A Sense of Shame

Having a sense of shame used to be considered a good thing. It kept you from making a fool out of yourself by doing things you oughtn’t, it kept you walking the straight and narrow (at least outwardly where folks could see), it kept our talk fairly decent and our women covered. We used to be more or less governed by this and consequently most of us didn’t go around openly doing things that would bring us shame in the eyes of others.

Was this a good thing? Or, a bad thing? Both, I guess. The more important thing, for a person’s soul at least, is that he is governed inwardly by a burning desire to be pleasing to the Lord in all that he does. If a man is so governed, he has no fear of man, no compunction to please man when, by doing so, he might be displeasing to the Lord. As a society, however, having a sense of shame kept us coloring between the lines.

Where is our sense of shame? Our understanding that not all needs to be put on public display?

I know the answers, of course. I’ve studied our nations fall into immodesty and intellectually I comprehend it. Spiritually, however, I don’t. How is it that women who go to church, who profess Christ, can feel comfortable flaunting their nearly naked bodies in public (and sometimes, to some degree, in worship service) and have no shame?

Is it not embarrassing for a young lady to shed her clothing and stand nearly naked in public in a string bikini? If she went to a doctor and was asked to undress down to her underwear and not cover up with a sheet she would be incensed and, yet, this same girl can strip down even further and, because she is “covered’ by two tiny pieces of cloth that she calls a swimsuit (rather than two somewhat larger pieces of cloth that used to be referred to as unmentionables) she is alright about her nakedness.

Or this same girl (or a different one…there are lots of them who do this after all) can put on tiny, tiny shorts with a tiny, tiny blouse and head off shopping and she’s comfortable with the fact that everyone who sees her sees nearly all of her. She’s gets angry though if some guy that she doesn’t know starts leering at her or makes undue suggestions.

Let’s get real, girls: you’ve undressed for all to see, you’ve shown guys you don’t know areas of your body that ought to remain private (and what you haven’t shown, he can clearly make out due to the nature of the fabric) and now you’re gonna get mad because some guy is going to look? Right. Yeah. That makes a LOT of sense.

Come on now you’re not that unwise…are you?

If you are, or if you are simply uninformed, let me fill you in: ladies, men are visual and that they are stimulated by sight. Specifically, men are stimulated by the sight of a woman’s body. If you give them part of the picture by wearing something cut down to “there”, or cut up to “here” or very tight or sheer or hardly there at all, they’re going to complete the picture in their minds.

Do you really want men undressing you with their eyes? Do you want them lusting after you? Perhaps doing things with you (or to you) in their minds (even if it is “only” in their minds)? Do you want the picture of you half-naked (or more) lingering in their thoughts for days, or weeks, after they saw you on display?

I know the argument: men ought to be able to control themselves. You ought to be able to wear anything at all and men ought not to lust after you and you’re right. You’re absolutely right. You ought to be safe from prying eyes and from prying minds…no matter what. Men ought to control themselves…no matter what. But no matter what, it ain’t gonna happen, at least not with all guys. No matter what, there are some guys who are going to see you and they’re going to lust after you. You’re putting fuel on the fire and the fire is just getting hotter and hotter.

The truth is this: It is sin to put your body on display. When you do so, you are setting men up so that they lust after you (yes, you are). When you provoke a man to lust, girls, you’ve sinned and so has the man who does the lusting. The lost man now stands more condemned before God, the Christian man who succumbs now feels shame at his lust. By your immodesty, you might cause a man to fall back into a sin he’s struggled with (such as pornography). You might cause him to look at the body of his wife who has borne him many children and compare it to you who has borne none and judge her unfavorably. Many men will struggle with pictures of you coming to their minds for days or even weeks after they initially see you nearly undressed.

And, you, my dear, will stand guilty before a holy God for your part in their sin.

Oh, yes, guilty you are…even if you don’t want to believe it.

Ladies, we owe it to our brothers in Christ to make it easier on them. We owe it to the lost men to show them fruits of true Christianity.We owe it to our younger sisters to be an example of a faithful Christian maiden (or, depending on your age, a faithful Christian woman). Most importantly, we owe it to our Lord to obey Him.

If you’re one of the girls who has sinned this way, I ask you: please don’t do it this Summer. Enjoy yourself, yes; wear pretty clothes, absolutely. But please wear clothes that cover you. For the sake of your brothers in Christ, for the sake of the young Christian man who is just coming to terms with his manhood (and is trying to remain pure in thought for his future lady), for the sake of the lost, for the sake of the girls whose future husbands you just might be causing to sin, for the sake of my sons and for your sake, dear one, please keep your clothes on. We don’t need to see all of what you’ve got to display.



Modesty: Entering The Fray

Each one of us has an incalculable impact on the lives of others. What we say or fail to say, what we do or fail to do, what our lives stand for or what we fail to stand up for, daily we are modeling our convictions for all to see. Daily we prove our devotion to God by our choices: little devotion shows itself in excuses, much devotion shows itself in a life of death to all but Him.

“Why do you always harp on modesty?” is a question I’ve been asked more than once. It’s the wrong question to ask so I won’t take the time to answer it. A more proper question would be, “Are you, by your daily choices, honoring God in all that you do?”

Am I? Are you?

Since we are admonished in Scripture to do all that we do as unto God, each of us must daily be asking ourselves, “Can those around me, those whose lives are in some way touched by mine, tell that I am living for Christ alone? Or, does my life, my choices, give them reason to believe it is my glory that I am seeking rather than His?”

So, in talking about teaching modesty, we must get the emphasis off of me. The question should never be “Why does she talk so much about modesty?” for that is focusing your attention on me (where it doesn’t belong) rather than on God (where it does). Instead, let’s ask:

“Is modesty mandated in Scripture?”

“Does my theology show itself in my choice of clothing?”

“Does how I adorn myself speak of how I honor and value Christ?”

“Is provoking men to lust, in fact, a sin?”

If these questions can be answered “Yes” then modesty is important and we must all concern ourselves with it. For many decades Christians have sat back and contented ourselves with fussing at each other, completely oblivious to the changes taking place right in our midst. The devil moved in and took over and we never even noticed. He brought many changes with him and we embraced them…because, after all, God didn’t really say…,did He?

That’s the same lie the devil has been propagating since the beginning of time but we are too blind, too deaf and too biblically illiterate to know it.

Be sure of this: the devil is on the side of immodesty; he’s all for it maintaining its hold in the church. That should tell us something about where we ought to stand on this issue, don’t you think?

The immodesty of the younger generations is decried by many yet how many are willing to walk into the fray and do something about it? Where are those who are willing to be laughed at or to be accused of legalism in order to address it? Are you? Am I? There is a desperate need in the church today for godly men and women to be willing to speak the truth about this issue in love. Most aren’t. What we fail to understand is this: by failing to speak about immodesty, by pretending it isn’t an important issue (or that we are somehow infringing on other’s rights by addressing it), we are speaking very loudly about it. Very loudly, indeed, and our silence is heard in hell.

If we are not actively teaching that immodesty is sin, if we are looking the other way as girls and ladies who profess to know Christ come to church dressed in tight or tiny clothes, if we pretend we don’t notice when they go out in public dressed in clothing that is nothing less than an advertisement for sex (except to wag our tongues at each other in judgment against them) then we are endorsing their sin. Worse, when we fail to stand for truth, we ourselves are sinning against a holy God.

The obligation to speak truth lies with each one of us. We’ve been silent far too long. We must teach modesty because the issue of modesty is important to God. This isn’t an easy issue to address; if you take a stand for modesty some folks won’t like you. Some already don’t like me for taking such a stand but that’s okay; it’s God Whom I’m seeking to honor, not a person. I’m walking into the fray and I invite you to go with me. We might get singed but since many of Jesus’ followers have been burned at the stake, I’d say that’s a small price to pay. At any rate, my Lord died for me and anything, anything at all, that I can do to obey HIm, to show forth His utter worthiness, to give Him the glory He so greatly deserves, is worth it. I pray that many others feel the same.

To God alone be the glory.

 

You have permission to reproduce and distribute this article in any format provided you do not alter the wording and that you do not charge a fee beyond the cost of reproduction. For printed copies, as well as web posting, please include the following statement:

By Anna Wood,
Copyright ©
The Cross Is All @ http://annawood.wordpress.com/

 


Keep Your Clothes On

Spring is here and Summer isn’t far behind. As coolish days give rise to hot ones women will once again start shedding their clothes in the name of freedom. I guess that I ought to be used to this by now but it still bothers me. I don’t want to see the undressed bodies of girls I don’t even know and I sure don’t want my sons seeing them.

Whatever happened to decency? To propriety? To modesty?

Where is our sense of shame? Our understanding that not all needs to be put on public display?

I know the answers, of course. I’ve studied our nations fall into immodesty and intellectually I comprehend it. Spiritually, however, I don’t. How is it that women who go to church, who profess Christ, can feel comfortable flaunting their nearly naked bodies in public (and sometimes, to some degree, in worship service) and have no shame?

Is it not embarrassing for a young lady to shed her clothing and stand nearly naked in public in a string bikini? If she went to a doctor and was asked to undress down to her underwear and not cover up with a sheet she would be incensed and, yet, this same girl can strip down even further and, because she is “covered’ by two tiny pieces of cloth that she calls a swimsuit (rather than two somewhat larger pieces of cloth that used to be referred to as unmentionables) she is alright about her nakedness.

Or this same girl (or a different one…there are lots of them who do this after all) can put on tiny, tiny shorts that come up to “here” on the legs and down to “there” at the waist and along with it a minuscule blouse that doesn’t quite cover “there” at the bottom and is cut down to show at least part of you-know-what at the top and head off shopping and she’s comfortable with the fact that everyone who sees her sees nearly all of her. She’s gets angry though if some guy that she doesn’t know starts leering at her or makes undue suggestions.

Let’s get real, girls: you’ve undressed for all to see, you’ve shown guys you don’t know areas of your body that ought to remain private (and what you haven’t shown, he can clearly make out due to the sheerness or tightness of what clothes you left on your body) and now you’re gonna get mad because some guy is going to look? Right. Yeah. That makes a LOT of sense.

Come on now you’re not that unwise…are you?

If you are, or if you are simply uninformed, let me fill you in: ladies, you need to realize that men are visual and that they are stimulated by sight. Specifically, girls, men are stimulated by the sight of a woman’s body. If you give them part of the picture by wearing something cut down to “there”, or cut up to “here” or very tight or sheer or hardly there at all, they’re going to complete the picture in their minds.

Do you really want men undressing you with their eyes? Do you want them lusting after you? Perhaps doing things with you (or to you) in their minds (even if it is “only” in their minds)? Do you want the picture of you half-naked (or more) lingering in their thoughts for days, or weeks, after they saw you on display?

I know the argument: men ought to be able to control themselves. You ought to be able to wear anything at all and men ought not to lust after you and you’re right. You’re absolutely right. You ought to be safe from prying eyes and from prying minds…no matter what. Men ought to control themselves…no matter what. But no matter what, it ain’t gonna happen. No matter what, there are some guys who are going to see you and they’re going to lust after you. You’re putting fuel on the fire and the fire is just getting hotter and hotter.

The truth is this: It is sin to put your body on display. God said it, I didn’t. When you do so, you are setting men up so that they lust after you (yes, you are). When you provoke a man to lust, girls, you’ve sinned and so has the man. The lost man now stands more condemned before God, the Christian man who succumbs now feels shame at his lust. By your immodesty, you might cause a man to fall back into a sin he’s struggled with (such as pornography). You might cause him to look at the body of his wife who has borne him many children and compare it to you who has borne none and judge her unfavorably. Many men will struggle with pictures of you coming to their minds for days or even weeks after they initially see you nearly undressed.

And, you, my dear, will stand guilty before a holy God for your part in their sin.

Oh, yes, guilty you are…even if you don’t want to believe it.

Ladies, we owe it to our brothers in Christ to make it easier on them. We owe it to the lost men to show them fruits of true Christianity.We owe it to our younger sisters to be an example of a faithful Christian maiden (or, depending on your age, a faithful Christian woman). Most importantly, we owe it to our Lord to obey Him.

If you’re one of the girls who has sinned this way, I ask you: please don’t do it this Summer. Enjoy yourself, yes; wear pretty clothes, absolutely. But please wear clothes that cover you. For the sake of your brothers in Christ, for the sake of the young Christian man who is just coming to terms with his manhood (and is trying to remain pure in thought for his future lady), for the sake of the lost, for the sake of the girls whose future husbands you just might be causing to sin, for the sake of my sons and for your sake, dear one, please keep your clothes on. We don’t need to see all of what you’ve got to display.

 

You have permission to reproduce and distribute this article in any format provided you do not alter the wording and that you do not charge a fee beyond the cost of reproduction. For printed copies, as well as web posting, please include the following statement:

By Anna Wood,
Copyright ©
The Cross Is All @ http://annawood.wordpress.com/

 


The Modern Modesty Question

1 Timothy 2: 9, 10,  “likewise also that 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.” 

Luke 6: 46, “And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?”

John 14: 15, “If ye love me, keep my commandments.”

Modesty has fallen out of style because the church has married the world. Being modest in our lives and in our clothing is a commandment. Dare we tell God that we love Him if we aren’t willing to obey Him in all things, including in the way we dress? We are God’s people, the bride of Christ. We are to be holy–that is, set apart unto God. Let’s live like it.

Ladies, men are vision driven. We have a responsibility to help our brothers to live a holy life. We must not cause them to stumble by our words, by our actions, by our deeds or by our clothing.

I’ve heard young women say that if they were wearing a bikini and a guy lusted after them, it was his problem and his alone. These young ladies suggested that guys should simply avert their eyes when confronted with their near-nakedness. Yes, men have to take responsibility for their actions and if they give into lust, God holds them accountable. However, if you as a woman have dressed in such a way as to cause a man to lust, God will hold you accountable, also. Luke 17: 1, 2 says, “Then he said unto the disciples, It is impossible but that offences will come: but woe unto him, through whom they come! It were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he cast into the sea, than he should offend one of these little ones.” God takes our responsibilities as His children seriously. We ought to, also. As Christian women, we have got to realize what our immodesty does to guys:  we can cause our brothers in Christ to stumble; by doing so, we  mar our witness and blaspheme God’s holy name.

I’ve seen my sons have to repeatedly advert their eyes while standing among the ladies at church. This ought not to be. Women have a responsibility to men. These men who might struggle when confronted with your improper dress, they are your brothers in Christ. God will not take it lightly if you cause them to sin. There are many, many men out there like my sons who want to go to church and be free from things that will tempt them so that they can be free to simply worship the Lord. Help them.

We do not belong to ourselves, we belong to God. It is God alone that we must please. I Corinthians 6: 20 says, “For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.” Everything about our lives should glorify our Savior. A woman’s clothes ought to frame her face and not her body. Ladies, our clothing should show that we are women of God rather than suggest that we are on display for men to enjoy. It is a sin for your clothing to shout, “Look at me!”.

Immodesty is a sin. Men are looking at you and they are undressing you with their eyes. Men are feasting on you with their eyes. They are sinning because of you. You are partakers in their sin because you are setting them up for it. God will hold you responsible. If you dress in such a way that men will lust after you–it is your fault and your problem when they lust. If your clothes show off your belly, your hips, your breasts (by clinging to them or displaying them), it doesn’t shout, “I’m a Christian. I’m a godly woman.” It shouts, “I’m on display. Look at me! Enjoy what you see!”

I know this sounds harsh, ladies, but someone has got to say it. I speak out because I love you. I care for your souls. I care what you are doing to the holy name of God. I care that men can’t come to worship their Lord without fearing that their sisters in Christ will dress in such a way that they have to avert their eyes. I care that the witness that you are giving to the lost says, “My God doesn’t have any standards. Just come to Him and you can do what you want.” God has standards so high that, were it not for the blood of Christ and the grace of God none of us would be able to stand before Him. Don’t abuse Him. Don’t prostitute yourselves with the world. Don’t sin.

Please think about this: what kind of example do you want to be? If you desire to be known as a woman of God then don’t dress like a harlot. Think about your daughters. What kind of example are you being to them? And, what are you allowing them to wear? Are men, young and old, undressing them with their eyes? Does that not bother you? Does it not break your heart that men are stumbling because of what you allow your daughters to wear?

It’s not too late to change. I beg you, go through your closet and drawers. Get rid of anything that is sheer, tight, revealing, cut too low or cut too high. Don’t give them away so as to cause someone else to stumble, throw them away.

Modesty begins in the heart. A modest woman will exhibit qualities such as gentleness and humility (Colossians 3: 12). She will not strive to be “front and center” and gather attention for herself. Her clothing, like everything about her, will point to God.

Getting Back To Modesty

Modesty is a yester-year word, a call from long ago days when Christian values permeated our land. A time out of the past when men were defenders and women domestically inclined. Modesty is an old-fashioned word now laughed at, a word denoting long forgotten qualities such as piety, purity and chastity.

Once poems were penned to extol the virtues of fair young maidens. Men pined for her, longed to win her pure heart–a heart he knew would have been saved, set apart only for him. These men, long steeped in chivalry, stayed back, waited, until the time was right for approaching. A godly young maiden was pure and not made to be sullied by a boy’s glances, touches or wayward ways. She was known as a maiden of virtue.

Young ladies don’t often think of themselves as pure young maidens anymore. Once a virtue sought after now is a quality held in derision and disdain. Young ladies are now coarse and refer to themselves in a manner that reveals vulgarity of heart. The monikers used by themselves for themselves are generally unfit to be uttered.

In the brief passing of decades we’ve descended from a love of pure womanhood to seeing women as nothing more than a cheaply acquired decoration–gaudy and easily discarded once used. Modesty is a quality of heart that holds purity as a quality worth protecting, defending, reaching for. It is rarely found today. Even in our churches, we no longer see it upheld. The problem is much larger than most of us want to admit. It is a problem that begins in each one of us. Those who will not seek truth and then defend it in any way that they can are to blame when truth fails. In this, I have sinned. We all have.

There will never be a return to modesty without a return to the Cross of Christ. The Cross is the central defining point of Christianity–without which there would be no Christianity. We cannot reach the Father without the Cross, we cannot live without the Cross, we dare not die without the Cross. It stands to reason we cannot fight for Truth without the Cross. If we get back to the Cross and make it the central point of our Christianity, if it becomes the focal point of our days, if we glory in nothing but the Cross, we will then live so close to God that we cannot help but speak His Truth. When His Truth is taught in its entirety, when it is done to glorify the Son He loves so much, when we do it with a passion that offers our lives as a living sacrifice then and only then modesty will once again be a quality sought for.

If we preach modesty for modesty’s sake, we are sinning. It is then the glory of the woman, the girl, that we are concerned about rather than the glory of the Son. We cannot divorce modesty from the Cross any more than we can separate any other biblical teaching from it. The Son died because of our immodesty along with millions upon millions of other sins. All sin put Jesus on the Cross.  To remove any teaching of God’s Word from the Cross is to put man front and center–which is what we’ve done.

Modesty is a problem because our hearts are full of sin. We swim in the maddening stream of modernity that leads straight to hell and we do so right in the midst of so-called churches. Churches that elevate man and lower the Son; churches that teach paganistic, humanistic, gnosticism and dare to call it the gospel; churches that pander to self rather than sacrifice to God Almighty. We tell ourselves that our immodesty doesn’t matter because grace covers all of our sins. We flaunt our right to dress and act as we want because we are living in freedom that only Christ can provide. We comfort ourselves in our sin, believing ourselves to be ones who bring a new understanding of God’s Word, failing to see that the wolf in sheep’s clothing is staring back at us from our mirrors.

Christian liberty is the liberty to live free from sin and not permission to wallow in our sins. Christ didn’t die so we could be one with the world. He didn’t suffer so we could parade our immodest hearts in front of all and call it progress. He died to because we are sinners. He died to make us holy. There will be a return to modesty when we care enough to teach His Truth. When we quit pandering to people’s felt needs and focus on their very real need to hear God’s Truth proclaimed then the world will divorce us and go their separate hell-bound ways. We will then we walking the pathway of the Cross.

When our days are centered on the Cross and our hearts are saturated with the Truth, when God’s people demand holy teaching and our preachers will preach none other, there will then be no room in our lives or our churches for immodesty. What God has filled with Himself has no room in it whatsoever for sin of any form. Because of this, when the whole Truth is taught and lived, modesty will once again be among us. Modesty begins in a heart that loves purity, purity flows from a love of Christ, Christ cannot be divorced from the Cross. Get back to the Cross and we get back to modesty.