Who’s Dressing You? A Look at Modesty in Dress

Matthew 22:15

Then went the Pharisees, and took counsel how they might entangle him in his talk.

16 And they sent out unto him their disciples with the Herodians, saying, Master, we know that thou art true, and teachest the way of God in truth, neither carest thou for any man: for thou regardest not the person of men.

17 Tell us therefore, What thinkest thou? Is it lawful to give tribute unto Caesar, or not?

18 But Jesus perceived their wickedness, and said, Why tempt ye me, ye hypocrites?

19 Shew me the tribute money. And they brought unto him a penny.

20 And he saith unto them, Whose is this image and superscription?

21 They say unto him, Caesar’s. Then saith he unto them, Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s; and unto God the things that are God’s.

22 When they had heard these words, they marvelled, and left him, and went their way. 

Matthew 22:15-22 (MSG)

That’s when the Pharisees plotted a way to trap him into saying something damaging. They sent their disciples, with a few of Herod’s followers mixed in, to ask, “Teacher, we know you have integrity, teach the way of God accurately, are indifferent to popular opinion, and don’t pander to your students. So tell us honestly: Is it right to pay taxes to Caesar or not?”

18-19 Jesus knew they were up to no good. He said, “Why are you playing these games with me? Why are you trying to trap me? Do you have a coin? Let me see it.” They handed him a silver piece.

20 “This engraving—who does it look like? And whose name is on it?”

21 They said, “Caesar.”

“Then give Caesar what is his, and give God what is his.”

22 The Pharisees were speechless. They went off shaking their heads.


Let us look a bit closer at a topic that is hotly debated in the Church: how a godly woman should dress. Should a woman be covered from head to toe revealing no skin except maybe her forearms and face. Can her hemline stop right at her knee or should it be at least two inches below? Or, right at her ankles? Is a hint of cleavage okay? Is a sleeveless shirt or strapless dress inappropriate for worship service, yet okay for an evening on the town? Do stillettos mean she’s not in love with Jesus?

What in the world are, “sensual shoes” anyway??? Does her painted on jeans really have anything to do with her relationship with the Lord? Let’s look at our text in light of these questions and see what else the Bible teaches us on the modesty, dignity, and appearance of the apple of God’s eye: the woman.

  • There is a decision to be made. Who’s side are you on?
  • What shall we pledge allegiance to because that will dictate our actions. ( ex. Pink-breast cancer, family reunion T-shirt color) My style of dress and speech indicate who and what influences me.

In the church, there is a trend happening that is not so new, it is just packaged differently from the woes of the early church. Today, we see that women come in the the House of the Lord wearing something that is either too short, too high, too low or too see through. Outfits like this can be a big distraction.

1 Timothy 2:9-10

 In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest (kósmios) well arranged, modest apparel, with shamefacedness (aid?s) regard for others, respect and reverence and sobriety (s?phrosÿn?) self-control; not with broided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array;

10 But (which becometh women professing godliness) with good works.

1 Timothy 2:9-10 (MSG)

And I want women to get in there with the men in humility before God, not primping before a mirror or chasing the latest fashions but doing something beautiful for God and becoming beautiful doing it.

 We observe in the text that women the expensive extravagant clothing and hairstyles along with the jewelry was a big distraction in the Temple during that time. Paul was telling the women that if they were to adorn themselves, their emphasis should be on their good works, or deeds—not their outward appearance. The good deeds that a godly woman occupies herself with should be the thing that stands out about her—not her fashion.

Today, we find ourselves in the same situation. Only the deception of the enemy is even greater because some women have been deceived into thinking that the world’s standard of dress is appropriate for the House of God. The reality is: they are playing right into the traps of Satan: the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eye and the pride of life. This is not about being a prude or old-fashioned, it is about responsibility and accountability. That is why Jesus used that illustration with the coin. “Who’s image is this? What does it say?” It was actually unlawful for the religious leaders to even have that coin inside the Temple. For, according to Jewish law, it was an abomination for something that belonged to Caesar to even be brought into God’s House, yet the Pharisees were able to produce this coin instantly for Jesus to inspect. 

In light of this revelation, I ask you, when you go into the House of God, or even throughout your day to day affairs…whose name is on you? Would I know what Kingdom you belonged to by watching you walk down the street? Would there be something different about you, or would you blend right in? If so, then render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s. But, if you say you are part of the Beloved, then your dress and your speech should display that which you confess. So, render unto God what is God’s. 

Romans 12:1-2 

I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.

2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. 

Romans 12:1-2 (MSG)

So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.


Yolanda Pelzer Parker