Daily Program

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Partial Disclosure = Exposure

Series: Modesty: Does God Really Care What I Wear?

Leslie Basham: Who taught you what it means to be modest? Anybody? Here's Nancy Leigh DeMoss.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: Many, many women today who have grown up in this very secular, immodest culture don't know what we're talking about when we talk about modesty

Leslie Basham: This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss. It's Tuesday, June 7th. If you have young children at home, you might want to divert their attention for the next few minutes because of the mature content of today's program.

We're in the middle of a series called Modesty: Does God Really Care What I Wear? We're dealing with some practical issues. Here's Nancy.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: We started in the last session and are continuing today in a portion that has been extremely difficult for me to address. I think one of the negative things in our generation is that we lack discretion and so women feel real free to talk about private matters in public and that's something we need to be cautious about.

I'm so thankful for a mother and dad who practiced discretion in our home and taught us to be discreet. So some of the things we're saying are real hard for me to say even to a group of women and girls as we have here today. But as I've sought the Lord on this, I've just felt so prompted that many, many women today who have grown in up in this very secular, immodest culture don't know what we're talking about when we talk about modesty.

So if I say women are supposed to be modest according to God's Word, a lot of women and girls will say, "I am being modest." They may not be asking themselves the necessary or the right questions to determine if the way they're dressing really is modest.

Now we talked in the last session about one form of immodesty is exposing intimate or private parts of our body that should be covered. But there's another form of immodesty and that is emphasizing, even if it's not exposed, emphasizing private or intimate parts of our body that should be covered.

Now, let me set this up by reading a quote from a book that's been very helpful to me, a book by Jeff Poward called Christian Modesty and the Public Undressing of America. I encourage you to get a copy of this. You will probably not agree with everything it says, but it will definitely challenge your thinking in a way that our thinking needs to be challenged.

He says, "Being drawn to a person's God given beauty is one thing. Having one's eyes directed to another's body by a sensually designed garment is another. While clothing does not have to smother one's gender, any apparel designed to draw the eye to the erotic zones of the body cannot fill the requirement for biblical decency."

Did you catch that? Not just items of clothing that expose these private parts of the body, but apparel that you actually wear that covers these portions of the body, but it's designed to point the eye of another person to that, what he calls an erotic zone of the body. That is, a part of the body that would be sexually stimulating to men.

Let me just mention some categories that should be of concern to us. Now again, I hate giving lists, but these are categories of things I think we need to think about. For example, when it comes to our clothing, there are ways that writing or pictures can be in places on the clothing that would emphasize private parts of the body. This becomes suggestive even though it's not exposing a private part, but it's just causing the eyes to go right there.

In fact, as you get dressed ask yourself, "If someone else were to look at me in this outfit, where would their eyes naturally go?" Would their eyes naturally go to your face, to your countenance, your eyes (the window of your soul); or would their eyes naturally go to hips, thighs, breasts, back, backside? Where do you want men looking at you as a woman?

As we think about how our clothing emphasizes certain parts of the body, ask yourself where the eye is being drawn. This can be true as it relates to sheer clothing, revealing fabrics, see through fabrics. The purpose is to expose the private parts rather than to cover. Remember, we said the biblical purpose of clothing is to cover the private parts and the body.

Clothes that are tight or form fitting . . . . Edith Head was a well-known costume designer of the 40's and 50's. She said, "Don't let your clothes be fitted too tightly. Even a perfect figure looks better if it doesn't resemble a sausage." I think there's some truth to that. She also said, my sister sent me this one, she said, "A dress should be tight enough to show you're a woman, and loose enough to prove you're a lady." Good distinction there isn't it?

Think about the t-shirts, shirts, sweaters that you wear, particularly ones that are made of knits, stretchy, clingy materials and say, "Is this drawing attention to private parts of my body?" No, they're not being exposed, but that's where the eye is going.

Buying clothes that are too small . . . . Now if you buy your size today chances are the clothes are going to be too small. You may need to buy a larger size. Now, I don't like buying larger-sized clothes. That doesn't make me feel real good, but it makes me feel better than buying clothes that are the size I think I am but they're designed to be form-fitting and tight. Especially ladies, you know after you've had some babies and you gain a little weight and clothes don't fit the same, be careful. Your body has changed.

One of the men that I read on this subject said, "You must take a man's word for it that the shape and form of a woman's body even though it is covered with clothing will draw his eyes, enflame his passions, or arouse his imagination just about as quickly and as surely as the sight of her actual skin."

Now let me address here two things that if I haven't been controversial enough already, I will be now. I just want to, I don't want to give any conclusions. I just ask you to think prayerfully.

First, about the issue of women's pants, women's slacks. Now there are a lot of things we could say about this and we won't go into . . . . Historically in our culture until the last generation men have worn pants and women have worn dresses. One of the things we need to ask is if we're going to wear slacks is, "Are they feminine? Or are they just what a man would wear?" That's where we come to a biblical principle where our clothing as women should be feminine. That's not the purpose of this series, we're talking about modesty, but it is something to think about.

Here's a concern that does relate to this series and that is by their very nature many, if not most, of women's slacks are designed to reveal a women's form. I'm just asking you to think about the slacks, and if you're going to wear slacks, think about the kind you're going to wear. It's rare today to see a woman in slacks that are not too tight. Slacks that cling to the legs, the thighs, hips, buttocks, crotch. I mean, do I need to be any more specific?

You may not have ever even thought about this. You're not a guy. We're living in a world that is not even thinking about issues of modesty. The world has no concept of modesty. I'm just saying think about whether what you're wearing is form-fitting and could be tantalizing or seductive to men, not in an extreme way perhaps, but in a way that you would not want to be influencing men's thinking.

Then the whole area of undergarments. Today underwear has become outerwear, and there's no question but that this whole move in design and fashion is designed to be provocative to guys. To have women's undergarments exposed, the purpose is to be tantalizing and teasing to men. You know, honesty, I look at some of these women and I think, "I don't think you must feel very good about yourself. I don't think you must be very secure as a woman." Most women aren't. If you don't have Christ, you have no basis for being secure.

So ladies, if you're a child of God, you have every reason to be secure and not to have to use cheap seductive means to get the wrong kind of attention. Now my goal here is not to offend anybody, but I'll tell you what, I care more about you and your walk with God and your moral purity and the moral purity of the men around us and about the moral purity of your sons and your daughters as they grow up in a very pagan, secular, immodest world than I care about what you think about me. Now, I'm not asking you to agree with me on everything that I've said. I'm just asking you to ask the question: Am I modest?

You know what? If you stand in front of a mirror as you're walking with the Lord and growing in your relationship with Him and God gives you freedom with your heart being pure before Him that you're being modest, then I say go with the Spirit of God.

Now some of the things I've just listed cannot be modest, and you need to distinguish between those. But I don't want you to get hung up on the specifics as much as to say, "Lord give me a modest heart, and help me to be a woman of grace and a woman of humility and a woman who reveals Jesus so that I can draw others to You and not be drawing others to me or my body in a way that would be provocative, tempting, or would cause men to sin."

Leslie Basham: Nancy Leigh DeMoss has been calling us to modesty, not to a list of rules of do's and don'ts but to hearts and attitudes that serve and uplift those around us.

Nancy's written a booklet that will help you develop that kind of a heart. It's called The Look and it will lead you through a series of questions to help you evaluate your approach to modesty. It includes a biblical foundation for modesty and a list of scriptures for you to dig in on your own.

The booklet comes as part of a modesty packet along with the booklet Becoming a Woman of Discretion. You can order both, along with a tote bag to carry them in, when you call us at 1-800-569-5959. Just ask for the modesty packet. You can also order by visiting ReviveOurHearts.com.

When you contact us, feel free to give us your prayer requests. We have a team of people who pray for our listeners. You can mail your requests to Revive Our Hearts, Box 82500, Lincoln, Nebraska 68501.

When it comes to our wardrobe, we need to be concerned about more than just modesty. We'll talk about some of the other issues tomorrow. Again, here's Nancy.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: O Lord, this has been tough for me. I'd so much rather not get into all this stuff, but I believe You've called me to teach women. I know that every single day the world is teaching women, and it's leaving its seductive, immodest message. Who's teaching modesty?

So Lord, I pray that You will just take the things that have been shared over these sessions and that You would help women to know how to apply them, how to respond, and if they're feeling antagonized or upset because I've said something that makes them feel on the spot, then I just pray that they would take it to You. If there's conviction, I pray that You would not let that conviction up if that conviction is of You, that You would not release it and that You would hound women until they're willing to submit their wills.

Because Lord, really it does come down to an issue of submission for us. We would say, "Yes, Lord," in every area of my life I want to bring glory to You even and especially in the matter of my clothing. I pray in Jesus' name, amen.

 

 
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