Modesty: An Act of Love (June)

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By Kaitlyn Smith

“One of the first evidences of a real lady is that she should be modest. By modesty we mean that she shall not say, do, nor wear anything that would cause her to appear gaudy, ill-bred, or unchaste. There should be nothing about her to attract unfavorable attention, nothing in her dress or manner to give a man an excuse for a vulgar comment. When we dress contrary to the rule of modesty we give an excuse for unwholesome thoughts in the minds of those who look upon us, and every girl who oversteps these bounds makes herself liable to misunderstanding and insult, though she may be innocent of any such intention.”
~M. Hale

What we wear is very important, to men and to God. The clothing we put on gives out a message, a message that will be read by everyone you see. Most clothing we see today gives the message that we ladies are rejecting the femininity that God gave to us, that we are ashamed of the gospel, that we are in rebellion against the headship of man and Christ, that we could care less about honoring God with our bodies, that we are perfectly okay with leading our brothers in Christ into temptation.

As Christians, we should be reflecting Christ, and giving a message through our clothing, that would be pleasing to Him. One that tells the world that we are His servants, that we seek to honor Him with our lives, that we are secure in what His Word teaches and that we do not need the approbation of men, that we care for fellow believers and have no desire to tempt them with thoughts that would be sinful.

Scripture teaches us that if we “wound their (the brethren’s) weak conscience, ye sin also against Christ” (1 Corinthians 8:12). We are also told earlier in the same chapter to “take heed, lest this liberty of yours become a stumbling block to them that are weak.”  While we are not held accountable for the thoughts of men, we are taught in the Word of God to “use not liberty as an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another” (Galatians 5:13).  We are also told that “as we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith” (Galatians 6:10). We should dress in a manner that would not tempt men to sin, if not just for the simple reason that we are Christians, and care for their souls.

  “Let us suppose that upon a street corner there stands a group of men and boys, among them being two boys whose minds are pure. You and another girl are dressed with very low necks, very thin blouses, and your skirts are quite short. The scantiness of your clothing attracts attention to your person. You may behave as perfect ladies, but as you pass the corner your appearance causes the wordly-minded to think and say vulgar things about you. The pure-minded boys hear, and their minds are defiled. You girls are as much to blame as the impure man or boy who said the evil thing.”
~M. Hale (Beautiful Girlhood)

We need to be careful of the neckline that a garment has.  Will our neckline stay close to our skin, or fall away if we bend over? Will it tempt men to sin in thoughts if we stoop down to pick up something that has fallen?  We also need to be careful of the length of a garment. As we are sitting, standing, walking up stairs, or bending over are we revealing too much? Are our shirts so short that they are coming up in the back when we move or lean over?

We also need to be careful about the material that a garment is made of, even if it appears to be long enough and has a good neckline. There is some material that is designed to cling, or that is so shear it can be seen through. This accentuates our body in very immoest ways. We shouldn’t want to place young men in a situation where they need to turn away from us in order to preserve their purity.

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We as ladies were not created to lead men into temptation, yet it is a struggle we have faced since we were first created, when Eve tempted Adam to eat the forbidden fruit: “And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave to her husband to eat also” (Genesis 3:6). We were created to “glorify God and enjoy Him forever” (Westminster Shorter Catechism), and that includes in what we wear.

 “For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body,
and in your spirit, which are God’s.”
(1 Corinthians 6:20)

We should encourage young men to make and keep the same covenant that Job did in Job 31:1:

”I have made a covenant with mine eyes; why then should I think upon a maid?”

Being modest isn’t just about wearing something that covers our bodies; we also need to be careful about the way that we carry ourselves. If we have a provocative demeanor, then anything that we put on will be immodest, because our heart is not pure and modest. “Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting of the hair, and of wearing of gold, and of putting on of apparel; but let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price” (1 Peter 3:3&4). It is said of the wise woman, in Proverbs 31, that “The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her, and she shall have no need of spoil. She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life.” “All the days of her life” means that she was honoring her husband while she was still a young girl, even when she did not know who he was. A godly woman is careful of her behavior around men and young men, of her dress, actions, and speech, all for the glory of her Creator. Dressing modestly, in consideration for others and in obedience to the Lord, is one of the most loving things we can do for the protection of our brothers in Christ.

 “Unaffected modesty is the sweetest charm of female excellence,
the richest gem in the diadem of their honor.”
(Noah Webster)

~Kaitlyn Smith {Guest Writer}

Feel free to tell your friends about this challenge and encourage them to join you as you “Encourage Your Siblings”!

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