Counter-cultural modesty

“Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God?” (1 Corinthians 6:19)

Over time some things become less common—like Sunday night dinners, board games, or home-made gifts. But that doesn’t mean they don’t still have value.

Here’s another: Modesty.

Some of you will have heard of “rules.” Not rules around the house, but a series of religious precepts and patterns by which someone lives their life. These are usually associated with monks or nuns. Perhaps most famously is “The Rule of Saint Benedict.”

Recently I was reading “The Rule of the Word” by Anu Pokritos Petayim. (See link below). It’s not for the faint of heart, but includes a daily pattern for prayer and Bible-reading, and also daily life choices having to do with the posture of one’s heart, including modesty. 

Second 5.1 reads: “Each day you should dress with modesty. You should not draw attention to yourself because of what you wear. Your clothes should not be so nice that people notice, and your clothes should not be so unkempt that people notice. Your attire or body should never be used to promote yourself, gain favour, or to tempt others with ungodly thoughts. There should be regularity in how you dress.”

Talk about counter-cultural! 

The Rule isn’t for monks, nuns, or anyone else living apart from society at large. According to section 2.1 it’s for anyone.

I don’t mean to get into a debate about individual clothing choices. There’s always going to be debate around that, and people are always going to make their own decisions.

Further, the Rule I’ve quoted isn’t the Bible. But it certainly gave me a lot to think about and brings some important virtues—like modesty—back into the foreground.

Modesty is itself beautiful. When we dress and act modestly, we are being different. We are deliberately choosing simplicity, withdrawing from the mental-emotional-sexual games around us, turning attention away from our looks (instead of attracting it), so that we and others can better focus on God.

How often do we tell our children, each other, and ourselves that it’s the beauty within that truly counts?

As followers of Jesus, our bodies belong to the Lord.


Notes:

–“The Rule of the Word” can be accessed online here.

–The Up Devotional is published 5 days a week (Monday-Friday) and returns on July 25, 2022.

–Bible quotes are from the NIV.

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