#2 Myth of Modesty: Setting standards is legalistic.
I will always have a reader who emails me about my modesty posts saying that she wore yoga pants and it wasn’t a big deal.
“I understand you were convicted that it was wrong,” the email might kindly explain. “But I haven’t been convicted yet.”
I’m not here to write a list of rules to be broken or ignored, but rather to talk about real issues that address real young women. I realize that it is not my job to write your personal standards of modesty. But since we are on the topic of yoga pants, let me share some things Mr. M commented to me when I was writing this post:
“Yoga pants make it difficult to work out when the girls are right there and the pants are so tight; it’s basically like the woman is naked. A friend of mine even said when a girl wears yoga pants … it shows all the form and features while covering up flaws, like imperfections of the skin or cellulite. They are designed to be appealing.”
Additionally, a young man in a men’s group Mr. M once attended upheld this view. He told the men it was tough for him to try to work out where there are girls wearing yoga pants doing stretches right beside him. It was a struggle not to lust after them. He would have to make himself leave the vicinity to do his workout with the still-present threat of remembering their image and stumbling later on.
Yet another friend told Mr. M that it pained and concerned him that his girlfriend would go to the gym in her yoga pants to work with her personal trainer, but he didn’t feel he could ask her to stop without being perceived as controlling.
What is the real issue here?
Is it what not to wear? In our hearts, we know it isn’t.
It’s a standard of behavior, not a standard of dress, that is ultimately missing from our lives when we fail to be modest.
I also want 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. (1 Timothy 2:9-10)
Paul wanted women to dress with ‘decency and propriety … as appropriate for women who profess to worship God.’
This high calling is our standard of behavior, which directly influences our standard of dress. It calls us to be different from the trends, the culture and the leanings of the modern church. It calls us to align our spiritual life with our outward life in all things, willing to make personal sacrifices in order to do so.
Setting standards is not legalistic.
Saying that modesty is required in order to be saved is legalistic, and regulating others rather than looking into our own hearts is legalistic.
Many of us spend a lot more time telling the men of the church to quit looking and the other women in the church to quit dressing the way they do, and we never evaluate our own closets.