In the modern west (and many other places following suite) that glorify youth, vitality, and beauty, is there a place biblically to be both sexy and righteous?
Before I start to tackle this question, let me first begin with some explanations of what I'm meaning. When I use the term "sexy" I'm not meaning cute, handsome, or attractive in and of itself. What I am meaning by "sexy" is "sex appeal" ... to intentionally draw someone to that which is sexual. Now to answer the question quickly and straight forwardly, I would say it is not possible to be both righteous and "sexy" (as I'm defining here), unless it is with your spouse (and that privately and mutually between the two of you, not for the rest of the world).
Sure you might say, that seems obvious enough I suppose, but Christians don't really do that ... right?
I don't know, you tell me. I see the Christian banner being waved all the time by people that, at least in my opinion, are trying to draw in people sexually. There is new demographic of "cougars" and "desperate housewives" now that are basically trying to prey on people sexually. How many of them do you think consider themselves Christians? And to that point, why are there so many people fighting to stay young, even when they are clearly not? I have nothing against staying active and living healthy lifestyles (nor does God, in fact he desires us to live in a way that honors our bodies which is his dwelling - 1 Cor 6:20), but this clamoring for attention and validation through the aesthetics of youthful beauty is simply not of God (enter duck-faced or max rep workout selfie here). Where are the sage's and wise elders that can direct and teach the younger men and women as God commands (Tit 2; 1 Pet 5; etc.)? Now that I have ranted on how the devil has taken our culture (and much of the church) hostage to the fear of aging, decay, and ultimately death (Heb 2:14-15) ... let me move on to some of the more difficult matters.
Sex and attraction is not evil in and of itself, for God created it, and all that he creates is good (see Sex Is Good). But we as depraved and fallen humans certainly take what God has made and twist it until it is barely recognizable. The bible clearly states that as Christians we are not supposed to find our beauty and confidence in outward appearances such as clothes, jewelry, or even the shape or muscularity of our bodies (1 Pet 3). But rather that our beauty and confidence come from our inner-selves, which is precious in God's sight.
This doesn't mean that we have to all run around trying to look slobbish, but what I'm getting at is that I believe the world barges into the church, but many times it does so undetected. We should see some scantily clad women and men in our churches that are seeking the Lord and being called (and taught) to repent and follow Jesus as his disciples. But this is supposed to be in stark contrast to the disciples of Jesus already in the church. Most of the time when I walk into a church there is little to no discernible difference between the world that is in attendance (supposedly being called out of that world), and those that are already supposed to be removed from the world doing the calling.
Here are some practical ways to test our hearts in these matters Christians:
Are you willing to go a weekend without any makeup or jewelry? What about an entire week? A month? How does this prospect make you feel inside? What does it reveal in your heart?
Perhaps you are a seriously fit person and you are constantly working out, are you willing to stop working out for a week? A month? How does this prospect make you feel inside? What does it reveal in your heart?
Are you working as hard to be beautiful to God by training your character of humility, love, and charity, as you are to make yourself desirable and validated in the world?
Are you training yourself to deny your flesh and walk with the Spirit of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, and self-control?
Or are you simply trying to be "sexy" like the rest of the world, and go to church at the same time?