Last month we said that modesty is an expression of purity, consideration and wisdom. It’s dressing (and acting!) in a way that protects ourselves and others from sinful thoughts and desires related to the body. And we need modesty because the good force of physical attraction, which God created, can be twisted by us sinners into something that destroys instead of doing good.
Purity – it’s all about pollution
What’s purity? Think of the difference between clean and unclean water. Which would you rather drink? Spring water or water with something disgusting in it? Well, the Lord looks at our thoughts and actions, and he desires purity in us. He wants to see our thoughts and actions free of the pollution which is sin. And that’s true in all areas of our lives, including our clothing choices.
Consideration – it’s not all about you
We don’t live on a mountaintop alone, so the concern for purity flows naturally into consideration. If purity matters, then not just your purity matters, but other people’s purity-and your effect on their purity-matters, too. “Love is not selfish.” “Love does no evil to its neighbor.”
What is love, anyway?
It’s funny-clothing that lays a trap, that puts sinful thoughts into someone else’s mind, promotes something called “love,” according to the world. But the world does not understand what love is! Love is not getting the guy or girl and getting some pleasure for yourself for a while. Love between two people is each doing good to the other according to God’s will. So if you want to love someone right now, dress modestly! You will be doing good to everyone who sees you. You’ll be protecting your friends of the opposite sex from sin, and you won’t be acting as a rival to your friends of your own sex.
Wisdom – staying out of grief and trouble
Modesty also expresses wisdom. Why? It will help keep you out of the wrong kind of relationship. Do you want to be married to someone who cares more about what you look like than about what you think, feel, or need? Who wants to take from you and not give to you? Dress immodestly. Do you want your heart broken by someone who wants to use you up and leave you behind? Then dress immodestly. If you want love for a lifetime, then clothe your body wisely. You won’t regret it.
So purity, consideration, and wisdom all point to the value of modesty. Next time we’ll talk about what modesty actually looks like. Between now and then, think about the kind of marriage you want to have some day. Think about how the Lord wants you to consider others, and not just yourself. And think of how much better purity is than filthiness.
By Katharine Birkett
Author, The Great Latin Adventure
Vintage “Waiting and Hoping” image courtesy of Karen’s Whimsy