We have all been there, a new fashion trend comes out that is being worn by everyone, and yet, it does not exactly say modest. You can feel like the odd one out when all of your friends are dressed a certain way, but you just can’t seem to see how wearing that would be honoring to the Lord, or even to yourself. This concept needs to be taught to the next generation of women. Today I want to share tips on helping young women to be modest in the summertime.
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Scriptures on Modesty
Every culture, even every household has different standards of defining modesty. There are many gray areas depending on where in the world you live. However, Scripture can be our guide on ways in which we can worship the Lord even by what we put on our bodies and how we look when we walk out of the door. Below are some verses on ways to dress that honor God:
2 Timothy 2:9-10 says, “I also want the women to dress modestly, with decency and propriety, adorning themselves, not with elaborate hairstyles or gold or pearls or expensive clothes, but with good deeds, appropriate for women who profess to worship God.”
The entire chapter of 2 Timothy 2 provides instructions for worship. When I went to a church in an overseas nation, I noticed that many of the girls still wore head coverings. At first, this startled me thinking it was legalism, however in their culture it was simply a sign of respect for the Lord. They did not want the attention brought on themselves and their beauty, but all the focus to be on God. It really moved me. It made me think about how there can be a reverence in the ways we present ourselves to Christ. We can be assisting in the worship of the Lord, or distracting and bringing glory to our own selves. Our choice in dress can bring more glory to God. How great is that?
Whenever I have served in worship on the stage at church, I always do my best to go above my regular modesty scale. This is to ensure that I will not be the focus. When we desire to live our lives in leadership, we make sacrifices that go above to bless God and bless others.
1 Peter 3:3-4 says, “Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. Rather, 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.”
1 Peter 3 addresses marriage during the first seven verses. Peter goes as far to say that a Christian woman who is married to an unbelieving man can win her husband over for Christ by the ways that she lives and her purity. Then he goes on sharing verses 3-4. Notice Peter does not say that a woman should not take care of herself and never wear makeup or never do her hair. He says that her beauty should come from within. Anyone can get dolled up, but character quickly reveals if someone is a beautiful person or not.
In regard to sexual immorality, 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 shares “Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.” Although the context is purity, we can model these decisions in how we present ourselves physically and worship the Lord in this way.
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Teach Your Daughter that She is Worthy, Valuable, and Deserves to be Respected
Ultimately fashion is not a style issue, but an identity issue. If a young woman is encouraged for who she is as a person, her self-confidence will boost. If she is a believer, empower here that she is a daughter made in the image of God. Model this for her by the way that you dress as a parent or a mentor. Show her that you can be fashionable, but also be modest.
Simple summer tips include:
Swimsuits: Find cute bathing suits that draw less attention to body parts and more attention to fun. Consider what is appropriate to wear with only girls versus mixed company.
Shorts & Rompers: Finger-tip length is never too outdated. When selecting shorts, a great rule of thumb is finger-tip length. If you are bending over and your rear end is falling out, those probably are not the shorts for you.
Shirts: Is a crop top really enough material? Should my cleavage be showing? Can my bra show? By teaching a young woman to cover up, you not only show the sacrifice of respecting the Lord, but teach her to honor herself.
Dresses: On top of all of the above, is the dress long enough? High enough? And ultimately appropriate for the setting you are in?
Every person is made unique in the image of God. We are all beautifully made. With that said, we are all built differently. With the above tips in mind, apply them the best way for your personal body type.
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Help Her Understand the Male Mind
A concept that many young women are often not aware of, is that when she makes a revealing outfit choice, it can be distracting to any person regardless of their age. For example, if a teen girl puts on a racy outfit to impress the guy that she likes, she is also getting the attention of everyone else in the room. She might feel confident, but she may not be receiving true respect from others.
Men and women are both capable of lust. It is scientifically proven that men have stronger sexual responses to visuals. Emory University Health Science Centers performed a study on male and female brains. They discovered, "If males and females found the pictures equally arousing, you would assume they would have similar patterns of brain activation," said Emory University psychologist Stephan Hamann. "But we discovered the male brain seems to process visual sexual cues differently.”
We should be proud of the ways in which God designed us male and female. We are equal, but we are different. When we have knowledge that lust can be an area of great difficulty for men, it is important as Christian women that we dress in a way that shows respect to them in this common struggle. I am a married woman, and my husband always appreciates that I dress in ways that respect him and other men around me in public. This is not a burden to me, but a joy to show honor to myself and to him. In the same way, it is important that men are intentional with what they wear. Women also have eyes and many women struggle with lust as well. We as the body of Christ can support each other.
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Give Freedom within the Boundaries
One of the greatest gifts is to allow a young woman to show her personal style. Having boundaries is a wonderful gift and that allows us to have the freedom to explore anything within those boundaries. Just like we have the freedom to drive on the roads at sixteen, we still have the boundary of not driving through a red light for the protection our ourselves and others. As our daughters get older, we give them the keys to the car and trust that they will make the right choices that we have modeled and taught. However, they get to make decisions if they will run red lights and deal with the consequences. Romans 12:2 is a great verse to use when determining if an outfit or a bathing suit is “running a red light.”
As a parent, you enforce the rules in your home and set the standard for your children until the day they leave home. I suggest never funding any clothing that you are not ok with and that would be dishonoring to God. You have a responsibility to nurture and love your daughter. The Lord Himself has entrusted your children to you. However, within these standards, model the grace that Christ gives to you. Remember that your child is a human and will not make perfect decisions or always obey your rules. Care more about the relationship than the obedience. Set the standard and live it out.
Summer can be such a difficult season to find clothes as a young woman. Stores are full of fashion trends that are not always the best clothing choices. Make sure that you are having intentional conversations about modesty with the young women in your life. Apply practical tips and use Scripture as an anchor in decision making. Ultimately, let all that is done, be done out of love.
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