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Reclaiming Modesty in the Church

  • Ryan Duncan What topic related to Christianity, faith, and the Bible is trending online and in social media today?
  • 2014 Apr 28

Dannah Gresh had an unpleasant surprise waiting for her when she returned home one evening. After a weekend of traveling, she asked her husband how Church had been that Sunday, probably expecting to hear about the day’s lesson. What she got instead was completely different. Her husband confessed that a woman had come to visit their congregation, and her outfit had left the men feeling…agitated.

“The funny thing is, none of them could quite remember her face.” Wrote Gresh on CharismaNews,“But they all remembered her skin-tight leather pants with the lace-up fly.”

For Gresh and her husband, this experience was a wake-up call: women need to be more conscious about how they dress in church. After all, Sunday mornings were supposed to be a time when Christians should feel safe from temptation, not worrying whether it will sit next to them. Gresh continued by pointing out that there’s more damage in immodest clothing then one might imagine. True, it can cause others to struggle with lust, but it also tries to steal glory away from God.     

“As Christian women, our greatest desire should be to please God in everything we do. First Peter 3:3 reminds us, ‘Your beauty should not come from outward adornment. ... Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God's sight’(NIV). But some of us are getting up on Sunday mornings and adorning ourselves in ways that aren't pleasing to God. The outfits we choose are intended to cause all eyes—especially men's eyes—to be on us.”

This news probably shock many readers. After all, sexual temptation has been a large part of men’s ministry for years, with writers like Kenny Luck offering up a number of insights on the topic. However, others may object to the notion that modesty is exclusive to women and fashion. As Crosswalk Editor John Upchurch recently pointed out, sexuality is merely one branch in the tree of humility.

“We men like to be on the giving end of the modesty discussion. When dueling articles about what women should wear hit the Interwebs, we clap and shout from the sidelines. We like to support the cause because we’re pretty sure that modesty revolves completely around skirt length, bikinis, and tight tops. But a definition of modesty that focus solely on women’s clothes actually does a great disservice to the word. It’s always been a much bigger concept, and as Matt Walsh points out in a trending blog post, men have just a much a part in it as women.”

UpChurch notes that it’s not only how we dress, but how we present ourselves that defines our modesty. Is a rich man who spends an obscene amount of money on a sports car to impress his neighbor being modest? What about the woman who continually brags about her accomplishments to her peers? It’s easier to obsess over clothing because it falls outside the body, but sometimes how we dress our hearts is the more important question. Remember the words of Micah 6:8,

“He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.”

What about you? What are your thoughts on modesty in the Church?

*Ryan Duncan is the Culture Editor for

**Published 4/28/2014