. This much is true. However, feminism is but a half truth in that the action — dressing like a prostitute or slut — will never ever ever ever be divorced from the consequence — people thinking you’re a prostitute or slut and sexually desiring you.
One of the filters that God built into humans (and I don’t say this lightly) is that when we see scantily clad members of the opposite sex we tend to be sexually aroused. This is a fact.
If someone is dressing “how they want” by wearing scant clothing then it’s quite obvious that consciously they’re making that choice because they want attention. They want the opposite sex or the same sex in some cases to desire them. It obviously follows that they will be sexually desired.
All men and women know that there are really pretty dresses and skirts that are modesty but very feminine. Yet, those that want to go their own way away from modesty want to only wear scantily clad clothing. Thus, we know that immodesty is inherently about the sexual desires and not about dressing how you want.
For Christians this is sinful and unneeded validation. Why do we need the attention of others when God is the author and perfector of our faith?
Likewise, modesty is a command to force human attention away from sexual desire. God knows that we are all human beings created by Him — fearfully and wonderfully made — with varying talents and abilities. When you dress immodestly, people are going to often tunnel in on only one aspect which is physical appearance. And it is often of an ilicit nature because sexual desire is to be saved for the marriage bed only.
1 Thessalonians 5:22 Abstain from all appearance (or form) of evil.
Therefore, it follows that immodesty is inherently about overvaluing the outer appearance. It is about men and women placing an inordinate amount of their self worth into how they look rather than who they are on the inside. Because God values what is in the heart, His command for modesty is really about correctly valuing what God values. Inner beauty.
If men or women truly value what God values — inner beauty — then they will never dress immodestly.