Reflecting Our Creator: Youth Views on Dress and Modesty

When it comes to the way we dress, the Bible is full of advice!

  • “Likewise also that women should adorn themselves in respectable apparel, with modesty and self-control, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly attire . . . ” (1 Timothy 2:9)
  •  “You shall not make any cuts on your body for the dead or tattoo yourselves: I am the Lord.” (Leviticus 19:28)
  • “A woman shall not wear a man’s garment, nor shall a man put on a woman’s cloak, for whoever does these things is an abomination to the Lord your God.” (Deuteronomy 22:5)

Also, in one of her many manuscripts, Sister Ellen G. White (1897) penned these words:

Enter into no controversy in regard to outward apparel, but be sure you have the inward adorning of a meek and quiet spirit. Let all who accept the truth show their true colors. We are a spectacle to the world, to angels, and to men. False prudence, mock modesty, may be shown by the outward apparel, while the heart is in great need of the inward adorning. Stand ever committed to the right.

The way we dress is how we present ourselves to the world.  It is how we help others form their first impressions about us as Christians. Because of that, it is vital that we represent Christ in a good, pure way.

In a 2014 study conducted by the Institute for Church Ministry, Adventist young people were asked if they felt God would punish them for the way they dressed. They responded as follows:

  • 54% said they would be punished for tattoos
  • 17% said they would be punished for piercings
  • 14% said they would be punished for wearing a revealing top
  • 10% said they would be punished for wearing very tight clothing
  • 5% said they would be punished for wearing a short skirt

While the way we dress is a representation of Christ, what is notable here that many of the youth seemed to feel as though God is hiding in the shadows, waiting for them to mess up so that He can punish them. We should be teaching our young people to dress modestly and purely, not out of fear of punishment, but so that they can more clearly reflect their Creator.

One of the biggest ways that we can teach this to our young people is to focus their eyes on Jesus. Many fashion choices are picked to impress those around us, or are sometimes worn completely for our own selfish desires. However, if we remember that our bodies belong to God, then everything done to our bodies should be done out of respect and love for Him. After all, 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 says, “Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.”

If you see that the youth in your church are having some confusion about appropriate ways to dress, here are some questions that you might present to them:

  • When you get dressed each morning, are you selecting clothes to show God’s love to others, or are you seeking attention from your peers? 
  • If you were to get a tattoo or piercing, how is that honoring your body – which is God’s temple?
  • When you wear an outfit that is revealing in some way, you may be leading others to think impure thoughts. Do you think that is what God would want for you – or for them?

Dressing modestly does not mean dressing without any fashion sense. It does mean dressing in a way that reflects Who you belong to . . . and standing out for that reason is a good thing!

Image from Canva©.

Author: ICM

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