The Intent of the Heart {Biblical Modesty}

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A discussion of Biblical Modesty must first begin with Scripture. The Bible is sufficient for showing us how to live our lives and there is no exception when it comes to how we dress and act.

The Intent of the Heart - Biblical Modesty

We are called to live modest lives, whether that is in dress, character, or actions.

Likewise, wives, be subject to your own husbands, so that even if some do not obey the word, they may be won without a word by the conduct of their wives, when they see your respectful and pure conduct. Do not let your adorning be external—the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear—  but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious. 1 Peter 3:1-4

Slow down, stop and read that verse again. There are a few very important lessons to take from this passage in 1 Peter.

Our modest behavior can have an effect on others

Peter began this section explaining to wives how they can have an effect on their husbands. As a wife, even if we have an unbelieving husband, we can win them to Christ by our behavior!

As women we are to be respectful and have pure conduct. This begins in our hearts. Luke 6:45 tells us, “The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure produces evil, for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.”

If we have a pure heart and practice good, then our conduct will reflect that pure heart. Likewise, if our heart is a black hole of deceit and sin, then our lives will eventually pour that out.

Our outward expression of a pure heart is modest dress, speech, and actions. And because the Lord commands it, we must do our best to follow it, even if we often stumble in this area.

1-Peter-3-1-4

The Heart is more important than the outside

There is nothing wrong with wanting to dress in a cute way or have some trendy clothing. At the same time, however, modesty can be made out to be an idol. Some can become self righteous when it comes to modesty and judge others who don’t feel the same convictions as themselves.

But this verse makes it clear that the focus should be on the hidden person of the HEART. It is not sinful to do such things as braid your hair or put on makeup, but that should not be your sole focus.

Your focus should be on your heart and that you are conducting yourself in a pure manner. Focusing on your heart will help you to produce the imperishable characteristics of a gentle and quiet spirit.

Your modest dress is simply an outpouring of your pure and modest heart. 

How does a woman discern the sometimes fine line between proper dress and dressing to be the center of attention? The answer starts in the intent of the heart. A woman should examine her motives and goals for the way she dresses. Is her intent to show the grace and beauty of womanhood? Is it to reveal a humble heart devoted to worshiping God? Or is it to call attention to herself and flaunt her beauty? Or worse, to attempt to lure men sexually? A woman who focuses on worshiping God will consider carefully how she is dressed, because her heart will dictate her wardrobe and appearance. ~ John MacArthur

As MacArthur so eloquently put it, a woman who is more concerned with worshiping God and following his commands than pleasing man and her own selfish desires, will work on having a modest heart and the outpouring of modest dress, speech, and character. We will not always be perfect at this. And sometimes the Lord convicts women differently.

My sisters and I all have a strong desire to serve the Lord and honor him in our dress, and we disagree sometimes on certain modesty issues. But that is okay. The point is, we shouldn’t look at other women and judge. Some women are seasoned veterans in modesty and have walked closely with the Lord for years. Others are new to the Christian faith or have maybe never had an honest discussion about modesty.

I am not here to judge the way others dress, and we should be careful on how we look at those in the church. The Lord convicts each of us differently and at different seasons. 

But I would ask women to listen to the Lord. Just because we shouldn’t judge others for what they wear, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t judge yourself. Take an honest look at your clothing. Ask yourself (and your husband/dad) what is modest and what isn’t. But be careful, it is easy to lie to yourself and make yourself feel better about what you are wearing.

Proverbs 30:20 says, “This is the way of an adulterous woman; she eats and wipes her mouth, and says, ‘I have done no wrong.’”

Tomorrow we will look at the more practical side of modesty and delve into some of the nitty-gritty practical details and tips to help us dress modestly.

More in this series:

Cultivating a Modest Heart Series

A Modest Heart ~ A Biblical Approach

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Modesty. Some of you who grew up in conservative churches and homes will roll your eyes at this one little word. “Oh no, not this again.” “Yeah yeah yeah…modesty, we know! We don’t need to hear it anymore!”

But I think a very large portion of the church has never had a real honest and open discussion about modesty. Maybe my perception of this is due in part to the fact that I just spent 4 years living in Southern California, but I don’t think so.

Cultivating a Modest Heart Series

I think that the modern American church has largely lost what it means to dress and act modestly.

I went to church as a kid. I was part of an active and thriving youth group in high school. But I had never had someone teach me about modesty.

I was not walking with the Lord in middle school, and God pulled me back to him during early high school. At that point, I knew I had to put away the miniskirts, but largely my dress didn’t change.

I never thought twice about my cleavage hanging out, or about what my appearance was saying about myself. This was not because I was blatantly ignoring the teaching of my youth group and church, or even living a crazy life while claiming to be a Christian.

No, I was genuinely trying to live for the Lord in high school, and yet I had never studied or been taught about modesty. Slowly the Lord took a hold of my heart and encouraged me to look into modesty. He showed me books to read and sermons to listen to. Little by little my heart was convicted of what modesty means and what it looks like.

As a result, I have a passion for sharing what the Bible teaches about modesty and encouraging ladies to look into the subject for themselves and to ask the Lord to convict their own hearts about their dress. But I of course do not have all of the answers.

I do not look at modesty in a legalistic way, and I pray that you do not either. I understand that some can take modesty and make it legalistic and turn many away from it. But Scripture teaches that we are to have a modest heart and appearance, and it’s not something we can ignore just because someone we know took it too far.

Modesty usually looks different for different people depending on how the Lord has convicted them. During this series I hope to cover the basics of modesty and also give some practical tips on how to dress and act modestly.

Are you ready to dive in? Read the rest of this series on dressing modestly below. And join in our discussions on Facebook!

More in this series:

A Heart of Modesty Series

I hope you will join me on this journey. And I want to hear from you! I know my own journey to modesty and my sisters’ journeys. But what about your journey? Did you grow up (or are currently in) a church that encourages modesty? What are your initial thoughts on Modesty?

Praying for our Husbands

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Praying for my husband is something that I am good at sometimes, and terrible at other times. And yet, prayer in marriage is vital. It’s vital for our lives as women, it’s vital for our roles as wives, and it’s vital for the life of our marriages!

Learning how to pray for our husbands!

Prayer as a habit

When I worked full time, I made it a daily habit to turn the radio off in my morning commute and focus on some time for prayer. But now as a stay at home (and work at home) mom, with two toddlers under foot, I hit the ground running in the morning and don’t slow down until my feet hit the bed at night.

I still do make time for prayer, but it’s usually prayers filled with “Lord help me get through this day without losing my temper again!” or “Lord WHY can’t my twins learn how to share?” It’s not often that I slow down enough to take intentional prayer time for my husband.

Life can get so busy and chaotic that such a vital thing as praying for my husband gets lost in the shuffle. Slowing down long enough to take some intentional time to pray for my husband takes the focus off of me and helps me to appreciate and love my husband more.

It’s an intentional time that I can unselfishly come before the Lord and focus on my husband. So I am challenging myself to pray more for my husband and to make it a daily habit.  And you know what? I have noticed a pattern.

The results of prayer

Prayer works!! Yes, my prayer for my husband actually works and has tangible outcomes. Please hear me say that I am in no way implying that God is manipulated by our prayer, or that prayer always gets me what I want. Okay now that’s out of the way… When I pray and ask that the Lord mold my husband into a leader of our home, over time, I notice small changes and ways that the Lord is molding him into and encouraging him as leader of our home. The Lord listens to our prayers.

And whatever you ask in prayer, you will receive, if you have faith. ~Matthew 21:22

Do I think that the Lord will give you ANYthing you ask for? If you ask for a million dollars and a new car will they be on your door step tomorrow? Probably not. But if you seek salvation and the good things of the Lord then he will supply all your spiritual needs. By praying for our husbands each day we can  encourage them and help them. How does our praying for them help them?Praying for our Husbands

Our Prayer Helps Our Husbands

1) They know we are praying for them

That right there gives my husband encouragement. It warms his heart to know that I am taking the time to think about and pray for him. It also encourages him to pray for me! 

2) Praying puts me in the right frame of mind

When I am constantly trying to be in deep prayer for my husband, it helps me to be thinking right thoughts about him. When my husband forgets to pick up the milk I asked him to get after a long day at work, it’s easy to get frustrated with him (which is just code for angry with him, which is sin). But if he has asked me to pray for him that morning because he has three stressful meetings and a busy day, then I can be more understanding of him when he forgets the milk.

3) Praying for my husband draws me closer to God

When I am intentional about praying for my husband, this is linking me deeper with the Lord. Most of the time I start out praying a quick prayer for my husband and before I know it I have spent 20 minutes praying for others in my life.

4) God listens to our prayers for our husbands

Therefore, confess your sins to one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great as it is working. ~James 5:16.

When our husband feels safe to come to us and admit his sin or shortcomings, we have the beautiful opportunity as wives to pray for them. When we ask the Lord to lead our husbands and mold them into men of God, He listens to that. The Lord knows the pure desires of our hearts {Psalm 37:4}. Will you join me in intentionally making time for praying for our husbands. It won’t happen by accident and it does take work and making time for it, but in the end, it’s so worth it for our marriages and our walk with the Lord!

Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving. ~Colossians 4:2

Growing Together as a Young Couple: Habits

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If you are unfamiliar with our story, we were married when I was 19 and my hubby was 21. Fast forward 3 years, and we are now expecting our first bundle of joy {actually two bundles of joy} in December 2012, at the ripe old ages of 22 and 24.

 

Our experience marrying young

When we first got engaged (and even after we were married) we had many rude comments from those who didn’t know us very well about being married young. Even today, my husband is 24 and I am 22, we still get very weird reactions to the fact that we are married and expecting our first baby (babies!).

But my husband and I wouldn’t have it any other way! We are more madly in love today than we were on the day we got married. We got to enjoy college together and moving on to careers. We have learned to grow together when it comes to money and are blessed to have grown up together with our finances.

We are thankful that God has taught us how to handle money together, and he has also allowed us to develop habits together. An article appeared in The Huffington Post suggesting basically that getting married before 25 should be illegal.

In this article, the author states that she didn’t know who she was at 19, and that tore her and her husband apart because as they got older they grew away from each other. I find this so sad and realize that a lot of the problems they faced came from not having Christ as the center of their marriage.

But something I am so thankful for is that my husband and I have developed habits and things we enjoy together over the years.

Horseback Riding in 2009

How marrying young made habit-forming easier

When we got engaged, we had lived at home our whole lives. We had just moved on to our college campus for a year (I was in a dorm, he was in an apartment) and we never knew what it meant to live on our own. Even when he moved into that apartment on campus for a year, I went shopping with him and helped him get dishes and towels. We planned meals together and our free time was always spent together studying and occasionally relaxing.

I have seen a lot of older couples struggle to mesh their lives together as a married couple, when they had lived on their own for years beforehand. They have habits that were established on their own. They didn’t have to account to anyone else for their time. They had their own house how they wanted and things never moved from where they wanted them.

But then suddenly after 10 years of freedom they are forced to live with someone totally different. Someone who leaves the toilet seat up, doesn’t pick up dishes, leaves wet towels on the ground and uses time very differently than they do. It can be a really hard adjustment.

Getting married at any age takes a certain amount of adjustment. Suddenly you are not alone anymore. You have another half and you should put their needs above your own.

But what I love and appreciate is that God placed my husband and I together at a young age. We largely didn’t have these problems. Yes, my hubby has to have his toothpaste tube a certain way but I don’t mind because we can do these little things for each other.

Riding Segway’s in Long Beach, CA Summer 2011

We were able to grow up together and discover what it means to have free time again. We got to learn our passions together. We were able to discover that we both love to take bike rides and make it a priority to do so together.

By getting married young, we were able to develop habits and patterns together, and it has been an incredible blessing from God.

I understand that for many people, God calls them into marriage later in life. I think this is great and God’s perfect timing. I also think that no matter the age you get married, God can grant each couple the grace and gift of growing wonderful habits together. I just know that for us, as a young couple, the Lord has blessed us in this area. I simply wish to defend the idea of young marriage and that good things can come from it :)

But I want to hear YOUR stories. No matter your age when you got married, was it difficult or easy to meld your time and habits together?

Share Your Story: Faith ~ Love Blossoms Through Bible Quizzing

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Faith, from Storms Stories, is here today to share with us her love story. She first met her husband in Junior High and got to know him over Bible quizzing. Their love blossomed into a beautiful family. I hope you find encouragement in her story today!

My husband and I were 22 and 21, respectively, when we got married. It has definitely been hard work, but we would no have had it any other way! Here is our story…

How We Met

Although we officially met on November 22nd of 2008, the story starts a few years before that…

 
Junior High Bible quizzing champions 2004

August 2004

Kerry was with his youth group from Eureka Bible Church at Critical Mass, a youth convention/quiz-off for the youth from the FEC churches all over the US. I was participating in the Bible quiz competition that year and Kerry was there to watch quizzing and to attend the youth convention. He remembers seeing me on stage accepting the trophy in the above picture on behalf of my team.

September 2006

I, along with a few friends from my high school, went to a concert at the University of Illinois. One of the girls who came with our group had an older brother who went to the University of Illinois and lived at Koinonia, the Christian cooperative house at U of I. This is where Kerry went to school and lived, as well. We got to campus a little early for the concert, so we stopped by Koinonia to see my friend’s brother. At this point, I still did not know who Kerry was, but he knew of me from the Bible quiz competition in 2004. He remembers passing me on the stairs at Koinonia.

November 22nd, 2008

I was in the middle of my second semester at Moody Bible Institute. Kerry was in his last semester at the University of Illinois. Our church conference was having the fall Bible quiz competition and we had both decided to sign up to quiz master that weekend. I knew going into it that I was paired up with Kerry Storms, but I still did not know who that was. We were told to split up in two groups to go over our quiz questions. This was great, except for the fact that I had forgotten my questions.

So, I was pointed in the direction of Kerry and I ever so sweetly asked him if I could have his even quizzes, since he was reading the odd ones. He (begrudgingly!) obliged, and we split off with the other even and odd readers. What a great first impression… Our trio in room B was Kerry, my friend Erin and me. We got settled in and ended up finding out that we had quite a bit in common and that he was coming to Moody in January for graduate school. Except for the times we were leading quizzes, there as not a lull in the conversation.

Now that I really know Kerry, looking back I know that him talking that much with someone he just met (or really with anyone!) is WAY out of character. At the end of the day, we moved to the sanctuary for the final match. About halfway through the quiz, I remember Erin leaning over and remarking that Kerry was staring at me. I slowly turned towards the side of the sanctuary where he was sitting and, sure enough, caught him staring at me! After the final quiz was over, he sought me out to say goodbye since his group was leaving to head home. Little did I know how the Lord was working that day in Archbold to bring my husband and I together!

How We Started Dating

Between the time we met in November and the time Kerry moved to Chicago to begin his graduate studies in early January, we exchanged hundreds (seriously, hundreds…I have them all printed out and in my keepsake box!) of messages via Facebook. I am not sure why we chose this method of communication, but, we did, and I am glad to have those “get-to-know-you” conversations preserved for all time. Although it was fun messaging back and forth, I was looking forward to having face-to-face conversations with him!

Naturally, since I was the only person Kerry knew at Moody, we spent lots of time together. We rode the L to Target with several of my friends, showed him around campus and shared a chocolate cake shake at a local restaurant with him. We played chess in the student center late on Saturday nights and went to church together. I still was not sure where our relationship was going, whether we were spending so much time together because I was a familiar face or because he was interested in pursuing me further.

My mind was put to rest regarding this when he asked me to go to dinner with him at a beautiful authentic Turkish restaurant after church on January 18th. I claim this as our first date. After dinner, where I had come prepared to pay for my meal since I still was not sure where our relationship was headed, I came back to my dorm room and told my roommate that I had just shared dinner with the man I was going to marry.

That next week was busy for both of us, so we did not see each other much. We went out for cake shakes again one time that week, and I was sure that Kerry was going to ask me to be his girlfriend while we were there, but, much to my disappointment, he did not. Monday, which was Kerry’s longest day of classes, came around and I was not expecting to see him since he had such a busy day. I had gone to dinner and was sitting in my room when my phone rang. It was Kerry and he wanted to know if I would accompany him to the grocery store. I did not think anything of this because he had had an emergency appendectomy over Christmas break and was under a weight lifting restriction. I figured he just needed someone to carry his groceries home, something I had done for him already.

So, we began the mile or so walk to the grocery store in the bitter January cold and I was just chattering away, per usual. I talked the whole way to the grocery store and was actually starting to run out of things to say! He grabbed my gloved hand in the parking lot of the Jewel in downtown Chicago and said, “I have been wanting to ask, but just couldn’t get the courage up…will you be my girlfriend?”. I, of course, said yes and we continued on into the grocery store to get the things he needed.

Although Kerry will admit to being slightly embarrassed by the fact that he asked me to be his girlfriend in the parking lot of a grocery store, I think it was adorable and perfectly suited to his personality. And, in case we ever forget that important event, I saved the receipt from that shopping trip and it graces the front cover of our dating scrapbook!

How We Got Engaged

It was a Sunday. I had come home from college for the weekend and had gone to church with Kerry and his family. After church, we headed over to his dad and stepmom’s house to celebrate Easter a week early with his extended family. I thought that we would be getting engaged that weekend, but it was Sunday and I was starting to get disappointed. After all of the extended family left, Kerry asked me to go for a walk in the woods behind their house. I did not really want to go for a walk because it had recently rained and it was going to be muddy!

However, Kerry convinced me and off we went. We walked for quite some time and finally came to a log where we sat to rest. I noticed a hawk, Kerry’s favorite bird, flying in the distance, so I turned to point it out to him. When I turned around, he was down on one knee with the most beautiful solitaire sapphire ring in his hand.

I don’t remember the exact words that he said because I was crying too much, but I do remember saying an enthusiastic “YES!” and shouting for joy :) We walked back to the house to tell his dad, sister and stepmom, then headed out to catch my train back to school. It was the shortest train ride back to Moody I ever took because I was enthralled the entire way there with my beautiful new ring!

How We Are Now

We got married August 20, 2010, about five months after we got engaged. It was a beautiful wedding and I was (and still am!) so happy to be a wife. The Lord saw fit to bless us with a “honeymoon” baby. We became parents to Julian on May 5, 2011. We are so excited to see how the Lord continues to deepen our marriage and grow us together as parents. Although many would say that we were too young to get married and definitely too young to be parents, we made a commitment to the Lord and to each other and are thrilled to see where He has and will take us!

 

Faith is first a daughter of the King, second a wife to Kerry and third a mommy to Julian. She took her family on a real food journey starting in June of 2011 and, although they have come a LONG way since then, there is still so much more she wants to learn. She is blessed to be able to be a stay-at-home mom, which was always her answer to the “what do you want to be when you grow up” question as a little girl. In addition to being passionate about real food, she has a heart for orphans and looks forward to the day that she and her husband can become forever parents to a child in need. Check out her blog, Storms Stories, to read more about faith, food and family!
 

Don’t forget to enter for your chance to win $300 CASH to help get your family healthy this summer. What would you do with $300?