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Book ReviewsDiscerning Culture

Worldliness – Chapter 5 – God, My Heart and My Clothes

C. J. Mahaney tells the true story of Jenni who said, “When choosing what to wear I thought only of what would flatter me, what would bring more attention my way…I wanted to be accepted and admired for what I wore.”

Theme verse 1 Timothy 2:9 “that women should adorn themselves in respectable apparel, with modesty and self-control, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly attire.

What is modesty/immodesty? “Modestly mean propriety. It means avoiding clothes and adornment that are extravagant or sexually enticing. Modesty is humility expressed in dress. …Immodesty, then, is much more than wearing a short skirt or low-cut top; it’s the act of drawing undue attention to yourself. It’s pride, on display by what you wear.”

The motives of modesty? There is an inseparable link between your heart and your clothes. John MacArthur – “A woman should examine her motives and goals for the way she dresses. Is her intent to show the grace and beauty of womanhood?…Is it to reveal a humble heart devoted to worshiping God? Or is it to call attention to herself… “

The link with every man’s battle. Most Christian women who dress immodestly are simply ignorant of the war with lust that men confront on a daily basis. They don’t have a clue what goes on in a man’s mind and what effect their bodies have on the eyes and hearts of men young and old. p. 125

A word to fathers. “I want to urge you to take responsibility for your daughter’s dress….Before an article of clothing became a permanent part of their wardrobe, my girls had to get my approval….We must not simply oversee our daughter’s closets; we must teach them about God’s perspective on modest dress and educate them about the temptations of men.”

The best adornment? Good works. v.10

My take away: How we dress is in fact an act of love that reveals our heart. Modesty is not drawing undue attention to oneself. All, men and women, are called to modesty. However, sexual modestly, given the visual nature of men, is a special way women can serve men. And Scripture specifically addresses women.

Having said this, frumpiness is not next to godliness. Women can dress in an attractive way (see Proverbs 31) that does not draw undue attention to themselves. Instead, let the focus be on the inward beauty of character and the outward beauty of good works.

And dads, we have a special responsibility to teach, encourage, and shepherd our daughters in this area. We can and should look at what they wear and rule some dress outside of modesty. You know how men think,

Let’s not forget that “the world” bombards our ladies and daughters (and men for that matter) with unrealistic, computer enhanced beauty that they think they must compete with.  See video below.

Small Group Update: This chapter started a whole conversation on dress. I will post my general thoughts on dress on this blog soon.

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