Tuesday, April 24, 2012

To Wear or Not to Wear? That is the Question.

Alright, guys, I have to apologize right off the bat.  I am so sorry that it has taken me so long to get back to blogging.  It was my intention to blog at least once a week, but I fail you and me.  I have literally been mulling over this post topic for over a month now.  But the truth is that this is yet another difficult topic to tackle.  It is an issue that sometimes can become a hot topic.  It is an issue that requires a sensitivity and a non-judgmental tone.  It is an issue that I have had to wrestle over numerous times.  It is an issue that every woman should consider.  It is the issue of modesty.

What got me thinking about this issue are some pictures I saw on facebook, some pictures of young teenage girls in bikinis.  These young girls are daughters of a facebook friend from home.  Their mother, my old friend, posted these pictures of her daughters.  They were enjoying the beach on their spring break.  These girls were clearly very attractive young ladies.  But despite that, I was very sad when I stumbled across these pictures.  I was sad for 3 reasons.  One, that we are all made in the image of God, which is clearly stated in Genesis 1.27  1 Corinthians 15.49 confirms this by stating, "Just as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we shall also bear the image of the man of heaven."  Does it bring honor to his name when we immodestly display his creation made in his image?  Another reason it saddened me is that the temptation to lust can literally lead men to death.  Proverbs 11.6 & 7a "The righteousness of the upright delivers them, but the treacherous are taken captive by their lust.  When the wicked dies, his hope will perish."  "Then the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from trials, and to keep the unrighteous under punishment until the day of judgment, and especially those who indulge in the lust of defiling passion and despise authority."  The Word is clear here in 2 Peter 2.9 & 10 that there will be a "day of judgment: for those who are unrighteous and indulge in 'lusts of defiling passion'."  May it never be that any man is found unrighteous and justifiably condemned over lusting after us.  May it never be that we, whether ignorant or not, lead men down a path of death by displaying our bodies in an immodest way.  The third reason that this is saddening is that it was these young girls' mother who posted these pictures of them.  It has become the norm for a few generations now to immodestly display our bodies in such a way as to attract attention to them instead of our good God.  We have exchanged worship of a good and loving creator for worship of an attractive yet temporal creation.  

Now before you guys start jumping to any turtle neck conclusions, let me just say that I get it.  I get the dilemma.  Why is there a dilemma?  Why don't we all just wear what we want to wear and be responsible only for ourselves, after all the Bible does not clearly address what we should and should not wear?  What you consider modest I consider prudish or vice versa.  Why should I change the way I live my life or what I wear because you struggle with lust?  WHY?  Simply put, because of the gospel.  Christ was FAR from thinking of himself while He suffered on the cross for me and you.  The gospel calls us to, as Paul puts it, "live is Christ and to die is gain."  (Philippians 1.21)  So if that's the case, who are we to be only concerned with ourselves?  We, like Paul, must fight the good fight of living a life that was purchased by Christ on the cross.

So onto the dilemma.  You put on a dress or a bathing suit that you FINALLY feel comfortable in and that is flattering.  FINALLY!  It ever-so-slightly hides the imperfections that you wish would just go away.  BUT, the dress seems to hug a little bit to closely to certain assets you have, or that really cute bathing suit dips down just a little to low.  Thus the dilemma.  I SO GET IT!  I have been there so many times.  And quite honestly there have been times when I have not always opted for the more modest option.  I vividly recall the struggles I had shopping for my wedding dress.  I found a dress on line and in the catalog.  It was the first one I picked up to try on in the store.  I tried it on.  Success!  But I wanted to make sure it was the one I wanted, so I tried on some other dresses.  Well, low and behold I found another one that I LOVED!  It was an amazing dress.  It seemed completely perfect for me, EXCEPT that the only one in the store was at least 2 sizes too big.  BTW, the other dress had quickly become a unimportant memory.  So, the seamstress came out and started pinning and tucking.  But despite all the folding, tucking, pinning, and yes even prodding, the seamstress could not guarantee that the dress would adequately cover this and that.  Again the dilemma, the dilemma I hate.  I went back and forth for at least a half an hour trying to decide what to do.  Finally I just decided to go with my original dress, which was free from hassle and the dilemma.  So, again this is a dilemma that I am very familiar with.  And because I am familiar with it I feel the freedom in addressing it, and encouraging sisters to let the gospel guide them even in this area.  Let the gospel shape your heart and its desires.  

Yes, I know that there are those girls out there who know what they are doing when they choose to wear certain things that are significantly revealing, but I believe that most of us make our choices out of unintentional ignorance.  We choose it because it's cute and comfortable.  But Christ did not die to redeem us so that we can live cute comfortable lives.  Christ redeemed us so that we would be women who adorn themselves with "respectable apparel, with modesty and self-control."  (1 Timothy 2.9)  My heart's desire is that we honor the Lord in every way we present ourselves to the world.  I hope and pray that you can receive this encouragement from a sister who is far from perfection but who nonetheless is striving to live a life consumed with Christ.

Please take time to listen to this short snippet of CJ Mahaney addressing this very issue.  He is very kind and gentle in his encouragements.  I hope his gentleness can soften the blow of any grace I am lacking in addressing this. CJ Mahaney on Modesty 

So, ladies, when you ask yourselves "to wear or not to wear," I challenge you to think not of yourselves but of brothers whom you would hate to be led to death.


  1. Hey Steph...it's been a while!

    The issue of modesty...mmh! Yeah, it can be a hot topic. Modesty means different things to different people and in different stages of growing up both physically and spiritually...I believe.

    I am an African raised by African parents(of course) and my dad had a strange view of what modesty is and that is what as a girl I had to live by...he made the rules. Wearing trousers in our house as a girl was a crime punishable by my dad's law and the only punishment there was was beating. I didn't quite understand why trousers were wrong but yeah, I didn't put on trousers until I was in high school and I could only do it during the day and make sure I am in a skirt by the time he comes back in the evening. Lol!!!! Now, that's modesty my dad's way.

    Come college and I went to a Christian business school. Before admission, I was a given a booklet tagged 'dress code'. In it was a list of what to wear and not to wear Mondays to Friday and what was allowable Saturdays. After reading it, I was given a form I had ti sign declaring that I had read and understood the rules stated therein and that I was going to adhere to everything stated. The school hires 'fashion cops' whose work is to stand at the school's main entrances and they make sure that nobody enters school 'inappropriately' dressed. Trust me, the few days I 'forgot' about the dress code and I went to school with a rather tight trouser or short skirt, the fashion cops took my ID and I had to go back home and change. Now, that's modesty as per the college.

    And then comes the life after school and away from home and the real challenge sets in. No rules to live by, I can walk in town half naked, who cares after all it MY life, right? Nah! I am a Christian first before everything else and I should live a life that represents Christ to the fullest. What to wear questions are a challenge and I am sure I have messed up in this area many times. I have showed up in our groups Bible study in a mini and the men in that group got distracted...I may have caused them to have ungodly thoughts(read:caused them to sin) and that equals sin in Gods books. ouch! I may have justified my dress code by saying it was too hot...of which it was...but then, maybe I am making too many excuses.

    Then arises the question of 'working our own salvation in fear and trembling'. Surely...the men should know this verse...but coming up with such an excuse is selfish in itself.

    So, on dress code and the personal decisions that I have made...I don't do those tooo short dresses, at least just below the knee so that if anyone sins, I will not be held accountable. Lol! You can also check this ladies views on modesty...they are a bit different but worth checking- http://laurennicolelove.blogspot.com/2012/03/conversation-with-kate-on-modesty-lust.html

    PS: My dad's view on trousers either changed or I grew outta control. He no longer asks me when I am in trousers. :)

  2. Btw, there was a statement my Pastor once made in Church about dress code. He said:

    "There is this man who has come to Church, ready to find God, totally surrendered, hands lifted up worshiping then you walk in to church with a mini skirt or showing off a cleavage, then the guy is distracted for the rest of the service, he can only think about what he saw".

    That made me almost cry...I don't wanna be the kind of a girl who distracts someone from his walk with God. I really don't.

    And then there is a statement my Pastor's wife said and I quote, "I don't wanna be sexy in the streets because I'm sexy at home". She was talking about how the world pressurizes us to dress sexy, hot and all that.

    My conclusion:I don't have the need to look sexy for any man, and if I was married, I'd strive to look sexy for my husband at home, not in the streets showing off what he alone is meant to see to everyone. I don't want to attract the wrong kind of attention by dressing funny. I am fearfully and wonderfully made. I am beautiful and that beauty can be seen when I am fully dressed.

  3. Tat, thank you so much for you reply. And I'm glad you're back to being on here and interacting with me. I thought I had lost you forever, lol. I found your response very interesting. It is good to hear of how sisters in other countries face issues that sisters in America face. It is good to hear of some of the hardship you have faced; it should remind us of the lack of hardships we, 0ver here, have had to face. I guess you could have written this post for me. And it sounds like your pastor is right on target. Tat, I really am very excited that you're back. I do love hearing your heart for the gospel. Take care, sister!

    1. Steph...Steph...Steph! You haven't lost me. Lol!!! I love hearing from you. I'm always looking forward to reading your blog. Guess I was offline for a short while but I will make sure not to go offline again and if I do, I shouldn't go for long, just for you Sister. Take care and God really bless you as you share your heart with us.