Doctrine: Modesty is not about keeping others from sinning, it’s about you keeping your covenants with God.
At baptism we covenant to:
- Take upon us the name of Christ (to carry His name and be like Him)
- To stand as a witness of God at all times, in all things, and in all places
- To feed God’s sheep (i.e. share His gospel)
- To be a light to the world (to set an example)
- To help others, to comfort them, to guide them, to love them, to bear with their weaknesses and infirmities
- Keep God’s commandments
So, what does modesty have to do with keeping your covenants? Answer: it may be one of the biggest things you do that gets in the way of your ability to keep your covenants because your personal appearance impacts your ability to do all of the things listed above.
So many people think how you dress has to do with how you feel about yourself, your self-confidence, etc. And, in so many ways it does. But, the “feeling about yourself” you are trying to project or feel may or may not be a completely righteous one. It may be blocking the name of Christ you have taken upon yourself.
As well, so many people complain that they should not have to be responsible for the sins others commit (or think about committing) in response to what they wear. And, they are right, they should not have to be responsible…and they aren’t. But, there’s so much more to it than that.
Imagine this, you covenanted to take upon you the name of Christ. Sure, it’s figurative and spiritual. But its real. And, if how you dress distracts others from seeing Christ in you, you’ve got a problem. If you speak in an immodest way that distracts others from hearing Christ in your conversation, you’ve got a problem. If you act in an immodest way that distracts others from recognizing you as a follower of Christ, you’ve got a problem.
Priestcraft is “setting yourself up as a light” instead of Christ, to get praise and gain (and we’re not talking about simply money here). Thus, immodesty in dress, thought, word, and deed is priestcraft.
Consider that you can be covered from neck to ankle, but if your actions are immodest, you are breaking your covenants. If you are covered from neck to ankle, but your speech is immodest, you are breaking your covenants. If you are covered from neck to ankle, but your clothing is sloppy, dirty, covered with irreverent slogans, etc., you are breaking your covenants. If you are covered from neck to ankle, but your clothing is so tight people are distracted from Christ, whom you represent, you are breaking your covenants.
Yes, your body is Christ’s. He bought it through the atonement. That alone is reason enough to respect it. Your voice was also bought, and your ability to move, etc. That alone is reason enough to be good and act right. But, modesty in word, thought, action, and dress transcends even that grand doctrine. If you are a follower of Christ then you have covenanted to be a witness of Him. And, if you do anything with your body, clothing, actions, and words to distract from your witness of Him, it is priestcraft and immodesty.
Just some food for thought for today.