As for the appearance of the modest woman, we learned that she is to "adorn [herself] with respectable apparel." Not that it is wrong to look attractive! We learned that the essence of our desire to beautify actually comes from God. However, seductive, ostentatious dress is dishonoring to our Savior.
Today, we continue to focus on the appearance of the modest woman and one reason why it is so significant: it protects our brothers in Christ from temptation and sin. As my sister Nicole wrote in the book Girl Talk:
"Women are sometimes ignorant of the effect of their bodies on the eyes and hearts of men. But, for the most part, if we're honest, we'll admit that we know exactly what we're doing. We enjoy the attention of guys. As a pastor-friend of ours once remarked, ‘Guys lust and girls want to be lusted after.'"
To instruct all those who might be ignorant, and to remind the rest of us, I want you to hear from the guys themselves. Here are two young men sharing their struggle with lust. Let's call them "Kevin" and "Jack." I know they speak for the majority of godly men today.
Kevin: "Each and every day is a battle—a battle against my sin, a battle against temptation, a battle against my depraved mind. Every morning I have to cry out for mercy, strength, and a renewed conviction to flee youthful lusts. The Spirit is faithful to bring me the renewal I need to prepare me to do war against my sin, yet the temptation still exists.
"Sometimes, when I see a girl provocatively dressed, I'll say to myself, ‘She probably doesn't know that a hundred and one guys are going to devour her in their minds today. But then again, maybe she does.' To be honest, I don't know the truth—the truth of why she chooses to dress the way she does. All I know is that the way she presents herself to the world is bait for my sinful mind to latch onto and I need to avoid it at all costs.
"For the most part, the church serves as a sanctuary from the continual barrage of temptation towards sin. However, the church's members are not free from sin yet, and there are girls both ignorant and knowledgeable of men's sinful tendencies. I must confess that even church can have several mines scattered about."
Jack: "The one place where I might think I wouldn't have to face as much temptation is at church, but this is not always the case. When ladies whom I'm friends with dress immodestly, it definitely has a negative effect on our friendship. When a woman dresses immodestly it makes it difficult to see her as a sister in Christ. There is a constant battle going on as I'm talking with her. Communication becomes more difficult as I'm trying to listen to her, because I'm trying to fight temptation."
Here's what these young men say about women who do dress modestly. Hear the appreciation in their words:
Jack: "I am so grateful for the friendships that God has given me with the ladies in my church. I am so appreciative of the sacrifices that these ladies make to glorify God and to serve and care for the guys. I heard of one girl who went shopping and really liked the shirt she was trying on. But then she thought, ‘No, I can't do this to the guys.' That was the first time I had ever heard of anything like that and it made me so grateful. It is such a blessing to have friends who care for me enough to be selfless and sacrifice what might look attractive in order to help me and other guys with sexual lust. When ladies dress modestly, it's attractive and makes me want to hang out with them more. I think modesty is so attractive in friendships because it makes it easier for a friendship to be centered around God and for fellowship to be unhindered."
Kevin: "To the girls who don't follow the pattern of the world: thank you a million times over. You are following Scripture's commands and helping your brothers in the process. Despite all that godly men are doing to defeat the sin of lust, they still need help, and they need you to provide it."
The appeals of these young men striving for holiness pierce my heart in a unique way. Perhaps it's because I'm the mother of three young boys—boys who will become men someday and will undoubtedly face the same temptation to lust.
So, ladies, let's take to heart the temptations and pleas for help from Jack and Kevin--to serve the men today, and the young boys who will become men tomorrow.
This article originally posted April 17, 2007
This article was adapted from "Girl Talk" - a blog kept by Carolyn and her three daughters for women in all seasons of life.
Carolyn Mahaney is a wife, mother, homemaker, and the author of Feminine Appeal: Seven Virtues of a Godly Wife and Mother, Girl Talk: Mother-Daughter Conversations on Biblical Womanhood and Shopping for Time: How To Do It All and Not Be Overwhelmed (written with her daughters). During her more than 30 years as a pastor's wife, Carolyn has spoken to women in many churches and conferences, including those of Sovereign Grace Ministries, which her husband, C.J., leads. C.J. and Carolyn have three married daughters and one sixteen-year-old son, Chad.
Nicole Whitacre is the oldest daughter of C.J. and Carolyn Mahaney, as well as a wife, mother, and homemaker. She assisted her mother with Feminine Appeal, and is the senior writer for Girl Talk. Nicole and her husband Steve—who is a youth pastor at Sovereign Grace Church—have a son Jack, age 6, and a daughter Tori, age 2.
Kristin Chesemore and her husband Brian are the busy parents of three boys. Andrew is 9, Liam is 6, and Owen is 5. In the little spare time she does have, Kristin supports Brian in his role as a Married Life pastor at Covenant Life Church.
Janelle Bradshaw has been married to her husband Mike, and they have beautiful daughters Caly, age 3 and MJ, 8 months. Mike serves as Pastor of Children's Ministry at Covenant Life Church.
Pictured above, left-right: Janelle, Kristin, Carolyn, and Nicole