By Vivian Bricker, Crosswalk.com
Winter is a chilly season that requires all people to bundle up. Coats, sweaters, hats, scarves, and mittens are staples to weather the winter temperatures. Even though wintertime causes individuals to wear more layers and clothing, an individual still has to be mindful of modesty.
Modesty In Winter
Over time, the assumption that only women should be mindful of modesty has become popular. Men and women should be modest—not only women. Women have been targeted as being “immodest” if they wear shorts, a tank top, or a bikini. This is not true as there is nothing wrong with a woman wearing these articles of clothing as long as her heart attitude is in the right place. If she is wearing these specific clothing pieces in order to draw sexual attention to herself, then that is being immodest.
However, if she is simply wearing shorts, a tank top, or a bikini because it is 99 degrees outside, going for a run, or planning a day at the pool, she is not being immodest. It all comes down to a person’s heart attitude and their motives. In the same way, simply because a man runs without his shirt off does not mean he is being immodest. It is highly plausible that when he is running, his body temperature rises and in order to not become overheated, so he chooses to not wear a shirt.
All people need to consider a person’s heart motive and the activity around their clothing choice. We do not need to be quick to label someone as being “immodest” based on their clothing choices. In the winter, however, most individuals do not wear shorts, tank tops, or bikinis when it is sub-freezing temperatures unless you live in a warmer, tropical climate location south of the hemisphere. Many people may think just because a person is all covered up with clothing, they could not possibly be immodest; however, this is not true. A person can be immodest despite being all covered up with coats, scarves, and gloves. Why? Because it all comes down to the person’s heart attitude and their motives. A person can be completely covered up with clothing from head to toe, but if they are wearing the most expensive fur coat, the latest fashion trend scarf, or designer boots in order to gain attention from others, they are still being immodest. Modesty has nothing to do with how much clothing you wear or do not wear. Modesty is found in your heart, attitude, and mind. If your clothes scream for attention for others, you are being immodest (“6 Things You Need To Know About Modesty In The Bible,” Graceful Abandon, 2021). If a woman wears a real mink coat in order to gain the approval of her friend’s upper crust circle, then she is not being modest in her dress. Yes, she is covered up, but she is doing it with the wrong heart motives, which makes her immodest.
Being Modest In The Winter
You can dress modestly in any season, including wintertime. 1 Timothy 2:9 tells us, “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” (ESV). This passage of Scripture highlights how a woman should dress—with modesty and self-control. These are based on your heart attitude. Paul is not specifically telling women we can never have braided hair, wear jewelry, or fancy clothes. Rather, Paul is saying women need to dress with modesty and self-control. As beautifully articulated by Desiring God writer, Mary A. Kassian, “When Paul told the women in Ephesus that their clothing ought to be modest, he wasn’t applying an isolated standard to women or women’s clothing. He was pointing out that a woman’s faith ought to influence her wardrobe choices as much as it influences the rest of her behavior” (Mary A. Kassian, “Does God Care What I Wear?” Desiring God, 2021).
If a woman is wearing braided hair, fancy jewelry, or designer clothes for the purpose of drawing attention to herself, she is being immodest. A woman or a man can still do this despite being covered up for wintertime. Dressing modestly comes down to your heart attitude and motivation. When you are choosing what to wear in the colder months, choose to honor God in what you wear. Dressing modestly will be a testimony of your Christian walk with the Lord. Christians are to “choose clothes that are decent in his eyes, not clothes that are provocative, seductive, and honor nakedness” (Mary A. Kassian, “Does God Care What I Wear?” Desiring God, 2021). If we make the intentional decision to honor Jesus in our clothing choices in all months of the year, we will never have to fear being immodest in our dress. All women and men need to look at their heart motives and weigh them against the Bible. If we are dressing out of the desire to seek out sexual attraction or to make ourselves feel superior to others, we are not dressing modestly. Dressing modestly is rooted in your heart. God cares about the way you dress and He wants you to honor Him in your clothing choices (Mary A. Kassian, “Does God Care What I Wear?” Desiring God, 2021). If you are wondering what is considered modest apparel, ask yourself, “What are my motives for wearing this article of clothing? Do I intend to glorify God in my clothing choice or am I trying to seek attention, approval, or jealousy from others?”. The clothing that we wear, whether it be in summer or winter, needs to be glorifying to the Lord. We glorify God in our actions, choices, and behavior.
Modesty has fallen under the label of “legalism” among many Christian circles. However, dressing modestly does not need to be legalistic. Even though many Christians can grow to become legalistic, God does not want His children practicing legalism. The Bible directly condemns legalism. The Pharisees were extremely legalistic and Jesus opposed them many times throughout His ministry (Luke 11:37-54). There is no place for legalism in a believer’s life. The Bible “challenges us to reject a judgmental, rule-based approach that measures modesty by the hemline rather than the heart” (Mary A. Kassian, “Does God Care What I Wear?” Desiring God, 2021). Legalism advocates for us to judge our fellow believers and to look down on them. Believing yourself to be “better,” “superior,” or “more spiritually mature” is not being humble. Christians should never judge one another or condemn each other on the basis of what they choose to wear.
Modesty is an important trait for believers to have as the Holy Spirit can help cultivate modesty for each individual. Christians do not need to view modesty as being a restrictive trait, but rather as a beautiful trait (Mary A. Kassian, “Does God Care What I Wear?” Desiring God, 2021). If we self-examine ourselves, we will be able to test our motives. Are we wearing our winter coat because it is cold outside and we want to bring glory to God or are we wearing our winter coat because it is brand new and we want to show it off to make others feel inferior? There is nothing wrong with owning nice coats, hats, scarves, shoes, and other nice articles of clothing; however, there is something wrong if we are being prideful or looking down on others who do not have the same clothing as us. Modesty does not actually look much different in the winter as it does in the summer, spring, or fall because modesty is rooted in our hearts. This winter season, choose to glorify God in your clothing choices by having modesty in your heart.
Photo Credit: Unsplash/Dan Gold
Vivian Bricker loves Jesus, studying the Word of God, and helping others in their walk with Christ. She has earned a Bachelor of Arts and Master's degree in Christian Ministry with a deep academic emphasis in theology. Her favorite things to do are spending time with her family and friends, reading, and spending time outside. When she is not writing, she is embarking on other adventures.