Modesty is a way of life for me. It always has been, and always shall be. But why do I dress modestly? Am I only doing it because that's what my parents have taught me?
No, modesty is also a choice I've made for myself. Long ago I stopped having to ask my mom about clothes I bought, though I do consult my mom or dad occasionally if I have a question. I've long since developed my own clothing style - knowing what I will and won't wear.
But what reasons do I have for dressing modestly?
God commands it
No, God's Word doesn't say exactly how long our hemline must be, or how high the neckline must come, but principles for modest dress are throughout the Bible. 1 Timothy 2:8-9 says it clearly: "I also want a women to dress modestly, with decency and propriety, not with braided hair or gold or pearls or expensive clothes, but with good deeds, appropriate for women who profess to worship God." This passage isn't talking as much about clothes as it is about character, but it is clear that what you wear is definitely a part of modesty. While modesty should begin in the heart, it is most often visible in what you wear.
It helps our brothers-in-Christ
Like it or not, men are very visual. Though they should be careful to guard their thoughts, we, their sisters-in-Christ, should do them a service by not intentionally dressing in a way that will incite lustful thoughts. By dressing modesty, we can do our part to not put a stumbling block in our brother's way (Romans 14:13).
In today's world, temptations abound. Let's help the men around us by not wearing or doing things that will make them wage a battle against lust when interacting with us. They face enough out in the world; as Christian ladies, we should provide them with a place of safety. Then they can truly enjoy getting to know us a person - not being distracted by our body.
Let's face it: no one has a perfect body. The things that look oh-so-amazing on the air-brushed models won't look as good on those whose images haven't been edited. Wearing things that cover well will conceal less-than-perfect attributes. Wearing things that reveal intimate parts will just make you uncomfortable. Anyone who has worn something a little too small, short, or low and spent the day trying to adjust it will know what I'm talking about. :) Wearing something that fits your size and body type will leave you comfortable and free to serve others. If you're not worrying about your clothes, you're more likely to be joyful - and a smile will transform anyone into a beauty. :)
It protects you
Again, men must be responsible for their own actions. But dressing and behaving modestly will send the message that you don't want their advances, that you're not to be messed with. Maybe what you're wearing won't cause men to look twice - but that is a blessing! Modesty will help you be respected.
It blesses your husband
Even if you don't yet know who your husband is, by being modest, you are honoring him by protecting your body. Even if you have the perfect body, why would you want all men to see it? Your husband will feel respected when you save the intimate details for him. It is a treasure to be guarded, and a beautiful gift for him alone.
It makes a statement
By definition, modesty has to do with humility and not drawing attention to yourself. Often this is the case, but in other occasions, you may stand out because of your modest apparel. This shouldn't be the driving reason to dress modestly, but it is one that can be a blessing. Your modesty may cause others to ask why you dress the way you do - and that may be an opportunity for you to share Christ's love with them.
Besides, who wants to look exactly like everyone else? Modesty can give you beautiful uniqueness. Clothing that is lovely, affordable, and modest isn't easy to find - but it can be one of those "hard things" we do for God's glory. Modesty in actions also isn't easy; it probably won't bring popularity. But, again, this is another hard thing we can do, and in doing so, bring glory to God.
It encourages others
I can't count the times people have thanked me for dressing and behaving modestly. Again, receiving praise shouldn't be our motivation, but encouraging others should be. Even if they don't say it, many are refreshed by modesty. Seeing you, a grandma may find hope for this generation; a mother may rejoice in finding a role model for her young daughters; your peers may be encouraged to do the same, knowing they're not alone; men old or young may silently thank you for helping to guard their eyes and thoughts.
Some may look down on you for it. Some may claim that you're just uncomfortable with your body. Others may deride you for not staying up with the latest fashions. But God's way often isn't the most accepted way. Knowing that the way you dress and act pleases Him will help you not mind so much the opinions of others.
Modesty isn't a set of rules. Often it looks a bit different in different cultures and time periods. But there are timeless guidelines; you'll know what covers enough and what doesn't. I have my own guidelines of things I definitely won't wear, but I never have to measure a hemline to find out whether or not I'm passing the point of modesty. The Holy Spirit is our guide; if something just doesn't feel right, it may His gentle nudging that you shouldn't wear it.
This is in no way an exhaustive list, or the "Top 7 Reasons for Modesty." They're just a few points to help you think about why you believe in modesty, and hopefully to encourage you to continue practicing it.
What about you? If someone asked you, what would you say were your reasons for modesty?