Elyse Fitzpatrick on Modesty

Elyse Fitzpatrick has a great post on The Gospel Coalition blog on modesty. Summer usually means a lot of talk on modesty, and her piece is an excellent reminder and heart check for all of us as we look at our closests and our motives behind our outfits. In her post, "Gentle Jesus, Meek and....Modest?" she links modesty to the character of Jesus. Jesus was modest, she says. Defining modesty as "a refusal to show off out of love for God and one's neighbor. Jesus refused to show off his power." And he could of. In a heartbeat. Instead he exercised restraint so that the plan of salvation could be accomplished for you and me.

She goes on to explain how immodesty is essentially a desire to show off. She says:

"Conversely, immodesty flows out of the heart of a show off. Maybe we’ve worked hard at the gym or purchased an expensive new pair of jeans. Maybe we want to prove how free we are to dress in any way we choose, no matter how scandalous. When we show-off we’re failing to love our brother (and sisters) who may be tempted to lust or covetousness or sinful imitation. Showing off is a fruit of pride and love of self. Immodesty demonstrates a cold unconcern for the church."

And I don't ever want my heart, reflected in my attire or anything else, show a "cold unconcern for the church." I can relate to the pull to wear something just because it looks good without any regard for the people around me. As a Christian woman my desire should not be to show-off my own fashion taste, or my body, or even my freedom. My desire should be to show-off Christ, which is ultimately a pointing away from myself and towards the Savior.

And that's the beauty of it all. She goes on to say:

"The beauty of the gospel, however, is that it informs us about who we are and what Jesus has already done. While it convicts us that we’re all unloving show-offs (in some way), it also assures us that we’ve been loved and that we no longer need to show off to get other people’s approval because (here’s the best news of all!) the record of our Modest Redeemer is ours! Our identity isn’t wrapped up in the approval or envy or lust of others. Our identity is found in Christ’s life, death and resurrection. Christ is our life. He loved us and refrained from showing off so that we could be His and freed from the need to prove that we’ve got a great body or wardrobe or … because we’ve been lavished with His love instead."