The weather is warming up, and along with the rising temps comes the usual shedding of clothes. I always dread this time of year. Oh, don’t get me wrong. I love the beauty of spring and the newness of life, but I cringe when I see the lack of clothing on females, young and not so young.
When Trevor and I got married 16 years ago, he was a high school teacher in his 20s, surrounded by beautiful young things who often wore less than sufficient clothing, as teenagers are prone to do. I was often jealous and insecure and didn’t know how to deal with my feelings, and unfortunately, it became a vicious cycle of mistrust and fear and arguments and tears.
Eventually something clicked in my spirit, and I knew that I couldn’t go on the way I was. My fears and insecurities were out of control. I was miserable, and I was making life difficult for my young husband.
I got some help from friends at work who had been married many years longer than I and who had struggled with some of the same issues, and God slowly began to heal my heart and deliver me from many of my insecurities. God was merciful to me in that Trevor got a good teaching job at a military school for boys a couple of years after we married, which helped to put my mind at ease. Before long, we began to have children, and my confidence grew and the Lord continued to bring healing to my heart.
I’m thankful that after years of choosing to trust the Lord with my husband and praying Scripture over Trevor, I rarely struggle with fear or insecurities in that area of my life any more. However, when too much flesh is on display in public, it makes things difficult for both of us.
Let me explain.
I’m sure this is common knowledge, but men are visually stimulated, much more so than are women. And even if females don’t know this intellectually, they know that it gets the attention of males when they fail to cover their bodies adequately.
Now, there are various standards of modesty, even within the Christian community. Some believers think that women should wear only long dresses, while others are okay with Daisy Dukes and spaghetti straps and bikinis.
I believe that as part of the declining moral fiber of our nation, modesty is sadly going by the wayside. Maybe understanding the importance of modest dress will help to strengthen our resolve to honor the Lord with our bodies and to teach our daughters to do the same.
The Merriam-Webster online dictionary defines modesty as “the quality of behaving and especially dressing in ways that do not attract sexual attention.” I like that definition. It doesn’t mean dressing like a frump or in out-of-date, unattractive clothing. It simply means covering our bodies sufficiently so as not to attract sexual attention. Modest dressers can be stylish and classy; they attract the right kinds of attention and show respect to themselves and to others.
God gave clothing to Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden after sin entered the picture. Do you know why? Because sin taints things. Their eyes were opened, and innocence was lost. We are to cover our bodies adequately because of sin.
When men (and teenage boys) see short shorts combined with long, tanned legs, they have a really hard time thinking godly thoughts. Add to that cleavage or skin-tight clothes that leave little to the imagination (“Leggings aren’t pants!”), and we’re talking about leading men—even godly men—down a slippery slope directly into sin. (“Anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” Matthew 5:28)
I don’t know about you, but I don’t want the guilt on my conscience of leading men into sin. Our Heavenly Father highly values pure thoughts (“Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” Philippians 4:8), and I have a strong suspicion that it displeases Him when His sons struggle with impure thoughts or worse because of females’ immodest dress.
I saw the following picture some months back, and I love what it has to say to women of today:
My daughter just turned eight, and last summer I went around and around with her because she suddenly wanted to wear short shorts and two-piece bathing suits. I’ve always been a stickler about dressing her modestly, but she had noticed that the older girls she saw at church and at family functions—girls she admired and looked up to—were wearing things that I don’t allow, and she wanted to be like them. I put my foot down because even though Caroline is little, I don’t want her to become accustomed to dressing immodestly. She doesn’t understand the sexual temptations of men yet, but I have told her that when we show too much of our bodies, it makes boys think about things that they shouldn’t.
She gets it. Sometimes she even turns around the magazines in the grocery store that have scantily clad females on the covers. Who knows but how that small act might save a man from going down a very dangerous path one day.
As Christians, we are to be in the world but not of it (1 John 2:15-17), so we certainly shouldn’t take our fashion cues from Hollywood or most magazines. I’m not a fashion guru by any stretch of the imagination, but there are many sources for modest clothing and fashion ideas out there. A quick Swagbucks search for “modest clothing”or “modest swimwear” turns up pages of sites that fit the bill.
So as we walk through this life together as sisters in the Lord, let’s commit to dress like ladies. Let’s show respect for ourselves by covering our bodies, which will help our brothers in Christ to maintain godly thoughts when they are around us. And let’s dress our little girls in clothing that teaches them the same. We are daughters of The King of Kings, so we should dress like the princesses that we are. I truly believe that a pure heart that manifests in modest dress pleases the Father.
“Like a gold ring in a pig’s snout is a beautiful woman who shows no discretion.” Proverbs 11:22