Modesty In Believers

by Jenny Stephens
(hebrew names restored througout)

Miniskirts, shorts, and suggestive attire. Are these appropriate for us to wear? While I was at youth camp in Michigan I was aware that most of us see no problem in wearing shorts in these hot summer days. One of the students came to me one afternoon, pointing to herself and asked, "Jenny, are these shorts appropriate for me to wear? " "Why do you ask?" I answered. "Because lately I have been convicted in my spirit about wearing them." This girl is a beautiful daughter of Messiah, who I had observed by her testimony, prayers, and conversation had a zeal and Love for Yahshua which was true and so encouraged me. Why would she question her shorts? Everyone, including the adults were comfortable wearing shorts, so it wasn't like she stood out or anything. She did have very beautiful legs.

My spiritual gift is mercy. I don't usually notice clothes. I notice attitudes, spirit, and the mood of people I am around. I am offended by religions who dictate do's and don'ts as to what to wear. They cause many people to stumble by their emphasis on outward appearance. I am happy that our church is not in this trap of legalism. Our first concern as followers of the Messiah should be to answer the needs of others, and not condemn.

But what about our dress? Do the clothes we wear really make that much of an impact on our witness? This should be all of our concern, as this daughter of Messiah rightly questioned.

What was the spirit of Elohim telling us when Paul wrote that women should "...adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness, and sobriety.."( I Timothy 2:9)? Women should ADORN (order, arrange, embellish or deck) themselves in MODEST(well- ordered, moderate, regular or well- balanced) APPAREL (dress, equipment or clothing). (words in cap are defined) Our motivation for what we wear should be SHAMEFACEDNESS (sense of honor, regard for others, respect, reverence, self-restraint, and modesty) and SOBRIETY (discretion, self- control, temperance, and soberness). What is modesty? Is it not only propriety of our dress and demeanor, but of our inner life. The thing is, we speak volumes by the clothes we wear. What are we saying when we wear shorts, or show our legs? We may be totally pure in our intentions. "They are comfortable, and everyone wears them." But let's not be nieve in thinking that no one is paying attention to our legs. Sobriety means we as women should practice discretion and use self control in our wear.

I once heard a woman call in to Dr. Laura on the radio. She said, "My husband doesn't want me to wear shorts or low neck blouses. He used to like them when we were dating." Dr. Laura said, "Why are you advertising your body? You already have a man." "I'm not advertising my body," said the woman. "Well why are you showing it then." said Dr. Laura. I thought she made a good point. We may not intentionally be advertising, but when we dress as such we can't help but draw attention to ourself. In this age of the sexual revolution and promiscuity with venereal diseases and illegitimacy in epidemic proportions does anyone see a connection to our dress?

Nature teaches us that men are sexually stimulated by visual images. None of us can deny that Woman often dress to appease this sexual appetite. Yahshua warned men that to look on a woman and lust is as good as adultery. Matthew 5:28 So men have their responsibilities also.

Shorts, miniskirts and suggestive attire draws attention to ourselves. This is completely opposite to Messiah's instruction to his followers. We are to die to self and be sanctified or set apart unto Yahweh Elohim.

In I John 2:16 John through the set apart spirit said,"For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of Yahweh, but is of the world." And in I John 2:15 he said, "Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of Yahweh is not in him. Romans 14 is a good chapter which speaks about how we should live our lives to edify others, (verse 19). In verse 21, Paul said, "It is good neither to eat flesh, nor to drink wine, nor ANYTHING whereby thy brother stumbleth, or is offended, or is made weak." Paul was saying that if your brother is offended if you eat meat, then don't eat meat! Wow! Could we do that? Many people are unable to hear our testimony because we LOOK no different than the members of the rebellious sexual revolution of our day. Our heart may be different, but people see our dress first and they are offended by what they see as a double life. Even though her spiritual leaders had not taught her, this dear sister in Messiah was convicted by the set apart Spirit that something about her dress was not right. She knew from her conscience that showing her legs encouraged sensual desires, which is a lack of regard for the weakness in others [shamefacedness], and showed a lack of sobriety [discretion, self control]. She wisely perceived that the witness in her dress conflicted with the set apart spirit's command to be set apart from the world with it's lust of the eyes and that in wearing such clothes she might be causing offense to a weaker member as she looked no different than a person of the sexual revolution. And the Spirit was right in warning her that she was putting increased temptation on her male brothers in Messiah, especially those she would date.

While I know we should be careful never to condemn others on outward appearance, I believe we should also be careful to live our lives so that no one can question our intention or witness. Brothers and Sisters of our Assembly, for the sake of Yahshua and our young people, is it too hard for us to put our shorts or dresses down? We can still be attractive and we can still be comfortable. Or are shorts that important?



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