Some Thoughts on Modesty

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Shared by Denny Dillman, Family Life Minister at South Louisville Christian Church in Kentucky

 I SAMUEL 16:7: “For the Lord does not see as man sees; for man looks at the
outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”
Can we use this verse to allow for looking “hot”, even in the church. NO WAY! This is all about God’s perspective compared to ours, not a license to dress like a Hollywood starlet.

Let’s define “modesty.” The American HeritageR Dictionary of the English
Language (Fourth Edition, copyright C 2000 by Houghton Mifflin Company)
defines modesty as, “Reserve or propriety in speech, dress, or behavior.”
OK, that’s cool. But what is “reserve” or “propriety”?

I TIMOTHY 2:8-10: “I desire therefore that the men pray everywhere, lifting
up holy hands, without wrath and doubting; in like manner also, 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,”

Although this is often used as a standard of dress in the church, I’m more
convinced this is a verse pointing toward “godliness with good works”. Check
the historical, literary, and cultural context before you apply it to a
dress code in the church.

ROMANS 12:2: “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the
renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable
and perfect will of God.”

This is cool. We don’t have to follow every sleazy fashion trend. Some of
the weakest people I know are the ones who have to imitate the world to be
cool. Some of the coolest people I know don’t try to be cool. They just are.
And they don’t look at all like Brad Pitt or Angelina Jolie.

I JOHN 2:16-17: “For all that is in the world — the lust of the flesh, the
lust of the eyes, and the pride of life — is not of the Father but of the
world. And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does
the will of God abides forever.”

MATTHEW 5:27-28: “You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You
shall not commit adultery,’ But I say to you that whoever looks at a women
to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.”

HEBREWS 13:4: “Marriage is honorable among all, and the bed undefiled, but
fornicators and adulterers God will judge.”

Bottom line here- do not go down the “lust” road. Save all that you can for
marriage, and keep it there. I am so blessed that my wife makes it a point
to dress in a way that honors me rather than impressing the pervs. Besides,
she knows if I catch any dudes checking her or my daughters out , I will
confront him. This may require a laying on of hands (around the throat) to
bring about healing, if you know what I mean. (Note: It is the
responsibility of the real man Christ followers to protect the honor of
their wife and daughters. The guys who date your daughters should have the
same responsibility and should have a healthy fear of you!).

ROMANS 14:13: “Let us not judge one another anymore but rather resolve this,
not to put a stumbling block or a cause to fall in our brother’s way.”

If the way you dress has every guy checking (or staring) below your
neckline, YOU are causing someone else to stumble. I once saw a young
“hottie” in a large local church get up during the message and strut down
the aisle to go to the bathroom (I guess). The preacher never broke in his
message or in his eye gaze. I would offer though that as a male person he
had to diminish his concentration on his message and fight the temptation to
look.

These are all patterns of behavior for followers of Christ. Legalistically
expecting the same of those who don’t know Him OR expecting our standards to
apply to folks in a different culture is ridiculous (IE. The female
followers of Christ in the Mook tribe in Africa are typically topless. Might
make the missionaries uncomfortable, but culturally it is not an issue.)

Let us not forget the example of Christ. The self-righteous crowd brought a
woman caught in an inappropriate situation to Jesus, threw her at His feet,
and hoped for the chance to stone her to death. He offered: whoever had no
sin could take the first shot. Slowly, they realized that He had them; they
dropped their stone and walked away. Imagine that, the sweet sound of God’s
Amazing Grace was, on that day, the sound of the stones of judgment hitting
the ground at the feet of the One who paid the price for our sins. And what
does He say? “Neither do I condemn you. Go and sin no more.”

Jesus is so cool! He always takes us back to His simple directive for our
lives: Love God. Love others. Serve the world. How do we apply this pattern
to this issue? Love God (by honoring Him, even in how we dress). Love others
(even if they aren’t modest in their dress by looking to their hearts rather
than their outward appearance). Serve the world (by recognizing that the
adulterous woman needs to be loved and needs to experience God’s grace,
through you).
Denny Dillman, Family Life Minister
South Louisville Christian ChurchLouisville, KY Here is a related link that I found that also addresses this same issue: http://girltalk.blogs.com/girltalk/2005/06/modesty_heart_c.html

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