Motives for Modesty

6:45 AM

If you ever have studied fashion—even in the most cursory way—you might notice the outrageousness that characterizes the runway shows. I have read articles about how to bring runway fashions into your normal life without looking like a freak. It made me wonder, why didn’t they just design beautiful normal clothes to begin with? Seems like a bit too much effort to me.

My point is though, the fashion world strives for the outrageous, the unique, and most eye-catching clothes. Note the last adjective: Eye-catching. And here lies the heart of the matter.

Modesty isn’t just about avoiding sexually suggestive clothing, though that is part of it. Modesty is also about avoiding clothing that only exists to draw attention to self. Clothing can be so distracting that it is immodest… And have I got a story for you!

My parents have always set standards of modesty in clothing for my sister and I. My mom would gauge the appropriateness of our clothing, and then if my dad didn’t think it was good when we came home-that article of clothing went right back to the store. (That didn’t happen very often though. We usually got it right the first time).

As a teenager, style was pretty important to me. My sister was “preppy,” and I liked to call myself “edgy.” Meaning I loved silver and black and anything that sparkled and shined. I liked to be different.

Anyway, I must’ve been about 18 or 19 when I bought a certain pair of sparkly silver dress pants. You have NEVER seen anything like these pants. They reflected the light blindingly from about a mile away! And me, in my ignorance and immaturity, wore them one Sunday morning when I was leading worship. I remember a twinge of conscience saying “maybe I shouldn’t,” but I quieted myself and wore them anyway.

It wasn’t too long after this when someone came to speak with me with love and concern about my clothes, and especially that particular outfit. And I realized quickly that instead my “fashion sense” being on display before my friends, it was only my sinful pride shown plainly for all to see. While I don’t believe those dress pants would be appropriate in any setting now, they were especially inappropriate in the house of God while I was serving in leading God’s people in worship. What an obvious exhibition of the state of my heart—and my motives.


One of the greatest motives of modesty: Humility.

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