June 13, 2010 by Stacy McDonald
Because of my own sinful past, as well as the fact that sexual sin introduced so many sorrows into my life (even before I was born), I learned early in my Christian walk that purity meant more than simply avoiding sex outside of marriage. Sexual purity, like all virtues, begins in the heart.
The Bible calls it chastity, which doesn’t always mean “sexual abstinence.” After all, even married women are called to be chaste (Titus 2:5, 1 Peter 3:2). Being chaste is more than a physical state of being; it is an active virtue that consistently demonstrates sexual purity—in thought, word, and deed.
Chastity requires me to honor the estate of marriage and to respect the marriage bed. It goes well beyond simply avoiding sexual activity outside of marriage. In fact, it’s far more active, since it includes loving my brother enough to help protect his chastity (Galatians 5:14). Whether I am single or married; whether it is my marriage or the marriage of my neighbor, I am called to honor marriage. Because “marriage is honorable among all, and the bed undefiled; but fornicators and adulterers God will judge.” (Hebrews 13:4)
A Reflection of Mom
As moms, we have a huge responsibility. Our daughters are looking to us to find out how to grow into godly women. If a daughter sees her mother dressing in provocative clothes that reveal or accentuate her private areas, or donning clothes that are skin tight and obviously cut to allure the opposite sex, then that is what she is likely to emulate.
Moms, these precious little girls want to be “just like us!” What an honor! Now, let’s see to it that we are pointing them to Christ:
“Imitate me, just as I also imitate Christ.” (1 Corinthians 11:1)
And dads aren’t off the hook! Daughters are watching Daddy’s eyes! Every girl wants her hero to think she’s beautiful—and if her hero is attracted to sensuality in other women, she’s likely to want to please him by becoming “his kind of beautiful.”
Sons learn in very much the same way. They notice what types of movies or television their dad likes to watch. Boys pay attention to Dad’s magazine subscription and follow his gaze in the check out line. A son sees what his father values most in women and is affected by whether or not Dad respects, protects, and is faithful to Mom.
A Woman’s Responsibility
Jesus said that even looking upon a woman to lust after her is adultery (Matt. 5:28). And men must take this seriously, learning to guard their eyes as Job did.
“I have made a covenant with my eyes; why then should I look upon a young woman?” (Job 31:1)
With this in mind, we women have a choice whether or not to make it difficult for the men around us. It’s been said that just as men have the sinful tendency to lust after women; likewise, women have the sinful tendency to lust after being lusted after. Notice how the married woman in Proverbs 7 wasn’t actually a prostitute, she simply dressed like one. Her heart motives were to entice a young man:
“And there a woman met him, with the attire of a harlot, and a crafty heart.” (Proverbs 7:10)
However, sometimes women dress provocatively without any intention of following through with anything sinful. Still, remember the old adage, “Don’t advertise what’s not for sale!”
A woman’s pride or insecurity may sometimes cause her to dress immodestly in order to be noticed (1 Timothy 2:9). At an early age, I learned that when I dressed a certain way, I received more attention from the opposite sex. Of course, I eventually realized it wasn’t the kind of attention I was looking for. Still, I learned something: Men are easily affected by the way we women dress, carry ourselves, and behave.
Sometimes, women, especially young women, aren’t at all aware of the affect they have on men. So it is up to the older women in their lives, chiefly their mothers, to teach them. The Harris brothers put together a revealing (no pun intended) Modesty Survey that mothers and daughters will find helpful in discussing some of these topics.
As women, we are called to glorify God by communicating biblical beauty (not sensuality) in the way we dress and carry ourselves– it is our DUTY to our brothers (and sisters) in Christ.
“For you, brethren, have been called to liberty; only do not use liberty as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.” (Galatians 5:13)
I am not loving my brothers in Christ (or their wives) if I dress in a way that is likely to entice another woman’s husband. I want to save my body (physically and visually) for my own husband, and I should teach my daughters to save their bodies for their future husbands, as well as to love their brothers in Christ enough not to stumble them.
So am I to dress as plain as possible? Is frumpier holier? Should I try to hide the clear fact that I’m a woman by wearing a sack? In Part 2 of The Beauty of Chastity we will discuss biblical beauty and what that means. Click HERE to read Part 2.