Revive Our Hearts Podcast

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Leslie Basham: The things we consider private, our attitudes, thoughts and feelings will be more evident to others than we may realize. Here's Barbara Hughes.

Barbara Hughes: Our behavior is determined by what is in our heart and that's exactly what the scriptures say. Proverbs 27:19 says "As water reflects a face, so a man's heart reflects the man."

Leslie Basham: This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss. It's Tuesday, May 27. Changed lives begin with changed hearts and hearts are changed by embracing the truth. Today we'll hear about listening to what is true and rejecting what is false. Here's Nancy to introduce today's guest.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: We're talking this week with some new friends of mine, Kent and Barbara Hughes. Kent and Barbara, welcome back to Revive Our Hearts.

Barbara Hughes: Thanks.

Kent Hughes: And again, thank you, Nancy.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: And I love the enthusiasm with which both of you talk about the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the implications that that has in our lives. You've both written books on the subject of disciplines which sounds, at first blush, like kind of a negative or a hard subject.

But you make the subject of disciplines, Kent, in your book, Discipline of a Godly Man and Barbara, in your book, Discipline of a Godly Woman, you make me want to have those disciplines.

You make me think that submission to the Gospel of Jesus Christ is a beautiful thing and a thing to be desired, something I would want to have in my life. In fact, Barbara, you say in this book that if we don't have the Gospel of Jesus Christ as the core and heart of who we are, that we can't be Godly women.

Barbara Hughes: Well, of course. I mean, godliness begins with the Gospel, otherwise anything is just a vain attempt at self-improvement and, believe me, there are many women in the church who are not truly converted and they are doing exactly that. But they must begin with the Gospel. We all begin at the cross. And it is where we must stay.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: And when we make those vain attempts at self-improvement apart from the indwelling power of Jesus Christ, we become exhausted, frazzled, frustrated women. I'm sure it's true, in other ways, of men as well. The Gospel is the power of God to enable us to live the life for which He created us.

Now throughout your book, Barbara, you talk about different specific areas of life, practical, everyday areas of life, that are informed by the Gospel, areas in which we need to bring our lives into submission to the loving rule of Jesus Christ.

One of those areas to which you devote an entire chapter is what you call "The Discipline of Propriety." For starters, for those who may not be familiar with that word because it is not a word we commonly use today, what is propriety?

Barbara Hughes: Well, first of all, I title it "Discipline of Propriety" and then the subtitle is "Submission's Behavior." It obviously has to do with our behavior. A good dictionary definition is "characterized by appropriateness or suitability."

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: So, in the Christian context, you're really talking about living our lives in a way that is becoming or appropriate for Christians to live.

Barbara Hughes: Exactly. Paul says, "to walk in a manner worthy of the Gospel." He wasn't thinking of propriety necessarily, but he uses that very word propriety often in the Epistles.

And it is submitting, even the way we behave, the way we dress, the way we speak, the way we think, to the will of God--and in light of the Scriptures. How does it inform how we think? The thing about propriety is that it's a matter of the heart. Everything is a matter of the heart.

Bob DeMoss wrote in his little, wonderful little book, "Your heart is the core of your being. It's the essence of who you are. It's where your mind and will, your emotions and convictions come together to shape what you believe and the choices you make."

He's saying basically that our behavior is determined by what is in our heart. And that's exactly what the Scriptures say. Proverbs 27:19 says, "As water reflects a face, so a man's heart reflects the man."

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: So we're really talking about having a heart that has been brought into submission to (as you say), "the loving rule of God, the will of God." And then, in every area of our lives, being able to act and live and function in a way that is according to the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Barbara Hughes: Right.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: Now I want to pick up on one of those areas that is perhaps the most difficult and the most controversial in some people's minds. It's one section of your chapter on propriety and that has to do with the whole area of our appearance and our dress.

When we talk about, as women, living in a way that is in accordance with the will of God, Kent, help us as a dad, as a husband, how does that affect the way that we dress?

Kent Hughes: Well, in raising my daughters, raising actually my sons and my daughters, it's a matter of dressing in a way which does become the Gospel. And, in the case of women, to dress in a way that does not (in the opposite sex), draw attention to yourself in a way that would arouse desires that couldn't be fulfilled.

So that became very important to me. On the positive side, in raising my daughters, I was very careful to always be complimentary of their physical appearance but not make that the thing that I'm always talking about--it's their character and their heart and so I was always praising them for an inner quality, for something they've done.

For instance, I think of a man in my past that I dealt with who was always commenting about how other women looked in the presence of his daughters and his wife.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: And how did that make them feel?

Kent Hughes: Well, you could see it lived out in the lives of the daughters in how they dressed. They dressed in a way they thought would attract men.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: Mmmm.

Kent Hughes: So it was a very subtle thing to stay focused upon character.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: So as a mom, Barbara, I know your daughters are grown; but you have a number of granddaughters, how do we help moms help their daughters when it comes to shopping? Practically how do they do this and what are the goals?

You know, the daughters say, we've got the teenage girls saying, "But this is the way the kids dress. I don't want to look weird." How do we help our daughters in this area of not only modesty but femininity, being dressed distinctively as women?

Barbara Hughes: Right, well, I think the things the Scriptures really call us to teach our daughters is to dress femininely, appropriately for the occasion, modestly and to emphasize gender differences.

And actually there was a project, Barbara Dafoe Whitehead writes about it. An article in the American Enterprise, which is absolutely"¦it will make your blood run cold.

Barbara Dafoe Whitehead states that there was an intentional move, she refers to as the "girlhood project." The whole intent of that was to raise girls more like little boys. You can find that on the Internet and women should read that article because it would help them understand what their girls are facing today as a result.

But interestingly, this woman is writing from a completely secular point of view and she is deeply concerned, as the goals of these women that started this girlhood project have actually come about in society, that the girls happiness quotient has gone downward on the graph, they cross each other.

So although their freedoms have gone way up, their happiness quotient has gone downward at an enormous rate.

Kent Hughes: One of the things that comes out of this is that when you try to raise little girls to be like boys, then athleticism enters in, being skinny enters in, which then produces, has produced bulimia and anorexia and that sort of thing. But..

Barbara Hughes: Anything that has to do with a curvaceous feminine body is to be diminished.

Kent Hughes: Right. And androgyny becomes doctrinaire that is where men and women dress alike. They look like each other and that's been very much a culture motif and so there's a sense in which when you're talking with your daughters, you want your daughters to be feminine and dress feminine and so that's a great line to have to walk. It's very difficult.

Barbara Hughes: It's interesting when I went in and spoke to the high school girls at church about this, when I walked into the room, what stunned me was how the girls were dressed like the guys.

And they all have these kind of jeans, t-shirts, black jacket, you know, there's a uniform that is"¦it reminds me of how, when you look at Mao's Army in China, there's a uniform and it's unisex. That is exactly how it is with young men and women today--except it's interesting that it is the girls that are dressing like the guys.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: You don't see the guys wanting to dress like the girls.

Barbara Hughes: Well, no, although that's on the horizon as well.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: Mmmm.

Barbara Hughes: To sum it up, I think if you want to get the principle the Scriptures teach, that we're not to cross-dress. We're to emphasize gender differences. God values gender differences.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: Women are women.

Barbara Hughes: Women are women and men are men. Kent, do you have a comment on that?

Kent Hughes: The whole matter of clothing is that it's the gender differences, but it's also to be mixed in with modesty and dress in the gender differences because you can emphasize the differences and not be modest. So it has to do with modesty, too.

Barbara Hughes: Modest, feminine, appropriate.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: And this is an area where it takes a lot of courage to be a mother, and it takes input from the dads. I've said before on Revive Our Hearts that God really used my dad to have a key role in helping me to understand what was modest and what wasn't modest.

And I think, sometimes, as women, we don't really know how the way that we dress, the way that we appear, the impact that is having on other people.

So I'm so thankful for a mom who had the courage to say, "There are some types of clothing that are not appropriate, are not becoming, are not acceptable in this home because we want to reflect well on the Gospel of Jesus Christ."

And then to have a dad to step in and say, "That's right, and here are some handles on that, here's the application of that." And I can say, as a teenage girl, that was not always easy. But I'm so thankful that they had the courage to say that this is the way that God would have it to be in our home.

Leslie Basham: Nancy Leigh DeMoss will be right back with our guests, Kent and Barbara Hughes. We've been given a lot to consider today about our clothing and more importantly our hearts. You can study further about how the issues of life reflect the heart, issues like clothing, gossip, criticism and submission.

Barbara Hughes has written about these things in her book Disciplines of a Godly Woman. She not only identifies some of the negative behaviors women find themselves engaging in, she also teaches us how to renew our minds and develop habits of Christ-like character.

You can get a copy of Disciplines of a Godly Woman when you call us at 1-800-569-5959, or go on-line to ReviveOurHearts.com and click on "Order Today's Resources." The book is available for a suggested donation of $18.

When you contact us, be sure to ask for our free newsletter. You'll be able to read articles that go along with what you're hearing on the radio and find out what's coming up on our schedule.

We'd love to hear about how God is working through the ministry of Revive Our Hearts and you can write us at Revive Our Hearts.

When does our faith make its boldest statement? Probably when we're at our weakest. Join us tomorrow when Nancy and her guests, Kent and Barbara Hughes, talk about perseverance. Now here they are with a final thought.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: We've talked today about how being a believer in the Gospel affects even the way that we dress as women. And, Barbara, that really comes back to a matter of the heart, doesn't it?

Barbara Hughes: Absolutely. When I mentioned it in the beginning, I thought of Jeremiah 17:9 that says, "The heart is deceitful about all things and beyond cure, who can understand it."

The problem is that the heart is deceitful and in order to address these things with our daughters, we have to realize that we can tell them over and over again what the Scriptures say; but until the motivation of their heart is to bring that area of their life under the discipline of the Gospel, they're going to fight us.

So we have to pray for their hearts. It's a matter of the heart, bringing my will into alignment with the will of God in how I dress.

Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss is a ministry partnership of Life Action Ministries.

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