Monday, April 8, 2013

Fighting For Your Girl's Modesty: Part II

Note: This is part of the Fight Like a Girl Series. Other posts are found under the series tag.

If there's anything in life that we should be passionate about, it's the gospel. And I don't mean passionate only about sharing it with others. I mean passionate in thinking about it, dwelling on it, rejoicing in it, allowing it to color the way we look at the world.
...modesty isn't just motivated by the gospel, it's an entailment of the gospel - it flows naturally from a solid grasp of the good news of the gospel.

How many of us have had discussions (or arguments) with our girls about modest clothing? We've given a list of requirements for appropriate attire. We've discussed how much make-up is too much. We've clearly given the rules. And the rules get broken, because rules always do. Modesty isn't about rules.

But what if...

...we encouraged our daughters to choose strength and dignity (Prov. 31:25) before choosing a bathing suit?

...we challenged them to pick up the armor of God (Eph. 6:11) before picking out an outfit?

...we inspired them to paint on a gentle and quiet spirit (1 Peter 3:4) before painting on their cosmetics?

Last time, I left you with Scriptures to read with your girl; Scriptures that define what we are to wear, not in terms of clothing, but rather our heart attitudes. God does not give us a list of acceptable clothing, but He does command that we clothe ourselves with qualities that display His glory. Modesty starts in the heart.

A heart wise in the gospel realizes its depravity.  "Clothing bears witness to the fact that we have lost the glory and beauty of our original sin-free selves. It confesses that we need a covering - His covering - to atone for our sin and alleviate our shame...[God's] covering makes us decent (Galatians 3:27). Without it, we are indecent. The physical clothing we wear is supposed to bear witness to that fact. It testifies that the Lord covers our sin and makes us presentable." (Girls Gone Wise in a World Gone Wild, p. 100)

A heart that wants to glorify Christ does not call attention to itself. "[Modesty] shows there's a deeper fiber in a girl than yearning for attention, and more individuality than a need to accept each and every trend that bares itself on the runway. Modesty reflects that there are higher things than vanity on the priority list of the wearer. It suggests you're not guy crazy."(Uncompromising: A Heart Claimed By a Radical Love, p. 116) 

A heart secure in the love of Christ does not vainly pursue the affections of men. "A woman should examine her motives and goals for the way she dresses. Is her intent to show the grace and beauty of womanhood?...Or is it to call attention to herself and flaunt her wealth and beauty? Or worse, to attempt to lure men sexually?" (First Timothy MacArthur New Testament Commentary, p. 80-81)

These lessons will not be learned overnight. We must be diligent in teaching them to our girls at every opportunity. We must keep fighting.

Keep Fighting:
~Review Proverbs 31:25, Colossians 3:12, Ephesians 6:11, and 1 Peter 3:3-4 again with your girl. Discuss how "putting on" the characteristics in these passages might help them make wise choices in clothing and make-up.
~Work with her to make a "modesty checklist" to tape inside her closet door and consider as she dresses. Since males see things differently than we do, you may encourage her to seek input from dad or an older brother.


  1. These are great quotes, Melissa. I do think it is hard to escape rules regarding modesty, especially while raising daughters. Aren't we as parents supposed to be enforcing rules? I guess I don't see whats so bad about rules regarding clothing. In our home we teach the gospel and rules. My daughters are younger but I've learned modesty must start very young. My six year old really gets rules more than anything else. Yes, rules get broken but that's why we need a Saviour because we are rule breakers. I know the Bible doesn't give any hard and fast rules on dress which makes this topic a sensitive one. I appreciate you writing on it! :-)

    1. Hollie,

      I think each family should set rules in many areas, including clothing; however, I think the issue can't be watered down to merely a set of rules. The point I was trying to make is that if we don't try to mold our daughters' hearts with the truth of Scripture, they might feel enslaved by the rules and not understand the purpose of keeping them. Keeping the rules isn't an adequate reflection of our heart's condition. (I know, because I was a wonderful rule keeper as a teen, but was horribly lost.) That's why I have the suggestions in the "Keep Fighting" portion - for mothers & daughters to discuss how Scripture can guide us in making proper choices, and to make a checklist (a.k.a. "rules") to reflect those choices. I think doing this together will assist girls in understanding the purpose of modest clothing and how to dress modestly.

    2. I agree we can't have one without the other. Arbitrary rules do no one any good. I am probably just at a different parenting season. We are more heavy on rules and obedience at this time, though we always do talk about heart issues too. I think its the sharp edge of the law that makes the Gospel so sweet. Great discussion! Love you! :)

  2. I love the quotes! Those are good things for all of of to think about.