Friday, April 3, 2009

Modesty and Pride


“Mommy, I want THAT dress!” cried my younger sister Corina while shopping with my mom one day. The dress in question was a huge, frilly, fancy dress and we don’t have any formal event coming up.
“That dress? Where would you ever wear that to?” my mom asked.
“To church.” she said simply.
“To church?” she asked perplexed. “Why?”
“Because then people would look as me and say, ‘what a beautiful dress you have!’ and everyone would talk about my dress.” (To which my mom commented that we don’t go to church to show others what we wear but to worship God.)

The dress that Corina wanted was modest. But the motive behind it was prideful.

We often focus strongly on being modest with our clothing. Any girl and woman knows the struggle with figuring out it an outfit is too high, too low, too tight, or too something else that could make it immodest. But how often do we take a look at the motives behind our modest clothing? Are we seeking to draw others attention to ourselves or have others think of us as beautiful and stylish? Do we seek to make ourselves “the best dressed” in order to pump up our pride?

Now I am very guilty of this. I love the feeling of wearing something that I feel really pretty in and I know that others will tell me that I look nice. It boosts my already far too big ego and pride, meanwhile killing my humility. The desire to be in the spotlight has been a lifelong struggle for me and as God is shaping my heart and life he’s shaping my pride; actually, it’s more like stomping it out slowly.

Pride can be deadly and it’s the root of all our sin. The first sin was pride, thinking themselves above God’s rule and desiring to be as great as Him. Our sins have continued in that pattern for thousands of years. We seek to glorify ourselves, so accomplish our own means, and to put ourselves before others instead of glorifying God and turning all men’s eyes to Him. We are told in Matthew 5:16 that “In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” So how does this concept relate to how we dress?

When we dress immodestly or provocatively we are seeking for attention from people to go to a part of our anatomy, not to God or what He’s done for us and how He is sanctifying us. We are distracting the men around us from God and from things that matter more than our bodies. In I Timothy 2, Paul talks about how men should lift up holy hands in prayers and “likewise also that women should adorn themselves in respectable apparel, with modesty and self-control, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly attire, but with what is proper for women who profess godliness—with good works.” What often times is the biggest distraction for men to pray with holiness is women around them that are dressed in a way that distracts them and makes them lust.

Sometimes it isn’t even about lust, sometimes what we wear can just be a distraction. On the “Christian” channel on cable (TBN) they had this one show on that we watched part of once and they had this lady with blue or pink hair walking around on stage while the preacher was talking. It was horribly distracting. She was modest, but the way she did her hair and makeup was taking all the attention off of the message of the sermon (which wasn’t any good actually). Like the story I shared earlier about Corina, the outfit was modest, but could easily be a distraction from worship.

Next time you get ready in the morning to go somewhere or go shopping for new clothes, ask yourselves what your motives are behind what you wear. Are you seeking to be modest in order that men will not see just your body but see character? Will the clothes you wear and the attitude you have draw others to Christ or to yourself? Are you wearing these clothes out of trying to obey God and represent Him well, or because of your pride and the desire to be noticed? These can be tough questions that we need to search our hearts for the answers. If and when we find that the answers aren’t so pretty, we need to rely on the power we have from the blood of Christ to fix the issues. So keep your eyes focused on Christ and bringing Him glory in all we do.

5 comments:

  1. That was a great post!

    Lady Ëarwen

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  2. Good points! Thank you for posting! :)

    ~Sara

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  3. Olivia, I agree with this post and I think even us older ladies need to think about these things.

    I desire most of all to put on the ornaments of praise,...and to have a meek and quiet spirit. But too often I get caught up on what I should wear,...and what I look like. Even at 58 years old. So, that just goes to show that it is an ongoing problem. But God can help in every situation and prompt us through His Spirit to dress appropriately.

    Thanks again Olivia. And please,...you and Abigail keep up this beautiful blogsite. I think it is a true blessing to those who read it.
    In His Love, Linda

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  4. This is a topic I struggle with in a big way. I grew up going to church and then came back to the Lord, and church, 9 years ago. I then worked in a Christian environment for 4 years and I learned alot since many different denominations shopped where I worked. Learned alot about the workings of different branches of the faith and how they viewed and taught scripture.

    One of the fist things I noticed among the women in the body of Christ was the love of sack dresses. Older women dressed like little girls in sack dresses with heart collars and the Mary Jane shoe. No makeup and as frumpy as can be. It scared the stuffing out of me as a new Christian since I was learning what scriptures meant and what a woman was to do/behave/live according to scripture. I didn't want to look like a grown woman dressing as a little girl!

    I even had someone,who was a Christian, tell me that g-strings were for strippers and no Christian woman should ever wear them. (I explained to that person the reason for wearing g-strings which was to keep VPL or visible panty lines from showing. That person backed off their original thought and then changed their mind since ,fashion wise, that made sense.)

    I've also heard that makeup was a bad thing and that PANTS since they are for men that no woman should wear them. Also tight clothing of any kind is a bad thing since it shows off a woman's form. And so on.

    So where do you draw the line when it comes to this scripture? I saw that Abigail wears form fitting clothing in tops, and jeans, via her blog pic. How would you argue that one? Who is right? The sack dress loving gals or the fashionable shop-at-Old-Navy, and yet still covered up, gals? The ones that wear plain clothing without prints since they don't want to draw attention to themselves or the ones who wear prints?

    I know that people will argue that people interpret scripture differently but goodness people have so many ways to interpret scripture!

    So my question is : what are your thoughts on the sack dress/Mary Jane/no makeup/no pants crowd?

    -
    Stacy

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  5. Hi Stacy,
    Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts and questions. I have just written a follow up to this post, and I hope you will read it. I tried to address the answer to your questions from my perspective, so I hope it will help you to understand my views on modesty. :)

    In His arms,
    --Abigail

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