Friday, July 16, 2010

The cure for immodesty

Last week our family took a drive to the shiny new shopping mall in the western suburbs of our county. As we ate dinner in the food court, and I observed the comings and goings, the thought crossed my sometimes cynical mind that it must have been "dress like a slut night." I have no problem with women dressing attractively and fashionably. I even think there's a place for dressing in such a way that emphasizes feminine charms, if you know what I mean. But seriously, when did it become all the rage for teenage girls, and not-so-teenage women, to dress like the prostitutes on Broadway? Whatever happened to propriety, or that other old-fashioned word -- modesty?

Of course modesty is more than dress or keeping a set of rules, though we often try to reduce it to that. Rules have their place (can I get an amen from the parents?) but Gospel Coalition blogger Elyse Fitzpatrick reminds us that immodesty -- the kind that has to do with clothing and the more subtle kinds -- is a heart issue best addressed by the gospel.

. . . immodesty flows out of the heart of a show off. Maybe we’ve worked hard at the gym or purchased an expensive new pair of jeans. Maybe we want to prove how free we are to dress in any way we choose, no matter how scandalous. When we show-off we’re failing to love our brother (and sisters) who may be tempted to lust or covetousness or sinful imitation. Showing off is a fruit of pride and love of self. Immodesty demonstrates a cold unconcern for the church.

The beauty of the gospel, however, is that it informs us about who we are and what Jesus has already done. While it convicts us that we’re all unloving show-offs (in some way), it also assures us that we’ve been loved and that we no longer need to show off to get other people’s approval because (here’s the best news of all!) the record of our Modest Redeemer is ours! Our identity isn’t wrapped up in the approval or envy or lust of others. Our identity is found in Christ’s life, death and resurrection. Christ is our life. He loved us and refrained from showing off so that we could be His and freed from the need to prove that we’ve got a great body or wardrobe or … because we’ve been lavished with His love instead.

Of course, in this promiscuous culture women (and men) might need to be taught what modest attire looks like and there’s nothing wrong with doing so. It’s just that the transforming power that changes a show off into a servant doesn’t come from rules about blouses or skirts. It comes from remembering the gospel and seeking to show Him off instead. So, let’s spend this summer talking about modesty … mostly His.

1 comment:

Kimberly said...

Very good. i know i don't comment much, but i do catch up on your blog now and then. i also really liked the Piper "political" quote. Congratulations on your new family anticipated-addition:)