BibleGateway Verse of the Day (KJV)

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Christian Women, Fashion, and Flesh

[Note: This is a revised version of a post I wrote on a “Christian” dating web site many moons ago, in response to man’s thread regarding all the cleavage and other immodesty in women’s pictures on the site.]

Many Christians have a false and wrong division in their minds: God speaks to spiritual and eternal things, but God does not speak to earthly and temporal things. The truth is that God speaks to all aspects of life. (2 Tim. 3:16)

Therefore, many Christians do not even think to look to the Bible as a source of a standard on how to dress. So, the default standard for Christians is exactly the same as non-Christians: Hollywood, their friends, magazines, TV commercials. The Bible is the Best standard, and for Christians should be the only standard because God speaks to every area of His creation. We should be set apart (Lev. 11:44; Eph. 1:4); Christians supposedly know something the world does not know. Let's show the truth of that, so there is no "supposing" about it!

I also find it troubling that Christian ladies are often blasé about being a stumbling block for their brothers, which is sin on the woman's part (Lev. 19:14; Rom. 14:13; 1 Cor. 8:9; 1 Jn 2:9-10).

To dress "sexy" in public (church or anywhere) is to dress like a harlot (Prov. 7:10) because you are seen sexually by every man who even accidentally lays his eyes on you (Ezek. 16:14-16). We are sexy for our husbands in private (Gen. 2:25) because sex belongs in marriage only (Prov.5:15-20), according to God (Ex. 20:14, 17; Mal. 2:13-17). We are not married to every man we pass by on the street; we are not married to every man in church. We shouldn't cause a Christian brother to lust (2 Sam. 11:2-4); we need to do what we can to protect his heart, his purity (1 Tim. 5:2), and his "eye-gate." (Job 31:1) First of all, modesty is a heart-issue (1 Pet. 3:1-4).

Many Christian ladies have bought into the world's view that her sexuality is for public consumption and there is no other way to "make" a man want to marry her; nothing could be further from the truth (Prov. 31:10). God says marriage first, then sex with our own spouse after marriage (Matt. 1:18-20). When a woman's heart is modest, her outsides are modest as well (Prov. 4:23).

Christian men could help the situation by pursuing modest women to marriage, instead of pursuing immodest women to…what, exactly? Or do I not want to know?

A good book (really more of a long booklet) addressing Biblical modesty and the history of our current culture in America is Christian Modesty and the Public Undressing of America by Jeff Pollard.


Mike Southerland said...

Thank you for this. I have taught my daughters the following scripture:

“But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart. ” (Matthew 5:28, AV)

Notice that the scripture says "with her." So while I would agree that this passage is primarily directed at men, and that we must guard our eyes and hearts, the woman is not totally innocent in this situation. It takes two to commit adultery in the original sense. A woman can be complicit in this sin by drawing a man's eyes to herself.

I second the recommendation on Pollard's book. Very good information indeed. He also has an accompanying audio CD which I would recommend as well.

GentleDove said...

Thanks for your comment, Mike. It is wonderful to hear a concerned and loving father teaching his daughters--from a man's point of view as only a father can--about how the way a woman dresses can affect the men around her.

I didn't have much time when I was posting, so I just re-used an old one, so I'll add some comments now.

Women are responsible to know men (via the truth of the Scriptures bolstered by a father's teaching ideally) and never be guilty of hurting them where they are vulnerable to sin. Women also need to know themselves...that the good, unselfish and God-given desire to please our own husbands has been perverted by sin, and now we have a natural, wicked and selfish desire to be desired by men whether they are our husband or not.

We don't hear this being publicly confessed by Christian women very often, but before I was saved, I enjoyed and even exulted in the sense of seductive power over men that I felt dressing immodestly gave me. This is extremely wicked, and Christ graciously granted me the ability to see the evil of it and repent of it when He saved me. (To repent of this means the woman changes how she dresses because she agrees that God's standards are correct and disagrees with her own previous standards.)

Women need to confront the sin in themselves honestly re: dressing deliberately to draw men's eyes to herself. Be honest, ladies!

(Of course, men are responsible to resist their sin, also; I'm just focusing on the woman's part right now.)

GentleDove said...

Also, a woman has to work at being modest in this ungodly culture. A woman or girl can't buy anything off the rack and expect it to be modest. Ladies have to lean over in front of a mirror, raise their arms in front of a mirror, sit down in front of a mirror to see what ungodly dress designers have designed those clothes to expose with normal movements.

Immodesty is so pervasive in our surrounding culture that many times we ladies really don't know how men are going to view something, or we don't think something about ourselves is going to attract any attention, so we need a man's point of view for these things.

In addition, a man's input to the ladies in his family is extremely important, and ladies should listen to what their menfolks have to say about certain garments. Even young boys have decided opinions about ladies' dress! If your father or husband says a skirt or blouse must be removed from your wardrobe, then out it goes! Ladies, men know better than women do about how men are going to view those things! I know it is very awkward and uncomfortable for men to say something to ladies to bring a particular immodest garment to their attention. But how grateful we ladies should be when they do!

There are cases when an ungodly or momentarily-weak man will ask his wife to wear immodest clothing in public. He wants to be envied and is letting sin have free-reign with him. I believe a godly woman must gently refuse such a request. She should be respectful about it; just say, "Oh, I just couldn't, dear...I wouldn't feel good about it. I only want to look like that for you only." Or something like that. He will be grateful later that she had the grace and moral courage to do the right thing.

Mike Southerland said...

What you mention about clothing available in the store is right on. To help solve this problem, in our family we are seeing a recovery of the lost art of sewing. I have three daughters now (17, 13, and 4). My two oldest are doing very well in their sewing; making modest skirts and dresses for themselves and their little sister. We have promised our youngest that when she turns five our oldest will teach her to sew. Her birthday is the 24th of this month, and she is counting the days.

My wife never knew a lot about sewing, so don't let that stop you from encouraging your daughters to learn. I wish my grandmother was still alive to see my daughters' accomplishments. Lately they have taken to making quilts. They have also made themselves modest swimsuits, much less expensive than the modest swimwear sites on the internet.