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How Do I Dress Modestly?

Photo by Hannah Morgan on Unsplash

My sweet sisters, I’m so glad you are here with me today! Have I told you lately how precious each of you are to me and what a joy it is for me to get to share this time and fellowship together? I’m so thankful for you! You are in my prayers every day.

My goal with this post is to discuss biblical principles. It is really easy to veer into personal convictions. I want to avoid that out of reverence for God’s instructions to us to keep our personal convictions private – in order that we may not create division and contention in the body. I want to honor the Word of God and not add man-made rules for anyone to follow. So I am not going to dictate specific rules to other women:

  • You have to only wear skirts/dresses.
  • Your hemline has to be a specific number of inches.
  • Your collar line has to be so many inches away from your collar bone.
  • etc…

But what we can share together are things like:

  • Biblical principles for modesty.
  • Practical guidelines about choosing modest clothing.
  • Resources and tips to find modest, affordable clothing.

The goal for us as believing women has to be real heart change. Once we understand God’s heart for us and for the body of Christ, we will want to dress in modest ways to please the Lord so that we show proper respect for:

  • God
  • our brothers and sisters in Christ
  • the world
  • our sexuality
  • our marriage
  • our husband
  • the Word

What Does the Bible Say about Modesty and How We Are to Dress?

Pure Heart Motives:

  • Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised. Prov. 31:30
  • I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Rom. 12:1
  • Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body. 1 Cor. 6:19-20
  • For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you abstain from sexual immorality; that each one of you know how to control his own body in holiness and honor, 1 Thess. 4:3-4

How to Dress, and What to Avoid:

  • 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. 1 Tim. 2:9-10
  • Do not let your adorning be external—the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear— but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious. 1 Pet. 3:3-4

Avoiding Being a Snare and Temptress:

  • “Woe to the world for temptations to sin! For it is necessary that temptations come, but woe to the one by whom the temptation comes!” Matt. 18:7
  • Decide never to put a stumbling block or hindrance in the way of a brother. Rom. 14:13

Now that we see God’s principles for us as women, that we are to dress in modest, respectable ways, that we are to avoid being extravagant, flashy, and pretentious, that we are not to draw attention to our bodies but rather to Jesus, that our beauty is to come from our spiritual character and inner selves and the things we do, let’s prayerfully consider our closets. <3

Defining Immodesty and Modesty:

Immodesty is about drawing the eye of unavailable men (and maybe even women) to my body, my sexuality, and to thinking about lusting after me. It is about how beautiful I am, how desirable I am, and about making my body look inviting and welcoming to other men in a sexual way. It is about advertising my “wares” so that other men don’t have to guess very much about the shape of my body. It is about attracting attention to my particular form and curves.

My favorite definition of modesty is,

“Modesty is humility in clothing.”

Modesty is all about exalting God, not exalting self. It is all about bringing glory and attention to the Lord not to my appearance. It is about making Jesus, the gospel, holiness, chastity and purity the focus. It is about covering my body in a way that draws the eye to Christ. It is about avoiding expensive hairstyles, jewelry, and clothing that would draw a lot of attention away from Christ. It is about being beautiful in a spiritual way rather than a worldly way. Modesty is about looking feminine in ways that are wholesome and appropriate in public. It is about advertising my faith in Christ rather than my skin or my curves. It is about showing my reverence for God, the gospel, others, and myself. It is about being content not being the most beautiful, attractive girl in the room.

Modesty is also an attitude that avoids acting in flirtatious, inappropriate, or vulgar ways. It is about conducting myself with integrity, purity, and sound speech. It is about guarding my heart and my marriage. It is about avoiding the appearance of evil and seeking to treat my brothers (and sisters) in Christ with honor, respect, dignity, and holiness.

Principles of Modesty:

In order to assess whether a particular outfit is modest, here are some questions I may want to prayerfully ask myself:

  • What are my motives when I wear this outfit?
  • Will this outfit draw the eye of my brothers in Christ to my body or to the Lord?
  • Does this clothing cover all of the important areas well?
    • Even if I bend over, lean down, or reach up?
    • If I have to sit in a chair, will someone be able to see up my skirt/shorts?
    • Will I be doing activities that will cause private areas to be visible in this outfit?
    • If there are buttons, does the material gape between the buttons?
    • Am I likely to have a wardrobe malfunction in this clothing?
  • Am I purposely or inadvertently encouraging men to focus on my body or on lusting after me because this outfit reveals too much skin or exposes the exact shape of my body?
    • Is the neckline too low?
    • Is my midriff exposed?
    • Is the clothing too tight?
    • Does this outfit draw the eye to my breasts, hips, or crotch?
    • Is this clothing see-through in the right light?
    • Are my undergarments showing?
    • Is the hemline too short?
  • What would my husband or dad (or another godly man I greatly respect) think about this outfit?

PEACEFUL WIFE VIDEOS

The Joy of Modesty

Where to Find Beautiful, Modest Clothes

POSTS

My Journey into Femininity and Modesty

My Journey into Modesty by A Fellow Wife

Modest Swimwear Ideas

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What are some of your favorite ways to dress modestly?

Where are some affordable sources of modest clothing you have discovered?

What are some of your favorite stores and websites for modest clothing?

 

 

Can We Have God AND Reject His Word?

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I often receive comments from people who say they are Christians. They go to church. They may even tithe.  They believe in God. They say they believe in Jesus. But then they say,

“The Bible is not supposed to be taken literally. It doesn’t apply to anyone today. You can’t live by the Bible! You have been brainwashed if you believe that the Bible is true!”

I believe with everything that is in me that the Bible is the Word of God, the only source of absolute truth. I am completely heartbroken that anyone might teach that the Bible  is meaningless and irrelevant to people today. They say we can live however we want to, we don’t have to pay any attention to the Bible. The Word of God is irrelevant!?!? No!!!! May it never be!

I  just want to weep over each one who has been caught in this idea. How incredibly dangerous! To think you belong to Christ and think you are going to heaven because you said a prayer one time or because you went to church most Sundays or walked down an aisle and filled out a piece of paper – but to have completely missed who He is and a real relationship with Him – to have never yielded your life to Him as LORD of all in your life. This is what Jesus calls His followers to do. All of us. He is completely worthy of our giving ALL of ourselves to Him in full submission – as a response to all that He has done to provide salvation for us. Our obedience doesn’t earn us heaven. Only Jesus’ death on our behalf and His resurrection can secure heaven for us as we put all of our faith and trust in Him. Our obedience comes out of our thankfulness for all Jesus did for us and by the power of God’s Spirit flooding our souls to empower us to walk in obedience.

This is the kind of  critical misunderstanding that could easily end up causing someone to face condemnation when they stand before God rather than life in heaven through Christ Jesus. It is vital that we understand the importance of God’s Word, the Bible, today! The Bible is the primary way we get to know who Jesus and God are and it is where we learn how to have a real relationship with God. I want EVERYONE to come to know Christ and to have the eternal Life He offers to us all!

“Father, the hour has come. Glorify your Son, that your Son may glorify you. For you granted him authority over all people that he might give eternal life to all those you have given him. Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent. I have brought you glory on earth by finishing the work you gave me to do. And now, Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory I had with you before the world began. John 17:1-5

Can we possess Christ Jesus and simultaneously reject His Word and refuse to obey Him in areas where we disagree with the Bible? Is He really our LORD if we do this?

Let’s look at what Jesus had to say about that…

  • “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’ “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.” When Jesus had finished saying these things, the crowds were amazed at his teaching, because he taught as one who had authority, and not as their teachers of the law. Matthew 7:21-28

 

  • If anyone is ashamed of me and my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will be ashamed of them when he comes in his Father’s glory with the holy angels.” Mark 8:38

 

  • In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. John 1:1-5 (God’s Words are so important that Jesus is literally called “the Word.” God speaks and BIG things happen. His Words are very important!)

 

  • If you love me, keep my commands. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever— the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you. Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love them and show myself to them.”… Jesus replied, “Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them. Anyone who does not love me will not obey my teaching. These words you hear are not my own; they belong to the Father who sent me. John 14:15-24

 

  • “I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples. As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command. I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you. This is my command: Love each other. John 15:5-17
  • All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work. II Timothy 3:16-17

There are some who will do all that they can to undermine the things of God. These people do not know God. Because if they knew God, they would love God, people and the things of God.

“Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters. Matthew 12:30

But we are to be very different, my precious sisters! The world has a culture of hatred. Believers in Christ are to have a culture of love. In fact, Jesus says that the world will know that we are His disciples because we love one another. John 13:35

God calls us to submit to Christ as LORD. That is in EVERYTHING. There is no area of our lives where we are to be autonomous or where we are not to bow to the wisdom and Headship of Christ in our lives.

 

HOW DO WE KNOW GOD?

There are several primary ways we have knowledge of God:

  • Creation tells us that there is a mighty, powerful, wise Creator
  • God has put a longing for relationship with Him in our souls
  • God’s Word, the Bible
  • God’s Spirit speaking to us in agreement with His Word
  • Other people sharing God’s Word with us and what He has done in their lives.

God has revealed Himself to us by the Bible. That is the best way we can get to know who He is, what He is like, what He wants, what He has done for us and His will. If the Bible is not true, we have nothing of value at all as believers in Christ! The Words of Christ are a treasure for us. They are life, power, joy and peace! They are living and active, sharper than any sword or scalpel. God uses the Bible to teach, prune, refine, love and shape us into the image of Christ.

How I pray that we might hold up the authority of God’s Word in our churches today! The oldest temptation in the world is the serpent’s temptation to Eve, “Did God really say…?” “Can you really trust God’s Word? Or maybe there is something much better for you in the world!”

We are hearing that same temptation now:

  • The Bible isn’t really God’s Word.
  • Only parts of the Bible are true.
  • Those verses don’t apply to us today.
  • The Bible isn’t meant to be taken literally.
  • The Bible is no longer culturally relevant.

One of the reasons the church is in the dismal, comatose, worldly, sinful, miserable, dead state that it is in today is that we have absorbed the lies of our culture that undermine God and the authority of His Word. We have embraced lies and sin and we have abandoned the Bible. We have forfeited the power of God’s Spirit because we have grieved Him with our disobedience. 🙁 How I pray we will hold fast to the Bible and cling to the Jesus of the Bible as He presents Himself there – not some made up Jesus that fits our desires and is politically correct. He is our only hope and salvation! We have veered VERY far away from the truth of God as a nation, as a culture and even as Christians. We are going to have to make some very significant and painful course corrections to get back to the narrow path that leads to Life. It will be politically incorrect. It will go against our sinful natures. The world will not understand.

That is ok.

I pray for a massive movement of God’s Spirit to awaken us to Himself, to His Word and to His Spirit’s power – that this generation might become a generation that loves God far more than anything in the world and who loves His Word and who live in the power of God’s Spirit filling us. That is the only way to have the joy and power of Christ – to trust Him and to obey Him.

I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ or of Jesus’ Words. Through His Words and His Spirit He has completely transformed my life and my soul.  I have seen Him do so many miracles in so many marriages, I can’t even count them all! Praise God! His Word is true and we can depend on and trust both His Word  and  Him. How I pray we will rightly handle the Word of God and pass on a godly legacy to those who come behind us!

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Please check out the discussion in the comments! I wish I could address all of these issues in the post, too, but it is already way too long!

———————–

RELATED – Here are a few of the topics in the New Testament that we have been told are culturally irrelevant today – basically all of the topics pertaining to women in the New Testament. (Of course there are many others, as well, some of which are probably a lot more important.) These are not central doctrines that are necessary for our salvation. They are side issues. But God has used these passages of scripture to richly bless my life and deepen my walk with him and deepen the strength of our marriage.

What if  God DID intend for those passages to be in the Bible and what if they are a treasure for us?

I invite you to check out these passages that have been so often ignored in our churches and prayerfully consider them yourself.  Don’t just take my word for these things. Wrestle with them. Take your time and read them over and over and pray for God’s wisdom. Talk with your husband about them if he is a believer. Seek God’s will and seek to walk in obedience to Him. Hash these things out in your quiet time and in your journal. Share your concerns here. You are always welcome to comment. 🙂 I don’t judge anyone about what she decides on these things. We will all answer to God. No one will ever answer to me! That is for sure. I am not the authority here. God is. And I don’t claim to understand everything perfectly. I only desire to point women to Jesus and His Word.

www.headcoveringmovement.com – Jeremy has some excellent videos that go through the various arguments about how to interpret I Corinthians 11:3-16 and what it means for Christian women to cover our heads when we pray. My story is there, too! Here is a link to the video page which is a great place to start.

FROM PEACEFULWIFE

My story about how I decided to cover my head when I pray, My Youtube video about why I cover my head when I pray.

My Journey into Femininity and Modesty (you can also search “modest” and “modesty” on my home page search bar for many more posts about this topic)

Spiritual Authority

Biblical Submission (you can also search my home page for “submission” for many more posts about this topic)

Respecting Our Husbands (you can search my home page for “respect” for lots of posts about this topic)

The Bible and Divorce

One last topic I don’t seem to have a post about, although I have talked about it often, is the principle that women are not to have authority over men in the church.  I Corinthians 14:34-35 and I Timothy 2:11-15. This is why I don’t write for men, telling them “what to do” as if I were in authority over them because I am seeking to honor these passages of Scripture. But, I do have a good friend who actually was a woman pastor, until God called upon her to repent and step down. You can find her story here – They Called Me Pastor

When Blessings Come Through Raindrops – by TheJoyFilledWife

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This is a guest post by TheJoyFilledWife. Many, many wives will face this same struggle that she has faced. The enemy has ensnared our men (as well as many women today) and our brothers and sisters desperately need the power of Christ to find victory over temptation, sin and evil. How I pray that God might deliver His people from all of our sin that entangles us and keeps us from being the holy, Spirit-filled people He calls us to be. I am honored to be on this journey with her and to watch as God creates beauty from ashes and joy from mourning.  I am so thankful for her willingness to share her pain, her brokenness, her story, her healing and her great faith in Christ with us!

I don’t think I’ll forget the date as long as I live. It was Sunday, June 2nd 2013 when I awoke in a panic, grabbing my phone as the chirp of a new email sounded. It was unlike me to wake up feeling anxious, or to be in any particular rush to address the new messages that flooded in the night before. But this morning was different. I felt it in my gut. This was no ordinary moment in time and somehow, someway, I knew deep inside that my life would never be the same again.

I quickly cleared the various texts that had piled up over the past several hours and began to delete the last of my emails and I felt the pit in my stomach sink like a 1,000 pound lead weight. As my eyes fell upon the title of my final email, I knew in my heart that I was about to come face to face with one of my greatest fears in life. It was the weekly internet accountability report we had subscribed to since we got married 4 years prior. The title of the email urged me to check the content report of the web sites that had been visited in recent hours, stating that there was cause for concern.

Lord, please no… anything but this.

With all the courage that I could muster up, I swallowed hard and clicked. In a matter of moments, I felt the air escape from my lungs like a blow to the stomach with a steel pipe. Hours…upon hours…of pornographic image searches. I felt my heart crumble into a million pieces as I sunk my face deep into my pillow to silence my cries. Please, Lord…don’t let this be true. But I knew in my heart that this was no mistake.

I would be lying if I said that I hadn’t battle the urge to send the email straight to the trash without opening it. If I did, perhaps I could pretend I never saw it and go on with life as I knew it before. When we go through tragedies, sometimes our first instinct is to pretend it’s not happening, especially when we can’t make sense of it all. Or we want to ask why the Lord would allow us to face such heartbreak. Yet we serve a God who gives us the courage to fight those tragic battles with our head held high and peace in our heart. Peace amidst trials is nonsense to the world and, believe me when I tell you, these tragic times are often the greatest opportunity of our lives to show the world the One who dwells within us. The Lord has called us for such a time as this. If we but keep our hearts set on the promises of His Word that “He will never leave us or forsake us”, Deuteronomy 31:6, He will use us to impact more hearts than we could imagine. When we choose joy in the midst of our painful circumstances, it is a powerful testimony to those who are watching from the sidelines. And trust me when I say, there are ALWAYS people watching from the sidelines.

“Wives, in the same way submit yourselves to your own husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives, when they see the purity and reverence of your lives.“ – 1 Peter 3:1 & 2

Although my husband is a believer and I knew it would take an act of the Holy Spirit for him to overcome his addiction and subsequent struggle with anger and control, 1 Peter 3:1 & 2 kept rising up in my heart. If unbelieving husbands can be won over without words by the behavior of their wives, could the Lord use me in that same way to help point my believing husband back to Him?

Lust is often a lifelong battle for men and we, as wives, can bless our husbands by being their greatest prayer warrior, meeting their physical and emotional needs, being EXTREMELY patient with them, and by showing them respect in all areas (unless they ask us to sin). We serve a God who changes hearts and there is no heart too hard for Jesus to soften. I pray we will allow Him to use us to minister to our husbands in all areas.

Before I wrap this up, I feel compelled to say something very important to you fellow wives out there who were or are currently facing this same kind of heartbreak in their marriage:

  • You are beautiful.
  • You are valuable.
  • You are precious
  • You ARE good enough.

Not because of who you are, but because of who you belong to. You are the daughter of the King. He made you just the way He wanted you and desires to use you to accomplish great things for His Kingdom. Please don’t believe the lies of the enemy that tell you if only you were prettier, or taller, or shorter, or thinner, or tanner, or sexier, or better in bed, that your husband wouldn’t have made the choices he has.

While we ARE responsible to fulfill our wifely role and to not cause our husbands temptation through neglect or disrespect, we are NOT responsible for their sin.

When our husbands have a stronghold in their lives, the one and ONLY person who can break that bondage is Christ. Cling to Jesus, for He is “the author and perfecter of our faith” ( Hebrews 12:2). Do not give into fear, sweet sisters, for our precious Lord reminds us, In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” – John 16:33

It was a year ago today that I faced the most devastating battle of my life and marriage. The countless tears I have cried the past year from a heartbreak I sometimes questioned being able to survive, have given me a perspective I wouldn’t have gained otherwise. Although I prayed for many years that Jesus would strip away the strongholds in my life, I never thought He would do it all at once – and while fighting for dear life to just survive another day and not give into feelings of hopelessness. But I have learned so much about the beauty of forgiveness and the power of prayer in the past 365 days and, although I would never want another human being to have to endure what I have, I know that there are countless others out there who are facing this same battle. Please know that you are not alone.

Although we will be subject to all kinds of pain and suffering in this life, we serve a faithful and merciful God who desire to use our trials to accomplish His greatest will in us, if we let Him.

In the spirit of thankfulness, I want to share with you the GOOD that God has brought out of this most painful and heartbreaking time in my life:

1. I was brought to April’s blog and am growing leaps and bounds in areas of respect I needed to improve on in my marriage. I am a gentle yet passionate woman married to a leader-type. Although I don’t fit the typical description of the type of wives she started PW to minister to, I am learning more about being a Biblical wife every day!

2. I have learned the importance of a modest attitude and how to be feminine and beautiful, not merely through my attire, but mostly through my heart toward others.

3. I have learned that I can truly trust my Jesus with my whole heart, even when the world around me comes crashing down. He held my heart together when it was broken and is turning the shattered pieces of it into something more beautiful than it was to begin with.

4. I have learned that we respect and submit to our husbands, not because they deserve it or have earned it, but because we desire to obey God.

5. I have learned how to be more selfless. How to pray more. How to praise more. I am becoming more and more like Christ and less and less like “me”. I am learning that we can and should have hope in all situations, realizing that although our circumstances change, our God never does. He is the same yesterday and today and tomorrow (Hebrews 13:8).

My relationship with Christ has deepened in ways I never could have imagined since last year. I think of myself as holding on to the bottom of Jesus’ robe for dear life as He whisks my heart away to the secret place and covers me with His tenderness and love. Perhaps one of the most important lessons I’ve learned in all this is that joy is not a feeling, but a choice.

I call myself TheJoyFilledWife, not because of what I am, but because of what I am becoming. And all by the grace of God.

By the grace of God, my husband is a success story and he has told me countless times what a gift my prayers and patience have been through this. Although he still battles his habits and earthly temptations, we have a great deal of transparency now (about many other areas of sin too) and are rebuilding trust every day.

And now, I leave you with the lyrics of a song that ministered to my heart when I began this painful journey a year ago. Our God is so faithful, sisters. Will you grab on to the bottom of His robe with me as we travel this road together? You are cherished and deeply loved. Yes, you.

 

“What if Your blessings come through raindrops?

What if Your healing comes through tears?

What if a thousand sleepless nights are what it takes to know You’re near?

What if my greatest disappointments or the aching of this life

Is the revealing of a greater thirst this world can’t satisfy?

What if the trials of this life – the rain, the storms, the hardest nights –

Are your mercies in disguise?”

 

(“Blessings” by Laura Story”)

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SHARE:

Has God taught you priceless treasures about Himself as you faced your husband’s sin of some type? You are welcome to share about what you have learned and the blessings that have come through that trial. Or, if you are in a trial and you need some prayer support, love, encouragement and godly wisdom, you are welcome to share and I know that many wives will surround you with the love of Christ here.

RELATED:

John Piper www.desiringgod.org – search “porn”

www.brentriggs.com – click on “books.” He has an e-book about overcoming porn that is helpful for husbands who are involved in porn as well as wives whose husbands are using porn from a Christian perspective.

www.xxxchurch.org has Christian resources for people who need help with pornography addiction

Grace Filled Marriage by Dr. Tim Kimmel has an entire chapter on how a believing wife can extend grace to a husband who has fallen into the sin of pornography. I think it is excellent.

My Journey into Femininity and Modesty – by Peacefulwife

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Oh, where to start? 🙂

As a girl and teenager, I figured that boys thought pretty much the same way that I did.  I didn’t pay much attention to what anyone wore – so why would guys be looking at me?  I wasn’t very caught up in clothing. I almost always wore jeans and a t-shirt, except I would wear a dress or skirt on Sundays for church. 

I didn’t think that clothing was very important or made any real statements about anything about a person.  I was horrified to dress immodestly out of embarrassment.  But girly clothing seemed too expensive for my budget of $20/month as a teenager and it seemed uncomfortable and fussy.  Dressy clothes didn’t fit me well – they almost always gaped in the chest area and were too tight in the belly. Shopping for clothes was always very frustrating for me.  Still is!

I did start dressing up a bit more in college, when Greg asked me if I could wear dresses more often.  When I got my first job as a pharmacy technician, I wore dresses to try to look more professional.  Then a week after we got married, I severely sprained my lower back. Suddenly all the beautiful dressy, girly shoes were a thing of the past and I had to find shoes that didn’t hurt my back.  Tennis shoes didn’t seem to go with feminine clothing at all, so I just stuck with jeans at home and khakis at the pharmacy for many years.

April in 1st grade
April in 1st grade

GROWING UP I FELT AWKWARD AND UNFEMININE!

I mostly remember feeling VERY unfeminine when I was in elementary school.  I was kind of my Daddy’s “son” until my little brother (7 years younger than me) was old enough to take over that position. My twin sister was “the girly twin” and I was “the tomboy.” I didn’t relate much to a lot of the girls. I didn’t like the drama – and I became a target of some of the more popular girls in class who enjoyed teasing and making fun of me in upper elementary school. I got glasses in 5th grade – which made me feel even more awkward and un-pretty. So, I retreated into a bit of a shell.

April in 7th grade
April in 7th grade
  • A boy made fun of my twin sister and me on the bus one day in 7th grade in front of everyone in the loudest voice, “You guys are SO FLAT!!!!!!” And he laughed hysterically and pointed at us.

I began to believe that guys couldn’t be attracted to me – that my body was too “flawed.”

Greg and April in 1990 - he was a senior in high school, I was a junior.
Greg and April in 1990 – he was a senior in high school, I was a junior.

I believed that being feminine was impossible for me.  I was convinced that I was not “woman enough” because of the curves I lacked and my self-consciousness sky-rocketed. I felt judged and completely rejected by the world’s standards of physical beauty. I believed I was invisible to guys. Any guy who was friendly to me – I assumed just wanted to be my friend. I couldn’t accept that a guy would actually be attracted to me as a girl – so I became completely blind to how guys actually saw me or any interest guys may have had in me.

If I ever did hear teaching about godly femininity or modesty, I probably wouldn’t have paid much attention because I didn’t think those things really applied to me.  I didn’t feel much like girl, and didn’t think I looked very beautiful. I didn’t understand the power of a feminine body or spirit. And since I had close to zero understanding of how guys think, I didn’t realize I had anything to be concerned about.

AS A YOUNG WOMAN

  • A lady at Victoria’s Secret measured me when I was about 25 years old. She laughed loudly and said, “Oh, girl!  We don’t have NOTHING here that would fit YOU!”

In fact, the only lingerie that fits me to this day is from the little girls’ department. Like – the children’s department.

Now, I am actually totally fine with my figure. In fact, I love my figure and am completely confident in my body these days.  I am so thankful for the body God has given me.  I am able to see the positives and even accept the things I used to see as “flaws” as beautiful. I am grateful to God that Greg loves my figure and has always been very accepting of my body.

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Me (April) and our son  – a month before I turned 30

I LOOKED YOUNG

Another issue about my appearance was that I usually looked MUCH younger than I actually was. I will be 41 this March. Usually – people these days think I am in my twenties. But people regularly asked me if I was 12 years old until way after I was 30. That got really old! Patients didn’t take me very seriously at work in the pharmacy many times. They didn’t think I could possibly be old enough to be a pharmacist. One man demanded to see my driver’s license because he didn’t believe I could even be 15. I was 27 at the time.

So – my figure made me look 12, my face made me look 12. I just never really could accept that I could feel feminine, womanly and beautiful. It seemed impossible to me for a long time.

HAVING A SON TOOK ME EVEN FARTHER FROM FEMININITY FOR AWHILE

Then we had our son and he LOVED to be outside- all the time.  He would run for hours.  So I continued in my jeans and a pony tail for going to the playground almost every day and running around in my tennis shoes.  In fact, if I didn’t wear tennis shoes, I couldn’t catch my boy when he was 2-3 years old!  I soon cut my hair short, even though I knew my husband loved it long.  I was all about being practical.  Who cared what my husband thought anyway, right?  That was my mindset at the time. Turns out that short hair took WAY LONGER to style than long hair – for me, at least. I MISSED my long hair and decided I didn’t want to cut it short anymore after that.

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April in 04-2006

THEN WE HAD A BABY GIRL

I started thinking more about femininity when I had a daughter and she was starting to be old enough to want to wear dresses every day and to love princesses.  I loved how romantic the long dresses looked in her stories and realized that the effect just wouldn’t be the same if the princess was wearing jeans and a t-shirt!  Maybe clothing makes more of a statement than I had ever really considered before.

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Our daughter – 2 years old

I began to study femininity and God’s design for women/wives/moms and the way God made men and women to be so marvelously different from each other.  I began to understand that a woman has a great deal of power in her appearance that affects her own attitudes and also significantly impacts most of the men around her – including her husband. 

 

I was so excited to discover that I could actually feel feminine and womanly!

ME!?!? Who knew!?! 

  • I could have a gentle, peaceful, vulnerable, delicate spirit.
  • I could be soft and beautiful.
  • I could be the follower in my marriage instead of a take-charge leader, barking out orders and giving commands.
  • I could wear girly clothing  (once I found the right styles for me) and I did finally feel like a woman – especially in long, flowing skirts.  The clothing actually did make a difference in my feelings about myself. Hmm…. that was interesting!
  • I realized that the more feminine I look and act, the more feminine I will feel and the more masculine my husband will feel. That helps to really BOOST the chemistry and attraction! What a powerful revelation!
  • I decided that I wanted to attempt to model godly femininity for my daughter – as well as my son – by my dress, my attitude, my voice, my expressions, my priorities, my character, my love for Christ – EVERYTHING.

MODESTY IS BEAUTIFUL

My understanding of modesty grew out of my study of godly femininity and also understanding men much better.  Men think VERY differently from women and are tempted visually in ways I had never imagined.  Kinda shocking for me at first! If I had known in high school what I know now – I may have worn a choir robe to school instead of jeans and a t-shirt every day!  I think a lot of women think things like, “Oh, I’m too small, too big, too old, too young, too unattractive to have to concern myself with modesty. I am not a temptation to anyone.”

I know I felt like that.

Now, I know modesty is a gift we can give to others no matter what our shape/age may be. It is a way to show reverence for God, respect for myself, for my husband and for others around me (men and women alike).  I REALLY love adding feminine clothing to the modesty equation- I feel softer, lovelier and more beautiful.  I noticed more men holding doors open for me and offering to help me. I noticed that I feel so different when I “dress the part” of being a woman.

Clothing can tell the world you are a lady and it is interesting to see that people actually do treat a woman differently depending on what she chooses to wear. Skirts and dresses remind me that I have the honor of being a woman and that I am thankful I don’t “wear the pants in the family.”  It is a subtle reminder to myself to savor my identity as a woman each day, to embrace my femininity, and it is a reminder to my husband that I am a delicate, beautiful, feminine woman to be cherished and adored by him.  I like that!

Am I saying all women should dress just like I do?

Nope.

I am just sharing my story.

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My favorite definition of modesty is that it is “humility in clothing.”

If we have a spirit of humility- as Christ certainly did, and we are emulating Christ- then we will desire our clothing to draw attention to Him not to our bodies.  And I will have mercy on my brothers in Christ by seeking to wear clothing that will not distract or tempt them to lust after me.  And I will model modesty for my daughter so that she grows up seeing that modesty is “normal” and understanding the gift of her femininity and sexuality and how to properly use it and how to guard her great gift.

I think the subjects of modesty and femininity are fascinating.  I kind of felt like I was building my identity as a woman from scratch 5 years ago.  I pray that we might discover God’s beautiful design for femininity and live it well.  And I pray we might pass along God’s ways, wisdom and perspective to the generations coming behind us.

RELATED:

His Wife’s Body Image Issues 

What Guys Think about the Importance of Modesty

Respect, Biblical Submission and Sexual Attraction

My Journey into Modesty – By a Fellow Wife

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A Guest Post by a Fellow Wife:
My journey into modesty was indeed a journey.  Modesty was not a concept I gave any respect to before embarking on my quest to become a godly wife.  I didn’t think it was worthwhile, I didn’t think it was important and to be honest, I thought it was downright self-righteous to focus on modesty.  My thoughts on modesty were very wrong.
While I never dressed as what I thought of as “trashy”, I enjoyed showing some skin.  I liked tops that showed a hint of cleavage, tops that showed bare shoulders and shorts and skirts that were closer to the hip than the knee.  I felt attractive in them.  I felt alluring.  I felt I had to dress like that if I wanted to look pretty.  I thought there was no other way to look pretty.  I thought this was the only way to look feminine.
My thoughts are different now.
After I began this journey, I was so curious as to my husband’s thoughts and opinions on everything I did, including what I chose to wear.  While my husband had always told me what I wore was fine, I had never really had an open, honest conversation where I encouraged him to share his true feelings and really listened to him.  I decided I wanted to know what he really thought of how I dressed.
He was reluctant to share his thoughts with me.  I treasure that about him; the fact that he was afraid of hurting me with his opinion.  But I encouraged his honesty and he finally opened up.  He told me that while I didn’t displease him overall, there were some things that I wore that he would like to move to “only wear at home” clothes.
  • It stung just a little but I eagerly listened to him and asked more questions.
He shared some things with me that I had never thought of before.  He told me that when I showed parts of my body such as hints of cleavage and parts of my legs, that I was “advertising”.  I was fully taken aback with that because the last thing I wanted to do was advertise!  I was not available!  I was very taken and wanted everyone to know that.
He also told me he did not want other men seeing parts of my body that were only meant for his eyes.  This made me feel very treasured, cherished and loved.  Now, I see modesty as a gift, both to myself and my husband.  My body is precious and should be treated as such instead of being treated as if it has little value and is available for display to everyone.  Dressing modestly is something I do to save my body for my husband’s eyes only.
He delivered his words truthfully but oh-so-kindly and carefully but I was still so ashamed that I had dressed in a way he did not approve of for years and he never said a word to me.  He probably never would have if I had not asked him and been such a willing listener. There is a huge lesson in that last sentence that I have learned over and over in the last 14 months;

Husbands are usually willing to talk if WE are WILLING to listen.

I immediately moved the clothing he didn’t approve of to an “only wear at home” place of my wardrobe.  I would never wear them out of our home now, or for that matter, in front of company.  They are only worn to clean house or to workout in, within the walls of our home.
I begin shopping with a focus on choosing modest clothing.  If I have any reservations, I ask my husband to weigh in with his opinion.  I am fully capable of choosing my own clothing but I choose to allow my husband to make the decision if I am on the fence about an article of clothing.
  • I am thankful for his opinions and want to honor them.
Because I am not very tall (5 foot 2), I have to be more careful than most about choosing tops.  Things fall lower on me than they would other women.  But there are certainly ways to work around this. Tank tops and camis make almost every top an option.  I have also learned to look at necklines more carefully when I shop and (if shopping online) picture how low they may fall.
I had always believed that you had to dress in a very boring and dull manner if you dressed modest but that is not true.  You can still be fashionable and be adequately covered.  It is a bit more challenging but not impossible.  I enjoy the search for feminine, modest clothing.  Everyone has their own taste but I tend to go for clothing items that are in the colors that work best for me and feature some sort of feminine detail, such as beading, ruffles, sheer layers on top of a thicker one, tops with pretty, flowy sleeves.  And accessories are always a great option. Just some ideas of how I personally make this work. And I would love to hear other ladies share how they make modesty look beautiful, too!
Now that I have discovered that dressing modestly can still be attractive, I enjoy it a lot more.  I also feel very precious to my husband when I make ‘modest choices’ to honor him and his requests that what is his remains only for his eyes.
Everyone is going to have different standards of what feels right for them.  I recently read a very good book by Leslie Ludy (The Lost Art of True Beauty) and she gave a piece of advice that I felt was very wise.  Do not show areas of your body you would be uncomfortable with others touching.  For example, we are not uncomfortable if someone touches our lower arm when they are speaking to us but how would we feel if someone touched us where our cleavage begins or other exposed areas?  I thought this was very insightful…. I think about that sometimes when I shop.  If a part of my body is showing that I would not want someone else to touch (besides my husband), it is probably not an article of clothing that I should purchase.
Where I once felt that dressing in an immodest manner could be sexy, I now feel shame when I think of how I dressed before.  I now feel sorry for girls that dress like I used to.  I am embarrassed for them.  I want to take by the hands and tell them just how precious they are and that they are worth more than showing their body off to everyone.  I want to tell them their body is precious, that they don’t have to show it off to everyone and to save it for someone who really has earned that right.  But they have to find that out for themselves.
Modesty is a personal journey and everyone’s is going to look unique.
This was just a little peek into mine.
FROM PEACEFULWIFE:
Our culture says that a woman dressing immodestly and having sexual “liberation” is empowering.  These are lies from the enemy. But our culture has embraced it. We use immodesty and sex to sell everything these days. 🙁
As we obey God’s Word, we are empowered to become the beautiful women God created us to be. Our power does not come from publicly showing our bodies, but from God’s Spirit dwelling inside of us and from lives that bring glory to Christ. We honor and reverence God by showing honor and reverence for our bodies.  And, in so doing, we also honor and respect our husbands and other men as well.
RELATED:

The Respect Dare, Day 30 – Modesty and Respect

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Now that I have read and understand a lot more about how men think and how their minds and eyes work- I have a whole new understanding of the blessing of modesty both for the women who embrace the concept and for the men who benefit from women who choose to dress modestly.

I also want women to dress modestly, with decency and propriety, not with braided hair or gold or pearls or expensive clothes, but with good deeds, appropriate for women who profess to worship God.  I Timothy 2:9-10

MEN ARE MORE “VISUAL”

What this means for many men, in real life, is that seeing provocatively dressed women can create huge temptation for them – this is quite a problem in our sex-saturated culture today.  Honestly, I didn’t “get” that until a few years ago when I began to study how men think.  Temptations bombard our men from every angle.  Some men struggle more with this than others – just like some women struggle more with having a chocolate cake on the counter in the kitchen more than others do (great illustration by Shaunti Feldhahn in “For Women Only.”)  But – from my understanding – it is practically a universal struggle among men to keep their thoughts pure when seeing beautiful women who are immodestly dressed whether in real life, in a magazine or on a screen.

One young Christian single man commented that the visual temptation he experiences is more like having a chocolate cake on every flat surface in the house – meaning, everywhere he looks, there is visual temptation to lust because many women are dressed provocatively, even in the church.  That breaks my heart!

As women, we are mostly not wired to be visual the way they are, we are more about words and romance (so we are much more tempted by romantic novels, chick flicks and love songs, although an increasing number of women are struggling with porn addiction, too).

WHAT?  ME?  IMMODEST?

A lot of us think we are just being fashionable with our clothing and don’t have any idea of the impact our clothes have on the men around us.  Or, we are just buying what is in the stores – and most of the clothing in the mall is just not very modest.  Especially for younger women in the teen sizes.  Many of us have never studied the subject of modesty – and it can be quite a surprise that visual temptations are such a huge issue for many men.  Let me clarify – there seems to be a continuum of level of temptation.  Teenage boys and men in their 20s may have a much greater struggle with visual  temptation than men in their 60s and 70s.  Testosterone levels can play a role here, too.   Your husband may not struggle much visually.  But there may be other men around you at work, in the store and at church who do struggle and battle all day every day and who long for a reprieve from being constantly bombarded visually from every angle. (You may want to check out The Modesty Survey results by Rebelution and read some of the guys’ comments when you have time.)

It is not that men are “cads” because they are visual – or that they are “worse sinners” than women. We have our own temptations and sinful tendencies that are just as offensive to God – our difficulty with forgiveness many times, our tendency to want to control our men or God, our own idols (things we put above Christ in our hearts), gossip, self-righteousness, contentiousness or clinging to bitterness (these are the kinds of sins I struggle with, at least!).   All men and women are sinful – no one is good but God alone (according to Jesus).  We have no room to look down on our husbands or brothers in Christ if we are not affected by visual temptation – we each have plenty of sin in our own lives to deal with.

I would like us as wives to be a place of safety and a haven where our husbands can share their struggles and temptations and where we can support them in prayer – just like we want them to support and pray for us in our struggles and temptations.

OUR GIFT TO OUR CHRISTIAN BROTHERS

I want to see God’s women do something about the visual temptations that are impacting our men!  They would appreciate our help. We are in a powerful position to either cause them to drown deeper in this snare or to give them the gift of our own modesty and our daughters’ modesty to give them some respite from this constant temptation and assault on their eyes.  They need our prayers first, our compassion and mercy, our understanding, and our obedience to God’s commands for us as women.

We are not responsible for other people’s sin – but we are responsible for not purposely presenting a stumbling block to others.  It is possible that some men could still lust after me even if I dress modestly – I am not responsible for that.  But I am responsible to God for respecting Him with my attitudes, actions, words and clothing.  I seek to show that I respect God, myself, my own sexuality, my husband and other men by the way I dress in public.

When the Bible talks about women dressing modestly- there are no specific “rules” given about what can and can’t be worn. (We are not to dress like prostitutes or have lavish hairstyles or expensive clothing.)  This is something that each woman must pray about and decide about between herself, her husband and God.

Modesty is an attitude of the heart that a woman wants her clothing to point to God and glorify Him instead of drawing the attention of men to her body.   Modesty is “humility in clothing.”

RESPECT DARE 30:

I would like to encourage you to go through your own closet and also your daughters’ closets and prayerfully consider each article of clothing.

  • Does it glorify and honor God?
  • Does it glorify my body or my daughter’s body?
  • Is this something to only wear for my husband?
  • Am I (or is my daughter) going to cause a brother to stumble if I (she) wear (s) this outfit?

Let’s be willing to ask

  • WHY do I want to wear this outfit?  What are my motives?

Some of the Christian college  guys in Shaunti Feldhahn’s book, For Women Only,  were so thankful when the girls around them would take the time and effort and care to dress modestly.  They described how a woman’s covering of her body made her more beautiful to them and also made it possible for the guys to focus on her face and her heart instead of focusing on her body and curves.

Yes – it can a pain to find modest clothing today.  But it is not impossible.   There are beautiful, feminine modest choices out there if you are willing to look.  Modesty does not have to be frumpy.  I believe our brothers in Christ are worth the trouble.  I also believe that Jesus is infinitely worthy of our obedience to Him in every way.

OTHER RESOURCES

What Christian Men Think about Modesty

Men, Testosterone and Temptation, Part 1

Men, Testosterone and Temptation, Part 2

My Youtube video about Modesty (15 minutes)

Do Men Really Objectify Scantily Clad Women?

A Wife Sees Some of Her Idols – People Pleasing and Beauty

Why I Wear Skirts Every Day Part 1 (my personal convictions)

Why I Wear Skirts Daily – Part 2 (resources to find modest clothing)

Avoiding Legalism

 

What Guys Think about the Importance of Modesty

disrespectedmen

I deeply appreciate the willingness of these Christian single guys to talk about this issue so candidly and clearly with us.  This is a critically important issue for our brothers in Christ.  They need our prayers, our understanding, our support, cooperation and consideration.

GUY #1:

It’s funny, the members of my church (soldiers) must be in uniform during Holiness Meetings (The Salvation Army church service) and it is not the most flattering uniform (and shouldn’t be). The uniform “enforces” modesty on women; and I will agree, their appearance is not a distraction in church. The attendees or non-soldiers can dress as they please.

When I see a woman from my church outside of church in her street clothing, sometimes it is “night and day”

I mean, a lot of today’s fashions on women….are well…a bit arousing; and to be fair I am not saying the woman is trying to be a “tease” or is actively trying to put a guy in this situation…but

Women, you have no idea what your God given body and image does to men. 

A woman who dresses modestly is not a prude or boring. It means she has CLASS. It means she respects herself, and knows what her body can do to a guy.

GUY #2

I really appreciate modesty. It’s really annoying to have a barely dressed woman pass by or sit next to me on the bus. Yet should we speak up, we get called controlling or perverts. It’s not like we can have absolute control over our reactions.
Can I control myself no matter what a woman’s wearing? Yes. Am I comfortable when women are immodest? Absolutely not.
Yes they can wear what they like but we pay a price for their choices.

GUY #3

I see the intense feeling a guy gets from an immodest woman as a warning that she does not respect him nor care about him. In nature the most beautiful creatures tend to be the most dangerous. Tree frogs for instance are very pretty but very toxic! Translating that too woman means the same in my opinion. Once a man accepts that immodest women are more likely to support his destruction such women don’t look very attractive because you can see their spiritual ugliness like a deadly contagious disease. If a man doesn’t want to catch he doesn’t look.

GUY #4

I think there are many women who really don’t know the effect their modesty or lack of modesty have had on men, and they are probably the ones who behave somewhat naively, but with good intent. They don’t want to mislead men, but they don’t know where to draw the line between “modest” and “immodest” in ways that honor men.  Or, they believe they are already as “modest” as they need to be, while still feeling beautiful or comfortable according to society’s standards.

These good-willed women often have different definitions and standards of beauty than men. They would be surprised with how simply and non-legalistically we view beauty, and how easy it is for them to be modest, comfortable, and amazingly beautiful to us all at the same time.

There are also many women who know very well the effect their clothing and behavior have on men (that is why they do it), and they have made decisions to dress and act in specific ways to elicit reactions from men whose person and arousal responses do not belong to them.

They may believe they are just flattering themselves, “building-up their confidence,” or “using what God gave them,” but

really they are stealing emotions from men they don’t care about, and have no intentions to satisfy the responses they stir-up. It is false advertising – a deceit – a lie!

A young Christian woman made the following quote about modesty: (paraphrased)
“Women should dress like a flower to be looked at, valued, and appreciated, not like a sandwich to be bitten.”

Are you ladies dressing in ways that make us want to value and appreciate the beauty God has given you, or in ways that make us want to “take a bite?”

I believe God wants women to save this powerful “come take a bite” attraction for their husbands alone, and many men would appreciate the reduced stress, temptations, and distractions that such a choice would have on them in public, at work, or at church.

I don’t think women need to work so hard to follow society’s definition of beauty to look or feel attractive. God has a much different idea of beauty and modesty than society has told women, and godly men want to see more women choose to reflect that type of beauty.

FROM PEACEFULWIFE

Godly beauty is described in I Peter 3:3-6.  It is a “gentle and peaceful/stilled/quiet/calm spirit… that does not give way to hysterical fear.”  That is what is of great worth in God’s sight – and that is what is beautiful to godly men, too.

God calls us to dress modestly – for good reason.

I pray we might desire to dress to show respect to our Lord, and to show respect for our own bodies, our sexuality, and the men around us.  This attitude of desiring to draw attention to God instead of to our bodies is very honoring to Him!

RELATED ARTICLES

http://lessonsofmercy.wordpress.com/2013/03/10/id-never-be-a/ (a post from my dear friend, Kayla, about the effects seeing a woman in a bikini can have on guys – and what we as believing women can do about it)

Is the Issue of Modesty Relevant in 2013?

Why I Wear Skirts Daily – Part 1

Why I Wear Skirts Daily – Part 2

Shaunti Feldhahn’s book “For Women Only” and for teenage girls “For Young Women Only” are great resources into the inner thought lives of men

The Issue of Modesty

Now that I have read and understand a lot more about how men think and how their minds and eyes work- I have a whole new understanding of the blessing of modesty both for the women who embrace the concept and for the men who benefit from women who choose to dress modestly.

I also want women to dress modestly, with decency and propriety, not with braided hair or gold or pearls or expensive clothes, but with good deeds, appropriate for women who profess to worship God.  I Timothy 2:9-10

MEN ARE MORE “VISUAL”

What this means for many men, in real life, is that seeing provocatively dressed women can create huge temptation for them – this is quite a problem in our sex-saturated culture today.  Temptations bombard our men from every angle.  Some men struggle more with this than others – just like some women struggle more with having a chocolate cake on the counter in the kitchen more than others do (great illustration by Shaunti Feldhahn in “For Women Only.”)  But – from my understanding – it is practically a universal struggle among men to keep their thoughts pure when seeing beautiful women who are immodestly dressed whether in real life, in a magazine or on a screen.

One young Christian single man commented that the visual temptation he experiences is more like having a chocolate cake on every flat surface in the house – meaning, everywhere he looks, there is visual temptation to lust because many women are dressed provocatively, even in the church.

As women, we are mostly not wired to be visual the way they are, we are more about words and romance (so we are much more tempted by romantic novels, chick flicks and love songs, although an increasing number of women are struggling with porn addiction, too).

WHAT?  ME?  IMMODEST?

A lot of us think we are just being fashionable with our clothing and don’t have any idea of the impact our clothes have on the men around us.  Many of us have never studied the subject of modesty – and it can be quite a surprise that visual temptations are such a huge issue for many men.  Let me clarify – there seems to be a continuum of level of temptation.  Teenage boys and men in their 20s may have a much greater struggle with visual  temptation than men in their 60s and 70s.  Testosterone levels can play a role here, too.   Your husband may not struggle much visually.  But there may be other men around you at work, in the store and at church who do struggle and battle all day every day and who long for a reprieve from being constantly bombarded visually from every angle.

It is not that men are “cads” because they are visual – or that they are “worse sinners” than women. We have our own temptations and sinful tendencies that are just as offensive to God – our difficulty with forgiveness many times, our tendency to want to control our men or God, our own idols (things we put above Christ in our hearts), gossip, self-righteousness, contentiousness or clinging to bitterness (these are the kinds of sins I struggle with, at least!).   All men and women are sinful – no one is good but God alone (according to Jesus).  We have no room to look down on our husbands or brothers in Christ if we are not affected by visual temptation – we each have plenty of sin in our own lives to deal with.

I would like us as wives to be a place of safety and a haven where our husbands can share their struggles and temptations and where we can support them in prayer – just like we want them to support and pray for us in our struggles and temptations.

OUR GIFT TO OUR CHRISTIAN BROTHERS

I want to see God’s women do something about the visual temptations that are impacting our men!  They need our help. We are in a powerful position to either cause them to drown deeper in this snare or to give them the gift of our own modesty and our daughters’ modesty to give them some respite from this constant temptation and assault on their eyes.  They need our prayers first, our compassion and mercy, our understanding, and our obedience to God’s commands for us as women.

We are not responsible for other people’s sin – but we are responsible for not purposely presenting a stumbling block to others.  It is possible that some men could still lust after me even if I dress modestly – I am not responsible for that.  But I am responsible to God for respecting Him with my attitudes, actions, words and clothing.  I seek to show that I respect God, myself, my own sexuality, my husband and other men by the way I dress in public.

When the Bible talks about women dressing modestly- there are no specific “rules” given about what can and can’t be worn. (We are not to dress like prostitutes or have lavish hairstyles or expensive clothing.)  This is something that each woman must pray about and decide about between herself, her husband and God.

Modesty is an attitude of the heart that a woman wants her clothing to point to God and glorify Him instead of drawing the attention of men to her body.   Modesty is “humility in clothing.”

ASSIGNMENT

I would like to encourage you to go through your own closet and also your daughters’ closets and prayerfully consider each article of clothing.

  • Does it glorify and honor God?
  • Does it glorify my body or my daughter’s body?
  • Is this something to only wear for my husband?
  • Am I (or is my daughter) going to cause a brother to stumble if I (she) wear (s) this outfit?

Some of the Christian college  guys in Shaunti Feldhahn’s book, For Women Only,  were so thankful when the girls around them would take the time and effort and care to dress modestly.  They described how a woman’s covering of her body made her more beautiful to them and also made it possible for the guys to focus on her face and her heart instead of focusing on her body and curves.

Yes – it is a pain to find modest clothing today.  But it is not impossible.   I believe our brothers in Christ are worth the trouble.

OTHER RESOURCES

What Christian Men Think about Modesty

Men, Testosterone and Temptation, Part 1

Men, Testosterone and Temptation, Part 2

My Youtube video about Modesty (15 minutes)

Do Men Really Objectify Scantily Clad Women?

A Wife Sees Some of Her Idols – People Pleasing and Beauty

Why I Wear Skirts Every Day

Avoiding Legalism

 

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