Modest Monday: Modesty vs Legalism

Modest Monday- Modesty VS Legalism

Modesty vs Legalism

The Webster Definition of modesty is:

1.: the quality of not being too proud or confident about yourself or your abilities

2.: the quality of behaving and especially dressing in ways that do not attract sexual attention

The Webster Definition of Legalism is:

1:  strict, literal, or excessive conformity to the law or to a religious or moral code <the institutionalized legalism that restricts free choice>
:  a legal term or rule
Lately I have seen much hate speech from both sides of the debate circulating around the world-wide web, especially on social media sites like Facebook.  What should we do as Christians?  Previously, I have blogged about my path to modesty HERE, HERE, and HERE.  I do not profess to be a Bible scholar.  I am just a woman who loves the Lord, so bear with me as I go through this.
Society, generally speaking, all over the world, not just in America, is truly over-sexed.  The ads are everywhere, including many Christian circles.  As a result, there are various circles that have placed a tremendous focus on women’s modesty.  Unfortunately, MANY more circles should be promoting it more than they do.  They should be preaching on it, talking about it, witnessing to it, showing examples of it, and teaching it to other women AND men in their congregations.  There is a fine line drawn in the sand.  We have to be careful that our teaching on modesty is not driven by the attempt to produce righteousness through the keeping of the external law.
Unless modesty begins and grows in the heart, none of this teaching or talking is going to matter.  I blogged more about that HERE.  When we begin our path to modesty and God works on us, I really believe that modesty is going to trickle down to what we wear and how we present ourselves also.
I have been very open on this blog concerning what our family does and believes, as well as our convictions on dress.  But, there is a huge difference between personal conviction and what is God’s law.  In the Bible we are told to adorn ourselves in modest apparel.  I believe this with my whole being.  I believe that with the world being so over-sexualized that we as sisters should do our part to protect our brothers in Christ.  I have posted MANY of my outfits that I have personally worn to show how to put together different outfits and give you modest and feminine ideas.  However, modesty can become an idol in of itself.
There, I said it!  An IDOL!  I have seen in various modesty groups Christian sisters tearing each other apart because they do not meet their “approval” of what modesty should be.  Ladies, please do not do this!!!  We must be very careful that we are NOT making modesty an idol.  We cannot allow our convictions to override what God’s word says; what is truly legit versus what is actually our personal convictions.
God’s word is very clear that we are not to show off our private areas and that these areas are to be saved, shielded and protected for our husbands.  God’s word is very clear that we are not to show our thighs.  God’s word is clear that our chest should be covered as well.  The rest is conviction.  I know that many Christian ladies will say that all that above means that a woman MUST wear dresses all the time.  This verse could very well carry a personal conviction for your family.  However, I do not believe that if another woman is wearing modest pants that she is sinning.    Sometimes the legalistic teachings gets the fruit mixed up with the root of the issue, which is the heart.
However, just because something is taught in a legalistic way doesn’t necessarily make it wrong.  Many churches will establish bylaws and dispensations.  Within this “rule book” is what the church deems appropriate for living within the confines of that particular church’s interpretation of the Bible.  For example, since I’m talking about modesty from a woman’s view, a church may interpret modesty as wearing long sleeve shirts and a dress or skirt that extends no higher than the calves.  The church is not wrong to interpret this into their “rule book”, however, another church’s interpretation of modesty may be slightly different.  Another person’s interpretation of modesty could be absolutely no make-up and the body is fully covered except for the face, hands, and feet.  Still, another person’s interpretation of modesty is a dress that extends just below the knees, short sleeve blouse and make-up in moderation, but also a head covering.  There are varying circumstances, but these are just a few general examples.  My point is that it is NOT the teaching of modesty that is wrong, my sisters, it is the way that it is being taught that makes it legalistic.  Modesty is 100% Biblical and women ARE to adorn themselves modestly.  Where the problem lays is how we are teaching modesty.  The varying interpretations that I’ve read lately on social media have garnered much attention.  This attention has began to create a wedge between us Christians.  These comments cause strife and dissension among the Christian sisters and creates confusion and rebellion within the ranks.  The women who are receiving harsh criticism begin to back away from modesty altogether and, sometimes, turn away from their walk with Christ because of the criticism.  Don’t get it twisted.  If a woman is not dressing in modesty, then we as her Christian sisters need to address it, but there is a way to do so and I don’t mean putting her on blast so the entire world can see.  Some of the comments I have read lately are just absolutely the wrong ways to get through to someone.

Here are some tips on sharing modesty with others:

  • Pray before you do anything. This should be adhered to either in person, through email, or especially on Facebook or another form of social media.
  • Read over the scriptures on Titus 2 and being a mentor.
  • Be mindful of the words that you say (or type).  Ladies be very careful that when you’re sharing about modesty with someone, that you are not attacking them or being rude and hateful.  Say what you have to say in Christian love.  Remember, God has extended numerous amounts of grace to you personally and I ask that you please extend the same to other sisters in Christ.
  • If you’re confronting in person, I suggest taking another sister with you, preferably an older sister who can be looked up to as a Titus 2 mentor.
  • If you’re on Facebook or the world-wide web, again state your thoughts in love.  If the person does not seem receptive, then PLANT A SEED and walk away. You do not have to kick the horse when it is down ladies!
  • Set an example. Remember that modesty starts in the heart and applies to our actions, our speech, as well as our dress.
  • Remember that there are some things that are convictions instead of things that are mandated by God’s word. These are NOT salvation issues; so while you may share your thoughts or why you do things, it is not a sin to have different convictions.
  • Before you post a comment on a person’s wall, think how you would feel if that person commented the same on your wall.  It might be best to send that person a PM.

I hope this post is a blessing and an encouragement to you about sharing modesty with others.  I would love to see more and more women embracing modesty, embracing being a woman, and embracing femininity.  Remember that God wants you to do the right things, including modesty.  Once we have been saved, our walk with Christ should grow stronger every day and during that walk we should be encouraged and want to live for Him.  This means that modesty and other hot topics should be something we want to do because we love Him.  God is pleased when we bring Him honor because we love Him and reverence Him, not because of a legalistic set of rules.  Let us also remember that just because you have on a skirt does not make you holier than someone who has on modest pants. Also, while we need to be careful to not be a stumbling block to men in what we wear.  Our choice in garments should be made to bring honor to our husbands and to God, not build seeds of jealousy or envy or lust.

A dear friend of mine overheard a mother scold her daughter because her daughter was dressed modestly.  Yes, you read that correctly.  A girl who was approximately 13, maybe 14, was being scolded by her mother because she was dressed modestly.  Her mother told her daughter that she will never find a man dressed the way she was.  I ask, you, the readers, what kind of man do we want for our daughters?  What kind of woman do we want for our sons? What kind of man will be attracted to that little girl if her mother requires her to dress more provocatively?  That mother is sending the wrong message to her daughter.  Unfortunately, this is what the mother has learned either from her mother, from a friend, from her environment, or from society as a whole.  Now the mother will pass this down to her daughter, who will in turn pass it down to her daughter.  This seed of immodest apparel is being passed down from one generation to the next.  This though pattern of “sex sells” and the only way to get a man is showcasing your body is being ingrained from mother to daughter.

We shouldn’t change merrily for men, we should change for the most high, for our Lord and Savior.  We should want for all of us to be modest, from our hearts to our clothing. 

Want to learn more about what the Bible says about Modesty? Here are Awe Filled Book Nooks Top picks!

Modesty: More Than a Change of Clothes
Secret Keeper: The Delicate Power of Modesty
A Return to Modesty: Discovering the Lost Virtue
Set-Apart Femininity: God's Sacred Intent for Every Young Woman

There is NONE righteous, no not one.

In Christ,


So what did I wear? You get two outfits because I was cold after AM church.

Modesty vs. Legalism

Modesty vs. Legalism

Modesty vs Legalism

Modesty vs Legalism

Well this week I got 4 inches cut off my hair, it was high time since the last haircut I had was in 2012:).  Today was not a very good day though because of the rain. Anyway on to the outfit:

Sweater: I LOVE this sweater!!! Bought at Christopher & Banks for 50% off 🙂

Dress: Bought at Goodwill for $3 a couple of weeks ago!

Tights: Aren’t they cute? I cannot remember where I got them but they were new and I think made for this outfit! lol

Boots: Bear Claw bought at the Exchange on clearance

After AM church we went to lunch and the last picture above was with a Sister in Christ. She also took my pictures today:). I was SO cold so before church tonight I changed into a different outfit.

Modesty vs Legalism

Modesty vs Legalism

Modesty vs Legalism

Modesty vs Legalism

Hair band: Garlands of Grace

Sweater: Walmart on clearance

Dress: Zulily

Leggins: Deborah & Co.…I LOVE these too!!! They are fleece lined and SO warm!!!

Boots: Walmart-in Washington you cannot have to many pairs of rain boots lol

Bracelt: From my friend Kelly who sells Nomads. You can find her Facebook page HERE and her website HERE.

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  1. I love this. I agree that sometimes we turn modesty into an idol. And I think it is so sad when Christians start to have an “I’m better than you” attitude! Wanting to please God should be a heart attitude, not just what we do on the outside!

  2. I’m a firm believer that our spiritual condition will manifest itself outwardly. If we seek to please God, we will dress accordingly, typically as an automatic overflow of our love for Him. It is very important to periodically examine our clothing choices to make sure they are a reflection of a godly woman. Would God be pleased with all my outfits? Would I witness to others in this outfit? Would I meet with my pastor in this outfit? If there is any hesitation, it’s probably not a good idea to wear it.

    I also think it’s important to remember that just because something covers doesn’t mean it’s modest. I can be covered from head to toe, but if it fits like a glove, revealing every contour of my body, that’s disrespecting and tempting men almost just as much.

    That’s actually one of the reasons I prayerfully put away pants. I felt exposed in them, even though my skin was “covered.” When I began to wear modest skirts and dresses, it was pointed out to me that my behavior and mannerisms were more feminine too. Really made me think about how my clothing affected me in ways I hadn’t realized before.

    It’s really all about pleasing Him. Do we love Him enough to invite him into our closets? It’s a tough subject but it should be prayerfully considered by all Christians. I pray for our young people today, that the Lord would open the eyes of young ladies, who are often naive about clothing, and young men, who are so tempted every day they walk outside their house.

  3. This is a great post. We do need to be very careful that everything we do is in love, as Christ would guide us. I too have seem women become very legalistic about modesty and belittle other women that don’t follow their same guidelines on modesty, it is very sad. Thank you for this reminder.

  4. I am a fellow Christ follower! Your article was very well written and I agree. As women we should always ask ourselves if out outfit could cause someone to sin. I need to work on that as well. Dressing modestly doesn’t have to be ugly either 🙂

  5. Very nice comment! I was taught if it was low, tight, or short that you may cause a Christian brother to stumble.

  6. “However, modesty can become an idol in of itself.” You hit the nail on the head. Christian women can be vicious towards each other in this area. One woman caused another woman to leave my church because she said the woman was dressed like a prostitute. We must all walk by the Spirit!

  7. I hope, I hope, I hope that I do a good job of teaching modesty to my girls. They know that we want skirts to be a certain length so they don’t have to worry about what happens when they sit down, and that we want tops to be no lower than the width of a hand from their neck so that they can lean over and not worry. I try to show them the practical reasons for modesty. They have responded well so far. My younger daughter, who is much more fashion-conscious and likes things to fit “just so,” told me after an interesting bathing suit experience that she now understands why I try to get her to choose suits that cover her. I know I am a rule-follower by nature, and so tend toward legalism, and my middle child is that way too, but I *think* in this area at least, we’re doing all right. Great post. Thank you!

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