This past week the local weather took a dramatic twist from the 50’s to 85 degrees in a matter of 24 hours, prompting me to write the following Facebook status:
“Well.It basically turned into summer overnight.Christian ladies (ALL ages!), please consider modesty and holiness in choosing your attire this spring and summer season.We represent Christ. Let’s not let fashion or our own desire for attention keep us from representing Him well.There will be a blog post about this… :)Please wear clothes. Amen.”
This is part one of the post.
First of all, let me be honest: I’ve been putting this off for years. Years, because I know that when you speak out about something, you will be scrutinized and held to a higher standard. I also know that some people will get offended, and the last thing I want is for anyone to feel like I singled them out. But I’m at this point in my life where I realize that whether I like it or not, as a daughter of God and a leader in ministry, high standards & scrutiny are part of my life. So with humility and love I write to you today.
This post is for the Christian ladies. You are my sisters. I love you and desire to see you become the women God has designed and destined for you to be. I know this world tells us we need to look and dress a certain way to be beautiful. I know that the struggle against the mirror, the scale, the images in magazines and billboards can leave us feeling like we will never be enough. I know those feelings of “not enough” can drive us into all sorts of deception and bondage that keep us from walking in the truth of who God says we are. I pray that today truth will be shed like light on your heart. I pray that you will see that this post is not an attack; it is fueled by love and the desire to see you walking worthy of the call of God on your life! The call to Godly womanhood and holiness.
This post is for the Christian men. You are my brothers. I love you and desire to see you become the men God has designed and destined for you to be. I know that your struggle against lust and sexual temptation is real. I know it is a battle to walk in purity when you live in a world that is completely saturated with sexual perversion. I cannot even imagine the magnitude of your struggle. I pray that in my speech, my actions, my apparel and how I carry myself I would honor you and esteem you above myself. I pray that I would not hinder your walk with God, but that I would be a strength to you. I’m writing this post for every man in my life over the years that helped open my eyes to one of the greatest struggles you deal with as Christian men. Though this post is primarily written to the ladies, this post is primarily written for you.
Ladies, though this post is about modesty, this post isn’t really about what you should or shouldn’t wear. This is about your heart. It is about holiness.
If you are a child of God, you have been called to live a holy life (1 Thess. 4:7) and Biblical holiness is this: “to consecrate, sanctify, prepare, dedicate, be holy, be separate.” As Christians we are called to be separate, set apart and dedicated to the Lord. Holy people look different than the culture in which they live. Since we belong to Christ we must daily choose to crucify our own desires (Gal. 5:24), and commit ourselves to a separated, holy life for the honor and glory of God. And we do all this by His grace at work in us, for “It is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill His good purpose” (Phil. 2:13).
Holiness is a matter of the heart and spirit. It is an inner work, affecting our hearts, minds, attitudes, and emotions. When we respond to God’s call to live a holy and separated life, no area of our life will be left untouched. And what God does in our heart and spirit will be evident in discernible, tangible ways in our lives. In other words, what God does on the inside is visible on the outside!
And this is where modesty comes in, ladies. If we are committed to holiness in our hearts, minds, attitudes and emotions, it naturally will show in how we present ourselves.
What Women Want
As women we carry within us this deep desire to capture someone’s attention. That desire isn’t anything to be ashamed of! It has been placed in us by our Creator and is actually a reflection of His own character and personality; He desires to capture our attention, and for us to be captured by His. So this desire to captivate one’s attention is not unholy, but we do have the choice of whether we seek to fulfill it in a holy or unholy manner.
I will be very honest with you, for years I greatly mishandled my own desire for love and attention. Rather than spending my teenage years defining myself by the Word of God, I looked to media, culture, Seventeen & Cosmo to define me. [side note: I don’t care if you’re 15 or 55, single or married, don’t pollute your mind with that filth. Married or not, it is filth and it doesn’t belong in your life. Even within marriage, purity is worth guarding.] And rather than spending my teenage years pursuing the Presence of God, I spent them pursuing the attention of males.
I dressed and carried myself in a way that dishonored God, my own body and my brothers in Christ. I was wildly insecure and I desperately wanted to be noticed. What began as an innocent pursuit of attention didn’t stay innocent for long. I found that flaunting my body was a way to capture the attention of men, though it was certainly the wrong kind of attention. My desire for that attention became my idol, my drug; giving me a momentary high followed by feelings of guilt, shame, fear loneliness and ultimately emptiness. Like any addict I kept going back for a little more, revealing a little more, lowering my standards a little more, all the while creating a whole lot more bondage for myself.
Ladies, I had no idea how detrimental my behavior would be not only to me but to the young men I was attracting. I couldn’t truly love anyone I had a relationship with, because deep down I was seeking to gratify my own selfish desire for acceptance. I cared so little for these young men I “loved” that even after learning that one young man I dated was dealing with a pornography addiction, I continued to dress in a revealing manner to elicit his attention. I selfishly stood between him and the Lord. I was consumed by my lust for attention and appetite for affection.
Maybe some of you can relate to my experience. You dress for attention, you aim for sex appeal, and perhaps you think since you don’t plan on “actually doing anything wrong” that your actions are inconsequential. My dear sister, nothing could be further from the truth. Your actions will always affect others.
My sisters, how you dress and carry yourself speaks volumes about the state of your heart. If you are motivated by self, you will likely dress in a way that draws attention to yourself. If you are motivated by holiness, you will likely dress in a way that points people to the Lord. When I see women who dress immodestly, I find myself genuinely saddened and concerned. I pray that God will reveal to each of us as His daughters the truth of who we are in Him: redeemed, pure, valued, cherished. I pray we will be defined by who He says we are.
Some of you cannot relate to my experiences in my past, but I hope though that you will still allow the Lord to speak to you through part 2 of this post. If modesty is an area where you are strong, let this further strengthen your convictions and humbly give you courage to remain holy, set apart and shining brightly in this dark world!
Still others of you may be newer in your faith, and have never really given much thought to modesty yet. I want to encourage you to seek God in how you are to treat and present your body. You are worth so much!
As Christians, we are the body of Christ and we represent Him everywhere we go (1 Cor. 12:27). Let’s be sure that we are allowing Him to work in us on the inside, and reflecting that on the outside. Sometimes it’s going to be a sacrifice. For the sake of our sisters and brothers in Christ, we will have to lay aside some of things we are personally okay with. We won’t always be able to go where we want to, say what we want to, watch what we want to, and even wear what we want to. But even when it is a sacrifice, let’s choose to be like Jesus, doing “nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves” (Phil. 2:3).