Our Struggle to Be Modest
Each of us has a personal struggle to be the humble, modest women God desires us to be. While our struggles are all different, we all struggle with some aspect of modesty, both inwardly and outwardly.
It's not a private struggle; it's very public. Our appearance is the most obvious thing about us, for all around us see us. It not only affects us personally, it affects everyone who sees us. We don't have to say a word. We simply walk down the street and we can influence hundreds of people every day! And we influence each other, for good or for bad, according to our appearance.
When we follow fashion, our appearance exerts an ungodly influence. If we show up in the latest fashion, too tight, too low, too short, too showy, we are showered with compliments. If we get our nails done, or our hair done in a fashionable style, we get admiration and rave reviews.
Others' reactions tend to increase our pride. We also encourage pride in others by complimenting those who follow fashion.
Why do professed Christian women follow worldly fashions and dress immodestly, contrary to God's clear commands?
There may be several reasons. Here are a few:
- Pride - This is probably the biggest reason that professed Christians dress immodestly. To be prideful is one of the most powerful temptations, and immodest clothing feeds our pride, because it is all about attracting attention to ourselves.
- The influence of fashion - What society wears, what's promoted on the media, what's in the magazines, what's in the stores-all these bombard our eyes and exert their influence if we are not actively seeking and guarding the virtue of modesty.
- Perceived attractiveness - We tend to gauge what is attractive by the way others around us react. What is considered attractive today may have been considered hideous a few years ago, and may be considered horrible in a few years. We tend to allow society to dictate what is attractive. We want to be accepted, admired by those around us, so we do what they think is attractive.
- Carelessness - Many are clueless about the need for modesty. They wear what is readily available, convenient, acceptable, and don't give modesty a second thought. They do not prayerfully consider their appearance, and it's effect on others. They lack conviction, therefore, they just go with the flow.
- Ignorance - Some women actually do not realize they are displeasing God, causing their brothers to stumble, and wrongfully influencing their sisters when they dress immodestly. They have never been confronted with the concept of modesty, and they naively believe they are modest women, when they are anything but modest!
- Influence of others - Peer pressure is powerful. Many who call themselves Christians dress like the world just to fit in. They think that they will have more influence with their peers if they dress just like them. Even in the church, when the majority dress like the world, there is a strong desire to fit in at church, and not be labeled a fanatic.
- Sensuality - The power of sensuality is continually luring us into the desire to indulge our lusts. The atmosphere in the world reeks with impurity and immorality. Immodesty is one way the natural heart responds to these ungodly cravings.
Immodesty is more than just showing too much skin, or too much form. It includes the desire to attract attention and admiration. It includes a loose, flirtatious, forward demeanor. It includes haughty, prideful gestures. It includes extravagant, showy trappings. It includes all seductive behavior.
Why is the subject of modesty such a difficult one? The big answer is because we're in a war, a battle for our souls. The flesh against the spirit, the love of God vs. the love of the world. Pride vs. humility, purity vs. sensuality. It's a personal battle, an individual struggle. Satan has his tools. Fashion is one of his HUGE tools outwardly, and he's so successful because pride is such a HUGE temptation inwardly.
Let's compare the effects of the gospel with the love of the world. They are in direct opposition to one another. They are the flesh and the spirit - at war.
- The flesh demands indulgence, the spirit requires self-denial.
- The flesh insists on prideful self-exaltation, the spirit brings meekness and humility.
- The flesh greedily gets attention and admiration, the spirit selflessly puts others first.
They are as opposite as night and day. When we try to mingle flesh and spirit, we get the nauseating lukewarm Laodicean, a half-breed, unfit for heaven, and a misfit in the world-a most miserable combination!
The love of the world and the love of God cannot dwell in the same heart. The Bible says, if we love the world, the love of the Father is not in us. So, what happens when we bring in some of the world, and continue to pretend that we're Christians? We have Babylonian confusion, a blurring of the lines between the world and Christianity.
It is the practice of godly modesty that will protect us from this deplorable condition, for it usurps the love of the world, expelling it from our hearts.
The major problem is - many of the members of God's last day church don't know what true modesty is. It has not been widely modeled, so, when we fit in with the congregation at large, we lose sight of modesty. Lack of modesty has become acceptable. Modesty has become foreign, strange, unappealing.
The devil has tricked us! It's time we admit it. We think we're just fine. We don't recognize our lack. We're Laodicea.
We cannot safely look to others to define modesty for us. We must seek God, earnestly pleading for purity of heart, for, after all, only the pure in heart shall see God.
If I choose to wear immodest attire, or behave immodestly, for whatever reason, Jesus is calling on me to repent. I can't wait until my sister is convicted of her need of repentance. She may never repent. I must allow God to search my heart, and show me what is causing me to follow any worldly tendencies. This is an individual heart issue, and it requires deliberate focus, or we will be swept along with the worldly current.
Because of the amazing success of the devil in luring the women of our church into worldly attire, this topic is rarely or never addressed from our pulpits. Year by year, worldly fashions lead us lower and lower into Satan's trap. The lower we get, the harder it becomes to extricate ourselves from our degradation. We're comfortable, we enjoy it, we have accepted the worldly mold, and it's extremely painful to even consider breaking that mold.
So, if we are ever going to come out of our lukewarm condition, we must honestly face our predicament. We must consider, what does God want me to wear? Am I willing, by the grace of God, to stand against the tide, even if not one of my friends follow?
Since we have a common struggle, God would have us encourage each other to let go of pride.
We discourage pride in others and in ourselves by wearing simple, modest clothing, without reference to fashion and display. We send a message to our sisters, It's OK if you don't have on the latest fashions. It's OK if your face is not all made up, if your nails are natural, your hair is its natural color, even if it's gray. You are beautiful because the love of Jesus shines from you. I don't admire you for your outward beauty, but for the beauty of Christ's humility which reveals itself in the way you dress.
We need to exhort one another frequently in this area, building each other up in the most holy faith. Our loudest language, our appearance, can speak great words of encouragement to our sisters, especially those younger in the faith. We exhort our sisters to be godly, humble, pure and meek by our modest example.
What we need as Christians more than anything is to have our spiritual eyes opened, anointed with the eye salve of the Holy Spirit, so we are not deceived. As the Holy Spirit reveals Jesus to us, we sense our need of a deeper faith, a more devoted love for Jesus, so we can be covered with His righteousness. That is the only way we can be rescued from our enemy.
Only then will we desire the rare gem of true modesty. Only then will we find moral courage to stand against the continued bombardment of the perversion and degradation of the enemy.
Remember, dear sisters in Christ, the devil hates us-he laughs at his ensnared victims, dutifully worshipping at his fashion shrine.
God loves us and longs to rescue us from the devil's vile grasp. God asks nothing of us that is not in our best interest. It is God that provides the way of escape. We can be FREE in Christ!