creative measures to teach appropriate dress, to even an exploration of how Pope Francis is a paragon of a modest lifestyle (a view that I especially appreciated), I have been musing how I plan to teach my girls this principle. While I recognize there is a place to teach women modesty in terms of their relation to men, I believe that our modesty discussions can be more enlightening when they are more grounded in the scriptures. I wish to teach my daughters that modesty is an necessary attitude that is prerequisite to receiving personal revelation.
Certainly, covering oneself appropriately has been in place from the very beginning. Consider how Adam and Eve, when, finding they were naked in the Garden of Eden, made makeshift clothing from fig leaves prior to speaking to God. In doing so, I believe that they both established a precedent of covering oneself appropriately prior to receiving further divine instruction. The act of dressing modestly then, may be viewed as an outward manifestation of one's willingness to hear the voice of the Lord in our lives. Moreover, God continues to enforce this principle of modesty as he prepares coats of skins for them to wear, prior to their exit from Eden (Genesis 3:19).
But modest dress is only half the equation when it comes to acquiring divine counsel; it involves our spirit as well. While we do not emphasize it enough, our church also teaches that modesty includes appropriate language and behavior. In acquiring a spirit of modesty then, we can look to Philippians 4:8:
"Finally brethren, whatsoever things are true,
whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever
things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of
good report; if there be any virtue, and and if there be any praise,
think on these things." (Phil. 4:8).
When our outer dress is mirrored by our inner spirit, we can teach young women that they will feel God's peace within them (Philippians 4:9). And just as the temple is a sanctuary for hearing the Lord's voice, so should we take care to ensure that our physical body is a safe edifice for our spirit to receive divine guidance.
I hope that our modesty discussions can look beyond explaining the length of a skirt, a shirt's degree of tightness, or a shirt's neckline. Rather, we can give our young women a sense of empowerment as a they learn that they are indeed capable of seeing God's hand about their lives--provided that they are willing to prepare themselves, both in body and spirit.
Photo by Wikipedia.