Lord's Day Liturgy

Jealousable Adorning

Most discussions on modesty are like a drive-thru covid test: obnoxiously uncomfortable, mostly useless, and leaving a bitter memory. But as with respiratory viruses, we do need to build up our immunity, not an immunity to immodesty, but against always being offended when hearing someone talking about modesty.

Warm weather is not the problem, though it does have its own set of temptations. I’m bringing up the subject not just because we’re on the cusp of summer, but also because it’s a great, practical test case for jealousability.

The Bible has a good amount to say about what we wear, and actually, a whole bunch of New Testament specifics are about what women should and should not wear (for example, 1 Timothy 2:9-10 – includes the word κοσμέω – adorn; 1 Peter 3:3-4 – includes the related noun κόσμος – adornment). It’s also of note that God gave the instructions about it through men, even if older women taught younger women in practice.

Which brings me to the first problem: the men. It’s not men in their lust for pleasure, it’s men in their lust for (superficial) peace. Because we’re thinking about this at a high level, the ones who are responsible for modesty first are husbands and fathers, as instructed by pastors. Shoulder to shoulder with the patriarchy is the pastorarchy.

When you’re out shopping you can rank outfits on the scale of father hunger. “Modest is hottest” is a contemporary Kraft cheese jingle like only Christians can create, except that a person who is loved is more attractive. Our clothes should show that we’re receiving attention already, not that we’re desperate for attention. A whole community of loved people are a beautiful people, and what is desirable is not just the beauty, but the stability and intention that went into it. That is jealousable.

There are a myriad of adorning decisions, each and every day. If you wonder where you can make a difference, let there be a difference in what you wear. Let others lust over the love you obviously received that adorns your heart and covers your parts.