A woman in my congregation told me a story that I found indicative of our times. Her fiance has a daughter from his first marriage. His daughter was going to attend a dance. She wanted her dad to pay for the dress. Dad wanted to see it. So she sent a picture and he said the dress was too short and he wouldn’t pay for it unless it was more modest. The young woman screamed at her father, “The other girls will look like tramps and hookers why can’t I?” Needless to say, he did not pay for that dress. Modesty is a tough issue for people today. Hemlines are rising, necklines are dropping and stretch pants are everywhere. Women seem to be flaunting and men are lusting. How can parents guide the young women in their lives to dress modestly? What does a woman use as a standard? The Bible says to be modest but it’s not very specific; and when it is what is a cultural example and what is an eternal principle?
Let me give you a simple accrostic that I think is a concise summary of the Biblical teaching on this subject. The accrostic is G.P.S. In the world of technology GPS gives us directions to our destination. It helps us to make choices along the way. I think God has given us some principles that I sum up with G.P.S. that do the same for women wanting to know how to dress.
G. P. S
The first principle begins with G.
G. _GLORY TO GOD PRINCIPLE
1 Corinthians 10:31 So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.
Romans 12:2 Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.
Titus 2:11, 12 For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. 12 It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age,
CJ. Mahoney said that “modesty is humility expressed in dress.” If the purpose of an outfit screams “Look at me! Look at me!” then you are no longer living in a way to bring glory to God alone. This principle helps check a person’s motives as they dress.
The second principle begins with P.
P. PERMISSABLE PRINCIPLE
1 Corinthians 10:23 Everything is permissible”—but not everything is beneficial. “Everything is permissible”—but not everything is constructive.
A woman may be free to wear a particular outfit but if she stops to think about whether it is beneficial and constructive for her to wear it she may make better decisions.
The final principle begins with S. and is simply a call to love others in a specific way.
S. STUMBLING BLOCK PRINCIPLE
1 Corinthians 8:9 Be careful, however, that the exercise of your freedom does not become a stumbling block to the weak.
Romans 14:12-13 So then, each of us will give an account of himself to God. 13 Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in your brother’s way.
Men struggle with lust. Even though I consider myself to have a great track record in the area of a holy sexuality I fight the battle against lust most days. Many women do not understand what a distratction they are when they dress provacatively. I think I can speak for Christian men by saying ladies you can help our efforts to be holy or hurt our efforts. Ladies please dress in such a way as to never be a stumbling block to any man, especially your Christian brothers.
Let me close by saying to Christian women my goal is not your hemline, how high or low it is but your heart. Be a woman with a singleness of heart, one devoted to pleasing God above all others. One that finds her worth and value in the startling love of God not the shallow attention of men.
Under His Mercy,
Minister, Journey Christian Church