19 June 2013

On the subject of Modesty

Now that summer is in full force, I am bombarded with clothes so tight and so small that they barely would cover my thigh. There are times that I want to cover my eyes and take my family to the mountains to live by ourselves. I get it, it's not fashionable to wear a potato sack but when did it become acceptable and appropriate to wear shorts that are cut so short that the pockets hang down longer than the hem line? And do really need to see your cleavage?

I'm not perfect. I had my fair share of bikinis and tank tops as a teenager. Now that I am married and a mom (of boys at that), I see what happens when women flaunt "their goods." Would we feel right standing before God in that too-tight dress? Might we blush knowing that our shorts were causing a friend's father to look at us a little to much?

My SIL posted this article and what Chelsea from More Like Momma says is beautifully written:

I saw a girl over my lunch break the other day that was wearing a teeny-tiny little dress.  It was a strapless dress that she kept tugging to stay up, and it barely covered her bottom when she sat down.  With summer upon us, I think it is an excellent time to talk about modesty.  Last summer I was at a baseball game on the 4th of July in Kansas City and it was HOT.  It was so hot and humid and miserable that I wanted to strip down to my underwear and run through a sprinkler.  But I do know even though it is difficult and takes effort, it is possible to dress modestly even on the hottest days.

“But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” - Matthew 5:28
I didn’t use to really think anything of this verse, as it seems to only address guys.  But do you notice that it says he has committed adultery with her?  Would you commit adultery with that grandpa you pass on the street, or the teenage boy who bags your groceries?  I didn’t think so.  So why do we as women think it is ok for us to dress in a way that invites them go there with us in their minds?
Because we have such a deep desire to be seen as beautiful we are often willing to sacrifice the purity of the men around us on the altar of our own beauty.  Women will flippantly say that it’s the guys problem not theirs, all the while selfishly enjoying the attention their clothing choices gain them.  But it’s not just the guy’s purity we are compromising when we ignore God’s way in the area of modesty, it is our own.
Modesty is definitely a heart issue.  How we present ourselves stems either from how we view ourselves or how we desire to be viewed. Whether you like it or not, the way you dress speaks louder than what is coming of your mouth.  You can talk all day long about how you “deserve” to be treated, or how you wish there were more chivalrous gentlemen in the world, but until you change how you dress, you won’t gain their respect.
Guys aren’t the only ones who can lose respect for a woman who dresses immodestly.  I personally have a really hard time hearing any kind of advice from a woman who dresses for that kind of attention.  If you consistently fail to present yourself in a way befitting a lady who professes to worship God (1 Timothy 2:9-10) how can I trust your advice on matters of the heart?
If you are unsure about some of the clothing in your closet, please seek some godly counsel.  When I was in high school I asked my brother if he thought my choices were modest by asking him if he would want his future wife to wear it in front of other guys.  If the answer was no, I threw it out.  My Momma also taught me what it meant to be a modest lady through her clothing choices and thoughtful advice.  Even though I had the godly advice and practice of many years of dressing modestly, I still sometimes struggle when the cutest clothing out there seems to be a little too tight or too low or too short.  But I know that a cute outfit in no way compares to the blessings of dressing modestly.
“Being powerful is like being a lady. If you have to tell people you are, you aren’t.” – Margaret Thatcher
Update (6/18/2013):There have been many questions and comments in response to this post, so let me clarify a few things.
1. A man is always responsible for his own actions and thoughts.  An immodestly dressed woman can not “make” him go there.  However, if we desire to honor and glorify God, we will care enough about our brothers in Christ who were made with a strong desire for the female body, and will dress appropriately.  Dressing to please God puts His will above your own, and your brother in Christ’s well-being above your own preference.  Being considerate of a brother’s weakness does not justify his sin.
2. We are not about to start making up rules for dressing modestly.  The standard we need to hold ourselves to is God’s Word, not man-made guidelines.  God did not outline the exact details of what we should or shouldn’t wear, but he does require modesty and decency of dress for a godly woman.  It is up to each female Christ follower to examine her heart according to God’s Truth.  Who are you trying to please with what you are wearing?  And if God prompts your heart that what you are wearing is immodest, are you willing to get rid of it to please him?
Our value and worth comes from the fact that we are made in the image of God.  Nothing can change that.  We were bought with a (very high) price ladies - therefore, let us honor God with our bodies.
I just want to reiterate what Chelsea said:
If you consistently fail to present yourself in a way befitting a lady who professes to worship God (1 Timothy 2:9-10) how can I trust your advice on matters of the heart?

"Modesty isn't about covering up our bodies because they're bad; modesty isn't about hiding ourselves, it's about revealing our dignity." ~ Jessica Rey
We can be Godly women who are modest and still stylish! 
We are made beautiful in His image.