The Need For Modesty
3. Our differences:
A. Visually Oriented
Initiators and Responders
Modesty is not all about clothing choices. Oh, that is definitely a large part of it, but it is only a part. True, biblical modesty is connected to every part of life. It begins in our heart, with our desires and motives, and is reflected (in one way or another) in our actions, our choices, our words, and, yes, our dress.
One of the areas of modesty that is often overlooked, but desperately needs to be considered, and addressed among Christian women (of all ages) today is that of our actions toward and around men. As Josh Harris pointed out, God “made men initiators, and then designed women to enjoy being pursued.” (pg. 85, Not Even A Hint)
Elisabeth Elliot expands on that thought in this way:
“Males, as the physical design alone would show, are made to be initiators. Females are made to be the receptors, responders….It was not arbitrarily that God called Himself Israel’s Bridegroom and Israel His Bride, nor Christ the Head and the Church the Body and the Bride. He woos us, calls us, wins us, gives us His name, shares with us His destiny, takes responsibility for us, loves us with a love stronger than death. The spiritual paradigm defines the relationship of men and women.” (Passion and Purity, pg. 109)
The world abandoned this paradigm long ago. But, today, even Christians seem to following suit. Perhaps women are confused. We have shows like “Sex and the City” which tell women to take control – be the initiator, make the call, do the asking. Of course, I can’t blame it all on “Sex and the City,” though I would like to. This problem, once again, goes back to the beginning, when, in Genesis 3, Eve bought in to Satan’s deception and “took the initiative, offered [Adam] the forbidden fruit, and he, instead of standing as her protector, responded and sinned along with her.” (Passion and Purity, pg. 109)
This is how Satan operates. He reverses God’s plan for us, and tempts us to step outside of the protection of our God-ordained roles. He has done so from the beginning, and continues – quite successfully – today, as Christians have bought into his lies and deception. We have continued to redefine, blur, or altogether eradicate the distinctions between the character, behavior, and roles of men and women.
Men are to be the initiators. Men are to be the protectors. Men are to be the leaders. That is their God-given responsibility, and role. But, with the rise and acceptance of feminism, men have abdicated these roles and acquiesced to the “liberated” female. Men have become weak where they should be strong, effeminate where they should be masculine, and followers where they should be leaders. And what a mess it has caused!
And, lest women begin to think that they are any less to blame, Proverbs 7 gives us a vivid illustration of this reversal of roles. Nancy Leigh DeMoss calls this chapter “a technicolor portrait of a foolish woman.” And, her description is quite fitting, as that is really what immodesty is at its root – foolishness. This woman described in these verses is not an example of immodesty simply because of her dress, though it clearly states that she is dressed like a prostitute. Her actions reveal as much as her clothing.
Proverbs 7:10-15, 21~
10 And behold, the woman meets him dressed as a prostitute, wily of heart.
11 She is loud and wayward; her feet do not stay at home;
12 now in the street now in the market, and at every corner she lies in wait.
13 She seizes him and kisses him, and with bold face she says to him,
14 I had to offer sacrifices, and today I have paid my vows;
15 so now I have come out to meet you, to seek you eagerly, and I have found you. (Then skipping to verse 21)
21 With much seductive speech she persuades him; with her smooth talk she compels him. (emphasis added)
As time allows, over the next few posts, I want to look a little more at these verses, and the woman that they portray.