So what does God say about modesty? Understanding what modesty is by defining it according to God’s terms can help us answer that question as we strive to train our daughters to glorify God in both body and soul. God’s truths are timeless, not old-fashioned.
Before, we look at God’s Word, let’s peek at what Webster’s 1828 Dictionary 1 has to say…
MOD’ESTY, noun [Latin modestia.] That lowly temper which accompanies a moderate estimate of one’s own worth and importance.
In females, modesty has the like character as in males; but the word is used also as synonymous with chastity, or purity of manners. In this sense, modesty results from purity of mind, or from the fear of disgrace and ignominy fortified by education and principle. Unaffected modesty is the sweetest charm of female excellence, the richest gem in the diadem of their honor.
Unaffected means real.
We can then say that this purity of mind and realness that stems from it is an honor. There’s nothing old-fashioned about that.
What the Bible Has to Say About Modesty
It doesn’t matter what so-and-so has to say about modesty, it truly only matters what the Word has to say about it.
As I read through Scripture to gain the mind of Christ on the topic of modesty, I noticed a common thread- modesty is about who you are, not what you wear. Clothes and deportment are an outward manifestation of an inward disposition.
This is so important to understand. Gregarious girls aren’t immodest— they’re just gregarious. Shy girls aren’t modest—they’re just shy.
It’s the heart, not the hemline. ~ Richele McFarlin
Let’s take a look at the Bible:
1st Peter 5:5 – “Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.”
Ephesians 2:10 – ” For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.”
1st Peter 3:4 – “but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious.”
1st Timothy 4:8 – “for while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come.”
Where’s a Mom to Start?
If you’re new to the concept of modesty, or nervous about the thought of teaching it to your daughters, know that you’re not alone.
Start with prayer, asking God to direct your teaching.
Model modesty of both dress and heart for your child.
You can begin simply, with those four Bible verses. Cross-reference those to learn more. Do Word Studies to gain deeper insight on what the Bible has to say.
Search for quality resources to help you navigate.
Begin and end with what the Bible has to say on the subject.
Trust that God knows the desire of your heart to honor Him and He will direct your path.
It’s the Heart, Not the Hemline – A 5-Week Unit Study on Modesty
A Word from Richele at Talking Mom 2 Mom: Focusing on the Heart Behind our House Rules
Years ago, I hosted a modest fashion show with a friend. Our purpose was twofold; to address the practical and spiritual applications of modesty. On a practical level, we wanted to dispel the myth that modesty is synonymous with frumpy. On a spiritual level, we wanted to refocus modesty on the heart and not the outward appearance. We named our fashion show, Dressing the Heart, to showcase the conviction in our hearts.
Without realizing it, we headed straight into a storm of controversy. We were accused of being arrogant and legalistic. Others were thankful we had the heart to bring this topic to the forefront. We never intended to provide a dress code. We wanted young girls to value who they are in Christ.
So, here I am today presenting you with a study on the heart of modesty. I am not here to provide you a dress code. I firmly believe clothing choices fall under your authority based on how the Lord is leading your family. It’s the Heart, not the Hemline, focuses on addressing the heart issues which leads to a heart willing to please Christ in how a young girl presents herself. Lindsey and I added in journal sheets for parents to record their thoughts on each lesson so aid you in training your daughter in this area. This study is to aid you in guiding your daughter’s heart in modesty not to provide a list of rules.
During the course of writing this study, I discovered that many moms were having difficulty teaching their daughters about proper dress. Many felt convicted to change their own dress and wanted their daughters to follow in their footsteps. Many others felt they didn’t know where to start since they were new to Christ. These challenges arise when we approach modesty backwards; from the hemline first then the heart. You see, the length of your skirt does not convict your heart. The heart must be convicted in order to make changes for Christ. Of course we want our daughters to dress in a fashion that honors Christ . Yes, they need our guidance which leads us to develop house rules. Let’s just make sure we focus on the heart behind our house rules.
Bringing Up Wise Daughters
Lindsey and I would like to believe this study, It’s the Heart, Not the Hemline, is a good starting point to open up the discussion which will lead to gaining wisdom in modesty. We are not interested in the distraction of arguments over skirt length. We simply want to share how God convicted us through this study to dress the heart before dressing the body. Whether you feel confident in instructing your daughter or not, you will be blessed by the time spent in the Word together through this study.
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