By Steve Hardin
We are just entering that season of the year once again when God blesses us with warm sunshine, beautiful flowers, and the wonders of nature in the springtime. As the temperatures climb each year at this time, immodest attire once again becomes the order of the day. Old man winter helps to put an end to this in Indiana for several months of the year. Yet, as spring begins, semi-nudity is once again glorified as the norm and modesty is scorned as an outdated relic.
Our nation is grievously distressed by divorce, fornication, and adultery. Many things in society contribute to such sins, including lust producing attire worn by so many. It seems that the public in general applauds such, parents often practice and promote it, and Christians themselves often fail today to be separate from the world in this area.
The Word of God says, “In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefastness and sobriety” (1 TIM. 2:9). “Shamefastness” suggests a sense of shame. “Sobriety” involves the idea of self-control or inner government, with its constant reign on all passions and desires, which would hinder the temptation to these from arising. The person who would seek to always please God will dress in such a way as not to arouse sinful passions in others with whom they come in contact. If Christians care what God thinks, they will not dress in the brief attire which is so common or popular today. If the skimpy and skin tight (or tighter) clothing is modest according to God’s standard, then the only thing which is immodest would be total nudity!
In Galatians 5:19, Paul condemns “lasciviousness” (KJV) as a work of the flesh. In verse 21, he wrote, “they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.” Lasciviousness is not a term which we are generally familiar with in today’s world. Just what is this thing called “lasciviousness”? Webster in his dictionary defines it as “wanton; lewd, lustful; tending to produce lewd emotions.” Something is lascivious if it tends to excite or stir up lustful thoughts in other people. Words, actions, or the way one dresses could all be classified as lascivious, if they promote or produce lust in the mind of others. When one dresses (or undresses) in such a manner, she shares in the guilt involved when others look to lust after her. “But I say to you that whosoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart” (Matt. 5:28).
Some men will look to lust no matter what kind of clothing a woman may wear. However, a woman who desires to serve God will always be careful never to share in that sin. She will not dress in such a manner as to invite or encourage that look of lust.
Many fashion designers produce their clothing with nothing else but sex-appeal in mind. No matter what “fashion” or “the majority” may dictate; God-fearing, spiritually minded people must not abandon the required virtues of modesty, sobriety and shamefacedness. Shamefacedness, in its very definition involves an ability to blush. This is something that a majority of people in the world have seemingly lost the ability to do. In-stead of blushing, many glory in what should be their shame!
God’s rules for modesty do not change with geography or the weather What is modest in Canada is also modest in Key West. Like-wise what is modest in January is still modest in July. The weather or the location do not justify or excuse one dressing in immodest clothing.
In the Word of God, more is written directly to women about immodesty. However, this does not mean that God has a double standard. Certainly, men as well as women, are capable of dressing immodestly and causing others to lust. Neither a man nor a woman should wear that which is designed to create lust in the heart of another. All of us, as Christians, are commanded to abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul (1 Pet. 2:11).
We, as parents, hold the responsibility of bringing up our children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord (Eph. 6:14). Fathers need to exercise their God given duty to teach and encourage their children to dress always in appropriate attire. Mothers, as well, should set the proper example for their daughter and never give in to immodest attire! Too many mothers and fathers contribute to immodesty by their own example or by refusing to allow their children to wear such. It may be easier to let it go than to face the objections raised by children when they want to wear what “everyone else” does. Yet, God places on us as parents the responsibility of guiding our children in the ways of truth and righteousness. We all need to wake up and see where we are headed morally and spiritually. We need to heed carefully the admonition of the Lord to “abstain from all appearance of evil” (1 Thess. 5:22). This should be true of us as Christians in our actions and our speech, as well as our manner of dress.
Reprinted from The Plain Path, Bulletin of the Plainfield Church of Christ, Plainfield, IN.
Guardian of Truth XL: 12 p. 6-7
June 20, 1996