June 10, 2011

A Modesty Heart Check

Here is a valuable, and free, resource a friend gave me from Sovereign Grace Ministries. I recommend you download this file yourself and tape it on your mirror to use as a guideline while getting dressed.

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―How does a woman discern the sometimes fine line between proper dress and dressing to be the center of attention? The answer starts in the intent of the heart. A woman should examine her motives and goals for the way she dresses. Is her intent to show the grace and beauty of womanhood? Isis to reveal a humble heart devoted to worshipping God? Or is it to call attention to herself and flaunt her beauty? Or worse, to attempt to lure men sexually? A woman who focuses on worshipping God will consider carefully how she is dressed, because her heart will dictate her wardrobe and appearance — John MacArthur [emphasis added]

Keep in mind

Why do we make such a big deal about modesty? Please know that this isn’t about us imposing some kind of clothing standard. Modesty is important because of the gospel of Jesus Christ. It is an outward expression of a heart desire not to distract from or reflect poorly on the gospel. We have a gospel mission: not only to preach Christ, but to live in a way consistent with our profession of faith. May our modest dress be a witness to the One who gave Himself as a ransom for all. It is very important to us that you read the questions in the context of biblical truth. Otherwise, we all are prone to the temptation to turn a tool like this into a list of rules or to sinfully judge others who don’t agree or to excuse ourselves on a technicality. We want you to consider these questions in light of the beauty of God’s standard of modesty.

Heart Questions to Ask

What statement do my clothes make about my heart? In choosing what clothes to wear today, whose attention do I desire and whose approval do I crave? Am I seeking to please God or impress others? Is what I wear consistent with biblical values of modesty, self-control and respectable apparel, or does my dress reveal an inordinate identification and fascination with sinful cultural values? Who am I trying to identify with through my dress? Is the Word of God my standard or is the latest fashion? Have I asked other godly individuals to evaluate my wardrobe? Does my clothing reveal an allegiance to the gospel or is there any contradiction between my profession of faith and my practice of godliness?

Before you leave the house, do a modesty check. (What are some things you should look for as you stand in front of your mirror?)

From the top…

When I am wearing a loose-fitting blouse or scoop-neck, can I see anything when I lean over? If so, I need to remember to place my hand against my neckline when I bend down. If I am wearing a button-down top, I need to turn sideways and move around to see if there are any gaping holes that expose my chest. If there are, I’ve got to grab the sewing box and pin between the buttons. The same check is needed if I am wearing a sleeveless shirt. When I move around, can I see my bra? If I do, I need the pins again. Am I wearing a spaghetti-strap, halter, or sheer blouse? Not even pins will fix this problem! Most guys find these a hindrance in their struggle with lust. It’s time to go back to the closet. Can I see the lace or seam of my bra through my shirt? In this case, seamless bras are a better option.

More key questions: Does my shirt reveal any part of my cleavage? Does my midriff show when I raise my hands above my head? Is my shirt just plain too tight? If the answer to any one of these questions is yes, then I need to change my outfit.

Moving on down…

Does my midriff (or underwear) show when I bend over or lift my hands? If so, is it because my skirt or my pants are too low? Either my shirt needs to be longer I need to find a skirt or pants that sit higher. I also have to turn around to see if what I’m wearing is too tight around my back side, or if the outline of my underwear shows. If so, I know what I have to do!

And as for shorts—I can’t just check them standing up. I need to see how much they reveal when I sit down. If I see too much leg, I need a longer pair.

The ―sit- down: check applies to my skirt or dress as well. And I must remember to keep my skirt pulled down and my knees together when I’m seated. And speaking of skirts, watch out for those slits! Does it reveal too much when I walk? Pins are also helpful here.

Before I leave, I need to give my skirt a sunlight check. Is it see through? If so, I need a slip.

Finally, I must remember to do this modesty check with my shoes on. High-heels make my dress or skirt appear shorter.

And don’t forget –this applies to formal wear as well.

A note on swimwear: It’s not easy but you can still strive to be modest at the pool or beach. Look for one-piece bathing suits that aren’t cut high on the leg and don’t have low necklines.

2 Modest Musings:

Maiden Princess said...

Wonderful encouragement. I have been thinking the same thing for a while too, that our hearts, not just our clothing style, needs to be set on modesty and meekness for us to properly dress in a manner that befits a daughter of the King. Enjoyed reading your post. Found your link on A Wise Woman Builds Her Home. Looking forward to reading more of your posts!

Living in the Glow of His Love,
Maiden Princess

Jessica said...

Thanks for the reminder! I am encouraged.