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modesty-not JUST for sundays....

In the coming days, I plan to post here some previously written short essays on dating and modesty-both physical and emotional. This topic has been on my radar again, as Josh Harris has been doing a sermon series on purity recently at Covenant Life, and the Rebelution blog has been doing a modesty survey. Plus, with Valentine's day just around the corner, dating/courting, marriage, guy/girl relationships seems to be the hot topic.

These are comments that I wrote on my friend Ryan's blog long before I had ever contemplated even HAVING a blog. I'm going to edit them some but the heart and soul of what I was trying to get at when I wrote them last spring is still there.

Also, this is not an attack, nor specifically directed. This is a topic about which I feel passionately, and these are just my thoughts.

Let's begin with physical modesty....This post was written in response to a question as to whether or not girls should dress modestly in church.

Modesty is a weird issue. Not weird in that there are some gray areas over what is important, but weird in that girls simply do not understand just how visually stimulated guys are. We all struggle with lying and pride, but lusting is something much more common to men than women. It's a sin area that many woman can't wrap their minds around. I've heard many a girl say "It's their problem. They need to just not look at me like that." I think the root of the problem lies in how we, as men and women, relate to one another in Christ.

I'll speak only of what I know many girls do. Often, with each Christian brother that they meet, they look upon him as a potential boyfriend or husband first....then, once they decide he isn't the one for them, they "demote" him to the position of brother in Christ. So instead of being concerned with helping him stay pure because he is their brother, they are concerned with getting and attracting his attention.

In Song of Solomon, numerous times Solomon states "my sister, my bride." Always my sister first. If we, as believers, were to have that mindset, I think it would go a long way towards dealing with the purity thing. Even once married, your spouse is first your brother or sister in Christ, and we are to treat them as such.

Beyond that, it's also a HUGE heart issue for girls. They wear makeup and revealing clothing to get attention and to feel pretty, because that is where their self worth lies. My heart breaks for these girls, but then, it just makes me that much more zealous for the purity of the guys that I know. I have said before "Curses upon the woman that makes my future husband stumble and lust over her in his heart and mind." To an extent obviously, that's just a joke. But it's a heart check for me. Am I causing someone else's future husband to stumble?

So is it important for girls to be modest in church? My answer is a RESOUNDING yes. But why do we need to clarify it with "in church?" If you are going to be a modest woman, you should always be modest. Are you a servant only in church? Are you joyful only in church? I have friends who have "church wardrobes" and "non-church wardrobes" and this simply astounds me. If it's inappropriate before God and fellow worshippers on Sundays, why in the world is it appropriate Tuesday evening? There should not be a dichotomy between the sacred and the secular. Men have a hard enough time dealing with non-believers who dress scantily-the last thing they need is to have to fight this battle when hanging out with their sisters in Christ.

And yes, no matter what you wear, chances are some boy some where will be able to find something to lust after. And yes, it is THEIR sin. They will be held accountable for it. But for the girls who have been talked to about their apparel, who then continue to wear immodest clothing because they view it as their freedom in Christ, this is now YOUR sin as well. You also will be held accountable for it. You may not understand this sin in their life, but once you are made aware of it's existence and your possible contribution to it, I believe that there is now a level of responsibility and accountability on your part as well.

God Bless you Jen for these comments. Us guys, being as pathetic as we are need all the help we can get from modestly dressed girls.

Jenn, I was very convicted by this post.

Despite all the teaching I've received on this subject, I STILL struggle very often in my HEART with selfish desires to dress to get attention from guys. I am often, in my heart, one of the girls you described who WANT to dress to get noticed. How selfish of me! I hope this isn't the case in my actions, but I know it is a part of my sinful heart.

Lord, please forgive me for my sinful craving for attention. Help my desire to be to serve others with joy instead of my own sinful desires.

On a side note, I am SO greatful for all of the guys here at my church who encourgage us girls to dress to glorify God. It's so different from the rest of the world, where all we see and hear is incentive to dress provocatively. It really is a huge blessing.

Thanks Jenn for stepping out bodly and giving us girls the reminder we need!

You guys aren't pathetic. You are sinners who deal with mortifying sin on a daily basis, same as your sisters in Christ. The fact that we all continue to struggle with the same sins day in and day out may be pathetic, but you, as a redeemed child of God, are not pathetic. You are redeemed! You are being sanctified continually. Praise God for that! And for forgiveness! And for the girls in your church that do seek to honor you men in this way

I rejoice with you in the Holy Spirit's working and moving in your heart. And I realize that our hearts' motives are extremely important. But I also rejoice in that, while your heart may be craving the attention, this does not seem to manifest itself in the way you dress. If that didn't make sense, I mean this: while your flesh is craving the attention perhaps, your Spirit is stronger and is putting that craving to death, because I think that you do dress modestly. So be encouraged- while the sinful motive is present in your heart, the sinful actions that result from this motive are not, I don't believe, present in your life.
I love you and thank you for your humility!

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