This past Sunday in church, we unpacked Jesus’ words in Matthew 5:27-30 where He spoke about the sin of lust and the heart condition that motivates it. As a follow-up this week, I wanted to post a couple of resources that might be helpful. Yesterday’s post was primarily intended for men and dealt with the temptation to view pornography. Today’s post is primarily intended for women, and deals with the issue of dressing immodestly.
This is a touchy subject, but an important one. The purpose is not to judge anyone or set arbitrary standards for what is or is not “modest dress”. In fact, this is not even to say that we have a particular problem with this in our fellowship. The purpose is simply to remind you that how you dress does in fact affect how your brothers in Christ are able to fight against the sin of lust.
This article was originally posted on the sbcvoices.com blog on June 1st, 2011 by Jared Moore, and was entitled “Dressing Immodestly? 9 Negative Responses You Encourage”
Ladies, I want you to know that you do not encourage one single positive response from men whenever you dress immodestly. If you choose to bring attention to yourself sexually by dressing immodestly, you encourage these 9 negative responses:
1. A denial of your mind. By encouraging men to look at you sexually, you encourage them to not think about the fact that you have a mind. If a man does not care about your mind, he does not care about you.
2. A denial of your value. You are more valuable than your physical appearance and your sexual availability. Your value comes ultimately from your Creator (Gen. 1:27). By encouraging men to focus on you sexually, you do not encourage them to value the main elements that make you valuable in God’s eyes.
3. A denial of your need for provision. Although we live in a growing egalitarian society, Christian women should want their husbands to be their primary providers (1 Tim. 5:8, Eph. 5:28-29). Whenever you encourage young men to look at you as a sex object, you encourage them to not consider how they can provide for you as faithful Christian husbands.
4. A denial of your need for protection. In the Scriptures, husbands are expected to protect their wives (1 Pet. 3:7). When a man is looking at you sexually, and he is not your husband, he is unconcerned about protecting you. If he was concerned about protecting you, he would desire to protect you before he looked at you sexually. In other words, marriage and protection are a result of love, and come before sex.
5. A denial of your value as God’s image-bearer. When you encourage men to view you as a sex object, you encourage them to see you as created in the likeness of something less than the image of God. You might be a little higher than the animals in their eyes.
6. A denial of God’s value in creating all the elements that make you a human being. If you are a professed Christian, then you represent Christ in all that you do, including in how you dress. By portraying yourself as a public object for sexual lust, you encourage young men to value your appearance above everything else about you; thus, you encourage them to only value God’s creating ability in your outward appearance. Every element of you was fearfully and wonderfully made, not merely your outward appearance (Gen. 1:27, Ps. 139:14).
7. A denial of your humanity. Your humanity includes more than you being viewed as an avenue for sexual lust. If you are stripped of everything except your sexual worth, then you are diminished to something less than human, slightly above an animal, if that. If you think deeply about this, thousands of women are being sold into the sex trade every year. Their “owners” value them only in a sexual way. Why would you voluntarily encourage men to only value you in a sexual way?
8. A denial of your good works. If you encourage a man to look at your body instead of your good works, you encourage him to selfishly use you instead of enjoying the Lord (1 Tim. 2:10). You should rather encourage a man to enjoy the Lord through enjoying you sexually within marriage; instead of encouraging men to sinfully enjoy you without enjoying the Lord. It is impossible for men to enjoy the Lord by looking at you as a sex object.
9. A hiding of God’s glory. When you encourage men to check out your body instead of your face, you encourage them to look at you sexually, an act that only your husband should participate in. If you are a Christian, your goal should be to encourage others to run to Christ. By encouraging men to look at you sexually, you encourage them to run to sin, instead of communicating by your modesty that your body is not for sexual immorality, but is for the Lord (1 Cor. 6:13). You are not your own, for you were bought with the blood of Christ (1 Cor. 7:23). How you dress either reveals this truth or hides it.