It's spring! (For those of us in the northern hemisphere, I should clarify.) Everything is popping out -- flowers, trees, bushes, and lots and lots of skin. Yes, it's time for the perennial topic of modesty.
If you aren't old enough to remember life before the Internet, you are probably unaware that women used to go to work with a lot more fabric on. Seriously. In fact, in professional settings, no one ever showed their cleavage, their bellies, or their lower-back tattoos. It was common to have office dress codes that specified closed-toe shoes, pantyhose, and actual suits. (For the one or two of you who have to still dress this way--and you know who you are there in DC!--you have my sympathies.) Back then, women wanted to be taken seriously for their aptitude, not their assets. But don't get me wrong: I am not arguing for a return to sweating in pantyhose in muggy July weather. Ugh.
What I am saying is that we have to realize that fashion has evolved this way because of the "pornification" of our culture in the last 15 years or so. There are specific values being cultivated and advertised through fashion--and that means women in the church are affected, too. We might not consciously know or agree with the "porn positive" ideology that courses through our culture at present. But rest assured, we are no different from the women addressed in New Testament churches who sought attention with their clothing and opulent hair styles. The fashions may be different, but the heart issues are the same. So in humility, each year it's good to evaluate how far we've drifted from biblical standards toward other patterns.
This year, we have the assistance of a chapter titled "God, My Heart, and Modesty" from the forthcoming book, Worldliness: Resisting the Seduction of a Fallen World. In it, C.J. Mahaney says: "I write this chapter as the father of three daughters, now grown. I write as a pastor with a growing concern for the erosion of modesty among Christian women today. I write because God’s glory is at stake in the way women dress. I write about modesty because God has first written about it in his eternal Word."
Check out the first of seven parts on the Sovereign Grace blog.