Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Training Children in Godliness ~ More Thoughts on Modesty

Since posting the you tube video on young men's thoughts on modesty, I thought this would be a good time to expand this theme.  Over the next few Wednesday posts, I would like to share some general thoughts on modesty, give you a glimpse into how our family has dealt with this issue personally and then how we go about dressing our children modestly when I do not sew and the stores are full of outfits that I have no desire to buy!  The issue of how one dresses is a very personal one.  My desire to brook this subject is not intended to offend anyone, but only to share what I believe God has shown me on this subject over the years. The final decision for what modesty looks like in your home should rest with much prayer and deliberation with your spouse.  The purpose of any Christian should be to glorify God in all aspects of life and that should not just be internally, but will also be evident even in what is seen on us externally.

I Timothy 2:9 says, "In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety..."  Sadly today if you attend your average evangelical church, you are bombarded with women who claim Christ as Lord, but dress more like the world they are supposed to be called out of.  If you ask most young women about this, they take the notion that there is liberty in Christ and therefore, the Bible does not really speak about this issue so they are free to dress in any manner that they wish.  Unfortunately, the term "liberty" when speaking of our relationship with Christ has been so misused over the years, I almost cringe when I hear it.  Yes, we have liberty in Christ...but it is liberty from our sin, not liberty to trample underfoot the very commands He says His children should be obeying. Our very love and appreciation for what He has given us in salvation should provoke us to question everything we do in light of scripture, and that includes the subject of modesty.

 Noah Webster said this about modesty it is "that lowly temper which accompanies a moderate estimate of one's own worth and importance.  In females, modesty has the like character as in males; but the word is used also as synonymous with chastity, or purity of manners.  In this sense, modesty results from purity of mind, or from the fear of disgrace and ignominy fortified by education and principle.  Unaffected modesty is the sweetest charm of female excellence, the richest gem in the diadem of their honor."

Modesty begins first and foremost as a heart issue.  Modesty is not just merely what we put on our bodies.  It is so much more.  Is it possible for a young lady to be fully covered and still not be modest?  Yes, absolutely.  Where is her heart?  Does she desire most of all to bring attention to her Christian character...or does she desire to be noticed for her beauty or her fashion?  We must be careful that we do not allow our children to believe that modesty is only an issue of how we dress.  Our hearts must be directed to glorifying God in this area, seeking His approval, loving Him so much that we hate the thought of doing anything that would bring disgrace to His name.  Modesty starts with the heart...and it is the outpouring of a desire to be pure before God that causes a change in our wardrobe.  So today, ask yourselves if you are teaching your children to have a modest heart.  That is always the first step.  Next week, I hope to get into how that plays out in our clothing choices.  May the Lord illuminate His will for us in this area.  God bless!


Chelle said...

I agree. I enjoy reading your post.

Sarah said...

Modesty is a heart issue, I agree! It doesn't matter how 'modest' we appear on the outside we have to deal with inside first. For me, modesty and our choice to wear feminine attire only, was a matter of submission. First of all submission to God and then submission to my husband. Once I had that sorted I took to dressing modestly and femininely much easier!

Thank you for these posts, they are such an encouragement!

Robin said...

Thank you so much for this - it is a subject I have wrestled with myself over the past few years, especially since giving birth to a daughter!

The Adventures of a Simple Life said...

Have you heard the song by Judy Rogers..."Now a pretty little girl when her temper shows, looks like a pig with a ring her nose
All the cute little ribbons and ruffles and rings look silly when you do them foolish things!"
You are so right! It begins in the heart, if it is not matter how you dress won't honor the Lord!

Love your posts and look forward to reading some more!!!

Camille said...

Wonderful post again Jackie. May the LORD equip you to write all this out with wisdom as you seek to stand for Truth!

In His Love,

Cheesemakin' Mamma said...

I'm so glad we've been teaching our kids since they were old enough to understand this very subject. I grew up with two very different views on modesty (my stepmom's and my mom's), so it took me awhile to navigate through this. I hope my kids "get it from the get go". I think they do because they are commenting now when they see someone dressed immodestly. I'm teaching them to look away with "pure eyes". I hope they will always remember this. Great post!