Getting Specific Without Being Legalistic

Getting Specific Without Being Legalistic

I had been planning to jump right into the situations in which girls tend to compromise their standards, but being as “tricky” a subject as this is, I’ve decided to make one more post before I get in over my head. As the title of this post suggests, my goal in dealing with this issue of applying God’s principles for dress to our daily life (including special occasions or activities) is to get specific without being legalistic. But is that even possible? I had to ask myself that question before I ever began to write this series.I want to tread very lightly on the issue of specifics when it comes to the way we dress.Legalism is a trap and a snare, bringing bondage and either self-condemnation or self-righteousness rather than freedom to enjoy the love and grace of God we’ve received through Christ (see Liberty and the Christian).I know,

I’ve been there—I want nothing to do with legalism anymore! That said, if we only talk in principle (“Be modest and discreet in attitude and dress!”) but don’t get specific (for example, “Dressing to show off your body is a wrong motive,” or “That shirt is rather revealing.”), then we probably end up preaching to the choir, only to hear a hearty “Amen!” from readers who go on wearing things that will trip up their brothers in Christ. I’ve seen it happen.Many a Christian young lady will take up the hip motto, “Modest is Hottest”, while sporting clothing that is hardly an improvement upon the world’s party scene.They look no different.They may not dress like prostitutes, which I guess makes them more modest than some, but they miss the practical application of modesty even though they enthusiastically support the principle. So can you see how it is important to get specific?That’s really where discipleship and Titus 2 comes in:older women are to instruct the younger women.

The best place to deal with specifics is in a discipleship relationship, where challenges can be made and advice offered in a loving way, seeking to build one another up.I’m not much older than most of you—I’m younger than several, to be sure!—but God has convicted me concerning the way I’ve dressed in the past, and He’s given me a desire to communicate the wisdom I’ve gained in this area to help girls make wise decisions in regard to the way they dress—and to do it for the glory of God.So just imagine that I’m a (slightly) older sister in the Lord, who cares deeply about you and your walk with Him (which I do!), and take what I say as loving counsel (which it is) rather than condemnation (which it certainly is not!).I have been hesitant to begin discussing the specifics because I know that inevitably some will be offended.I pray that this would not be the case, and that is why I have made this post first—so that you know that my intention is not to condemn anyone, nor to set up a standard for you to follow (that’s why I dealt with the Scripture in my last post and asked you to set your own standards based on what God has clearly commanded).

My intention is to make you think about things in a way that perhaps you have not considered up to this point; to make you evaluate the way you dress in certain situations, and to challenge you to be consistent with what you believe, no matter the circumstances.That is the heart of this discussion on situational modesty. So please, take to heart what I have to say in these next few articles, really considering what I share before reacting to it.I ask you to be “quick to hear, slow to speak, and slow to anger,” and remember that “fools despise wisdom and instruction” (James 1:19, Proverbs 1:7). After you have considered what I have to say, please feel free to comment, sharing your thoughts or calling me to account if I have been in the wrong.I will seek to write in such a way as to give grace to those who read (Eph. 4:29), so please take it as such and be gracious in return.

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