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 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
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
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
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
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
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."
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
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
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
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.