Thanks everyone, for sticking with us on this very important topic of modesty. In a world where modesty is anything but popular, your eagerness to please God by your dress testifies to His work of grace in your heart.
Please know that this series isn’t about imposing some kind of girltalk clothing standard. It’s about applying God’s standard and wisdom to the area of our dress. Ultimately, as Janelle said, it’s about our hearts; for, a modest heart comes before modest dress.
You see, immodest dress is more than simply wearing skimpy clothing. Often, it’s an expression of pride, the opposite of humility. Simply put, immodest clothes are pride on display. In his book Humility: True Greatness, my dad explains that “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.”
In other words, the immodest girl seeks to dress in a way that draws attention to herself and to her body, instead of serving others and bringing glory to the Savior.
How can we know if pride is our fashion style of choice? By considering our motives: why we wear what we wear. Here are three arrogant desires that can often motivate the way we dress. I know, because I’m familiar with all of them.
1. A desire to be selfish.
I simply don’t want to invest the time and effort required to find modest clothing. I mean, let’s face it—it’s not easy to be modest these days! I have to try on three times as many pairs of jeans as the girl who isn’t concerned about modesty. I might as well go on an archeological dig—it’s that hard to find a stylish, attractive shirt or dress that’s modest. Not to mention that I have to leave hanging on the rack many things that I think would look really great on me! However, when I grumble and complain or make excuses for immodesty, I’m putting my selfish desires above serving others and glorifying Christ. That’s pride.
2. A desire to show off.
I want people to think I’m trendy. I want them to include me because of how I dress. I worry they’ll reject me if I don’t dress a certain way. This is a common temptation. But really, it’s just another campaign for my own glory. I want the attention from others that I should be directing to God instead.
3. A desire to seduce.
This is the most serious of the three. While many women who choose immodest clothing aren’t literally trying to seduce a guy, in it’s infancy, there can be a desire for that lustful attention. We want to feel attractive and desirable. However, this is sinful, and a particularly virulent form of pride. It’s says: I’m worthy of the kind of attention that’s forbidden in God’s Word. It tempts men to sin against God’s holiness.
If these three proud desires—to be selfish, show off and seduce—are lurking in our hearts, we must first admit to the ugly truth. Then we must repent and receive the forgiveness that comes only through Christ. And we must purpose to put on humility—first in our hearts, and then in our dress. For if immodesty is an expression of pride, then modesty is humility expressed in dress.
So how about you? Are you wearing humility today?
“[Do not dress] from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus…” Philippians 2:3-5
Time to dive into our little series on modesty. Just a small disclaimer before we begin—some of the content that we will be presenting this week is adapted from a message by my dad entitled “The Soul of Modesty.” He has kindly agreed to let us steal his material and give it a little girltalk twist. Thanks, Dad!
We are gonna hang out on three main points:
? The attitude of a modest woman
? The appearance of a modest woman
? The allegiance of a modest woman
Soon after Caly was born, I packed away all of my maternity clothes and eagerly dug out my “regular” clothes. I was excited. I thought it would feel like shopping, but without spending any money. When I pulled out my storage bags from under the bed, however, there wasn’t much there. What happened to all of my clothes? What was I wearing before I got pregnant? I still haven’t figured that one out. Anyway, I’m currently borrowing a pair of jeans from my mom and planning a little “wardrobe rebuilding” trip soon.
But before my trip to the mall, something far more important must take place. I must first evaluate my heart. My dad says it this way, “Any biblical discussion of modesty begins by addressing the heart, not the hemline.” So what is this heart we’re supposed to have? 1 Timothy 2:9-10 makes it clear. It says that “Women should adorn themselves in respectable apparel, with modesty and self-control.” These two qualities are to inform the way that I dress. Let’s check out these definitions.
Modesty—“Propriety: The avoidance of clothing and adornment that is extravagant, showy, and sexually enticing.”
Self Control—“Restraint, moderation for the purpose of purity.”
Maybe modesty is a word you don’t really want to think about. Perhaps you’ve had a vague idea that it means “ugly” or “out of style.” It may not have occurred to you that God has something to say about the clothes you wear.
As do all Scriptural commands, this command to modesty and self-control has broader implications than merely externals, what we wear. It goes right to the heart of WHY we wear what we wear. Our clothes, whether we realize it or not, say something. They give us away. They reveal the heart behind the clothes we wear. A modest heart comes before modest dress.
So what do your clothes say about your heart? What would we discover if we met your closet before we met you? Do your clothes reveal a heart of modesty and self-control? If you are not sure, check back tomorrow when we will take a look at what a modest heart is not.
What is the gospel? It’s the most important question for a Christian to answer, and yet, ashamedly, we often stumble over a concise response. I like how one pastor taught his children—one word for every finger on their hand: Christ Died For Our Sins. Steve and I have taught Jack, so he can answer the question, even though he doesn’t yet understand its significance (Oh, Lord, may you grant him illumination soon!).
Over at the Together for the Gospel Blog my dad provides a more comprehensive definition of the gospel. He also explains why it is vital for each of us to keep a firm hold on its truth. Every day, we are in danger of misrepresenting, minimizing or marginalizing the gospel. (A sinful tendency I recently became conscious of myself.) In point #3 on personal application, Dad explains how to avoid this trap.
So what is the gospel? Write down your answer and then read Dad’s post. Even if you know the right words to say (like my three year old son) let your heart be freshly affected by their truth.
It’s that time of year again. The fashion magazines are touting the newest and hottest clothing trends for spring and summer. And because fashion is so fickle, a woman is sure to find that what was popular last season, must not see the light of day this season. But more than just the latest style, spring and summer (in particular) usher in a vast array of immodest and indecent clothing. Thus the racks and shelves at the nearest mall are crammed full of body-revealing attire.
So, what’s a Christian woman to do?
We must consult God’s Word rather than the fashion magazines. We must take God with us when we go shopping. And what’s interesting—and freeing, I might add—is that God’s clothing style for women doesn’t change from season to season. He presents his fashion standard to us in 1 Timothy 2:9-10:
Women should adorn themselves in respectable apparel, with modesty and self-control, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly attire, but with what is proper for women who profess godliness—with good works.
Over the next few days we will be talking about this verse and what it means for our 2006 spring and summer wardrobes. We hope you will join us for this discussion: Fashion and Following the Savior.
Karen from Abingdon, MD has further proof that boys are different than girls (as if we needed any!).
My 9-year-old son was complaining because his 15-year-old sister always has “private” conversations with me. Being 15 and the only girl, she always has something she wants to share only with her mom. So yesterday the whole family was together in the living room and my daughter whispered to me that she needed to speak to me privately. We got up and “went to the big bed.” We always shut the door and stretch out on my bed and talk. When we came back he said, “I never get to have private talks with you.” I told him that any time he wanted to have a private conversation with dad or me, he just had to ask. About an hour later he came to me, whispered in my ear that he had to speak to me privately. We got up, and went to the big bed. I shut the door, we stretched out, and he looked me right in the eye and said: “I really think we should have hotdogs for dinner tomorrow night.”
May you have a grace filled weekend!
for Nicole, Kristin, and Janelle
We hope you have benefited from the Suffering and the Sovereignty of God excerpts we’ve posted this week. A special thank you to Justin Taylor and Crossway Books for allowing us to share this material with you. Please take time to read through this final installment from David Powlison. I pray that those of you currently experiencing severe trial will find encouragement in his words…
“How does God meet you in trouble, loss, disability, and pain? You probably already know the ‘right answer’. He does not immediately intervene to make everything all better. Yet he continually intervenes, according to gracious purposes, working both in you and in what afflicts you….
How does God’s grace engage your sufferings? We may know the right answer. And yet we don’t know it. It is a hard answer. But we make it sound like a pat answer. God sets about a long slow answering. But we try to make it a quick fix. His answer insists on being lived out over time and into the particulars. We act as if just saying the right words makes it so. God’s answer insists on changing you into a different kind of person. But we act as if some truth, principle, strategy or perspective might simply be incorporated into who we already are. God personalizes his answer on hearts with an uncanny flexibility. But we turn it into a formula: “If you just believe____. If you just do____. If you just remember____.” No important truth ever contains the word ‘just’ in the punch line.
How does God’s grace meet you in your sufferings? We can make the right answer sound old hat, but I guarantee this: God will surprise you. He will make you stop. You will struggle. He will bring you up short. You will hurt. He will take his time. You will grow in faith and in love. He will deeply delight you. You will find the process harder than you ever imagined – and better. Goodness and mercy will follow you all the days of your life. No matter how many times you’ve heard it, no matter how long you’ve known it, no matter how well you can say it, God’s answer will come to mean something better than you could ever imagine.”
These last 2 weeks have been a busy stretch for me. I have taught at 3 events – from Fairfax VA, to Charlotte NC, and then back again to Gaithersburg MD.
Even though public speaking is not my normal or primary job description, CJ and I agreed that these 3 teaching opportunities were right for me to do. And what a privilege it was to serve all the women who led and participated in these events! But for now, I have declined all speaking requests for the remainder of this year. Why? Because being at home – caring for my husband and family – is where God has called me and is where I love to be!
I can’t end this brief season though, without sending out a huge thank you and expressing my deep respect to the following women who made these events happen. My heartfelt thanks to:
• Lesley Mullery, Lisa Gallo, and Nicole Whitacre for the 3-part series: “Femininity: God’s Way in a Wrong Way World.”
• Jenny Detwiler and the conference staff for Encounter ’06.
• Carolyn McCulley for speaking at Encounter ’06.
• Shannon Harris, Valori Maresco, and Karin Layman for Titus2Tuesdays with the theme “7 Habits of the Highly Effective Woman”
All of these women have a passion for biblical womanhood and have worked tirelessly to serve women of all ages by promoting a biblical understanding and application of femininity through these different venues.
We live in a culture that clearly does not prize the virtues that comprise biblical womanhood. And what’s even more challenging is that many in the church at large consider these virtues of little value and minimal relevance as well. So, it is for this reason I wanted to communicate my gratitude to the aforementioned women. Even though each of them already has a full schedule “living out” biblical womanhood, they have sacrificially taken on even more responsibility to create contexts whereby many can be encouraged to embrace God’s high calling to us as women.
And finally, thank you to all who prayed for me. I’m convinced that your kindness helped carry me through!
Mark Talbot, another contributor to Suffering and the Sovereignty of God, considers, “All the Good that is Ours in Christ: Seeing God’s Gracious Hand in the Hurts Others Do To Us.” Ponder the following thoughts and listen to his message.
“Paul reports afflictions so severe that he and those with him ‘despaired of life itself’ (2 Cor. 1:8; see vv. 8-11). Many of us have tasted such grief. I have known afflictions much worse than my paralyzing accident. I have had seasons of perplexity about God’s providence that have been so deep that sleep has fled from me. Yet these griefs have been God’s gifts. For only by such severe suffering has my loving Father broken me free of some of my deeper idolatries. In the nights’ watches, while others sleep, my wakeful heart must find its rest in him or it will find no rest at all.
‘Be gracious to me, O God,’ David prayed when the Philistines seized him at Gath, ‘for man tramples on me; all day long an attacker oppresses me; my enemies trample on me all day long, for many attack me proudly. When I am afraid,’ he states,
I put my trust in you.
In God, whose word I praise,
in God I trust; I shall not be afraid.
What can flesh do to me?
‘All day long,’ David continues, ‘they twist my words;’
all their thoughts are against me for evil.
They stir up strife; they lurk;
they watch my steps,
as they have waited for my life. (Ps. 56:1-6)
But God, David knows, has kept count of his nightly tossings; he has numbered his futile wanderings; he has kept track of all of David’s sorrows. He has put David’s tears in a bottle and written all of his anguish in his book. And David knows that the God who cares for him that much will never abandon him. ‘This I know,’ he declares, ‘that God is for me. In God, whose word I praise, in the LORD, whose word I praise, in God I trust; I shall not be afraid. What can man do to me?’ (Ps. 56:9b-11; my emphasis). David knows that God will keep his feet from sliding so that he may still walk before God ‘in the light of life’ (Ps. 56:13).”
Since last week’s Q&A discussion on the ending of a courtship, I have had a few conversations that were too good not to post.
Both were with moms who had daughters involved in relationships. The first mom had just walked her daughter through ending her relationship. As I inquired about how they were doing, she expressed gratitude for how the young man responded to her daughter in this decision. He told her that their courtship had been nothing but a success. Why? Because they had both grown in godliness. This young man had the wisdom and foresight to see that a successful relationship is not one that necessarily ends in marriage, but one where the couple grows in faith and love for the Savior.
The second mom has a daughter who is two weeks into her courtship. Everything is new and unknown. This mom told me that she and her husband were excited about this relationship because of what the Lord is doing in the hearts of their daughter and this young man in the process.
These moms see something much more significant than a relationship. They observe God at work in the hearts of their daughters. They are grateful that their daughters are growing in godliness. This is an eternal and God-honoring perspective.
So, whether you are presently exploring marriage or have recently ended a courtship, may this biblical view of relationships permeate your thinking and fill your heart with faith.
Hey y’all, small confession. I was supposed to be working on a Q&A post for this afternoon, but a little gabbing got in the way. That’s right, there was some serious “girl talk” going on today. My mom has been quite busy with traveling and speaking lately and she just finished last night. So, this afternoon, we (Mom, Nicole, Kristin, and I) squeezed in lunch during the kid’s nap. And consequently, the post got squeezed out. You should see a Q&A post appear sometime tomorrow morningish.