Do not let your adorning be external—the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear—but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious.
(1 Peter 3:3-4 ESV)
When I first read this, I was confused. “Why can’t I braid my hair?!?” was what I asked myself. And then some people explained to me that it wasn’t meant literally. It meant that if you are trying to draw attention to yourself, then you shouldn’t be doing it. You shouldn’t do anything unless it’s meant to praise God. Whether it’s dressing up to go to school or to the beach, you do it to praise God. If you aren’t, there’s a problem. It’s called vanity.
Pride, narcissism, vanity, immodesty—they all generally revolve around the same thing: self-love. And that’s not where your love should be centered. It should be centered on God and the people around you. You should never put yourself in front of God or others. And, sometimes, immodesty can cause you to put yourself in front of others and God.
Remember last summer? That day at the beach with all of your friends? And you wore that bikini your parents didn’t know you had, just because you wanted to be looked at. Now look at who you hurt.
– Your parents. You deliberately went behind their backs. How’d you like it if they did that to you?
– Joey. He was that blond kid who openly ogled at you and your friends. You hurt him. You helped him right along the path of destruction that ends at the destination of sin. I mean, having half-naked girls on the beach to stare at all day is bound to cause some lust, isn’t it?
– God. You think he wants Joey to sin? You think he wants you to knowingly and willingly deceive your parents? Neither did I.
So now how do you feel? You hurt your parents, who have practically dedicated their lives to you, God, and you caused all those boys who were with you that day to lust after you.
Need another reason for why to be modest?
Life lasts how long? Almost always less than one hundred years. Heaven lasts how long? Forever. What is God gonna do when you make it to Heaven? He’s going to reward you. For the time you wore the T-shirt over your swimsuit because your friends were coming over and your friend’s brother is very visual (as boys tend to be). For that time you apologized to the sibling you just slapped, and repented. For the time you befriended the outcast. For the time you said no to sex, or drugs, or alcohol.
I’m not claiming to be an expert on this subject, I’m just giving you my opinion. But it sounds like immodesty can hurt a lot of people. Especially boys. And it could, eventually, lead to you getting hurt. Rape isn’t the most uncommon thing in the world, and who’s a guy going to be more attracted to? A girl in a skimpy tank top and a short skirt or someone in longer shorts and covered shoulders and cleavage? Exactly.
You don’t have to dress in rags, or cover up every inch of your skin, but it also doesn’t mean that every time you go to Wal-Mart you have to have mascara on. It doesn’t mean skirts and dresses and pretty shirts are wrong. Far from it. Just remember: if you’re doing it to show off yourself, stop it. If you’re doing it to show how awesome your God is, keep doing it.
Modesty isn’t a black-and-white subject. In fact, it’s very gray. But we need to persevere for the sake of our brothers and sisters in Christ, for those who don’t know Christ, and for Christ himself. Fortunately, He’s there to help us all the way. He always will be.
Never. Ever. Forget. That.