"Nothing can atone for the lack of modesty; without which beauty is ungraceful and wit detestable." I love this quote by Richard Steele so much. I had a bit of a revelation this weekend, so I thought I would share my thoughts on the subject of modesty. I know that every Christian women's blog focuses on modesty at least once, and I know a great many people tire of hearing about this subject but after this weekend I finally understand why it is such a big deal. I have a very dear friend who spoke honestly with me this weekend about modesty and the role it plays in lust. Through this conversation I came to understand why modesty is important.
Let me begin this by saying openly that I don't have the greatest track record with modesty. Prior to accepting Christ as my savior, I had no true understanding of modesty. I knew that there were times not to wear short skirts, and that is about it. I had more than my fair share of cleavage bearing shirts. I also served tables at a restaurant that openly encouraged as little clothing as possible while still complying to the safety regulations. I made money off of being immodest. I say this so that you understand that this is not a judgmental post, this is one Christian woman wanting to warn other Christian women about the pitfalls that we can create for ourselves and others with our clothing.
So, why be modest?
1 Corinthians 6: 19-20 says, " Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies." Christ paid the ultimate price for our salvation. He has redeemed us from our sinful nature and he is our bridge to God over sin. I have a great team member who described it as we are God's ambassadors for non-belivers. We have the privalege and responsibility of sharing the word of God. How best to demonstrate the honor and amazing grace that we have been given that to honor and respect the body Christ died for? I had no understanding of the value of my body prior to accepting Christ as my savior. I look back and I regret many of my choices. I have thrown away a great many pictures because I now understand the price Christ payed for me. I am not ashamed of my past, I did what I to do to make ends meet. But I am humbled by Christ's forgiveness of my lack of respect for my own body. If I could go back, and do it again... I would.
Proverbs 11:22 says, "Like a gold ring in a pig’s snout is a beautiful woman who shows no discretion. I was a gold ring in a pig's snout. Not only didn't I show modesty and discretion in my clothing but my language and my actions as well. I was a bartender and waitress at a grill and bar where we were encouraged to "flirt" with the customers. I would carefully apply my makeup and straighten my hair before each shift, and practice my smile and the nicest way to say "Im not interested" to a customer and still get tips. But, innuendo and "witty" banter were my strong-suit. I have a sharp tongue and a quick mind, the two can be deadly. Once I accepted Christ I had to active curb my tongue and watch the things that I say. It was very difficult to get control of this particular vice, and it is a daily struggle.
Matthew 5:28 says, "But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart." This is often something that is said to men but ladies, I think we need to be held accountable for our part in this area too. What are we doing that causes men to lust? Am I dressing in a way that is going to cause a brother in Christ to stumble?
I feel very strongly about the issue of modesty. Feminism taught me that my body is nothing to be ashamed of. Not only that, it is something to be celebrated. Don't hide it away, men only tell you to do that to keep women in their place. In part they were right. Our bodies are incredible and should be celebrated... in the bond of holy matrimony with one husband, period. The rest of it feminism had wrong. Modesty is something that we can control. It is something that sets Christians apart from a world in which sex permeates everyday life. it is something that we can do to help our brothers in Christ to be the men of God they strive to become. It is also something that we do to demonstrate our understanding of the magnitude of the Christ's sacrifice for our souls.
This post is already really long and I have a great number of thoughts on this particular subject so I think I will dedicate the next one (maybe two!) posts to the subject of modesty as God places it on my heart.