Monday, August 22, 2011

The virtue of Modesty....

This topic was recently brought to my attention on facebook. I won't go into all the details, but suffice it to say, a male friend of mine honestly asked for help from female contemporaries in the area of their dress. He asked for them to not dress in a revealing manner as to not lead him in to temptation and causing him to stumble. I commended him for his are visual creatures as designed by God and he was just admitting to this fact. One of his friends disagreed with him...and went to the extreme of saying that by putting the responsibility on women and how they dress, it is saying that any woman who has been raped has deserved it from her clothing. I disagreed and told her so. The conversation went on from there, but I will leave it at that. I write all this to say, I was reminded of a blog post I did about 4 years ago on Myspace discussing this very topic. It seems that in this fallen world, this will always be a "hot topic" for many. Here is my blog from years I said, this was about 4 years ago...I won't bother with updating my kids ages....

Modesty -- a Virtue

I just felt the need to post a blog about Modesty. Being the mother of 3 girls, I find myself having a difficult time finding appropriate clothes for children. By appropriate I mean not having a LOW RISE jean for a 7 year old and not having words written across the bottom of toddler clothes (even if it says something innocent, like "cutie"). I myself even have a difficult time finding clothes that don't reveal too much, whether it be the rise on the jeans or the cut of the neckline. My best friend LeighAnn and I have been having discussions on this lately. At the Bible study we attend on Tuesday mornings at Berachah Bible Church, the pastor's wife mentioned that someone questioned an outfit she was wearing as not being appropriately modest. She went on to say that she was thankful that someone had challenged her on it. It was an excellent insight. She realized that although she may feel particularly cute or attractive in certain clothing, she must also take into consideration the way she looks to others. We may think we are dressed decently, but at the same time not realize the weakness of the opposite sex when it comes to visual desires. God made men to be very visual. We should not be an instrument of temptation to the men we come in contact with. Are we dressing in a way that is helping men avoid temptation? Are we helping them or hindering them by what we wear? We must keep these things in mind when we are dressing ourselves, and for me, when I am dressing my daughters. I don't want my 3, 4, and 7 year old daughters growing up thinking it's "okay" for someone to look at their backside (even if it's "only" to read what is written there). It's never okay to draw that sort of attention to ourselves. Our bodies are to be used to glorify God. I want to be an example of a Godly woman to my girls. The responsibility of teaching them modesty is mine.

One of the ladies in the church at Berachah wrote an article about this. I really enjoyed the article when I read it and I felt like it was important to post. In today's society, we are bombarded with sexual images...even in our commercials for shampoo!! We Christian women need to set the example of dressing appropriately...not only to honor ourselves, or even our husbands...but most importantly to honor GOD!

Here is the article:

Summer is officially here! Our sweaters are put away and our shorts are out. In these hot Georgia summers, how do we as Christian women choose to adorn ourselves? Are we attempting to look like and fit in with the world or are we setting ourselves apart for godliness? Fashion magazines, clothing stores, television, peers, and our own desires to fit in or stand out all tell us and show us what we "need" to wear. In our culture it is becoming more and more difficult to find stylish yet modest clothing. You might ask, "Why is modesty really so important"? We all have heard teaching on modesty numerous times, but it becomes a bit more obvious every summer that we need to be more diligent in applying God's word in this area. If modesty was an idea from man only, we could call it legalism. However, instruction for being modest and chaste is God-given, so we must pay attention. We will begin by going to the heart of modesty–our hearts!!

Modesty is the fruit of a well kept heart. In 1 Timothy 2:9 Paul states that "women should adorn themselves in respectable apparel" and the attitude in so doing is "with modesty and self-control". Practically speaking, "respectable attire" would be that which is not extravagant, showy, revealing or sexually enticing. Paul's appeal to Timothy was not a legalistic claim for women to dress in only a certain type of clothes. In the contrary, it was an appeal for those "women making a claim to godliness" (1 Tim. 2:10) to appear as such. The dress and appearance of women in the church is one way in which the church may distinguish itself from godlessness. Our hearts are the center of our being, our minds, our wills, and our desires. We have studied much in the past year about keeping our hearts with all diligence (Prov. 4:23) for "out of them spring the issues of life." The way we choose to adorn ourselves says much about the attitude and allegiance of our hearts. Do our wardrobes communicate that we are God-fearers? Modesty as defined in the Webster's dictionary is "freedom from vanity or conceit" and "propriety in dress, speech, or conduct". We can say then that immodesty is the fruit of a prideful heart. Self-control is defined as "restraint over one's impulses, emotions and desires." Here we can apply this teaching of modesty by being self-controlled and deliberate with our attire. Even as I write this, I am praying and asking God to reveal any area of my heart or wardrobe that needs attention. We are all about this heart work together.

Modesty in our dress flows from a humble heart. Immodesty is an attempt to draw attention to myself instead of bringing glory to God. This can simply be called arrogance or pride, a matter of the heart we must consider. CJ Mahaney in his book Humility: True Greatness says, "The proud person seeks to glorify himself and not God, thereby attempting in effect to deprive God of something only He is worthy to receive." What is my motivation, then, when I am out shopping for new clothes or at my closet door choosing what to where? Is it what will draw the most attention to me and my figure today? Is it what will turn the eyes of men? Or am I choosing modest yet attractive apparel to honor God? Our prideful hearts say our preferences are better than God's way. Dethroning ourselves and our desires, and humbly submitting to God may require reassessing our wardrobes. Be it casual or formal wear or swimwear, and whether church friends are around or not, this is an opportunity to be intentionally counter-cultural in expressing the fear of the Lord. A wedding is an example of one such opportunity. Brides and young ladies who will one day be brides, guard your hearts in your pursuit for the perfect dress. Your wedding is a time to demonstrate the glory of God in the covenant of marriage. For the Christian bride, this is one of the holiest times of your lives as you make vows before God and the church. You are a display of the body of Christ being presented to the Groom. This day should not be one to wear the most revealing thing you've ever worn. You will be the center of attention. A modest, yet beautiful dress should accentuate the face and heart of a bride who loves her Lord and her husband. The same can be said for dress on Sunday mornings for worship as we gather to praise God, not one another.

Modesty is one manner in which we serve others in the body of Christ. God has created men and women very differently with tendencies towards different types of sin. As this morning's message shows, Christian men must be constantly on their guard against the sin of lust. How women dress can effect men and cause them to sin. Even to those who are on guard and do not sin, it can be a great distraction. We, as Christian women, can show care for our brothers in Christ by dressing modestly. Church should be one place where they are protected from the sensual dress of women. In this sense, we see modesty as being a matter of responsibility not just preference. Al Mohler has this to say of men, "If it's a male and he's still breathing, he's going to be struggling with visual stimulation that will lead him to sin. And you need to care for your brothers, to serve them by not allowing that to happen."

Lastly, modesty assists in the furtherance of the gospel. As believers we are to be holy as Christ is holy. We must live in a way that is consistent with our faith. May there be no contradiction between our appearance before the world and the gospel message we proclaim. It is the glory of God at stake and the world is watching! As we live authentically, may we not tend towards self-righteousness. We must love the lost, no matter how they are dressed. Our ultimate goal is not to get them fully-dressed but to share the gospel that will save their souls.

The exhortation given to women through Paul to Timothy is to all Christian women, young and old. Even for our very young girls we have to search for modest clothing. To the older women, your instruction to younger women, daughters and granddaughters is most effective when you model modesty as well. Young women and girls, listen to the instruction of your fathers, mothers and older women in this area. Their wisdom can provide great protection.

God is the giver of all things beautiful!! The call to modesty is not a call to be unattractive or to wear only burlap sacks. We are to display the beauty and grace of womanhood that comes from a heart that finds ultimate pleasure in God. Let's assist one another in the high calling of well-kept, humble hearts that seek to exalt Christ.

Here are a few other interesting links:

I hope you all find this information worthwhile. It is also my prayer that anyone that reads this information will re-evaluate their own wardrobe and thought process when it comes to choosing the clothes you wear. I know I did.

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