You know, whenever we talk about modesty; sisters are quick to squeeze their faces and build defensive walls to shield them from whatever bomb the speaker is about to dish out. This is because they think and have been made to believe that modesty is about what you wear or do not wear. They think modesty is all about trying to shield a brother’s salvation from flying away like my friends sometimes say each time we joke around the house.
The genesis of the whole salvation escape metaphor or flight as we like to casually call it started from the modesty talk and the apportioning of blame to Christian ladies over a brother’s lust issues. Whenever we are within the house and know that a brother might walk into the room anytime: we try to always pull down our gowns, adjust our skirts and cover up anywhere due to the nature of where we stay and in the light of that “we would always say, before a brother will accuse you of making his salvation fly away.
This is not to say that the accusation making rounds do not have bits of truth in it. I am not in any way trying to hold anyone responsible for another’s backslid but just as the Holy Scriptures say:
“Let all that you do be done in love.” 1 Corinthians 16:14
What Then Is Modesty?
Modesty isn’t about what you wear actually or whether or not you wear trousers or skirts. I had to put this out because of the common misconceptions and quarrels over whether or not to wear this or that. Modesty is who you are. It’s about your identity in Christ.
I sought the opinion of one of my sisters while I thought of this article and the different issues to address in it. She said “in my opinion, modesty isn’t first about anyone’s dressing first, yes it entails your dressing but it is first about you. It is about your character, your attitude, your behavior, your relationship with people. It entails the way you talk and love people and a whole lot of things in between:”
One of the mistakes of the church in handling this issue of modesty in dressing is trying to put the believer in a box of dos and don’t which automatically starts to feel like a sin for the other party when she fails to abide by the rules or meet up to the set standards and process of spirituality.
Modesty Is Who You Are
Before we can comfortably ask a person to do certain things or act in a particular manner, we must first ask them the major question that guides that line of existence and cements the protocols he or she is about to step in. you see, many times we do things just because we are asked to do so.
I was born into an average Christian home where we judiciously observe morning devotions with lots of shouting and beatings to keep one awake in case you allow the devil to cause you to drift away, lol. Well, that’s my mum’s usual suspicion each time you start to sleep often during family worship times. Its either you are possessed or you just don’t love God at all.
The most important detail my mum forgot to make us understand and walk in its reality is the issue of our faith and for whom we do the things we do. Relationships can make you do anything. Scratch that, good relationships can make you give and intentionally do anything whether it’s palatable or not. You will understand better if you have ever fallen in love before. lol
When we bring up the issue of modesty in dressing and quickly dive into the scripture where Paul gave the ultimate command:
Likewise also that women should adorn themselves in respectable apparel, with modesty and self-control, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly attire, but with what is proper for women who profess godliness—with good works.
1 Timothy 2:9-10, ESV
A lot of ladies will simply click away and refuse to look at the article twice. It is not because they fail to see the truth. It is simply because I have failed to make them understand why they should do the things you ask them to do. Well, to be on the safer side, I am just a messenger relating the things written before time immemorial to you in all sincerity and I do not mean to be rude at all
My journey as a writer has taught me many things. One of which is defining your ‘why’. My mentor would always say “when you fail to define your reason for doing a thing, you are bound to get frustrated or wound up at the wrong place”.
This is where most modesty preachers get it wrong. We love to enforce doctrines and rule out codes of conduct based on our dealings with God or our walk with the Holy Spirit. Yet, the people we do all these things do not understand why we do them. On our part, we fail to bring them into the truth at least without outright judgment on them or condemnation to hell.
The church must grow from trying to raise robot Christians to disciple men into the truth and nature of Christ. One of which includes allowing them sometimes to dig up the truth and receive their consecrations especially on matters as dressing
Modesty The Right Way
What would Jesus want me to do? This is one of the questions that have guided my very existence and my walk with the Elohim. Would he want me to do this? Would he want me to wear that? Oh! You don’t know the trinity is interested in your dressing as he is in other aspects of your life.
I recall a certain time I was to minister in fellowship, I had finished dressing up in this shirt and skirt with a cover heel when he asked me to change up and wear my flats. I also recall the other times I stood before the mirror and I heard him whisper to me to change my dress for that ministration and wear a particular dress.
Yes, the dress was moderate enough and not out of order but because he is interested in everything, I simply let him interfere without complaints. I know this is a little bit out of the topic of discussion but I just want you to understand that if you allow the Holy Ghost to gravitate and interject your movement and pattern your life after his precepts, you will have no struggle with a particular gown or a piece of clothing he wants you to stop wearing. We don’t just do things for the sake of doing it. We do it for the sake of the man whom we tabernacle with and whose name we summon with our lips.
Two Reasons I do Not Wear Trousers
I was in this group chat for sisters and the topic was on modesty and the facilitator made a statement about trousers being a sin and the removal of earrings and all of that. Most of my life, I have been around religious gatherings for long and I have seen what assumptions and outright condemnation of a piece of clothing or accessory has done to the body of Christ.
I used to and still fellowship with this group of brethren who weighs and scores a sister’s spirituality with her long skirts, no earrings, and virgin hair. In a bid to belong at first, a lot of sisters removed the things they saw others remove and after a year or two, they all wore it back. One may judge them to be hypocrites and while you could be right, don’t be in a hurry that you forget to ask them who gave them the instructions they carried out and why they did so
Now, I intentionally didn’t want to address the issue of trousers and earrings because of two reasons. One, I do not wear them but for my reasons which I would never lord over anyone. Secondly, it is a sensitive matter and I do not yet have all the facts for proper argument.
I grew up in an orthodox home and came to know the lord through the same means, I have lived over twenty years not wearing trousers and earrings are just accessories I do not fancy. At some point, someone asked why I do not wear trousers and I told her this:
“All things are needful but not all things are expedient”. That is my escape route. My way of saying: “don’t trap me with an argument of whether it is sin or not”. lol
These Are My Reasons:
- My family background, upbringing, and religious setting do not permit such. I am a woman under the authority and I have people who also are under my authority. Where I come from, if a woman wears a modest skirt or dress out in public, people will notice! They might even come to the assumption that you are a Christian. Welcome to my world.
- For the sake of the jurisdiction and environment where I am to command authority, trousers are off-limits. The people I am called to preach the gospel to see ladies on trousers as anything but believers. For the sake of these, trousers can be forgone. There may be absolutely nothing wrong with wearing jeans. But if skirts present an obvious Christian testimony then so be it.
Just like Brother Paul: “to the weak, I became as weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all men that I might, by all means, save some”
1 Corinthians 9: 22.
My reasons are personal to me, you should find yours and stick to it. What are your thoughts on trousers and earrings? Let me know in the comment box below
Three Reasons You Should Dress Modestly
Everyone loves to understand the reason behind their actions or everything turns to a wild religious goose chase. We are Christians and the issue of modesty stems from the scriptures. Hence, must be addressed within the walls of the scriptures. Let’s draw our premises. Why is dressing modestly important? What does the bible say about modesty?
Christ Cares About Your Dressing
You might think it’s just bluff or some religious dogma to tie ladies down again. Indeed as I earlier established, God is interested in our dressing. He would want you to wear your favorite perfume and cologne, to smell nice and turn heads in a good way. He would want you to wear good gowns and clothes that sings his praises and honors him.
Most importantly, he would want you to draw souls to his kingdom through your dressing. If you think people wouldn’t want to listen to you if you wore short skirts revealing your laps or fishnets with your breast in people’s face. Don’t wear it. If you wouldn’t wear that piece of clothing to church, then don’t wear it to class.
Dressing Modestly Equates Humility
Dressing modestly means that you are not the focus of attention anywhere. Now, this is pretty hard right? I mean, we women love all that attention. I want to walk into a place and all eyes are on me. The compliments and the praises could come handy. Well, I didn’t sit down for an hour plus to say no to a good comment on my dress.
The scripture creates a balance: Your clothes shouldn’t scream, “Look at me!” Humility points people toward Jesus; pride draws attention to one’s self. A woman of God will dress in a way that isn’t distracting. It doesn’t eclipse her character or her message, but rather enhances it.
Godly Women Will Not Dress Excessively
I can’t describe the word excess, well that’s between you and the holy spirit. I do know that we shouldn’t spend all our fortunes on our dress. Maybe, just so that we appear to have it all. Recently the Lord convicted me on my growing passion and greed to look nice and flashy. I was doing it for the wrong reasons.
I wanted everyone to point me out as the lady who has all the dressing tips. The one thing I want isn’t for people to look up to me as a fashionista alone. I want them to look at me and see Christ first. That’s not to say you can’t have a nice purse or a pair of killer heels. And it’s not saying you can’t put on your favorite lip gloss either.
The crux of the matter is to be a good steward of the resources that have been committed in your care.
A friend once narrated a story on her wall of a worship leader who wore this disastrous piece of clothing. She just couldn’t concentrate despite her good voice, harmony, and pitch. She kept staring at her exposed cleavage and laps and wondering. Why on earth she had to dress in that distracting manner.
If a lady was distracted by such, imagine how all the brothers felt. I didn’t want to start with brothers as one of our main reasons. Believe me, as much as we want to wiggle our heads and be stubborn about our responsibility to each other. You should know this: love watches over others and seeks to protect its own.
Men are enticed by what they see whether he is a sinner on the bed of fornication or the most anointed preacher. Our goal is to draw men to the kingdom of God and not to the bed of lust.
Again, modesty is about who we are not just what we wear. It is a lifestyle.
Most of my male friends know that I would never walk into their rooms if they happen to be shirtless. So, they try as much as necessary to wear a shirt before they invite me in. Why wouldn’t I do the same for them?
Let me draw you to a close with this verse. Though I speak with the tongues of men and angels but have not to love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal.
1 Corinthians 13: 11
Let us pray!
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Precious Ngozika Oli is the Lead Minister of Frontline Christian Ministries, Co-owner of FULL OF GRACE Publisher, the editor-in-chief of Heels Magazine. She is a faith and lifestyle blogger, a Web designer, a Blogging/ book publishing coach and an entrepreneur. As a teacher of the word of God; she seeks to help Christians grow in their walk with God, identify their purpose and attain a stature of maturity in the image of Christ On the flip side, she teaches writers and entrepreneurs how to start a blog, write and publish their book, how to design simple WordPress websites and build side incomes.
If you wish to get in touch, email me to [email protected]