To wear or not to wear?  That is the question…. Corny?  I know. But what does modesty really mean?  The dictionary defines modesty as a noun meaning behavior, manner, or appearance intended to avoid impropriety or indecency.   Huh? As a young Christian woman it can be extremely difficult to determine what is “modest” and what isn’t. We live in a world where fashion is literally EVERYTHING!  It is everywhere. It is all over the television, internet, social media, and at work. Everyone wants to be a fashionista. But how do we balance the world’s standard of fashion and an appropriate reflection of Christ?

Every woman likes to look good.  Think about when your nails and toes are fresh, you have on a new pair of shoes and outfit, just stepped out the salon and the light hits you at just the right angle – you feel like a superwoman.  Despite our best attempts to not be vain, appearance is very important. When you throw Jesus into the mix it takes a lot of thought and effort to find the right balance.

Depending on what church you attend there can be many rules placed on a woman’s attire (some of them unspoken).  We’ve all heard of those places where woman are not allowed or its frowned upon when a woman wears pants. I’ve attended a church where women were not allowed to wear pants in the pulpit or when it’s your day to serve in whatever ministry you’re on.  Thank God I didn’t know about this “rule” when I first started going to the church as I would have likely never returned and I would still be lost. Of course there are scriptures in the Bible that speak about women not dressing as men, but the reality is in biblical times there was no such thing as pants.  Thus, pants are not a “man” thing, especially not in 2018. We must remember that little “rules” like these can cause souls to be lost. A person must be comfortable in church – if they don’t see anyone in the sanctuary who looks like them they are unlikely to stay. We cannot be so “deep” that we are no longer winning souls for the kingdom.

While we all have items that we will and will not wear to church things become much more complicated once outside those four walls.  It can be a struggle to not go too far when dressing for social events or dates. II Timothy 2:9 advises “…women to adorn themselves in modest apparel…” but what does this really mean to today’s woman.  There are so many options when it comes to each item of clothing. We all have our own opinions on what is right for ourselves and others to wear; however, we must be careful when judging what another woman is wearing.  Our job is to uplift, love, and celebrate each other not to bring another woman down. Personally, I have my own set of rules. For example, if I wear something I consider to be short it cannot be fitted as well. If I wear a fitted skirt or dress it must be knee length or pretty close to it.  I will not wear something that is both backless and cut low in the front. Lastly, I will not wear anything that shows my entire midsection. These are rules that I have for myself due to what I feel is acceptable and comfortable for me. However, these rules are not right for every woman. I’ve found that one of the best ways to determine what works, is what do I feel “convicted” about, what are my intentions when wearing the clothing item and will my attire entice inappropriate attention. While we cannot control how others feel, we can do our best to cover our brothers and sisters in Christ, by not wearing things that will undoubtedly cause lust or be a stumbling block.

The reality is modesty is subjective and different for each woman.  II Corinthians 5:17 says “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.”  This new creature is unique for each woman.  Each woman is convicted in her own way and knows what is appropriate for her.  While it is very true that we must be careful not to be too worldly or too vain we can still be fashionable.   We can actually use our wardrobe choices to be walking testimonies by wearing shirts that lets the world know we are his disciplines.  Wearing an “A Few Good Thoughts” shirt is a great conversation starter and a great way to let someone know there is something different about you.  We must remember what we wear does not define us – a woman covered from her neck to her ankles is not “holier” than a woman in jeans and t-shirt or in an A-line dress.  What is inside is what counts. As long as we make sure our hearts are right then Jesus will show and guide us on the correct things to wear on the outside. 

Have fun, be cute and spread the good news!

Courtney

 

Courtney Richardson-Jones is a native of northern Virginia but has made Florida her home.  She possesses a Bachelor of Arts in English with a minor in Education from The University of Florida.  She obtained her Juris Doctor from The Florida State University College of Law. After passing the bar she made Orlando, Florida her home.  She is currently a practicing attorney in the criminal field. Courtney has been married to her high school sweetheart, Jermel, since June of 2006.  Together they are the Assistant Pastors at The Church of Higher Praise. Courtney is also the praise dance director and a mentor at the church. Courtney loves good food, traveling, and genuine conversations.  When things are difficult she remembers “life is not about waiting for the storm to pass it’s about learning to dance in the rain.”