I am back home in the much cooler north (Toronto), but summer has already arrived in Louisville, and Southern Seminary is not immune. It’s already gotten up to 28c on the campus of the country’s biggest seminary, clearly evident by the t-shirts, shorts, dresses and skirts that are being worn on campus by students.
Because the season of 80F plus weather is upon us, I think it is necessary that we remind the young women around us — especially those in seminarians and Bible college students — that modesty is a must as Christians. It is not an option, or a nice to have if possible — it is mandated by God in the Holy Bible. By deliberately disobeying the Lord’s command is not only sinning against your Father in Heaven, but it also leads your brothers in Christ to be tempted.
As I’ve have written in the past of this issue, it is an area of temptation for many, that which many Christian men struggle and fight daily. However, something more must be said in reminder: immodesty in Christian women is a stumbling block to men, and folly to other women. As C. J. Mahaney has rightly noted in a recent blog post, immodesty “is much more than wearing a short skirt or low-cut top; it’s the act of drawing undue attention to yourself. It’s pride, on display by what you wear.”
My pastor, Ryan Fullerton, addressed the issue before a full crowd a few Sundays ago, preaching an hour-long sermon on the freedom of modesty; he grilled us pretty hard on the issues at hand!
For there surely is a direct link between our heart and our clothes, and what women wear — what we wear on the outside — is the outward expression of our heart. “Your clothes say something about your attitude.” If the heart is full of pride, lust, and an attitude of “look at me; check out what I got!”, then what you wear will more likely be immodest — showing the world the deceitfulness of your heart. Flaunting what you got, drawing the attention of fallen men, and tempting them to treat you as objects rather than sisters: such is a stumbling block to those brothers and folly for other sisters to observe. It tells those around you about who you really think you are, and what you think about your identity and self-worth.
Dressing to attract and dressing attractively are certainly two different issues, but regardless, both attitudes need an extreme makeover — to “a heart that is humble, that desires to please God, that longs to serve others, that’s modest, that exercises self-control.”
Consider these probing questions from C. J. Mahaney:
For Your Mind
1. Read 1 Timothy 2:3–10. What do these verses say about the motivation for modest dress?
2. How do we know that 1 Timothy 2:9 does not prohibit women from making themselves beautiful?
3. How do women who dress modestly serve men?
For Your Heart
4. Who are you trying to imitate or identify with through your appearance—godly women, or women of the world?
5. This chapter notes that your wardrobe is a public statement of your personal and private motivation. What does your clothing communicate about your motivations and priorities?
6. Think of a woman who is admired for her godly character and good works. What aspects of her godliness do you particularly want to emulate?
For Your Life
7. What about your wardrobe may need to change so that your appearance can better reflect the transforming power of the gospel?
8. What steps can you take on your next shopping trip to ensure that your clothing purchases reflect humility, modesty, and self-control? (Some ideas: Pray for God’s help and provision in finding modest clothing; check each article of clothing you try on for modesty as well as fit; ask your father, husband, or a trusted friend to evaluate items you’re not sure about.)
9. Mothers, what steps can you take to train your daughters to value godliness over fashion, to nurture humility and self-control, and to wear clothing that reflects these virtues? Fathers, what steps can you take to care for and lead your daughters in humility, self-control, and modesty?
Other posts on this issue: