Revive Our Hearts Podcast

Modeling Modesty

Voices of moms speaking:

“The hardest thing about teaching kids about modesty is the culture.”

“You’re fighting against the culture. I mean, it’s such a culture war for us.”

“The number one most difficult thing would be the culture today.”

“It’s such a culture war.”

“Young girls want to dress with clothes that are so tight and shrug off whatever the mother says.”

“They are bombarded with messages of sexuality.”

“She’s bombarded with what you see on TV. She’s bombarded with what you see in magazines and then with what everybody else wears.”

“And what it does is, it numbs them, it dulls their senses to what is appropriate.”

“It’s very frustrating to go shopping and try to find appropriate clothes for your daughter. It takes a lot of effort to find things that are modest.”

“It’s easier to just go with what is out there. I mean, it’s definitely easier to buy, you know, what’s on the rack.”

“They are not allowed things that expose their bellybuttons. They are not allowed piercing and that type of thing.”

Leslie Basham: This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss for Wednesday, June 14.

Last week we began a series called The Attractive Christian Woman. We heard how modesty begins in the heart and is reflected in our clothing. In our last session Nancy began to explain how to consistently train our children in this area. Let’s pick up where we left off yesterday.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: As we think about consistency, let me just emphasize the whole area of entertainment, and the kind of entertainment that you approve for yourself and for your children.

You as a mom (and dads as well) are responsible to make sure that your children are being protected. Particularly as younger children; before they know how to discern right from wrong, you’re responsible to help them make those choices.

Entertainment is an area today where we are so influenced in subtle ways by a culture that is contrary to God’s ways. It’s more subtle because we laugh at entertainment; we’re amused by entertainment. It’s fun, so we don’t think of how dangerous some of what we’re being exposed to might be in its philosophy, in its behavior, in what it’s promoting as a worldview.

Make sure that as a parent you are consistent in the kind of entertainment you enjoy, that it fits with what you say you believe about what’s right and what’s wrong. Listen, don’t say you believe that Christian women should have a gentle and quiet spirit and be submissive to authority, and then go and laugh at entertainment that promotes mouthy, arrogant, cocky, rebellious women. There’s an inconsistency there, and your children need to see that there’s consistency in what you say you believe and then what you do.

Even many children’s movies—entertainment is a whole area where such care is needed—but there’s a lot of this that flaunts immodesty, yet we think it’s cute. Your kids are not dumb. If you think it’s funny on the Little Mermaid or some other movie where there’s immodesty promoted, then don’t expect your kids to jump up and down and say, “Oh, yes, let me see how modestly I can dress to please my mother.” There’s inconsistency there.

This matter of movies, for example. I had a wife and mom talk to me recently. She has a number of high-school-aged kids and younger, and she expressed amazement at how many mothers send their kids off to the movies (I say mothers; it’s dads, too) without knowing where their kids are going, what they are going to see.

Then she said, and these are her kids’ friends that she’s aware of, “I’m amazed at the parents” (and this is in a strong evangelical church) “who are taking their kids to see R-rated movies.”

There’s inconsistency there for parents who profess to believe the gospel and then let their kids watch sexually explicit movies, movies that promote philosophies that are violent or unbiblical.

I was talking with this set of parents and a few of their kids, we were having this conversation, and I said to the kids, “Why do you think those parents let their kids see these movies?”

One of the kids that I was talking to said, “Oh, those parents say, ‘My kids will never do those things.’” What makes you think that? If they think that you think this entertainment is okay, what makes you think they will stay away from those kinds of behaviors?

Now, when it comes to modesty, and that’s what we’re focusing on in particular, one area where that’s really important is in relation to the kind of magazines and catalogs that you have in your home, especially those of you (well, any one of us), particularly those of you who have sons.

There are a lot of catalogs today (I might say most; maybe that would be an overstatement) but so many catalogs—certainly ones that are for women’s clothing today—that you don’t want to leave lying around your house for your husband and sons to be exposed to. Part of your role as a wife and a mom is to protect and to help them to be successful morally.

Now, that doesn’t mean you have to be paranoid about this or tied up in knots, terrified your kid’s going to see something he shouldn’t see. Your kids need to see that a natural way of life for you is loving to think about things that are excellent and pure and good and above reproach, and that leaves out most advertisements for lingerie, a lot of newspapers, a lot of catalogs.

A woman said to me this week, “I found myself canceling subscriptions to women’s magazines that really might not have been so bad, but the pictures just were not something we should have lying around at home on our coffee table.”

Listen, you would not allow a voluptuous woman who was half-dressed to come in and sit on your coffee table and say, “I’ll just be here for a month, and then I’ll be gone.” But isn’t that what we do with magazines?

You may want to think about what you’re subscribing to, making sure that you are being consistent with what you say and then what you do, not only in public but also at home. Again, especially if you have sons, it’s so important to teach your boys that there is a difference between men and women, and how to protect and cherish those differences.

My dad’s way of saying this to us was, “I want you to be Christian ladies and gentlemen.” That meant that there were ways that boys and girls were different; we were taught as girls and boys to act in ways that were distinctive.

Teach your daughters how to be modest around their dad, around their brothers. Listen, modesty should not be something that is intrusive in your family life. It should be a way of life, that you’re always thinking how to be discreet.

It could sound, when I say these things, as if we are talking about being uptight or always being on edge or so afraid your children are going to see something . . . you can actually stimulate more curiosity in your children. Forbidden fruit is sweet, according to Proverbs, so you don’t want to make such a big deal about these things that your children want the things that you’re forbidding.

Somehow my parents were able to do a great job in balancing this out, and I’m so thankful. These weren’t things that we made a big deal about. It was just a way of life in our family that . . . well, one, growing up without a television helped a lot.

But they just didn’t bring into our home things that were questionable in terms of modesty standards or other biblical standards. If we were going to go see a play or some form of entertainment, my parents, believe it or not, would go check it out first.

They were protecting us. They wanted to make sure that our hearts were guarded, and this was the way of life at home. There was not one standard at home and another standard when we were at church. This was a way of life for us.

And then make sure, as it relates to consistency, that you don’t have a double standard for your kids. Your kids will be so quick to pick that up.

I had an email exchange this last week with a woman who works with the youth in her church. She said, “One of the things I hear from kids is, ‘Why are my parents so inconsistent? For example, why do my parents nag at me about the clothes I wear when I’m walking out the door, but they buy me a revealing dress for the prom? Isn’t that a double standard?’”

Now, it’s amazing that the kids should be the ones to pick up that that’s a double standard. So we’re saying, “You can’t go out the door dressed this way,” yet we’ll buy a revealing dress for prom. What makes it right because it’s formal wear? What makes it right because it’s swimwear? What makes it right because it’s casual wear?

We need to determine before the Lord what is modest, and then live that out as a way of life. One of the young women who’s here came to me on break and said, “Can you give me some more specifics in some of these areas?”

I said, “You know, one of the reasons that I don’t do that is because the Bible doesn’t do that.”

I can’t give you a list, but I can say that you need to do what this young woman is doing, and that is ask the Lord, “What do You consider appropriate?” And then live that. Model it to your children, and ask the Lord to protect you from having a double standard in those areas.

Leslie Basham: Nancy Leigh DeMoss isn’t done. She’ll be right back with some more thoughts and prayer.

Are you rethinking some of your entertainment choices or some of your wardrobe choices based on this series? We’d love for you to let us know how God has used the program in your life. There’s a comment blog at ReviveOurHearts.com, and you can email the transcript of today’s program to a friend. It’s easy.

Would you consider helping us by praying? We work hard to prepare messages, but the only way this ministry will be effective is through God’s help and strength. We need your prayers. Visit our website and click on “Make a Difference.”

While you’re at our website, there are two other resources I want to let you know about. One is a free article you can download called “Mirror, Mirror on the Wall.” It asks a series of practical questions to help you evaluate both your wardrobe and your heart.

Number two, take a look at a helpful book called A Young Woman After God’s Own Heart. We hope you’ll order a copy if you have a daughter or granddaughter. It will help her apply the Bible to the situations she faces in life. It includes study questions so the two of you can open the Bible together and discuss issues such as modesty.

You can order online or call 800-569-5959. Now, again, here’s Nancy.

Nancy: When we pick up in the next session, I want to talk about the importance of not only modeling a consistent example and letting your children see that you are consistent in these areas, but then the importance of actually teaching and training your children what it means to dress modestly; teaching them not just the rules, not just the list, but the importance of giving your children a biblical basis for their thinking, teaching them biblical principles that will govern their thinking.

So we’re going to come back to that in the next session and talk about the importance of actually teaching your children according to what the Scripture says in Deuteronomy 6:7. “Teach your children God’s ways day in and day out.” We’ll talk more about how to do that.

Lord, we need such wisdom to know how to live these things out in our homes, in our relationships with one another as families. I do pray for moms and for dads, that they will have wisdom and discernment and discretion and will be filled with Your Holy Spirit as they seek to address these areas with their sons and their daughters, beginning at the earliest ages, that they will teach and train and lead in such a way that their children will be made hungry and thirsty to walk in Your ways.

I pray that the example we set as an older generation will be compelling and attractive to those who come behind us. I pray in Jesus’ name, amen.

Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss is an outreach of Life Action Ministries.

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