Posted in Christianity, modesty

Examining modesty, pt. 1

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.”

When we hear the word modesty, our first thought is usually about how women should or shouldn’t dress. While modesty does address the way we choose to clothe our bodies, it isn’t just about clothing. It’s a reflection of who we are in Christ.

Modesty isn’t just for women. Men can be immodest, also. Outside of the body of Christ, to live flamboyantly, to say or do things to draw attention to ourselves, is encouraged and admired. Without Christ, we’re all self-focused. We want attention. We desire to be admired, praised, and applauded. But when we’re part of the body of Christ, that can no longer be our goal. We cannot please our Savior by seeking to draw attention to ourselves, rather than to Him. When we do so we are seeking our glory rather than Christ’s. That’s normal for unbelievers. Shouldn’t believers be different?

Modesty has fallen out of style because the church merged with the world. Touting greater numbers, we’ve incorporated the world’s ways into our own. We didn’t do this because we thought it would honor Jesus, but because we thought it would make us relevant. But the only one we should care about pleasing is the One who died for us. If we’re not willing to do things the way He has commanded us to, why do we even bother calling ourselves after His name?

To be His follower means we do the things He commands us to do. We act as He would have us act. Speak as He would have us speak. And, yes, we are to dress as He would have us dress. If we find ourselves justifying doing otherwise, we need to do a spiritual heart-check. It just might be that we’re more relevant to the world–and it to us–than we might have thought possible.

 

Posted in Anna Wood, Authentic Christianity, discernment

We Just Can’t Do Church Anymore

I read the book of Acts and I love the church. I look around me at what the church has become in our land and, to be completely honest, I don’t. Those are hard words and hard to say words, but they’re absolutely honest. Those who are supposed to be Christ’s body surely don’t act as if they are. They’ve tried to be relevant, and change with the times, meeting changing needs, and all the while dishonoring the One they are to love supremely. This group has been legalistic, adding laws upon laws, and knowing little or nothing of grace. That group has been all about “Christian liberty”, liberty that, as they define it, isn’t found anywhere in Scripture. Even those who have the truth usually end up becoming more about business, more about a few families in their congregation, or more about how to pay the bills, than they are about Christ. So, no, I don’t love what we, as the body of Christ, have become. But I do love the church, as it is meant to be, as God’s holy Word lays it out.

We just can’t do church anymore, at least not the way we’ve done it for so long. We’ve discarded what is good, and true, and perfect, for that which changes with the tides. We’ve thrown away truth in an attempt to be relevant. We’ve hunkered down and, in an attempt to protect the truth that we claim to love, we’ve turned it into something ugly and hateful. Something that doesn’t reflect or honor the Lord of glory.

It’s heartbreaking. And if it breaks our hearts, you know it has to be breaking His. There is a remedy and it’s this, I believe: Stop doing church and become the church that Christ died for. Stop seeking after man’s applause and live for the glory, and delight, of One. Stop checking what’s popular and simply do and teach what’s right. Stop sending kids off on a mature Christian’s mission–no more teen mission groups, not unless those teens are truly saved, and truly mature in the faith, and, in today’s churchanity, how many do you know that are? Stop catering to the whims of teens, to the pressures of parents (who don’t have the time, the know how, or, sadly, sometimes even the desire, to teach their own children and thus push it off on youth pastors) and teach those kids the truth of God’s Word: no more games, no more fun trips here and there, get them in the Word, teach and memorize the Word, and prepare them to serve. Give them a snow shovel up North and a lawnmower down South, or put a paintbrush or a broom in their hands, and teach them how to do for others–for the glory of Christ.

Teach those things that have been long ignored: That there really is a difference in men and women, and there are ways to live out our roles, ways prescribed in Scripture, but, in doing so, steer clear of the dangers of patriarchal teaching. The man can be, and should be, the head of the home, without being elevated to ungodly positions. Teach men and women, boys and girls, about modesty, about how to reflect God’s glory through our choices of words, actions, and, yes, clothes. Teach them that there are right ways, and wrong ways, to be modest, but that the purpose of it all is to honor the Lord–not to draw attention to themselves, and not to feel somehow holier than others. Teach new Christians, and our youth, how to study the Bible, and why they ought to believe the Words of the Bible–that it and it alone, is truth. Teach them how to seek after knowledge, understanding and wisdom. Teach that Christians are to be light and salt–and how. Teach how to be good stewards of our time, of our money, of our talents. Teach us how to be wise, how to be discerning, about what we read, watch, how we entertain ourselves (and why too much entertainment, too much fun, is detrimental to the soul). Teach us that this world is not our home, prepare us for persecution, and help us to live in a way to deserve it. Prepare us for our real Home. Help us to long for God, to thirst after Him and His Word.

None of this will matter if we do it because we ought to, or because someone expects us to. We must do it for Christ, for Him who died for us. We need to learn to love Him, to obey Him, and to lay down our lives daily. We can’t do church anymore because we’re simply not ready to. We’re weak, and we need real food, no more milk of the Word, give us the meat of the Word. And teach us that doing for Christ isn’t as important as simply obeying Him. The doing must flow out of the being or we’ll just mess it up again–just like we’ve messed it up so far.

Moms, Dads, Pastors, you’ve got a tremendously difficult job ahead of you. I’m a Mom, and what I see when I read the Word of God vs. what I see when I look at the church, breaks my heart. It ought to break my heart. My own complicity, my own sin, ought to, and does, break my heart. Join me in repenting, and seeking God’s mercy and grace so that we may obey Him, so that we may truly love Him, and that we may, as the Body of Christ, be completely and utterly pleasing to Him.

Soli Deo gloria!

Posted in Anna Wood, Authentic Christianity, discernment, modesty

I Stand Before the Cross

I stand before the Cross and I profess a love for this Man, this God, who has taken my place on it…

and I turn away…

and I go shopping and I buy a bikini.

I can justify it because it is so cute and anyway,

if a guy looks at me to lust, it is all his fault for not controlling himself,

and not my fault at all.

I go to church and I worship my God…

and I hear of His holiness, I sing of His truth…

then the final prayer ends

and I go home and I turn on the television,

and I fill my mind, my heart, my eyes, with things that I would be ashamed to watch

if Jesus were here…

but, He isn’t…

and I justify it, because it is a good show,

and, after all, God is a God of love and He just wants me to be happy.

I kneel before my God and I pray

Thy will be done…

and I get up

and I go about doing my will…

with everyone that I meet…

in everything that I do…

not for a moment thinking…

that I am sinning.

I open up my Bible and I read about the wonders of God

and my heart rejoices…

I read of His love, His mercy, His tenderness…

sometimes, I come to passage that shows more than that…

where His holy anger towards sinners is revealed,

and it makes me nervous, uncomfortable…

but, I turn the page,

and I read more about how very much God loves me,

and I read into it how much He longs for me to respond to Him,

and I think how cool it is that this God of the whole universe needs me…

me…

and I determine to try to find something really nice to do for Him…

sometimes.

I reach out to my God in my need…

and I can’t find Him…

and I ask Him, “Where are You?”

but, He doesn’t answer me…

and, I don’t understand His silence.

I run towards where He was but find only darkness.

I seek Him and I cry, “Why have You abandoned me?”

“Where are You, God?”, I plead…

and it’s then that I realize…

that I am alone…

and He doesn’t seem to hear me…

at all.

Then, in the echoing silence, suddenly I hear a still small voice saying,

“If you love Me, you will obey Me.”

And I am guilty.

I am ashamed.

And I fall on my face…

and I weep.

Posted in Christianity

Modesty: The Forgotten Virtue

“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.”~~Noah Webster

“This struggle between concealment and display, fabric and skin, modesty and nakedness is a continuing story of how American society–including many Christians–has shed is clothes in public.”~~Jeff Pollard

“Modesty is the citadel of beauty and virtue.”~~Demades

“We can therefore walk into most churches on any given Sunday and behold a parade of young women pass by in tight tee-shirts, low-slung jeans, form-fitting skirts and other curve- and flesh-revealing styles. Church youth groups participate in mixed-sex pool parties without a second thought, everyone coming in their skivvies and no one batting an eyelash. We have become callused to public nudity, even in the church.”~~Mrs. M. L. Chancey

“Unless we have the courage to fight for a revival of wholesome reserve between man and man, we shall perish in an anarchy of human values….”~~Dietrich Bonhoeffer

“It seems to be the fashion nowadays for a girl to behave as much like a man as possible. Well, I won’t! I’ll make the best of being a girl and be as nice a specimen as I can: sweet and modest, a dear, dainty thing with clothes smelling all sweet and violety, a soft voice, and pretty, womanly ways. Since I’m a girl, I prefer to be a real one!”~~Mrs. George de Horne Vaizey

“Our culture is so saturated with immodesty that we have become desensitized to it in many ways. What was once considered pornography is now brazenly displayed on the magazine covers that assault our eyes at the grocery checkout.”~~Mrs. M. L. Chancey

“Modesty means propriety. It means avoiding clothes and adornment that are extravagant or sexually enticing. Modesty is humility expressed in dress. It’s a desire to serve others, particularly men, by not promoting or provoking sensuality.”~~C.J. Mahaney

“First of all, go through your closets and drawers and pull out all of the clothing that obviously has to go-and get rid of it! Next, get in front of a full-length mirror, and try on the things that are questionable. Look at yourself from all angles using a hand-held mirror. Look at yourself close up and from far away and see what you ‘really look like’ in the clothes you have been wearing. View yourself objectively, as if you were looking at someone else—and note what your first impressions are of ‘this person.’ Check for fit and transparency and get rid of anything that doesn’t pass the test—this is no time to be sentimental! Finally, each day before you leave the house, do the ‘mirror check’ on anything that hasn’t previously been checked or if you have gained weight since last taking a look. You will be surprised to find that some of the things you were sure about won’t pass the test. This will help you weed out your wardrobe as you go. Some of you may be afraid that if you do this, you’ll end up with nothing left to wear! But just remember that the most important thing is to be obedient to God, even if it means having a very limited wardrobe. Besides, when you are all done with this project, you will become a much more careful shopper and end up being a better steward over God’s money than you ever were before!”~~Melody Green

 

 

 

 

Posted in video

Modesty by Al Martin

A dear brother in Christ suggested that I recommend the following video to you. I do so readily.

This is the audio link:  http://www.sermonaudio.com/playpopupvideo.asp?SID=2250872194

Thank you, brother Hartman!

Posted in Christianity, discernment

Mirror Tests For Modesty

Immodesty cannot long exist where love for Christ reigns. As love for Him and for godliness grows, the desire to reveal one’s body will decrease. If you are at the point where you desire to dress more modestly but you aren’t quite sure what to do, try this:

Stand in front of a mirror and try on each outfit that you have a question about. Then, looking at yourself from all angles, ask yourself these questions:

–Does my blouse or the top of my dress “fall away” when I bend over?  Can I see down the front of it? Does it show cleavage? It is generally safe to follow the four-finger “rule”: place your fingers just below, but where you can touch, your collar-bone; your top should not be cut lower than that.

–Is my dress sheer or see-through? Can I see my body through my it? If so, it is immodest. If in doubt, stand in a light and ask another female (or your husband) for an opinion.

–Does my dress or skirt fall below my knees so that I am properly covered? If there is a slit, is my privacy still protected or does it allow my thighs or my slip to be seen? Can I walk, bend over or sit down without my privacy being compromised? Does the fabric cling to me? Is it tight? Dresses and skirts ought to cover not reveal.

–Is my blouse or dress loose around the armhole? Does it allow others to see what shouldn’t be seen? Are my shoulders covered?

–Does my blouse or dress “cup” my form? Is there writing or a picture across the bust (that will then draw the eye where it ought not to be drawn)? The feminine form shouldn’t be unduly emphasized.

–Does my bra, slip or undies show? Can the imprint of them be seen?  Does my clothing mimic underwear in any way at all? If so, change.

–If I wear pants or shorts, are they form-fitting? Do my undies show at the top when I bend over? Can the imprint of my undies be seen? If I wear shorts, do they cover to the knees or below the knees? The feminine form is very easily revealed through the wearing of pants or shorts; if you choose to wear them, be very careful in your selection.

God will either be honored or dishonored by the way you dress. You will either give credence to your testimony or bring doubt upon His holiness by your choice of clothing. Be very careful to make clothing selections that will honor God. Dress in a fashion that is feminine and that draws attention to your face and not to your body.

In short, the rules of dressing in a modest, non-revealing fashion are these:

  • nothing too tight
  • nothing too sheer
  • nothing too short
  • nothing too low

May God bless you on your journey to honor Him with what you wear.

 

Posted in Authentic Christianity

Uncovering The Truth About Modesty By Melody Green

“Likewise, I want women to adorn themselves with proper clothing, modestly and discreetly, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly garments; but rather by means of good works, as befits women making a claim to godliness.” (I Tim 2:940)

This simple little Scripture certainly covers a lot of ground if we look at it closely. It especially becomes more clear when we consider the dictionary definitions of some of the key words that Paul uses. How many of us can say we are really living up to the light of this passage in I Timothy? The purpose of this article is to put a searchlight on our hearts and on our motives for the way that we choose to dress – and why. This is a subject that gets whispered or giggled about a lot, but rarely is someone directly confronted about their lack of modesty. It is a very delicate subject. . . but that’s all the more reason to talk about it openly and honestly.

Are You Making A Claim To Godliness?
Essentially, the Scripture in I Timothy says that it’s all right to dress however you want to, unless you are making a claim to godliness. In that case, the way that you dress (along with the rest of your life) must be subject to the guidelines and control of the Holy Spirit.

Our bodies are precious because they are a gift from God. They are attractive because God made us in His image for His pleasure (and if we are married, to please our mates as well). But God never intended us to flaunt ourselves or exhibit our bodies in an immodest way. He wants our bodies consecrated to him. “I urge you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship.” (Rom. 12:1) It surely must grieve the Lord to see the thoughtless way so many “modern” Christians dress. It’s true that their bodies may be a living sacrifice-but to which god?

Modest-Having a regard for decencies of behavior or dress; quiet and humble in appearance, style, etc.; not displaying one’s body; not boastful or vain; unassuming; virtuous; shy or reserved; chaste.
Proper-Specially adapted or suitable; appropriate; conforming to an accepted standard; correct; fitting; right; decent.
Discreet-Lacking ostentation or pretension; “showing good judgment”; prudent; cautious; careful about what one says or does.

TRANSFORMED NOT CONFORMED
It might seem to many of us that modesty is a thing of the past. I know before I became a Christian I didn’t have the slightest idea of what it meant to dress properly. Looking back, it’s hard to believe I even left the house in some of the things I used to wear (and not wear!), let alone that I wore them without even a blush! (Jer. 6:15)

The Bible in very clear terms tells us not to be conformed to the world, but instead, to be transformed. (Rom. 12:2) Webster’s Dictionary tells us that to be transformed means a change of outward appearance or inner nature. I guess that’s why it amazes me to see young Christian girls (and even more mature women) in church or at outdoor gatherings, hands uplifted in praise to God, while dressed in clothes that definitely do not give Him the glory.

In the summertime especially, we have our biggest opportunity to test our consecration to Jesus. Sheer blouses, halter-tops, “short” shorts, and skimpy bathing-suits are the norm for many careless Christian women. They use the rationalization that “it’s hot” or “I’m swimming” to excuse their lack of modesty. Clothes that fit too tightly, tops that are cut too low, and skirts that are cut too short are not only a distraction to those around us-but the wearers show an unloving lack of concern for their responsibility as a representative of Jesus.

Unfortunately, it seems that many Christians are lost in their own selfish little world-either oblivious or uncaring about the affect they have on others. They may even appear to have a real excitement and love for the Lord-however, their body is sending out a totally different message. I know, because as I said before, I have done it-partly in ignorance, but mostly in rebellion. I can remember thinking, “Well, it’s not my fault if they can’t keep their eyes off of me and on the Lord. They just aren’t spiritual enough. Why should I have to change just because they are weak?”

But the Lord showed me that it was my fault. I was responsible for causing my brother to stumble and it had to change. Once I really saw the damage my selfishness was doing to others and to the Lord, I was really ashamed of myself and embarrassed that I had been representing Jesus in such an unbecoming way. “It is inevitable that stumbling blocks should come, but woe to him through whom they come! It would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck and he were thrown into the sea, than that he should cause one of these little ones to stumble.” (Luke 17:1-2)

The Fashion Queen
Worldly dress is quite revealing. First and foremost it reveals a worldly heart It also reveals wrong priorities and areas that are not yielded to God. Being dressed in a worldly manner does not always mean that you are dressed immodestly. It may simply mean that your style is flashy or overdone-generally speaking, just “too much. ” If your perfume arrives at church five minutes before you do, who are you trying to kid? Did you put it on for Jesus? If you are drawing attention to yourself, then you are drawing attention away from God and stealing His glory.

Here are some simple questions. Are you considered a trendsetter-usually the first to buy the latest style? Do you spend a lot of time and money shopping for new clothes? Are you always thinking about what you’re going to wear? Do heads turn to see your newest outfit-and do you enjoy turning heads? If you can answer yes to even one of those questions, it’s quite possible that you are seeking man’s attention instead of God’s. As a famous evangelist once said, “Be honest about it, would you take all this pain about your looks if every person were blind?”

Pretty…Not Painted
I believe that too many Christian women overdo it when it comes to putting on their make-up. They arrive to fellowship with the world’s “come and get me” look painted on their face. They look like showgirls on their way to a nightclub, instead of someone coming in meekness and humility to meet their Lord. Their faces are prepared, but their hearts aren’t! And if the Lord should really move in the meeting so as to bring some to tears of joy or repentance, they would have to fight back the tears for fear they would “ruin their face.” How can you be open to a touch from God when you’re so concerned about your outward appearance? It’s very simple . . . you can’t be!

“Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain, but the woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised.” (Proverbs 31:30)

Sheep In Wolves Clothing
I would also like to include a brief word to the fellows in this article, for you are not always exempt from the sin of vanity and the desire to be noticed. Sadly enough, I have seen many of my Christian brothers drawing attention to themselves by wearing immodestly tight clothing and looking “just like the world.” Many thoughtless Christian men unbutton their shirts halfway down their chest, surround themselves in a potent cloud of after shave-and don’t really care that they may be causing others to take their eyes off of Jesus. You too must be sensitive to others and give the Holy Spirit control of your life. You are responsible to surrender this whole area to Jesus and make sure that you are not causing those around you to stumble and fall.

Acting the Harlot?
God does not think beauty is evil-how could He, He invented it in the first place! But beauty corrupted becomes harlotry. In Ezekiel 16:14-15, God says, “Then your fame went forth among the nations on account of your beauty, for it was perfect because of My splendor which I bestowed on you. But you trusted in your beauty and played the harlot because of your fame, and you poured out your harlotries on every passerby who might be willing.” Here God is speaking to Jerusalem about her abominations. He compares her to a harlot to make His point, since everyone is familiar with how a harlot acts. How many of you are acting like harlots-parading yourselves, seducing with your eyes and trusting in your looks to bring you love and acceptance instead of trusting in God and putting your confidence in Him? You have heard it said that “beauty is only skin deep”-and it’s true. But God can see through to the inside, and the things that are beautiful to Him are not always apparent to the common eye.

Perfume, Powder, And Prayer (A Challenge)
The world teaches us that in order to be loved we must be beautiful, sensual, and alluring. We are assaulted daily by billboards, books, television programs, movies, and magazines that teach us “a different gospel.” Sure, everyone wants to be loved . . . but why and by whom? All that is supposed to change when we meet Jesus.

I think we will all agree that God is most concerned with the Inner man . . . the heart. But I don’t think we can say, “Well, I may look worldly, but Jesus knows that in my heart I’m not.” It is true that Jesus knows our heart, but I believe in most instances our outward appearance reflects our inward condition. Remember, He called the Pharisees “white-washed tombs which on the outside appear beautiful, but inside they are full of dead mens bones and all uncleanness.” (Matt. 23:27)

God tells us to redeem the time because the days are evil (Eph. 5:16), but many will spend more time in the morning preparing their “outward selves” than they do preparing themselves inwardly for the warfare of the day by seeking God in prayer and His Word. Sometimes we can spend so much time fixing up the outer man that the Spirit inside shrivels up and dies.

I want to present my brothers and sisters in the Lord with a challenge. Measure the time you spend “fixing yourself up” on a daily basis. Then give at least equal time to God in prayer and Bible reading every day. We all know He deserves so much more, but if you just start there, you can let it grow as you do.

The Other Extreme
I think it is important to make it clear that I don’t think pretty clothes or a little bit of make-up is wrong. In fact, I don’t necessarily think that the most godly way to dress is in a bland and unattractive manner. To be quite honest with you, I have seen many people go to the other extreme and try to draw attention to themselves by being untidy, unclean, and uncaring about themselves. They try to prove to others that they are spiritual because of their lack of concern about the way that they look This too can be another form of pride and self-righteousness-and I believe it is all equally grievous to the Lord. He wants us to find a balance and seek to glorify Him in everything we do. Humility and moderation are principles that the Bible clearly teaches.

Marriage Is No Excuse!
There are many husbands and wives who encourage (and sometimes even demand) their mates to “look sexy.” They feel that since they’re already married, it won’t really hurt to “turn each other on” in the way that they look and dress. I don’t think there is anything wrong with dressing to please your husband or wife, in fact I think it’s important that you do, but not at the expense of others. We must stay within the boundaries of the Holy Spirit, putting Jesus and His pleasure first in all we do.

One newlywed in our ministry held up a bare little summer dress to her husband, and shaking her head said, “This has got to go.” He said, “But . . that’s one of my favorite dresses!” She said, “Yes, but why do you like it so much?” He slowly smiled and agreed-and out it went!

Closet Cleaning
Many of you may really feel convicted to change and wonder what you should do now, so I would like to give you a few words of simple advice before I close. First of all, go through your closets and drawers and pull out all of the clothing that obviously has to go-and get rid of it! Next, get in front of a full-length mirror, and try on the things that are questionable. Look at yourself from all angles using a hand-held mirror. Look at yourself close up and from far away and see what you “really look like” in the clothes you have been wearing. View yourself objectively, as if you were looking at someone else-and note what your first impressions are of “this person.” Check for fit and transparency and get rid of anything that doesn’t pass the test-this is no time to be sentimental! Finally, each day before you leave the house, do the “mirror check” on anything that hasn’t previously been checked or if you have gained weight since last taking a look. You will be surprised to find that some of the things you were sure about won’t pass the test. This will help you weed out your wardrobe as you go. Some of you may be afraid that if you do this, you’ll end up with nothing left to wear! But just remember that the most important thing is to be obedient to God, even if it means having a very limited wardrobe. Besides, when you are all done with this project, you will become a much more careful shopper and end up being a better steward over God’s money than you ever were before!

True Beauty
True beauty is Jesus and Him alone. Letting that love flow through us to others is the beauty that is pleasing to God. Paul says we are to adorn ourselves with good works. . . as servants of the Lord, vessels through which others can feel His touch on their lives. Why would we want to substitute the world’s counterfeit for the real thing?

True beauty radiates from the face of a godly man or woman. You won’t notice much what they really look like because you are too busy noticing Jesus in them. Shouldn’t that be our goal? Let’s allow Jesus to so fully indwell us that we would never do or say anything that would bring shame to His name . . . yielding our whole lives to Him and serving Him in the inner courts of His holiness. Let’s not forget that we are His Bride-and so dress accordingly as we fully divorce ourselves from the world and clothe ourselves with the righteousness of God! (Isaiah 61:10)

May God bless you as you seek Him about what all this might mean to you personally. Please take the whole matter to heart (and prayer) and then be obedient to change the things in your life that you find are displeasing to God.

“Give unto the Lord the glory due His name; bring an offering, and come before Him; worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness.” (I Chron. 16:29)