Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Modest Is Hottest

“Modest is hottest.” That’s a great motto. Modesty means way more than just not dressing provocatively.  The word modesty has to do with walking in humility, being meek and unassuming. Someone who is modest places a moderate estimate on her abilities, is not bold or in-your-face, is not vain or conceited.

In contrast to those who seem to be full of themselves, modesty really is hottest—it’s attractive to others because people know that a modest person is more concerned about others than about herself. A modest person usually prefers that others be in the spotlight. She’d rather take a behind-the-scenes role. In my profession this can be a struggle as performers are constantly thrust into the spotlight. Because of that, modesty is an attitude I am always working on. But just because we seek to be modest does not mean we are weak. In fact, a modest person may be very self confident because she is comfortable with who she is and doesn’t have to spend all her time proving herself to others.

You can read the whole thing here.   You can read a response here.

I am hesitant to enter the fray but I will say that modesty cannot be sold on the basis of it is hotter to keep something for the imagination than to expose it all for what it is.  I will also say that modesty does not proceed from the idea that the body is bad or that it should be hidden behind clothing designed to mask the human form because it can only be a cause for evil. 

Modesty, it would seem to me, is the fruit of faith, born of repentance, in acknowledgement that the center of it all is not "me" but the Lord.  Modesty is the outward form of the humility of the heart.  I am not saying we need to be Amish nor am I saying that clothing does not count.  It does.  Otherwise we would not be spending the money on the brand name clothing that we do here and throughout the world.  What we wear, however, proceeds from our identity as the baptized children of God.  What we wear first and foremost is Christ, into whose death we were baptized and in whom we are raised to new life.  Paul's rules about modesty and beauty proceed not from a disdain for the body God has created nor from any license or freedom to be "me" but rather from the perspective of Christ, in whom we live, move, and have our being.  Christ is whom we wear by baptism and faith.  His righteousness is our clothing.  His glory is our glory.  This is not negative (what is forbidden) but positive (what glorifies God and honors Him as Creator and Redeemer).

We lose every time we say clothing counts for everything or clothing counts for nothing.  Clothing counts because it outwardly reflects how we see ourselves.  Modesty is not a cover up but the humility of faith that shows itself on the outside as well as the inside.  Of course clothing counts (just as the lack of it).  But not in and of itself.  Modesty is a positive virtue and not a negative one.  We do not think of ourselves more highly than we ought simply as noble but misplaced virtue.  We do not think of ourselves highly because we think of Christ.  He is our all and all, not first before us nor highest of many priorities but our all in all.  When our clothing choices are born of this humility of faith, the choice is good (no matter if it is more formal or less formal).  Humility calls us to honor the Lord outwardly as we do inwardly, from the vantage point of the forgiven and grateful heart, joyfully acknowledging the unmerited mercy of God visited upon us in Christ.

When we wear our best for the Lord and not as an element of style or personal glory, we honor the Lord outwardly as well as inwardly.  It is not a dress code we must conform to but the call of faith we heed, in the external expression of our clothing as well as the internal posture of the heart.


ErnestO said...

If you can forget yourself, and live for God and His kingdom in this world, you have learned the way to pray without ceasing.

Anonymous said...

I found this at the Concordian Sisters blog.

The real reason to dress modestly is not to smother another's lust, which is impossible, but to cover one's own pride.