God desires the sanctification of our flesh, that is, we are called to glorify God in our bodies (see 1 Corinthians 6:20). One part of sanctification is to abstain from sexual immorality, though that states it negatively; it’s what we should avoid. There are more negatives in 1 Thessalonians 4:3-8: not living out of lust like Gentiles, not defrauding our brother, not disregarding God. But we often think about sanctification as the Do Nots, when there is as much about looking good.
The reason for immodesty (especially as related to sexual immorality) may include pride, but that’s a pride typically rooted in insecurity, or even just inability to see what is better, what’s more attractive. When we hear someone say, “How did she get out of the house looking like that?” we could interpret that has, “Why doesn’t anyone care about her?” That sort of care would not make her look worse.
Paul does require self-control in verse 4: “that each one of you know how to control his own body.” No dad? No excuse. Perverted culture? That makes it harder, and more important, not impossible.
But the self-control fits with the proper self-image (and this is what fathers, parents, church can model and teach). The entirety of verse 4 says: “that each one of you know how to control his own body in holiness and honor.” Holiness is special. Honor is valuable. Saints, that’s you.
I think about it like this for young ladies, though there’s application from a few angles for the guys. My daughters are like precious diamonds set in rings of gold. I’m responsible for protecting them, in process of finding someone better to value and protect them. I’m looking for a guy who’s got an idea of what he’s getting.
So I don’t let any dude come into the store, so to speak, and take the jewelry out for fun time around town. There’s no commitment. I’m looking for an honorable man. And if he’s holy and honorable, he won’t ask to play around with what he won’t pay for. This is expensive stuff we’re dealing with.
Holiness and honor includes what a person avoids, but they’re shown off in how a person is adorned.
Dads, teach your daughters about their honor and value. Moms, teach your daughters true adornment. Young ladies, don’t act pretentious, but as precious (see also 1 Peter 3:4). Young men, be self-controlled, and desire the splendor of holiness as much as you desire the security of a good job.