Revive Our Hearts Podcast

Leslie Basham: We asked a group of ladies this question: When people in our culture hear the word modesty, what comes to mind?

 

Becca: It’s kind of a boring connotation.

Jill: Fully covered, almost not wanting to have any style to their dress.

Mary: Modesty means in the social world that you may be sweet and pious, but on the dating scene, you’re a dud.

Leslie: Your listening to Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss for Tuesday, April 20. If you’ve done any shopping lately, you’ve probably looked at a piece of clothing and asked yourself, "Is this modest?" We’re going to get some help answering that question over the next few weeks as Nancy presents a series on modesty.

To get started we’re going to take a true or false quiz. Nancy is going to read 17 statements, and you decide whether you think each one is true or false. Here’s number one.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: According to the Bible, the primary purpose of clothing is to cover the body. True or false?

Audience: True.

Nancy: Okay, most of you said true, and we’re going to talk about what the Scripture says is the primary purpose of clothing.

Number two: There’s nothing right or wrong with particular clothing styles. It’s all just a matter of taste and personal opinion. What did you say? True or false?

Audience: False.

Nancy: Most of you said false. We’ll talk about what’s a matter of taste and personal opinion and what’s a matter of right or wrong.

Number three: The Bible tells us what styles of clothing Christians should wear. True or false?

Audience: False.

Nancy: You weren’t as sure on that one. Most of you said false, and that is the correct answer. The Bible does not tell us what styles, what specific styles of clothing women should wear, but it does give us some really helpful principles as we determine what styles we should wear. Aren’t you glad we don’t have to wear turbans or robes or whatever they did in those days?

Number four: Since the Bible says God looks on the heart, that means that what we wear and what we look like on the outside aren’t all that important. It’s what’s on the inside that counts. Now this is kind of a mixed one. Did you say true or false if you think about the whole thing?

Audience: False.

Nancy: Okay, there’s a part of that statement that’s surely true. What’s on the inside does count. But as we study the Word of God, you realize you can’t separate what’s on the inside from what’s on the outside. We’re going to see how those connect to each other.

Number five: Our clothes and appearance reveal a lot about our values, our character, and what we believe. True or false?

Audience: True.

Nancy: Absolutely true. A woman’s clothes and her appearance are powerful nonverbal communicators of what she believes, of her moral values, and of her character. We’ll talk about what our clothes communicate.

Number six: What I wear is not really anyone else’s concern. I should be free to wear the kind of clothes I like and feel comfortable in. Now, did you say true or false to that?

Audience: False.

Nancy: Most of us said false, at least the ones who had the courage to speak. How many of you have thought or felt that that was true at some time? Let me see your hands. Okay, quite a few hands. What I wear is really my business. We may not have said it, but many of us have thought that.

Number seven: Modesty means dressing in a way that is outdated, dumpy and unattractive. True or false?

Audience: False.

Nancy: Now you said false, but how many people really have a little image in their minds when we talk about modesty? I see your heads nodding. Don’t we sometimes have a picture that to be modest means to be dumpy, or frumpy is a word that you’ll hear used—unattractive or outdated. The thought is, if you’re going to be modest, you’re going to look like a reject from 1955. I chose that year because that’s just before I was born.

The thought is that today you just can’t be fashionable and modest. But I want to encourage those of you who are committed to the principle of modesty that biblical modesty is truly lovely. It’s the source of real beauty, true beauty. Modesty reveals a woman’s true beauty, and she’s at her loveliest when she is modest.

Number eight: If a girl doesn’t wear trendy clothes that are at least a little revealing, guys won’t notice her. Or if a woman wants men to pay attention to her, she’s got to show her stuff. Did you say true or false?

Audience: False.

Nancy: Now you said false, but how many of you have thought, "Well, I kind of think that way?" I mean, if you were being honest, how many of you would say true, I have thought that? Can I see some hands? How many of you would agree that most of the women in our country think that that statement is true? Okay, I see a lot of hands and a lot of heads nodding there, and actually the answer depends on what kind of attention you want and from whom. We’ll talk about that.

Number nine: Except for perverts or sex addicts, most men are not really affected by the way women dress. Most guys don’t even notice how women dress. What did you say to that?

Audience: False.

Nancy: Well, that’s a resounding false. Yet I would say that most Christian girls and women do not realize how much men are affected by the way that we dress. We’re going to talk about that in this series—how they’re affected and why and what we can do about it.

Number ten: I can’t help it if guys struggle morally because of what I wear. It’s up to the guys to control their minds. I shouldn’t have to change the way I dress just because they can’t control themselves. This person is really saying: If they can’t control themselves, that’s their problem, not mine. Now, did you say true or false?

Audience: False.

Nancy: Okay, you said false, but again, let me ask how many of you have thought that at some time? Lot of hands. Lot of heads nodding. Yes. We’re going to talk in this series about, should we have to change the way we dress just because guys can’t control themselves? How should that affect us?

Number eleven: Parents shouldn’t impose their beliefs or their standards about clothing on their kids. They should let them make their own decisions, even if they don’t approve of what their kids are wearing. We’re really saying here, parents are not responsible for how their kids dress.

Now, how many of you as daughters, whether you’re a teenager now or you’re thinking back to your growing up experience, would have said at some point, I believe this was true, that my parents should not tell me how I should dress. Let me hear you say true if you thought that at some point.

Audience: True.

Nancy: I didn’t hear you.

Audience: True.

Nancy: True. Okay, now that you’re parents, many of you, or many of you teenagers who are seeking to think God’s way, would you say that statement is true or false?

Audience: False.

Nancy: Well, not as confident on that one as on some others. We’ll talk about what is the role of parents and what is our role in responding to the input of others around us?

Number twelve: Christians are free to dress as they wish because we’re not under the Law but under grace. It’s legalistic to emphasize the importance of the way Christians dress or for parents or youth leaders to establish guidelines or standards for the way young people dress. In other words, it’s legalistic to have a dress code. Would you say true or false?

Audience: False.

Nancy: Now I would say in answer to that one, it depends. It could be legalistic to have a dress code or to emphasize the way Christians dress or the importance of the way Christians dress in modesty, but it doesn’t have to be. It doesn’t have to be, and we’re going to talk about the difference.

Number thirteen: Christian women should never wear clothes that are revealing or that look sexy; that is, clothes designed to arouse sexual desire or interest. Let me hear your answer. True or false?

Audience: False. True.

Nancy: Oh, we have a little mixture there. Who said true? Why did you say true, Alicia?

Alicia: Because I’m a teenager. I’m not married yet, so I don’t have the right to dress that way because I’m not at that stage yet where it’s okay around my husband.

Nancy: But you’re saying there is a time when it would be okay?

Alicia: I think so biblically.

Nancy: When would that be?

Alicia: After you’re married.

Nancy: Good answer. After you’re married. That statement is false. There is a time that’s appropriate for a Christian woman perhaps to dress in a way that is revealing or that is designed to stimulate sexually, and Alicia got it right. It’s in the context of marriage.

Number fourteen: There are some public settings where it is acceptable for Christian women to wear clothing that exposes their intimate or private parts. True or false? Let me hear a definitive answer on that.

Audience: False.

Nancy: False.

Number fifteen: A woman can be covered from head to toe and still be dressed immodestly. True or false?

Audience: True.

Nancy: True. It has a lot to do with the way she wears those clothes, doesn’t it? Or with what kind of clothes she’s covered with from head to toe. We’re going to talk about that in this series as well.

Number sixteen: A woman can wear modest clothing and still be an immodest woman. True or false?

Audience: True.

Nancy: True. Absolutely, because modesty is more than just about our clothing. Now in this series, we’re going to be emphasizing the whole area of clothing as it relates to modesty, but modesty has to do with:

  • the way we walk
  • the way we talk
  • the way we act
  • the way we use our eyes
  • the way we engage with other people

It’s a lot broader, so a woman can be dressed modestly but still act or conduct herself in a way that is not modest.

Number seventeen: Most Christian girls and women do not understand the meaning, the power, or the benefits of true modesty. True or false?

Audience: True.

Nancy: That statement is absolutely true. That’s really why we’re doing this series. Our goal in this series is to help women, Christian women and girls in particular, understand the meaning of true modesty. What is it? It’s kind of an old-fashioned word. We don’t hear a lot about it today. We don’t hear a lot of teaching on this subject, but we need to understand what it is and why it’s important.

I want us through this series to come to understand why modesty is a gift and a treasure to be protected and cherished. Why it’s something good and something that you would want if you’re a child of God.

I’m trusting that in this series we’re going to get a better understanding of the power of our influence on men. As women, we have an incredible influence on the men around us, and most of us don’t realize how powerful that influence is. But I hope that we’re going to understand that better.

And then I hope that as a result of this series that every one of us will have a fresh resolve in our hearts, "I want to be a modest woman." Some of you are already committed to being modest women. Some of you are very modest women.

Modesty, ultimately, is a matter of the heart. So I can’t know by looking at you here whether you’re a modest person or not. Now there can be some signs, some evidence. If we walk out into the world today, we would look around and we would say, "There’s a lot of immodesty here." Even without seeing the hearts, some immodesty is very apparent.

But some of you are really committed to modesty. I hope that you’re going to be encouraged and affirmed, and to realize that you’re not alone in this battle. You may feel like you are sometimes, but I want you to be encouraged to know the benefits and the blessings that will come to your life and the protection, not only in your life, but in the lives of Christian men around us as we as women learn modesty.

Then there are women here who maybe have never really thought about this subject. Or maybe you’re like some women I’ve met recently who told me, "I was just never taught. I was never mothered. I was never discipled or trained in things like Christian modesty and what that means." I hope that you’re going to be challenged and instructed and challenged perhaps to make some changes.

In fact, as I’ve been doing this study, I’ve been thinking about my own life, my own clothing. Believe me, I’m looking at my closet a little differently than I was before spending the last month studying on this subject and really examining what does the Word of God have to say? I’ve had to ask myself, "Am I willing to make changes in my wardrobe or in my style of dressing if I knew that’s what would please the Lord?"

I think most of you here, like me, would say, it would be hard, but I really do want to please the Lord. Even if it’s costly, even if it’s not easy, I want my life to be pleasing to the Lord. I think that’s why you’re here and why you’re listening to this series.

The goal that we have through the ministry of Revive Our Hearts is to help women see the beauty and the wonder of God’s ways and to see that God’s will is always good. The world has some messed up ideas and many Christians have some messed up ideas about what it means to walk in God’s way. But as you get into the Word of God and as you get into living out the Word of God, we find that God’s ways are always good. They’re best.

So we want to disciple women to be like Jesus in the way that we think, in the way that we act, in the way that we dress. In every way, that’s our goal, to be pleasing to Him.

Leslie: That’s Nancy Leigh DeMoss introducing the important topic we’ll study this week and next. She’ll be back to pray at the end of the program. If you’d like to get a copy of the 17 question true or false quiz that Nancy gave us today, you can find a copy in Nancy’s booklet called The Look. The booklet will help you evaluate Scripture and help you evaluate your wardrobe for yourself.

When you make a donation of any amount, we’ll send you The Look. Just visit ReviveOurHearts.com, or call 1-800-569-5959. Your gift will help us stay on the air in your area. It will also help us reach women around the country over the radio, and it will help us reach women around the world online.

We do that through the radio program, Revive Our Hearts, and we also reach women through the daily radio feature, Seeking Him. Let me play you one of the Seeking Him broadcasts.

Nancy: Movies, magazines, and billboards give us a philosophy of fashion, and it’s usually quite a bit different from God’s point of view. Take a minute and compare the world’s philosophy . . .

"Beauty is mostly on the outside."

Nancy: . . . with God’s idea.

"Beauty is internal and spiritual."

"Your body is your identity."

"Your body is a temple. It houses your soul."

"Your body belongs to you and no other."

"God made you. Your body belongs to Him."

"If you’ve got it, flaunt it."

"Show humility and modesty."

"Don’t cover it up. You’ve got to draw attention to yourself."

"Draw attention to the spirit and the heart."

Nancy: What do your clothing choices say about what you believe? Are you being influenced by the world’s philosophy, or does your appearance reflect God’s heart?

"What you wear reflects your heart."

Nancy: With Seeking Him, I’m Nancy Leigh DeMoss.

Leslie: That’s the daily radio feature, Seeking Him, which you can catch on the radio all over. Or you can listen and read the transcript every day online at ReviveOurHearts.com.

Nancy ’s going to take us into the heart of modesty all this week and next. We wanted to get a feel for how big of an issue this is in 2010. Dannah Gresh and Erin Davis were in Chattanooga for the True Woman conference a few weeks ago. They lead the teen track at the conference, and we asked them about young women who are tempted to dress immodestly. Do they know what they’re doing, or do they just get swept up into trends.

Erin Davis: Well, it’s really a heart issue, and I try to talk to them just about the responsibility they have for the eyes that are watching them, especially their Christian brothers that they’re in youth group with and school with and church camp. I think a lot of them just don’t even think about the fact that what they’re wearing might impact those young men. Once they understand that, then they are more willing to sort of take responsibility for it.

Modesty is something that’s important to the Lord. We know from Scripture how important it is, and it’s something that He asks us to do. So if I can point them to the Word, then they’re not necessarily arguing with me. They’re arguing with their moms or their dads about the modesty issue. It’s a harder thing to argue with.

So I just try to point them to those Scriptures where modesty is highlighted and let them wrestle with it.

Dannah Gresh: What many moms don’t understand is how high the stakes are. They get tired, I think, in the teen years with the many battles that you have to fight with a hormonally charged young woman who’s just figuring out how to manage those hormones. They think, "Well, it’s just fashion. Why can’t I cave?" And they don’t take that battle seriously.

The Medical Institute for Sexual Health has clearly linked immodesty with a higher risk in early sexual activity. Given that fact, as a mom, I want to fight that battle.

Erin: I think there’s a lot of girls that are really frustrated. They understand that they should be modest, and they’re having a hard time finding modest clothing in stores. Then there are a lot of girls who just don’t understand what the big deal is. They’re hearing a lot about modesty. They’re feeling a little bit beaten over the head with it, and it’s not translating into a heart issue.

So there are sort of two extremes. There are those girls who get it and can’t really execute it because of what’s in stores. Then there are those Christian girls who wish we’d stop talking about it. It hasn’t sunk into their hearts. It is certainly something that comes up over and over and over with the young women I talk to.

Dannah: So if you visit a store and can’t find any modest clothing, what can you do?

Erin:

  • Layering is a great tool. You can layer longer shirts and shorter shirts and that kind of helps with some issues.
  • Thrift stores are a great place to shop to find modest clothing, and you can find a lot of funky stuff and still be fashionable and modest.
  • Just not putting so much emphasis on what the world thinks is fashionable. You don’t have to stay with what is the trend at the moment.

Dannah: The way that a mom approaches modesty will speak much louder to her daughter than what she tells her about modesty. If you tell your daughter to dress modestly and then don’t do it yourself, you’re sending her a mixed message and what she sees will win out.

Leslie: We asked some young women who attended the True Woman conference in Chattanooga about the influence mothers have on their daughters.

Liz: They’ve got a huge influence. Huge. Huge. Growing up, by nature I was immodest, and I wanted guys to look at me by the way I acted and by the way I dressed. I was adopted. Before I was adopted, my real mother didn’t care as much, so I got to do and dress however I wanted to. But I was adopted and my new mother, Tisa Treece, she taught me the value of being modest and how important it is when you’re walking with God if you are modest because that is a part of being a true woman.

Ashley: I grew up kind of in a similar situation where I didn’t have those standards. Now I believe . . . I’m out from under my mother’s wings, so to speak, and now I have a personal choice. I’m married now, and I have a personal choice to watch what I wear. I want to set those standards for my children, even though my parents didn’t do it for me, because of what God has shown me through having a relationship with Him.

Dannah: It is not fun, but the biggest way that I fight it is by modeling it with my daughters. If I ever cave in the smallest of ways, they notice that. They’re quick to tell me, and they question it, and it’s conflicting to them.

Ashley: I think what they don’t realize is the impact it has on our men in our society and boys these days. I never cared about what I wore until I really came to the realization of what it does to the guys. I felt that it was a personal responsibility to cover myself up to keep other men from looking.

Liz: If you don’t care about protecting your body and making sure that you are presented in a holy, pure way, they’ll just do whatever they want. They’ll touch you. They’ll lust after you, and they will flirt with you. Even if you don’t want them to. Just the way that you’re dressed makes you look like you’re going to do that.

Ashley: It’s an open invitation.

Liz: Exactly.

Dannah: Many of the moms that I see in the churches that I speak in are wearing very low cut shirts, very short, very tight things. We are putting our daughters and the culture growing up behind us at tremendous risk. We really need to consider what we’re doing.

Leslie: Erin Davis and Dannah Gresh will both be part of the teen track at the True Woman conferences coming to Indianapolis and Fort Worth later this year. For details, visit ReviveOurHearts.com.

Did you know you can say a lot to men without ever speaking a single word? Here’s Nancy Leigh DeMoss.

Nancy: Now our clothing and our appearance, women, is one of the most powerful, important means we have as women of communicating—sending a message about our hearts, our values, and what we believe.

Leslie: Hear more from Nancy on that topic tomorrow. Now she’s back to close in prayer.

Nancy: O Father, I pray that over these next sessions You would open our eyes and our hearts and our ears. Teach us Your ways. Show us what modesty means to You. May we be women who truly do bring pleasure to You and glory to You here on this earth. I pray in Jesus’ name, amen.

Revive Our Hearts is an outreach of Life Action Ministries.

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