Do not let your adornment be merely outward–arranging the hair, wearing gold, or putting on fine apparel–rather let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God. (1 Peter 3:3-4)
Is Modesty Legislated
It is always with trepidation the subject of modesty is approached. In every generation the people of God must deal with what is modest and what is immodest. With each examination of the subject cultural views, personal opinions and clear agendas cloud the issue. For some a very strict code of modesty is imposed. Among many there does not seem to be any guidelines. Often it is remarked that trying to say how short is short and how long is long is unfair and must we pull out the measuring tape to determine the appropriate level of modesty? The conclusion is then given that modesty is only an opinion and we are left without teaching on the subject.
The danger in believing modesty is unregulated is to accept the belief that God has not given His word on the matter. Everything that pertains to life and godliness is found within the text of His fully revealed word including the subject of modesty. There is nothing in life that cannot be answered without spending time revealing the nature of how the Holy Spirit has spoken on the matter. Society does not govern whether something is modest or not – the Holy Spirit does. It may have been the case a century ago that revealing the ankle was considered risqué but that is not the meaning of modesty. Nor does it suggest that while the world today accepts the lack of clothing as acceptable that modesty is governed by the whims of modern man.
Modesty is regulated within the pages of God’s word. The Bible is the only book that outlines the measures of modesty in keeping with the character of God’s people. A Christian is a set apart person. They are not to measure their modesty by history, the present fashions of acceptability nor the agenda of a preacher or eldership. It must come from the word of God and the word of God alone. It is interesting how often modesty is discussed with closed Bibles. How can this be? If you want to know whether you are dressing in a modest manner – in keeping with your relationship with Jesus Christ – read the Book. And when someone teaches on the subject using the Bible as the guide book for admonishing clearer judgment on the matter then study the Book and make changes that reflect the character of God’s people.
Here is where we must all begin: “Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s” (1 Corinthians 6:19-20). And that came right out of the Bible.