I remember the moment of climax in the battle for modesty in my life. I must have been around fourteen or fifteen, and, believe it or not, I wanted to dress like “all the other girls” around me. I was confused as to what modest standards were, and my wise mother took me aside and we had long wonderful talks on the subject. “What are the godly older girls around you wearing?” she asked at one point in the conversation. My oh-so-on-top-of-it sin nature immediately searched through my acquaintances filed under “godly role models” and I named a few whose attire supported my desire.
“Yes,” my mother consented, “But what about this girl and this girl and this girl?” She proceeded to name several young ladies whom I highly respected and whom I had to admit I had never seen in anything less than modest. We eventually finished our important discussion, I talked to my father on the subject, and I now look back at that time as the moment when I truly took on convictions concerning modesty for myself because I realized that was what God wanted me to do.
But I also look back on that experience and think about those young ladies that I looked up to, and I wonder if they knew to what extent I was willing to go to emulate them? I wonder if they knew that I was using them to rationalize my desire for “looser” standards of modesty? The fact remains that this desire was my sin nature, and I alone was to blame--I should have been strong enough in my convictions not to be swayed by what others were doing. But I was, and my mother knew that. All those young ladies that my mother and I discussed were my role models, whether they chose the role or not, and they had a serious impact on that time in my life, whether they knew it or not.
I cannot, of course, reflect upon those that were and still are role models to me without reflecting upon those who look to me as their role model. When I recall my detailed mental files on the state of modesty in each of my role models as a teenager, I get worried. And I shudder at the thought that any of the girls I know might use me in a discussion with their mother: “But Lauren does that!”
It makes me contemplate the “weaker brother” concept all the more: would not younger girls--baby Christians--be weaker sisters? Romans 14:12-13 expresses my state of mind perfectly:
“So then each of us shall give account of himself to God. Therefore let us not judge one another anymore, but rather resolve this, not to put a stumbling block or a cause to fall in our brother's way.”
One of my favorite verses is I Timothy 4:12:
“Let no one despise your youth, but be an example to the believers in word, in conduct, in love, in spirit, in faith, in purity.”
Being a role model is not a role that we audition for or even choose. Instead, we all are role models (even if unwilling or unknowing ones) to our siblings, to those who read our blogs, to the bright-eyed little girls at church. There is no way that we can abandon this responsibility--we will either be bad, careless role models, or we will be purposeful, virtuous ones. On the flip side of the coin, we all have role models as well—whether we choose them well or slip into them because the rest of the world bows down to their whims is up to us.
Girls look up to us. They note what we do or do not wear. They note how we talk about the Lord, how we interact with young men, and how we treat our parents. If for no other reason than the fact that young ones in the Lord are observing, we cannot afford not to walk circumspectly in all that we do. Their eyes are upon us, and we live righteously not for a show of our great maturity, but so that if they indeed choose to follow in our footsteps, they will find that our tiny footsteps are planted firmly within the unblurred outlines of the footsteps of Jesus—the entire journey through.
Picture Credit: ultrakickgirl
Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.