From nearly the beginning of Torah, Elohim (God) provides man with clothing to wear. These are the animal skins He gives Adam and Eve after the Fall. The animal skins are obviously an early expression of atonement, but they are also an early expression of modesty. I find it fascinating that the modesty taught in scripture is an echo of the Gospel itself, and even seems an important element in the likeness of God. From the modesty of our Jewish priests, who ascended a ramp to the altar instead of steps so as to conceal their nakedness, to the garments of glory promised by the prophet Isaiah to the modesty of apparel and modesty of heart as expressed in the Epistles for godly women, covering up our body is a deep and rich expression of salvation. Even Elohim is covered and clothed according to Holy Scriptures; He is covered in light; He is clothed in majesty. Is it any wonder that He promises His Kallah (Bride) fine linen, white clothing when they finally are to wed?
That fine clothing our Lord promises us represents our righteousness. Scripture clearly tells us that as well. Being covered up is in contrast to our nakedness, which represents our sin, our guilt, our shame. It’s furthermore in contrast to the nakedness of the land, the barren ruined Israel that remained after Elohim brought punishment on His wicked people. The word of God repeatedly shows us the shame of nakedness. When the Assyrians led the Egyptians and Ethiopians captive, their soldiers uncovered the captives’ buttocks to shame them on their long walk into captivity. When King David sought to humble himself greatly before Elohim, he worshipped in only little clothing, little enough that his wife was ashamed and ceased to desire him. Revealing nakedness as an expression is used over and over for revealing sin. The Lord God uncovers the nakedness of His sinful people. Then He brings them justice.
For these reasons and more, our modesty is a picture of Elohim’s saving process. A picture of His plan. An image of one of its final expressions. So strange then, that the holy practice of modesty and even the word “modesty” itself have become nearly alien to the Kallah that our Lord is to marry. Bring it up in your community and you’ll either get some puzzled looks, or you’ll get some souls who agree there’s too much skin floating around, but have no idea what to do about it. However, scripture itself, and pious men throughout the centuries, have ALWAYS known that there is something to do about it. It’s called covering our nakedness.
That is a difficult thought for many in the Body of Messiah today. We have been taught in recent years that having standards as such is Pharisaic or legalistic. We’ve been taught that grace will just lead souls the way to figure it out themselves. But you see, that’s a false Christian philosophy. It is also one of the reasons for the abandonment of modesty in general. You might call it an ideology of lawlessness and it’s a major cause of the half-naked Bride we see around us. It’s a lie that’s been repeated over and over and so often that now believers across the globe accept it. But beloved. It is not true.
We can be lovers of Messiah, true children of His grace, and ALSO live with standards. Here, let me show you. I’m going to say a standard of modesty, and you can repeat after me. Are you ready? Good. Here it goes….NECK. Did you get that? N-E-C-K NECK. Let me hear you say it loud and clear. Wonderful! Now I’m going to say another standard, and believe me, I’m still loving Messiah just as much when I say it. Here it goes….ANKLE. That’s right just one word. Ankle. Now I’m not even finished yet with a thorough expression of modesty, but I’ve already set a few strong fixed points in our godly standard, our illustration of our Lord’s glory.
If I want I could continue, but I’ll let the information on this page do that for me later. I hope and pray it helps you wade into, swim into and embrace the practice of modesty. I also hope it encourages you to be bold, and seek to bring real standards to your congregations and broader communities. And please don’t give up. You know, the first time you talk about it to a church leader, there’s an excellent chance you’ll get absolutely nowhere at all. You might get some smoke-blowing. You might get some double-talk. Some excuses. Some accusations, just as you would expect from the Adversary himself. But DO NOT give up. Keep persuading your community. Keep practicing modesty yourself.
We are the holy Bride of Messiah and we must not live like the world around us, which puts the human soul in the place of God and is enamored with nakedness. We are not like that. We are like the virgin, keeping her lamp ready, preparing for when her bridegroom comes. We submit the human soul to God and are enamored with His radiant garments.
He who overcomes shall be clothed in white garments, and I will not blot out his name from the Book of Life; but I will confess his name before My Father and before His angels. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. (Rev 3:5-6)
To the Restoration of the Bride:
A Biblical Review of Modesty — By Scott T. Brown. This audio sermon on modesty is one of the best you will find. It discusses modesty, primarily for women, centered on six main biblical texts. It’s aptly titled — Wearing the Robes of Righteousness.
One or Two articles on Amish Plain Dress — The Amish and other traditional Mennonites have a standard of covering which covers most of the body. The Amish and some others also have a “plain” style, which does not allow clothes which have bright colors or patterns.
My Journey into Modesty — This is an overview of how I took on modesty in my life and offeres a few pieces of advice for other believers.
Early Church — Here is some but not all of the commentary by early Church leaders about modesty. They are very clear about covering up the body, and equally on avoiding adornment.I appreciate their overally spirit of seeking holiness as well as their plain talk against evil.
Advice on Respecting Modesty in this Fallen Age — Article by the author.
A Catholic standard of modesty based on the holiness of Miriam
A Short Video on Modesty — A man’s man tells it like it is.
A Scriptural and Spiritual Cry for Change — By Paul Nilson.
The Traditional Jewish Standard — Notice how clear cut this explanation is. Modesty is not nearly as difficult as some people would like to make it. If you care you can easily do it.
LGBT or MNPS? — Modest Natural Plain and Simple: This letter to a brother in Messiah begins by answering the question of why I wear a beard, and continues by explaining the simple application of biblical principles to our life. We practice modesty and we respect the way that God made us. I wish all other Christians did.
Propose Modesty in Your Community
Sample Modesty Proposal for a Congregation — This is packed with observations, so if you use it you may want to remove a few things.
Sample Modesty Proposal for a Christian Event
Sample Modesty Proposal for an Organization — This is aimed at a large church, denomination or religious umbrella organization. It comes with a sample advert which briefly announces and explains the standards alongside relevant scripture.
America, Let’s Put on Some Clothes
Katies Mercantile — This online shop sells mostly traditional Mennonite clothing and accessories. We’ve ordered handmade dresses from them and appreciate their work.
Quaker Jane — This website is a hub for Quaker Plain Dress
Modest Clothes — This appears to be multi-ethnic and multi-religious modest clothing.
Hannahlise — This appears to be mostly contemporary modest clothes, and looks much better than most contemporary shops which call themselves modest.
Shukr — This is an Islamic modest clothes shop. We’ve ordered from them before and like their work.
Ah— A Christian athlete defending her dignity? Nope, a Muslim again!
A Muslim shop for modest swimwear.
An article on modest sportswear from a Catholic site. Very good to see their attention on modesty, but from what I’ve viewed so far Christian standards like these are not all there yet.
Another modest sportswear website. Again, NOT by Christians.
A short video promo for modest swimwear. You know, a lot of people think covering up like this is silly. But isn’t it worse than silly to have your mother, sister, daughter trot around mostly naked for everyone to see?