Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Tough Stuff Tuesday: Immodest Clothing

I couldn't start a post on immodesty without linking you to some amazing stuff written by Jennifer Gerhardt. Scroll back through her old posts and read all about modesty. It's some incredible stuff.

Being the first day of spring, immodest clothing season is rapidly approaching. I think it's important for us to purpose from the very beginning that we want to be modest this year, in every way. I will be focusing on the "usual" modesty topic---you know, the one that talks about covering up. Jennifer addressed so many amazing things in her posts and I think you should take the time to read her thoughts on what it means to be truly modest. I'll just be focusing on this one way.

Every year tells the same tale: girls who are Christians don't clothe themselves with Christ during the hotter months. That's a blanket statement, and in no way do I think that all girls dress immodestly. However, I know it is a struggle for even the girls with the purest of motives. Manufacturers don't make a lot of modest clothes. So even if you want to, it's difficult.

Still, some girls don't seem to want to. Tank tops and cleavage and thighs and bikinis abound from March through September. There isn't much left to anyone's imagination. There definitely isn't a lot left for their future husbands. Now I know that the overwhelming majority of people who read my posts aren't teenage girls, but I know some moms read it. I know some dads read it. I know some college-aged singles read it. And guess what? Modesty is for all of us.

While I'm not a parent, I can assure you that you hold so much power in how your child dresses and will continue to dress. I can remember going shopping with my mom when I was young (maybe 8 or so) and she wouldn't let me buy tank tops. I thought, Mom, that's crazy! And yet, when I was a teenager, I wasn't tempted to wear spaghetti strap tank tops or tube tops (though that doesn't mean that I didn't go through my rebellious stages at times). My mom had instilled in me that it wasn't appropriate to wear things like that. Had my mom let me wear things like that until I was 12 or 13 and then one day say, "well I don't think that's really appropriate", I might have gotten mixed signals. Having boundaries at an early age helped me stay away from those things that would hurt my influence when I was older. I can also remember an instance when I was in high school, perhaps a freshman or sophomore, and I came bustling down the stairs in something that was too short. My mom immediately sent me upstairs to change. I can't tell you where I was going, what I was wearing, or anything like that, but I can tell you that I remember the lesson. I was irritated at the time because I wanted to "fit in", but looking back, I'm thankful that my mom taught me to be separate. After all, that's what being holy really means.

Really, though, modesty starts in the heart. If your heart is right with and close to God, you will try to clothe yourself with Christ, not the world. Instead of trying to impress the boys or girls at school, you will try to live in a way that God wants you to, constantly trying to please Him. If your heart isn't close to Him, why would you be expected to alter the way you dress? That would be going through the motions, wouldn't it? It is only when we give our hearts to God that we give Him our entire body as well.

Are you a Christian? Think back to the time you were baptized. That wasn't a flippant thing. When we are baptized, we put on Christ (Gal 3:27). You read that right, we "put on". What other kinds of things do we put on? Right--apparel. When we wake up each morning, we should put on Christ first. Before we walk to our closet, before we mentally start checking off which things are clean and which are dirty, we should pray to our Father that we will act like Christ. When that is our mindset, the rest will be easy. We won't wear clothes that draw attention to ourselves--we'll want people to see Christ in us. We won't wear clothes that are too tight or too low cut or too short--we'll want others to know that Jesus lives inside of us. We won't make excuses for why we're being immodest (nothing fits me right, my ___ is/are just too big)--we'll be seeking God first, self second.

There is so much more to modesty, and that's why I linked you to Jennifer's blog. I do think it's important, though, that we all prepare for the warm weather we're about to experience by first putting on Christ, then selecting our summer wardrobe accordingly.

I want to leave you with the wise words of Paul, specifically addressing the ladies:

"...that the women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with propriety and moderation, not with braided hair or gold or pearls or costly clothing, but, which is proper for women professing godliness, with good works." -1 Tim 2:9-10, emp. added. 
Don't think of it as having restrictions because you're a female. Instead, think of it as a way to outwardly express your godliness every single day

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