My heart for modesty in the church

Before I was a Christian, I had a pair of blue jean cut off’s that I’d wear with everything. They were my ol’ faithfuls. Does anyone else have a pair of ol’ faithful cut offs? Mine emphasized the “cut off” with even more emphasis on my butt cheeks that would proudly hang out of the bottom. I’d wear them with the expectation that I better be catching a man’s eye. One time, I wore a not so large basketball jersey with some 6 inch stilettos downtown and I definitely caught some nice stares in that outfit. For Halloween one year I was daisy duke, so I pulled out the ol’ faithful booty shorts, cut to pieces an old flannel that probably covered 15% of my top half, and wore some over the knee high heel boots.

If you haven’t noticed, I’ve been the girl who didn’t give a crap about modesty. There were times when I would get dressed with hopes that men would want me sexually. I never had any intentions with following through with the message I was sending, but it was a major thrill getting them to look. My body wasn’t sacred, or holy, or precious. I flaunted my body like a toy, as if the more that men would stare, the more desirable I was. Back then, when I was with a guy, I’d think of the most scandalous outfit I could wear so that other men would be envious of him. I viewed my body as a trophy, and I was so happy to know he wanted to show me off, that he was proud to have me. And to be honest, that mentality started at a young age.

Before I dive into the nitty gritty, I want you to know I’ve been on both extremes. I’ve been the girl who threw up in her mouth when she heard the word modesty, and I’ve also been the girl (well still am) who has a love hate relationships with bikini’s. And in this blog, I am writing to women. I am not giving men an “out” in the sin department, I am simply addressing how we, as women of God, are called to react to the topic of modesty in the church. Because I get it, modesty is weird and awkward and obnoxious if you don’t truly understand the freedom it brings. But what I want to do is share my heart and how God has transformed the way I view modesty, because once you understand the beauty in modesty, it’s life giving.

So to make things easy for everyone, I made a list of all things I’ve deemed immodest so that everyone will know how to dress and we will no longer have these problems. Aren’t you glad you have me to guide you through this process?

Only kidding. I’d be eaten alive on social media and never be able to leave the house without being stoned by a flock of angry modesty hating women in blue jean cut off shorts.

What I want to talk about instead? Our hearts and our intentions with the way we present ourselves, not only to the world, but to God. What I hear the most is that it isn’t our fault as beautiful women, that men have impure thoughts. And I would definitely say it’s NOT our fault. We are not in control of their mental process or lack of self control. If we are simply wearing a dress, whether it’s two inches above or below the knee, skin tight or flowy, high neck or v neck, if a man “stumbles” (some of you don’t like this word…) because of our dress, we are not at fault. We did not tell them to have impure thoughts simply because of our dress. Would you agree?

I will say though, we have the power to encourage purity OR impurity based on how we present ourselves.

We are definitely NOT responsible for a man stumbling… however, are we completely innocent if we’re aware of our immodesty, and our lack of self control inspires an impure thought in a mans head? And I get it, what some think is modest is another girls immodest and one girls immodest is another girls modest. But that’s not the point because we could go all day on everyones standard of modesty and get NO TO THE FREAKIN WHERE. So the point is…

You know in your own heart what your intentions are, and if we’re being real, we all struggle with where the bar is on “what’s deemed appropriate.” And so there’s grace for us, and we will constantly be figuring it out because our culture is just hard and yoga pants just really are that comfortable. So this is why we must study our own hearts, and invest like crazy in our relationship with Him because he wants to give us guidance in this awkward journey through modesty.

But here’s the question I want us to think about, because this could change your entire perspective: As women who know and love the Lord and His children, do you think we are responsible for encouraging our men to think purely based on the way we are presenting our bodies and selves? Shouldn’t we interact and dress in a way that makes it harder for them to lust? Shouldn’t  we care for the mental health and purity of their minds and hearts, especially those we may be dating or engaged to?

“So then let us pursue what makes for peace and for mutual upbuilding.” -Romans 14:19

“Therefore, let us not pass judgement on one another any longer, but rather decide never to put a stumbling block or hindrance in the way of a brother.” -Romans 14:13

Based on scripture, I want to examine what we, as women of God who seek Godliness, are called to be:

  • adorning themselves in respectable apparel with modesty and self control – 1 Timothy 2:9
  • reverent in behavior, not slaves to much wine, pure, kind, and submissive to their husbands – Titus 2:3 (it also says working at home, which can be taken out of context easily, but so can submit… thats an entirely different blog topic)
  • presented holy and blameless, above reproach – Colossians 1:22
  • strong and dignified – Proverbs 31:25
  • far more precious than jewels – Proverbs 31:10
  • she does good to her husband rather than harm – Proverbs 31:12
  • she fears the Lord and is to be praised – Proverbs 31:30
  • unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, tender heart, and a humble mind – 1 Peter 3:8
  • gracious, the crown of her husband – Proverbs 12:4 & 11:16
  • she walks by the spirit and not by the flesh – Galatians 5:16
  • servant hearted – 1 Samuel 12:24

“Only fear the Lord and serve him faithfully with all your heart. For consider what great things he has done for you.” -1 Samuel 12:24

What’s so important, and can be missed entirely, is that modesty is not solely about the clothes you wear or the way you interact with others. Modesty is a matter of the heart, and it all comes down to how we view our bodies and the importance behind our actions and intentions. I’m also not saying I’m an expert in this department, because my outfit at church Sunday was probably questionable to some. #iloveleggings

I need God to show me what true Godliness looks like in todays culture and in women like us, who truly just desire to honor God in our day to day lives. I need God to hold my hand and convict me when I’m wearing something in vain simply because I want attention. I need the Holy Spirit to help me discern my outfits because I genuinely want my attire to honor Him, and honor the men around me, especially my husband.

My heart for this one very specific aspect of modesty is this: As women who love and know the Lord, we must encourage purity in a mans heart in everything we do. Because no matter who you think is to blame, we are responsible for building one another up in righteousness.  This includes protecting their minds from darkness with the way we present ourselves through dress, our intentions, and our actions.

“That together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.” -Romans 15:6

“Therefore, encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.” 1 Thessalonians 5:11

A strong woman of God is loving, kind, and tenderhearted in her walk, and cares deeply for the body of Christ. Her mission in life is to strive for purity, for Christ-likeness, and protecting the body of Christ from any defilement. She seeks humility and holiness in her dress and actions, and never takes it lightly when a brother or sister is struggling with darkness or impurity. A strong Godly woman strives to build up strong Godly men who seek righteousness and who fight the good fight. Are we doing that?

By ceasing to take responsibility for the health and purity of the body of Christ, we are falling away entirely from the JOY God has called us to live in as ONE family.

“Complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind.” Philippians 2:2

And so here’s the nugget I want to end with.

He is so loving towards us, for no apparent reason, so why can’t we love one another in the way we dress and present ourselves? By caring for the purity of our brothers and sisters in Christ, we are striving to encourage unity and harmony among the body of Christ. We must strive for unity, being of the same mind, the same body, and surrendering to the same love that called us out of darkness and into light.

“May the God of endurance and encouragement grant you to live in such harmony with one another in accord with Christ Jesus, that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

I’m aware that this is just one aspect of modesty, and that there are thousands of opinions. I definitely want to pray about writing a second blog if more opinions and concerns come up! Thank you so much for reading!

 

Sincerely,

Catie Sas

 

 

 

 

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3 thoughts on “My heart for modesty in the church

  1. Love love LOVE this post! So grace filled and freeing! You are so right. Modesty is a matter of the heart. It’s about genuinely desiring to honor God and love the people around us–including men in the way we present ourselves.

    When I was young, I totally dismissed my responsibility in loving my brothers this way. I wanted to look cute and I felt like men needed to get their minds out of the gutter. Once I knew better, I spent years allowing rules to regulate whether or not I met the standard of modesty.

    Now I’m having to rethink what modesty means so that I’m able to guide my daughters. They have stretched me beyond my comfort zone and it’s been good! Some practical considerations that I talk about with them are: wearing clothes that are appropriate for a given occasion, and the culture. For instance, a bathing suit isn’t appropriate for a classroom but totally appropriate for the beach. Another example is when my daughter and I had to wear dresses/skirts in Haiti and Africa.

    There is also the matter of conscience. If it feels wrong to you to wear certain items, don’t wear them.

    Great discussion!

    Like

  2. I love this post! I’ve been consciously selecting a more modest wardrobe on and off for a few years now. Its nice to see others doing the same, especially in a culture where this idea can fall under ridicule.
    I used to think I was only attractive with my top half hanging out and 12 lbs of eye makeup on. Now I don’t leave the house with certain areas exposed. I was never a huge clothes horse, but I feel good in clothes now. Like I’m dressing for a higher purpose, you know?

    Like

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