When we think about the word modest we think of someone, most likely a woman, who is covered, no cleavage showing, wears long dresses or skirts, unflattering clothing, no makeup, and a plain hairstyle. At least that is how the world portrays the word. True modesty is not only appearance/outward based but also, and more importantly, inward. True modesty is not just for women but for men as well; all believers are called to be modest.
In regards to appearance, modesty is respecting your body, dressing conservatively, and honoring God with it. Our body is God's temple, it is designed to host our soul, honor God, and only be shown to our spouse. How do we honor God with our bodies?
1. Keep your body clean
Cleanliness is important, God speaks often about spiritual cleanliness. While spiritual cleanliness is highly important, so is keeping God's temple clean. This not only includes washing and taking care of your hygiene but also not mutilating or destroying the temple of God. The bible is very clear that self-harm, tattoos, and body mutilation is against His Word and His design. People often get into a heated debate about these items, but instead of giving opinions, let's look at the Word of God.
“‘Do not cut your bodies for the dead or put tattoo marks on yourselves. I am the Lord. - Leviticus 19:28
*Note: you cannot pick and choose which commandments/laws to obey and which ones are outdated. God has given clear instructions on how to live and what not to do. Yes, some of the laws in the Old Testament are no longer applicable to us today, because Jesus Christ died for our sins, therefore, we no longer have to offer a burnt sacrifice or do some of the things the Old Testament people had to do in order to repent of their sins. Also, we are allowed to eat the animals that the Old Testament people could not, why? Because God said that it is now clean, and what He calls clean we are not to call unclean. But tattoos and body mutilation are still relevant today, why? Because our bodies are the temple of God, we are not to deform, mutilate, or cause scarring (deliberately) to our bodies. Would you tattoo your newborn baby? Would you tattoo an angel? No! We are to keep our bodies clean for Jesus. Also, in regard to piercing, if it is mutilating the body, then it does not honor God. Be wise in your decisions and actions.
If you have done something to your body that is not honoring to God, there is forgiveness, God will forgive you if you repent. We all make mistakes, we all sin, no one is sinless or perfect. Also, all sin is equal in God's eyes since any sin separates us from Him (no matter how small or how large). That is why Jesus, God's Son, came to us, lived a human life, died on the cross for our sins, went down to Hades to get the keys/defeat death, raised from the dead on the 3rd day, and is now preparing a place for us.
I am the Living One; I was dead, and now look, I am alive for ever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and Hades. - Revelation 1:18
2. Keep your body pure
Purity is not just refraining from sexual sin, it is also not letting sinful/lustful thoughts into your mind, not speaking impure words, keeping your heart pure for God. The Bible addresses purity many times, because it is a very serious matter. We need to not only keep our bodies pure and honor God by waiting till marriage, but we also need to keep our minds, tongue, and heart pure! This is so important, it not only affects you, but it also affects your future spouse, family, the church, and God. As believers, we need to be on guard against the devil's schemes and temptations and we need to fight, helping fellow Christians and witnessing to those who are lost. Therefore, be very careful about what you watch, listen to, allow in your life, who you hang out with, who you date, and what you do. Purity is a serious matter that unfortunately is not addressed enough and especially not demonstrated or practiced enough today. Repent of past or current sins, seek God's strength to overcome the desire/temptation, put up safeguards in your life to protect yourself, quickly flee from temptation when it arises, and start living a pure life today. God gives us renewal each day, accept it and praise Him for His undeserved forgiveness and transformation!
Your eye is the lamp of your body. When your eyes are healthy, your whole body also is full of light. But when they are unhealthy, your body also is full of darkness. See to it, then, that the light within you is not darkness. - Luke 11:34-35
Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. - Psalm 51:10
3. Keep your body covered/decent
Dress in a way that is lovely and honorable, not to attract attention or cause another person to stumble. There are no specific rules/guidelines on what to wear and what not to wear, but it is common sense. Cover up your cleavage, don't show your bottom or too much skin, pull your pants up so your underwear is not exposed, etc. Your body should be presentable to God and saved for your husbands' or wives' eyes only. Showing off your body is dishonorable, impure, and will cause others to lust, leading them to sin which in return is a sin for you. Therefore, choose wisely what you wear, how you present yourself and maintain your body so it is healthy and glorifies God.
Spiritual modesty means to not only be modest on the outside but also be modest on the inside. Flee from sinful lust, refrain from hurtful words, do not tolerate unholy language or thoughts, renew your mind daily and seek help from God to cleanse your heart and mind daily. To read more bible verses regarding modesty, read Bible Verses - Modesty.