The Attractive Christian WomanTraining Our Daughters
Leslie Basham: Have you ever had a conversation like this?
Mom: We’re not buying that dress, Amy.
Amy: But I really like it, Mom. I saw it in Girl Glamour Magazine; they called it “The Dress of the Decade.”
Mom: Well, I don’t care if it’s the dress of the century; you’re not getting it.
Amy: But Mom, it’s perfect for the party. It’s . . .
Mom: Tighter than all the books stuffed in your school bag.
Amy: Nooo, it’s . . .
Mom: Shorter than your last English report.
Mom: With a neck line lower than the Grand Canyon.
Amy: I can’t believe you, Mom. I just want a . . .
Mom: And more transparent than a . . .
Amy: Okay, okay. I get the point.
Mom: Good, I’ll just put it over here with all the other tight, short, revealing dresses.
Amy: So, Mom, what about this one?
Mom: No. That doesn’t look any different than all the rest we’ve been looking at.
Mom: What a minute, I have a dress just like that.
Amy: Yeah. Isn’t it the one you just wore to that party at Dad’s office?
Mom: Well, yes.
Amy: So, why is it okay for you to wear clothes that are tight, short, and revealing?
Mom: Well, that was different. We’re married, and it was a formal occasion, and all of the wives are dressed that way.
Amy: Oh, so I guess you know what peer pressure feels like too, huh?
Mom: Well, I suppose I do, and I’m sorry, Amy. I want you to learn how to choose clothes wisely. But I guess my wardrobe speaks louder than my words. I’m going to change that because I really do want to be a godly example for you. What do you say we work on this together?
Amy: Do you think we can do that? I mean, I’m 14 and you’re . . .
Mom: Watch it!
Amy: Just kidding.
Leslie Basham: It’s Tuesday, June 13, and you’re listening to Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss.
For some specific guidelines on how to evaluate your children’s or even your own wardrobe, be sure to download a free article from ReviveOurHearts.com called “Mirror, Mirror, On the Wall.”
Today we’ll consider how to pass on the principles of true modesty to our children. It’s so important to train the next generation of women who are growing up in an increasingly permissive world. Here’s Nancy.
Nancy Leigh DeMoss: Titus chapter 2 gives us a mandate for our lives as women; whether we’re younger or older, we’re told that we have a training role as older women and a learning role as younger women. All of us are older women to someone, and all of us are younger women to someone. So we both need to be teachers and learners.
The Scripture says in that passage that older women are to teach the younger women some very practical life skills: How to love their husbands. I mean, that’s really practical, and it takes training. It doesn’t always come naturally. Well, it might on the honeymoon, but beyond that it takes some teaching and some help. How do I love this man, and how do I love these kids?
Training younger women how to love their children, and then how to be self-controlled, how to be pure, how to be working at home, kind, submissive to their own husbands, so that the Word of God may not be reviled (Titus 2:2-3, paraphrased).
I know many of you are mothers, and you’re training your daughters, some of whom are real little, some of whom are teenagers, some of whom have been launched, sent out of the nest and are now young adults. Whatever the age of your children, this is part of the curriculum that you’re to train your children—even little girls, those younger women—how to love their husbands.
You say, “Well, my eight-year-old doesn’t have a husband to love.” But she probably will someday. So by the way you love your husband, you’re teaching your eight-year-old daughter how to some day love her husband.
Then, it comes to this matter of teaching them to be pure. Every aspect of what it means to be a godly woman is part of your responsibility as a mom to teach your daughters.
I want us to focus practically here for two or three sessions on some insights for moms about how to train your children in the area of modesty, and particularly as it relates to modesty in clothing.
Now, we’ve said on Revive Our Hearts that modesty is, first and foremost, a heart issue; and that’s going to be evident in what we’re going to say. But that heart issue always has application and effect, an impact, on the practical matters of the way we live, the way we dress, the way we conduct ourselves. One of the greatest needs among women today is to learn how to dress in a way that reflects a modest heart.
If your daughters are learning their view of modesty or their view of what’s proper, what’s acceptable, from the culture around them, they will never learn to be modest, because there is nothing modest in this culture.
This culture teaches women to be aggressive, to be brazen, to be forward, to display themselves and their bodies in ways that are designed to get sexual attention, to be the center of attraction. It doesn’t teach women to be modest, and why should it? It’s the world.
God’s ways and man’s ways are just the opposite of each other; so don’t expect this world, this culture, to teach your children how to be Christian ladies and gentleman. Don’t expect this world to teach your children how to be modest in heart and in behavior and in dress. That’s your job as a parent.
Now as we’ve talked about modesty, some people have given us questions that they’d like us to answer, and several of those have related to, “How do you teach these things to your children?”
So I just want to share—out of my own heart, but mostly out of having talked with a lot of moms—some practical suggestions and insights for cultivating a heart for modesty in your children—mostly in your daughters, we’re talking about, but you also want your sons to appreciate the importance of modesty and to know how to treat a woman in a way that is appropriate.
How do you cultivate a heart for modesty in your children? As a starting place let me say, it’s so important that parents communicate, by what they say and by the example of their lives, the importance and the meaning and the joy of living for the glory of God.
That’s a starting place; I wouldn’t even bring up the word modest for starters. I would start with God and say, “Why is it important to live for the glory of God as the foundational principle in your life? And what does it mean to live for the glory of God?” Your kids need to feel and sense and believe that you think that’s the joyful way to live.
I’ll tell you, I grew up in Christian schools; I grew up in evangelical churches, and I’ve watched a lot of my peers over the years, and then children growing up through the next generations, grow up in Christian homes, Christian churches, and leave the home and leave the church and reject Christianity.
I think one of the biggest reasons, one of the killers of the faith of young people who grow up in Christian circles, is that they did not see that their parents’ faith had joy in it. Your kids will most likely reject your religion if it is a joyless religion. Why would they want it if all you have is just a list of rules? A list of things they can’t do? A list of things they have to do?
Now, there are a lot of commands in Scripture, and they’re commands you need to teach your children. Jesus told us to teach the things that He’s commanded us to do. We need to teach obedience.
But first your children need to sense that you believe that walking with God and living life for the glory of God is the most wonderful way to live. If you don’t believe that, your kids are not going to just take your word for it, that this is the right way to live.
Especially today’s younger generation—they’re into authenticity, being real, no pretense, no fake, no hypocrisy. So some of them are rejecting Christianity; but it’s not really Christianity. It’s what their parents called Christianity.
So make sure that you’re communicating to your children what it means to live for the glory of God, and why there’s joy in that. Then ask God to help you set a godly example in every area of your life, to be an example of what it means to love God and to obey God.
If your children see you disobeying God, maybe nobody at church knows, but your kids know. If they know you have a temper, and they know that you don’t have a meek and quiet spirit as a woman, why should they, then, accept what you say about the way they’re supposed to dress, or any other area of life, if your example is that you’re not obeying God in areas?
Now, you may not be blatant about your disobedience, but your kids know. If you’re an unforgiving person, if you’re holding a grudge, if you’re loose with your tongue, why should your kids accept the one area that you’re insistent on, and that’s how they dress?
Make sure you are setting an example of loving and obeying God. Not flawlessly; your kids aren’t looking for that. But when you fail, when you blow it, you need to be humble enough to admit it and to say, “I was wrong. Would you please forgive me?”
They need to see an example, not only generally speaking that you love and obey God; but they need to see an example in your life of what it means to be modest. Before you start teaching on it, before you start harping on it, before you start your list of rules for your kids about modesty, make sure that they have seen you model true modesty—what it means to have a modest heart, to have modest behavior, and to dress modestly.
And let me say, that’s especially important in the home, because it may be that people at church think you are a very modest woman in the way you dress and conduct yourself; but your kids know you’re a shrew, or your kids know you don’t dress modestly in the home. So make sure that you’re setting a godly example.
Well, we’re going to pick up in the next session with some other aspects of consistency and some other practical tools for cultivating a heart of modesty in your children. But stop and think, just for a moment, about any areas that the Lord may have already brought to your mind that are not consistent; ways that you maybe are not setting the example for your kids that they need to see.
Now, don’t let that overwhelm you or discourage you. Agree with God about it, and then ask Him to give you the courage and the grace to make the practical changes you need to make so that your children can see an example of genuine Christianity in your home.
Leslie Basham: That’s Nancy Leigh DeMoss, and she’ll be right back to pray with us.
If you need to make some of the changes she was just talking about, why don’t you contact us so we can pray for you? We have a team that prays for our listeners. And then tell us the results of those changes.
The easiest way to get in touch with us is by e-mailing us at ReviveOurHearts.com. There’s also a mailing address there in case you’d rather do it the old fashioned way.
While you’re at our website, you can order a book we recommend by Elizabeth George called A Young Woman After God’s Own Heart. We hope you’ll get this book and go through it with your own daughter. It includes study questions that will help you discover what the Bible has to say about various issues, including modesty.
If you’d like to order by phone, call toll free 800-569-5959. When you order from us, you’ll be helping the ministry of Revive Our Hearts.
Join us tomorrow as Nancy continues teaching us on how to train our children in the area of modesty. Now, here’s Nancy to pray with us.
Nancy: Lord, I pray that You would give, to moms especially, Your wisdom and discernment and good judgment to know how to live the kind of life that will make Jesus attractive to their sons and their daughters.
I pray that You’d show each of us issues or areas of our lives where what we’re saying and what we’re doing are two different things, and that we may be honest and humble enough to agree with You, to repent, and to let You change us so that our lives can reflect the beauty and the wonder and the goodness of Your will. I pray in Jesus’ name, amen.
Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss is an outreach of Life Action Ministries.Offers available only during the broadcast of the radio series.