Saturday, March 13, 2010

The Beauty of Modesty

I received The Beauty of Modesty for Christmas this year. It is an excellent book, but a slow read because of the wealth of material. It took me until the middle of February to complete it. It is worthy of being read again. This book is written for an older teen or adult.

The Beauty of Modesty (Cultivating Virtue in the Face of a Vulgar Culture) is written by David and Diane Vaughan, a husband and wife. They spent over a year researching, studying, and preparing the material. This book can be purchased from Vision Forum or Amazon.
The Beauty of Modesty is divided into three sections-1 The Need for Modesty, 2 The Nature of Modesty, and 3 The Nurture of Modesty. Mr. & Mrs. Vaughan start off the book by defining what modesty is not and give a working definition which is developed throughout the book. A key point is that modesty is more than the outward appearance, it is a matter of the heart. They quote lengthy passages of Scripture throughout the book to support their arguments. Quotations from different authors precede each chapter as well as being sprinkled throughout.

In the first section, the Vaughans lay a biblical framework to their discussion and reply to some common objections. They show how the current worldview has affected modesty significantly, even turning the lack of it into a money making industry. Lastly, they discuss how the church has fallen prey to the world's thinking.

The middle section begins with the most basic fact that the body is created by God. The Vaughans build from there with what the Bible says. I found it interesting how Mr. & Mrs. V. connect the very act of immodesty with adultery. (Immodesty leads to lust which leads to adultery. Matthew 5:27,28) They also say that the sixth and the seventh commandments are related. Why? If adultery is being committed, then the family, as God intended it, is destroyed; and, if families aren't thriving, violation of the sixth commandment increases. Do's and don'ts on what to wear are not given, but rather guidelines for what modesty isn't (ostentation, androgyny, sensuality, and association). From here to the end of the book, the Vaughans mainly deal with the modesty of the heart.

The final section starts with a solid definition of marriage and family. Modesty needs to be nurtured in the home as well as in the church. In the church God is to be worshiped and exalted. If we dress or behave in an immodest way we are drawing the attention away from God. Who would want to be guilty of that? One reason they give for this, is an improper view of God. Mr. and Mrs. Vaughan also deal briefly with how the liberty we have in Christ should not cause others to stumble. Finally, the question is given, "How is one to do this?" Total commitment to Christ and His word is their answer, with which I agree. Should we not live that way anyway? Denying ourselves daily, taking up our crosses, and following Christ is HARD. It is war. Modesty is a battle every person needs to fight, win, and maintain, but not in their own strength.

These are the two final sentences in the last chapter. "Yield to Him and He will renew your mind, transform your soul, and sanctify your affections. Then, and only then, will you know the meaning of beauty and gain the virtue of modesty."

After reading this book I was again reminded of the need for modesty. I was also reminded that the Christian life is all connected in Christ. He is the one that holds all things together, has reconciled us to Himself, and makes us complete in Him. If we are being rooted and grounded in Him (Colossians 2:6-7), modesty, and everything else He desires from us, will follow.


P.S. It is not wisdom to wait a month to write a book review after completing the book. :)

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