The first half of this simple tweet struck me when I read it. How many things in life do we treat as “be-all end-alls” that really are not something we should hold up so high? Since this blog is Fresh Modesty I’d like to explore how really, modesty is not an end unto itself, but rather a means to an end.

Unlike worship, corporate, family, informal, etc, modesty is not our purpose. We were not created in the beginning “to wear clothes and look fabulous forever”. No, we were created without clothes, to glorify God and enjoy Him forever. God’s desire is that we walk with Him and take dominion over the earth He gave us, even still after the fall.

I’m not going to say that modesty isn’t important, but I do want to be careful that I don’t create a god out of it in my life so that my purpose gets off-track.

Dressing modestly because your heart has been walking with God is honoring to Him.
Dressing modestly because it’s what the cool Christians are doing is not.

Revamping your wardrobe to cultivate a more beautiful appearance is honoring to Him.
Revamping your wardrobe to make sure you put your best-designer foot forward to be seen as hip is not.

Modesty is just one of the thousands of ways we can honor the Lord. It is one that has a lot of great side effects and a lot of weight with it, but nonetheless, it is not an end unto itself. It’s simply a means to the end of glorifying God.

You see, I share here not because I feel like modesty is the key to an awesome Christian life. I don’t think it is something we should judge each other over. I don’t think it is even something that we should confront  newborn Christians about. It’s a wonderful thing, but it’s not the most wonderful thing. I really don’t want to lose sight of that in the hubbub of figuring out if a hemline is long enough.

The hope of Fresh Modesty is that I can show ways to turn what we think is a big thing into a little thing, so that we can focus on the biggest things. Basically, I want to equip and inspire you to effortlessly clothe yourself in a beautiful, God-honoring way so that you are able to put time, resources, and energy into the things that really matter.

This is one of the reasons that practicality has always been one of the criteria for this blog. Girls, if we can’t further Christ’s kingdom in what we’re wearing, something’s gotta change. Let’s keep modesty in it’s place and remember that it’s just a means.

37 thoughts on “Let’s Talk | Modesty Is Not An End”

  1. So well said! Thank you for the reminder 🙂 also love the fact you posted this at midnight thirty – it was fun for me who is up at 5:00 to send handsome off to work to be able to ''check if there are any new posts'' and see Fresh Modesty has a new one!

  2. What a wonderful post, Olivia! I'm teaching a Bright Lights set on modesty to a group of girls right now, and really seeking to go after the heart attitude instead of specific appearance guidelines. Your perspective in this article really encouraged me today, and gave me something to pass on to them.

    Thank-you for the ministry you have here! The Lord is using it to encourage so many girls. 🙂


  3. "I'm not going to say that modesty isn't important, but I do want to be careful that I don't create a god out of it in my life so that my purpose gets off-track . . . It's simply a means to the end of glorifying God." LOVED these statements! This is so, so true. And such a timely reminder for all of us, I'm sure.

    I especially loved the final two paragraphs because they speak what the Lord has been teaching me over the past few years, as well. Yes, indeed. 🙂

    Would it be alright if I quote you?

  4. Great post! You put it so well! I think there are some who lean toward the other end of the spectrum and can become very legalistic about modesty to a point where it can become an end and not a means.

  5. Great post Olivia! I have been following your blog for about a year and I never once felt like you were making a god out of modesty, but it was still nice to see your heart through this post. I am definitely looking forward to more "Let's Talk" posts in the future!
    Blessings, Cailey

  6. Hi Olivia!

    I was so glad to see you putting this up on your blog today! This was great timing as it seems that so many young ladies are taking modestly to the extreme and beginning to police what is not necessarily so important an attribute to the Christian life. As modest fashion bloggers it can be so much fun to dress in beautiful clothes and to wear them to bring Christ the honor. Yet if we puff ourselves up too much in this means, it will indefinitely show when we look at a newly born Christian and think, "Oh, she has a long way to go!" No! This should not be our answer at all! So I thank you heartily for speaking up and defending our new sisters in Christ! They need as much encouragement as possible when they first walk the walk.

    Blessings of health and happiness to you and your family.

    The eldest sister & singer

  7. Thank you for this post Olivia! There is definitely truth here; modesty and everything else should be (besides in obedience to parents' guidelines) an outpouring of your walk with the Lord.

  8. I really liked what you wrote in this post, Olivia. Great job! But I'm a bit confused. Do you agree with the statement by R.C. Sproul Jr,? "Family worship is an end, and not a means." If so, how is family worship an end? I have to wonder if he meant to say, "Family worship is a means, and not an end."


    1. I would agree that family worship is an end in itself in that, just like worship on Sundays, it is our purpose to spend time worshiping God– after all, that's what we will be doing for eternity. Is that not how you view family worship?

  9. Wonderfully said Olivia! This needs to be at the top of each of our girls' minds and yet at the back at the same time! Completely understand what you are saying!
    Our modesty should be an everyday choice that does not take over our thoughts about others, the moment we see them. We need to be considerate while living out what we have been convicted to do without having it take over what our soul purpose is; to bring glory to our King, without being 'puffed up' about how far we have come with our walk!
    Just as you said! 🙂

    Much love,
    the elder sister

  10. Great post!
    By the way it was super exciting to click the Fresh Apparel link and see the site up and running! You did a great job!

  11. Amen! This article really helped me to put some of my thoughts into proper perspective! Thank you for encouraging us in our walks as daughters of the KING!

  12. I'm so glad you posted this! I've seen such an "us vs them" attitude elsewhere in regards to the modest dress movement, and I think it's often lost sight of that it should innately be an attitude we possess in terms of clothing and how we wear it when we're true followers of Christ. I'm so glad to read you actually put this down in black and white. No one reading your blog would get the negative vibe from you because you're so down to earth in your posts. I've found that it can be a total blind spot that many Christian women of this… that they equate modesty with a set of rules, or even a sad idea that women are seen as lesser in the church and think that of themselves, instead of realizing that we innately dress to please Him when we've got the Spirit of Christ inside of us. The more we chose to seek him and become a reflection of His love, dressing modestly comes naturally- it doesn't downplay or make insignificant the role of women in the church or our freedom in Christ, but actually is a beautiful gift and expression of love.
    I think of modesty as another fruit of the spirit. Also, in the attitude and vibe you put when you wear the clothing. When the light of the Lord truly shines through us, we can be embodied with the reflection of Him we should be portraying… and I truly think we can dress in a way pleasing to the Lord, but still be the brave, confident women that he's called and empowered us to be through the Son. When we buy into rules for rule's sake, that's when it becomes dangerous ground- because we lose sight of the fact that this is anther form of worship and love, rather than rules we must follow to obtain holiness.
    Thanks for another awesome blog posts. Love the food for thought. Hugs.
    Lauren (Wearing History)

  13. You nailed it! I definitely believe that modesty is important, but like you said, I don't want to make it into a god or idol or anything like that. Great job, Olivia!

  14. Thank you so much for this! I was a super modest dresser in high school (arms bare above the elbows? Ack!), but since then I've become disillusioned with the conventional "modesty movement", because of the public shaming and judgmental attitudes that so often go along with it. Your blog is slowly bringing me back around to a place of respect for and admiration of modest dress. I really appreciate your kind, effervescent, practical approach to the topic — again, thanks for all you do here, and good luck with your new business venture!

  15. The way I've seen it written that I like the most is that modesty is about humility; humbling yourself before God first and foremost and above all things. When modesty becomes about trying to be more modest than the other women in church/on the street, when it becomes about showing off how designer/on trend/expensive your 'modest' clothing can be, it is no longer modest no matter how low your hemline or how high your neckline. You've lost humility, so the modest is gone; it's just clothes, in the end. The attitude and what it's about is what matters.

    That's part of the reason I love your blog, to be honest – despite our very different denominations and ways of dressing, part of the reason I get so many ideas from you and such inspiration is because your modest dressing has always been coming from a humble place, and it's about God, and I've never seen a single word from you I could consider judging women who dress differently. I've tried reading a good many 'modest fashion' blogs, and this is the one I've stuck with, it's been the best I've found.

  16. Thanks for writing this! EVERYTHING we to is supposed to be for the glory of the Lord- not to please other people, not for our own selfish goals (man do I have a lot of those!), and that includes the way that we dress. I've ready many posts on "the other side" of the modesty issue (do we need sides? honestly?) that say exactly what you are saying, so it's so great to hear those "sides" having the same message in common! Praise God man!

  17. Oh, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes!! Some people are so devoted to the worship of modesty that they completely lose sight of why they have chosen modesty–like women who mock those that wear tank tops or short skirts. Um, I'm pretty sure my Heavenly Father doesn't want me making fun of people or treating them unkindly, no matter what their clothing choices are.

  18. "Modesty is just one of the thousands of ways we can honor the Lord…. it is not an end unto itself. It's simply a means to the end of glorifying God." LOVE this. Amen and amen. 🙂 (and totally need to remember this, not just about modesty, but about everything we do to honor God… sometimes we can get so worked up in works that we forget the one and only important truth: GRACE).

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