Lust and Love

In like manner also, that the women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with propriety and moderation, not with braided hair or gold or pearls or costly clothing, but, which is proper for women professing godliness, with good works. I Timothy 2:9-10

“If you’re an adult male, you cannot deny the power of a flash of flesh to draw your attention. A too-short skirt. A hint of cleavage. It’s really an incredible force of nature. Most women understand that a revealing outfit brings a certain amount of attraction from males, but they have no idea how much power they really have. Every man reading this is well aware of that power.” **

As I came upon this paragraph, I realized exactly why it is so important for women to dress modestly and, just as importantly, why it is so critical for Dads to share this information with their daughters.

I have given God many excuses as to why I can’t write on this particular topic – I will offend – I will be viewed as legalistic – Some of my friends and their daughters dress inappropriately – My three daughters and I are guilty of immodesty ourselves, at times.  Please, no, God, don’t ask me to write on this topic.  But He would not let me go, so here is the post I have been dreading to write for at least a year.

As usual, this summer has brought skirts and shorts that are too short, shirts that give way more than just a hint of cleavage, and bikinis that leave very little to the imagination.  I think the saddest thing of all is that there there is very little – if any- difference between Christian and non-Christian women when it comes to how we dress.  I see facebook pictures of Christian young women displaying their almost naked bodies.   We can find half-exposed breasts and long, sexy legs in church services and at weddings.  And, even more surprisingly, no one seems to be sounding the alarm that this isn’t appropriate.

I wonder if so many of us women do not truly realize what our immodest dress does to the men around us?  Do we realize that we are tempting them to lust by not properly covering ourselves?  I submit to you that this is not showing love to our fellow Christian brothers, but instead throwing temptation in their faces and just expecting them to deal with it.

And  I would like to especially challenge Fathers of teen-aged girls. You, of all people, know what goes through the mind of a male who sees an improperly clothed woman.  Why do you let your teen-aged girls go out half-dressed?  Sure, if you ask them to change they may get mad and stomp off but many years later they will thank you from the bottom of their hearts.  Parenting is tough, but we can’t give in.  We need to protect our girls, their reputations, and the hearts and minds of the young men in their company.  Many are the conversations my husband has had with our three girls – asking them to change – telling them why – never giving up on protecting them and the young men in their company.  I feel so incredibly blessed to have a husband who is honest with them about this difficult topic.

Some men will say they are not tempted by immodestly dressed women.  And maybe the culture is so inundated and flooded with sexual messages that it is true.  But I doubt it.  I would guess that they are not telling the truth.  I watch men turn their heads and pay attention.  I know the constant attention given by the men in my life to turn away, trying not to turn back for a second glance, because of where their thoughts will go.

Ladies, do we really want to be guilty of this?  Do we want to be the cause of a man’s lust because we didn’t dress modestly?  And exactly how is that showing the love of Christ to those around us?  How is this type of dress bringing glory to Jesus Christ, the one who died to save us?  God commands us to be modest and I believe that one of the main reasons for that command is to protect our dear Christian brothers and the wives (our sisters in Christ) that are married to them.

I know that a few of you will agree with me as you read this post;  a couple more may give what I have written here some thought; but my fear is that most of you will think I am off of my rocker for even bringing this up.  In all circles of my life I find little consideration is given to this subject.  No one seems to care anymore. But perhaps it would be good for all of us to humbly ask God if our attitude about how we dress is the attitude He would want us to have. Even I, as I write this, find myself thinking about a few things I need to get rid of in my closet.

You see, this isn’t about rules – Thou Shalt Not wear such and such.  This is about an attitude of submission to God and love for our fellow man.  As Christian women, we are called to express our Christian love by keeping ourselves properly covered.  As parents, we have the responsibility to teach this important principle to our girls.  Are we inciting lust or showing love by how we dress?  It is certainly something to think about.


** Excerpt taken from 52 Things Wives Need From Their Husbands by Jay Payleitner

6 thoughts on “Lust and Love”

  1. Oh, Leslie, you are brave!
    I agree totally with you, as does my wife. My children are 9 and 11, boy and girl respectively. We have already been talking to them about this subject. I think that where many parents run into trouble is that they wait until the daughter is walking out the door in her too short skirt or too revealing top to say anything. They wait until they notice their boy staring at skimpily dressed girls to talk to him. We are told to train up our children and this does not start at the teenage years. It starts at infancy.

    1. Oh, so true! Thank you for pointing that out. Godly training in all areas (including modesty) does start when they are young – it makes the teen-aged years so much easier.

  2. You know, as a young Christian girl and woman, I dressed modestly. Know what else? Well, quite frankly, I was kind of a babe back in the day, and I turned heads anyway. As a matter of fact, my eyes were one of my best features, so even a hijab or burqua would not have necessarily kept a man from noticing them and stealing a second or third glance.

    I don’t disagree with you about modesty, but if you’re an attractive woman, covering your entire body won’t change the nature of a man. Men notice beauty, full stop. Hopefully what many men can also notice is the beauty from within. But I’m just not going to feel guilty about doing my part and getting attention anyway. At some point, men just simply must take responsibility for reigning in their own thoughts and impulses.

    1. Yes, that’s true– I can’t be responsible for what a man thinks, only he can be responsible before God for that. However I AM responsible for how present myself to men. And dressing modestly is how I can love my fellow Christian brothers best. I think this post–written last year–will give you a little more insight into what I mean–

      1. Well, not really much more insight than this post provided. I already said that I did and do take responsibility for how I present myself to men. Quite frankly, loving my Christian brothers includes expecting them to, again, be responsible, adult, mature men who trod the more difficult path of caring more what God wants than what they want. That also includes loving and respecting their Christian sisters to the same degree that we’re making that effort for them. I’m afraid I’ve just experienced too many men – and women – who place more of the burden on women than they do men.

        I’ve had to be quite stern with both genders concerning this matter, for placing blame on me for ‘turned heads’ when, as I said, I did nothing to invite it – well, except leave my house, that is. That incorrect and unfair judgment simply could not go unchallenged, and certainly did make me wonder where the love and respect was for me. Too many people just must cast someone as the villain of the piece, and often that villain is a woman who has done nothing to deserve to be cast in that role. Your mileage may vary, of course, but be assured that others have experienced insults and hurtful comments that perhaps you have not. I’ve forgiven, naturally, as I’m called to do; but if I could go back in time i would still choose again to defend myself and my own honor.

        1. Well, obviously you definitely have had some experiences that have affected your perspective of this topic. For myself, I have recognized as I have gotten older, that I cannot change or be responsible for the sin of others. Therefore, my primary focus is to be constantly checking my heart and for sin in my life. While, certainly men do have responsibility in this area, there is nothing I can do about that because I am a woman. To focus on that would be quite useless for me because I can’t change them. That is their job. So I speak to this subject from a woman’s perspective because that is what I am. My job is to be modest. The rest is out of my hands. I’m sorry you have had unpleasant experiences in this area of life. I am sure you are not alone and I can understand how it would breed resentment in women. I would just encourage you to please the Lord in this area and let the rest in the hands of the Lord. :)

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