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Monday, May 19, 2014

"On Display"

Photo by: Serge Bertasius Photography, Free Digital Photos

Summertime is upon us. The temperatures are rising, and a yearly phenomenon begins.

I saw a comical post on social media this week. It’s the elderly lady, “Maxine.” She’s standing in the foreground, and a teen girl wearing shorts and a cropped top is behind her. Maxine says, “Young women these days remind me of department stores . . . everything’s on display.” It’s supposed to be funny.

But, it’s true.

Summer comes, and people dress for the heat. The shorts this year are shorter than they’ve been in a while, and I would venture that even sweet Christian girls might buy them. Tops are anything from glorified bras to very skimpy camisoles, halters, and cropped tops.

Like Maxine said, “everything’s on display.”

I believe there’s a solution to this problem. It’s a solution that’s as old as the Bible. It has two parts: 
  1. The Heart—A woman must want to please God with all her heart. But, it’s more than that. She must be strong. She must have the right spirit. It’s described in 1 Peter 3:3-4, Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel; But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price. It all goes together: clothing and the God-valued meek (strength under control) and quiet spirit. A woman’s clothing choices are an extension of her heart attitude. When a woman wants to please God more than anything else, her clothing choices will be part of that desire.
  2. Education—A long time ago, a sixteen-year-old young man told me that girls know what they’re doing when they dress provocatively. I disagreed. I believe that many girls have never been taught what kinds of thoughts people might have about them when they dress less than modestly. They do not realize the image they present. They don’t see that certain types of dress actually advertise lifestyles they might not embrace. It is our duty as older women to teach our daughters and the younger women in our churches what is and isn’t appropriate for a Christian woman to wear. The Bible gives the guidelines of modesty and moderation. It says the older women should instruct the younger women (Titus 2:3-5; 1 Timothy 2:9-10). A large part of what we teach is by example. Years ago, I remember watching this happen in a church. The elder pastor’s wife dressed beautifully and modestly. She would wear certain kinds of skirts. Soon, several of the church women were buying exactly the same style and fabric! I also remember observing mothers not dressed modestly. Was it any wonder their daughters’ clothing missed the mark? 

If you are an older woman—you don’t have to be old to be older—what kind of an example and teaching are you providing for the younger women in your sphere of influence? When someone looks at you, will they think “godly”? Are you actually helping your daughters and the young women at your church understand what is appropriate and modest?

If you are a younger woman, are you learning from the Bible’s standards and older, godly women? Or are you trying to follow fads that might not be modest? Do you realize the message you give to those that see you?

Every woman is an advertisement. She is an advertisement for God and for everything that is holy, beautiful, and good—or she’s an advertisement for her own body, and she attracts lustful thoughts.

What kind of a display window are you?

What do you advertise?

She maketh herself coverings of tapestry;
 her clothing is silk and purple.
Strength and honour are her clothing;
and she shall rejoice in time to come.
Many daughters have done virtuously,
but thou excellest them all.
Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain:
but a woman that feareth the LORD, she shall be praised.
(the Virtuous Woman, Proverbs 31:22, 25, 29-30)

(Other posts about clothing are on my new tab at the top of the page, "Fashion and Modesty.")


  1. I agree that sometimes teen girls just don't realize how their clothing choices might affect others. Looking back on some of what I wore, I smack myself on the head now and ask what in the world I was thinking, but I just didn't see it that way at the time.

    1. Yep, here, too. I didn't understand and wasn't taught--at least not clearly enough. Thank you, Barbara, for your comment.


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