1 Timothy 2:9
"...women should adorn themselves in respectable apparel, with modesty and self-control..."
Yesterday I listened to a sermon by CJ Mahaney on modesty. This subject is something that is difficult to face, especially in a culture where the motive of fashion designers is sensual provocation. What led me to this sermon was a survey on modesty (you can look at the survey results by clicking on the link). This survey first asked women to send in their questions and then Christian men answered the questions. Some women, specifically young women, are ingnorant on this topic. They don't understand or know the war against lust for men and the effect of our bodies on the mind of men. I felt like I had somewhat of an understanding but I was alarmed by some of the responses and felt like it meant I should just wear a cloak. However I knew this was NOT an option and it made me a little frustrated (can men not just stop thinking??). Why do we have to sacrifice because of men and their sinfulness?
WOW... was I being selfish or what?! While listening to the sermon I was very convicted about this topic. Mahaney began and primarily focused on the intention of the heart. What really struck me was the question, "What motivates your shopping and purchase of clothes?" Was my motivation to show grace and beauty of womanhood, to reveal a humble heart devoted to worshipping God OR was it to call attention to myself and flaunt my beauty, or to attempt to allure men sexually(in this case I would only want to allure my husband... but wearing the same thing in public would allure other men)? I can't tell you what my motive officially was... but I can tell you I was NOT ever thinking about how the way I dressed reflected my heart. My wardrobe is the statement of my personal and private motivation, and I feel that most of the time I'm shopping to impress others or get positive attention and not to show my humble heart.
Most of us know that modesty is the avoidance of clothing and adornment that is extravagant, showy, revealing or sexually inticing, but Mahaney described modesty as humility expressed in dress, a desire to serve others (specifically men). This definitely changed my mind set. I should be humble as Christ was humble, I need to stop thinking selfishly and serve others, not myself. I still can look cute and stylish, but my motivation while shopping isn't to impress others but to display my beauty humbly as one who is devoted to God. Therefore as a result of this conviction I will be more intentional about evaluating my motives while shopping and I will definitely be going through my wardrobe and tossing out some items...
I thought I would share what I have learned and also challenge those Christian women who read this blog. Some questions that Mahaney posed to help realize where your heart is on this subject of modesty are:
-What statement do your clothes make about your heart?
-Is your shopping and purchase of clothes informed and governed by modesty and self-control? (i.e. Do you take God to The Gap?)
-Whose attention do you desire and whose approval do you crave?
-What statement is your hair and attire making?
-Who inspires your dress, biblical women or Halle Berry?