Sharon

Immodesty and Lust: A Man’s Perspective

Sharon Modesty, Self-control 182 Comments

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Friends, do I have a treat for you! Only rarely has my husband, Ike, written on my blog, but today I have asked him to weigh in. He’s here to offer his perspective on a topic about which he knows much more than I: male lust.

One of the reasons I asked Ike to address this topic is that I fear Christians have a terribly low view of men. When it comes to male lust, men come off sounding like animals. Whenever I hear that “men cannot help themselves,” I also hear this: the resurrection is powerless to heal the brokenness of sin, and depravity ultimately trumps renewal.

I am not satisfied with this narrative. We need to expect more from men, and from Christ. We women need a better understanding of male lust in relation to the cross, and Ike’s words have really helped me in that regard. As you read, I hope he will encourage you too.

Here’s Ike….

*****

As a spectator of the lively conversations about modesty, I know that Christians have a great deal to say about what women should and should not do, or should and should not wear.  However, relatively little of the modesty discussion has been addressed to men. Instead, the church has adopted a problematic notion that, left unaddressed, will prevent Christians from ever arriving at a real or biblical solution.  It is the notion that all men lust, hopelessly and helplessly.

A friend of mine was recently confronted for dressing immodestly.  She was approached indirectly, and informed that some men in her church were struggling with her dress.  She received the statements graciously, but she later shared an insightful frustration with Sharon and me.  She commented that she would gladly dress more modestly out of love and concern for her brothers in Christ, but there seemed to be no corresponding “rehabilitation” required for these men who, apparently, struggled with lust.

As our friend pointed out, there is a glaring inconsistency in the church, one that allows men to make judgments about the modesty of women without confessing and repenting of their own complicit lust in the process.  Instead, a woman is accused of immodesty and shamed, all by virtue of the fact that a man has lusted after her; however, the man who engaged in lust does not experience the same public shame. In fact, he is sometimes considered praiseworthy for addressing such a “threat” to the community.

I imagine countless women can sympathize with my friend’s experience.  The truth is, the Church has acquiesced to the notion that “all men lust,” and this is a problem. When men are portrayed as helpless sexual animals, they are logically excused from the hard but truly effective work of exercising self-discipline.

And yet, this hard work is exactly what Christ calls us to. In Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount we hear one of Jesus’ most radical interpretations of the law: “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart. (Matt. 5:27-8)

The way in which my friend’s “immodesty” was handled, as I am sure is the case with so many incidents, might lead us to think the verse continues: “…and when you do look at a woman lustfully, go to that women and tell her to dress more modestly.”

But this is not the case. Jesus tells us rather, “if your right eye causes you to stumble, gouge it out and throw it away” (Matt. 5:29). Jesus cuts to the heart of it: The true seat of lust is a man’s heart, not a woman’s body.

No doubt, there is truth to the statement that all men lust, but it is a truth about the condition of the heart, not a women’s clothing.  Rather than portray men as helplessly prone to lust, it would be more accurate to describe lust as an ever-pressing temptation to all men, a temptation that requires great vigilance and discipline of mind.  The failure of men to diligently address this temptation has led to the false conclusion that all men are incapable of resisting the temptation entirely.

On this issue we men are our father’s—Adam’s—children.  On no other issue do we men so unabashedly play our father’s card: God, it was that woman you put here…  Much like Adam, we often shirk our personal responsibility by shifting the blame and attention, in this case, to the secondary contribution of immodesty.

To be sure, there is a place for conversation about modest dress, but to stop there is to treat only the symptoms of a much deeper sickness: we as men have not chastened our desires and disciplined our minds in accordance with the things of God (Phil. 4:8).

Treating the issue—gouging out the eye and throwing it away—means doing the hard work of establishing healthy thought patterns regarding women.  In particular, men need to establish healthy habits for our eyes and our minds in relation to the female body and person.

What does this look like in practical terms?  Personally, I have established habits and practices to vigilantly resist this ever-pressing temptation. However, rather than prescribing universal rules for all men, here are some self-reflective questions that might help individual men determine what is effective for them:

  1. 1. Why are you looking at a woman?  There are many legitimate reasons to be looking at a woman: she is your co-worker, classmate, leader, or volunteer in a ministry you work with, etc.  But we men know there are less than honorable answers to this question as well. Be aware of your motives
  2. 2. Why are you looking a second time? When you see a woman, especially one to whom you are sexually attracted, what is your reason for looking again?  What is your intention and what do you hope to accomplish?
  3. 3. When you look at a woman, where does your gaze come to rest?  Do you look her in the eyes, or do you look at her disrespectfully when you think she doesn’t see you? For me, it is difficult to lust after a woman when I am looking her in the eyes.

These are only a few of the self-reflective questions we men must consider if we hope to reclaim our minds. Ultimately this issue is not about locating the proper place of blame but about freeing and renewing ourselves from the possessive oppression that lust exercises upon men’s minds.  In this liberation we men are freed for clear and healthy thinking, and to love and honor our sisters in Christ as whole people, created in the image of God.

*****

If you have any questions for Ike or me, feel free to let us know in the comments section!

Comments 182

  1. Kami Mueller

    I love the new look!!! And so thankful to Ike for thoughtfully casting light on this here. My girlfriends and I often talk about this subject in depth. Though we have our own responsibility… most definitely…this is a refreshing Gospel look at the HEART of the issue. For me, it seems that the HEART of every sin problem: is the HEART. 🙂 Kudos Ike and Sharon!

    1. Tanya

      We should not cause our brothers in Christ..that are weak to transgress the law, it may be in their heart…yes but the bible does also talk about dressing godly. Plain and simple we do not cause others to sin that is not Christian..we know the areas in which we are weak so why do we not as Christians look to see what makes our brothers and sisters in Christ weak and try to avoid making them sin. Would you try to give a drug addict drugs that was trying to quit or a smoker or a drunkard those things which are sinful? No, I would hope not but it is the same…causing one to sin is just as much as ones fault that is tempting the sinner and this …we should not do out of love for our Christ Jesus.

      1. Donna

        Absolutely and Amen. My thoughts exactly. Like most solutions, it works both ways. Women should be aware and humbly caring for men and likewise men should be humble and caring for women. Really. Would you look or dress this way if our suffering Savior walked in the room?

      2. Cyndel

        True. but this post was addressing an important part of the paradigm that is often ignored. Men’s role in controlling their own minds and hearts and stop holding the full blame over the heads of women.
        We should dress in a way that is beautiful but not advertising sex. However, men need to stop laying the full responsibility on women and step up and own their own part and work to control themselves.
        Women are children of God, made in his image, not sex objects. Men are children of God made in his image, not uncontrollable hormonal animals.
        If we as Christians learn to see each other first as children of God, we are less likely to dehumanize the other person and our selves by turning them into just a sex object or ball of uncontrollable lust.

      3. Ose Burnett

        AMEN Tanya. This has to be balanced when this subject is dealt with. And it has to be done biblically on BOTH sides. You cannot address a man without the woman. The Bible gives us clarity on that. I cannot give my brother a cause to stumble. So it would be natural to speak to the woman about being modest, period! The fact that a man brings it up is a sign that he desires to be holy in looking at his sister in Christ. IF a man is trying to have a conversation with a female in church, and her breasts are hanging out of her blouse, is he supposed to stare upward while he says hello? Again, I recommend that both sides be discussed evenly in a post, because it is equally important without pushing blame on one party.

      4. kazaam25

        A woman/man does not have to wear some form fitting clothes or be half naked to be found attractive or for another party to lust over that person. I tjink it is a great thing to always revert back to the bible and prayers for guidance but lets not also forget that we are human and will always fall short of the glory of God. We are humans and biologically have needs that need to be met. Now by now mean am i trying to justify lusting crazy over a bunch of women/men, but we are predisposed to have those thoughts or desires. Some of us are very capable of not paying attention to those desires and some are just not strong enough. A woman can be completely covered with only eyes showing anf atleast one man would be lusting over her…lusting over someone is not just about the physical attraction, but it can also be because of the way someone talks, laughs or smiles, or carry themselves …i am pretty sure we can clearly make a difference between those who dress to attract on purpose and those who dont. Totally agree that we should not blame women for our lust to find a way to escape the true reality that we are animals in heat. I do think that being attracted to a woman/man is also different than lusting over a woman/man. I also think that as christians, we are very quick to point out others differences or rather struggles as bad sins that we forget that they could be helped and guided. While someone struggles with lust, i know that many others, including myself, struggle with other things as well…but we tend to not view our struggles as imminent or on the same level as others. if i am attractwd to a woman, she could be wearing 4 sweaters in august over an overall denim with gloves and a face mask and it wont matter…because i would have been attracted to her by her smile, eyes, heart, attitude and behavior. But nevertheless, that is a great point that is being made and def allows for some more thinking.

      5. jen m

        you might be surprised to find that when the Bible talks about “modesty” including about women’s dress, it’s referring to not flaunting one’s wealth an possessions, and has little to do, at least directly, with sexuality.

  2. Tim

    Ike, this is outstanding! Your take on Matthew 5:29 and tying it in with Adam’s passing blame off to his wife was masterfully done.

    I recently read a bit on sin that pointed out that when we look back on our sin we can always find a moment when we still could have said yes: nothing is irresistable and nothing is forced on us by others, whether a woman dressed in a way we find attractive or anyone else.

    Good job here, Ike.

    Cheers,
    Tim

  3. Chany Ockert

    Thank you for giving this perspective! As a woman, the issue of immodesty has seemed like a no-win situation. I appreciate this more full, holistic view of lust. And, of course, women also struggle with lust. The same filter of the heart can be applied.

  4. bm

    I’m not sure what christian community you’re coming from but where I’m from women are never directed or requested to dress more appropriately. Almost all of the attention is directed towards the men, and directing them to lust less, and meet together to deal with their struggles.

    I think that having ANY direction from women, specifically mature women towards the younger women in the church, would go MILES towards better purity for men. I don’t think you’ve recognized the true staggering struggle men face.

    In the church community there should be no argument- everyone please dress more conservatively so that we can all take a few moments and be able to focus on God and interact with one another safely… because out in the real world for most men just getting through the day is like holding your breath underwater.

    1. Ike

      BM, I must first say that this article was written by a man (Sharon’s husband) so I don’t think I fail to recognize the staggering struggle men face, as I face it myself as a man. However, you are right. To some extent, the relevance and accuracy of my article does depend on where the emphasis lies in one’s community. Does the imbalance in one’s community err towards emphasis on modest dress or towards men disciplining their minds? We need both if we are going to live in community and share one another’s burdens.

      Admittedly, I am speaking to an ongoing conversation around lust and women’s modesty that has often shifted the attention from the heart of the issue. Ironically however, in some sense, your comment makes my point. Because simply going out in the world is like holding our breath underwater–in other words, because men cannot help but lust after women–the only solution is to make demands upon women to conceal their bodies.

      This mentality, unfortunately, creates poor patterns of thought regarding the female body that only perpetuate the problem, namely, that women’s bodies are a threat, they are dangerous, and worst of all, women’s bodies are first and foremost, sexual. (Sharon has written an excellent piece on this: http://www.christianitytoday.com/women/2011/december/how-modest-is-hottest-is-hurting-christian-women.html

      These ways of thinking about the female body undermine attempts to address the lust issue in communities that do emphasize men controlling their lust because they continue to operate with a frame of mind that see’s the female body as primarily a sexual entity. If we cannot see the female body as more than a sexual entity, we will never take large strides in addressing lust.

      Even if all Christian women dressed to a “conservative” level of modesty, there will always be women dressed more “immodestly” than our eyes and our hearts can handle because the church exists within a world that does not always share the same values. Our greatest hope for freedom in this regard is to plead for the Holy Spirit’s assistance in chastening our desires and disciplining our minds.

      Jesus’ instruction that we overcome lust by gouging out our eye may have been figurative, but the pain implied for overcoming lust may be literal. It is hard and painful to work in the way I have suggested to overcome this, but that is why I have offered this challenge to my fellow men–I believe men are capable of more than we have been given credit for.

      1. Elle

        I tend to agree with BM on this issue, that men are OFTEN talked about in the church. [their struggle with lust, pornography, etc.] is addressed most often in the church, while modesty is put on the back burner. But I do agree with you Ike, that this proves your point. However, I think that with our God being a God of peace and not confusion it is clear His Word lines up with itself. So we as women dress modestly according to the calling placed on us in the Word of God, and men by the POWER OF CHRIST IN THEM, will overcome the temptation to lust, and all of this will be for the glory of God!!!

        Thanks for your input Ike, it’s not everyday that a man will write on his wife’s blog. But we appreciate it!!!

        1. Kelly K

          Something tells me your church isn’t really a true bible church. Most comments and things primarily focus on womens modesty. Which is why you and BM keep your main focus on that concept alone. Always pretending that men are unfairly chastised on the actually rare occasions that they should control themselves and be responsible for their own sin life.

      2. Rachel berglund

        To BM (and Ike if you care to weigh in):

        1. Is there a distinction between attraction and lust? (and if so, should attraction be ok in church?)
        2. If the real world is as rough as you state (and I believe you), wouldn’t that be exactly the reason we need to be introduced to things in church also, so that we can get a healthy conditioning to it? It won’t help to hide away everything all the time. It’s not realistic, we are biological beings with attractions and lusts. If we hide away everything, our youth will be sitting ducks as soon as they enter a college dorm. Don’t they need to have experienced attractions ni a safe environment, around save people, so they can learn to control it?

        1. Kristen

          I appreciate these two questions, and have been thinking along these lines myself. I also read the blog you linked to further down, and wanted to say thank you for sharing that. As a woman who has always tried to dress modestly, I’m tired of being told I’m the problem. I have big boobs- get over it. It’s not my fault if you choose to sin. I’m probably a little bitter at this point…. and sick of hearing christian-ese responses. I would love to see someone answer your questions and hear what they have to say– especially about teaching christians to distinguish between attraction and lust.

      3. Steven

        Hey Ike, I appreciate your input and your wisdom on the issue. I’m a 22 year old Christian active in the ministry. I’m a worship leader and I peach when I can. God has called me to shepherd His flock, especially in college. I help lead a phenomenal Bible study where I have seen men grow tremendously in Christ’ name. Everyday I wake up I have to take up my cross and crucify my fleshly passions… every day. I have counseled hundreds of other college age men and the truth is we are biologically wired with extreme desire for women. We do make their bodies into objects. However, we have to fight this, and I do fight hard. This is what kills me though, I can feel like I am on the top of my game. I can be on the top of the mountain with Jesus in all discipline, but even while I am LEADING WORSHIP I can open my eyes, if only briefly, see a women wearing athletic clothing to service (short-shorts or spandex) and my mind is gone. I will fight thoughts with success, but that is not the point. The point is that now I have to fight this battle WHILE I AM LEADING WORSHIP! That’s nuts. I think that Bm’s comment is accurate. Christian women, in my experience in college, don’t receive criticism for their clothing issues. Rather, they complain and blameshift. I can’t tell a girl that her clothes are immodest. I will be looked at as a sexualy helpless animal or a sovenistic pig. We NEED women to step up. We NEED girls that will practice modesty and will teach others to do so.
        That’s my perspective at least. It’s hard in college, but I know that I have had success in disciplining myself. The issue is not one thing or the other, it is both. Romans 14 would be a good chapter to reference. Girls, you have freedom, don’t go looking like the world with the freedom that God has given you in Christ.

        1. Alina

          Amen! Amazing stuff here.. I really learned a lot. This is something that has been on my mind a lot lately. The one thing that’s eating me though is, what IS modesty today? Where’s the limit? At what point does a man begin to lust specifically? I know that spandex, athletic wear, super low cute shirt and mini skirts will cause a man to lust. But what about the casual clothes we see today? Skinny jeans? Clothes that are tights? Skirt just above the knee? I almost wish I had a clear guideline of what is modest today. I really want to hear it from a guys perspective so please explain. I appreciate it!

        2. Kelly K

          Women are the ones being held responsible. You men are rarely held responsible. Just google the issue. Way more people attack women while defending men. Just as you are defending yourself. Its not your fault that you lust. But the point is, You do not see women as whole individual people. You see them solely as sexual objects. It is your choice an the constant choice of all men. Everyone tells women every single day constantly that they are at fault for mens thoughts. Men are constantly defended. Just as you insist on ignoring your the truth. I rarely hear sermons or read articles that are directed toward men about this issue. Just about every single one is primarily directed at women. Men are constantly being seen as victims of their own weaknesses. That is wrong. It is your mind and your sin. Step up on your own and take full responsibility. Men are NEVER held accountable for the sins of women. Yet women are CONSTANTLY held accountable for every single sin a man makes. Just as you yourself are blaming women on your sin.

    2. Julie

      Men in Afghanistan still lust and women who have adoring husbands still want attention and to be thought attractive…it’s both our sexes in the middle of living out this section of our eternal lives. The one where we battle it daily, weekly, sometimes hourly holding our breath like you said. What empowers me isn’t the small victory or the momentary reprieve of safety, but that when I am in either state…following my flesh or following my God….Jesus loves me the same. Not more when I’m doing alright or less if I’m sunk deep in a pit of sin. He is satisfied with me because he is satisfied with Christ and I place my trust in Him. That frees me so much to get up and keep going and look to him more as I go. Falling, stumbling, striving, walking, running. He accepts me in all of it. It makes you stop holding your breath and able to be in this insane world with hope and trust not in your goodness or avoidance of sin but in Christ to draw you away from it and to Himself. It helps you battle well with hope. I hope you find strength in that, the gospel. It’s what helps me fight my own demons when I’m deep in.

    3. Jeff

      Agreed. I agree that men have responsibility with their eyes. But we’d have to be blind in our culture…. The “safer” haven should be with Christians, but even that arena is becoming more and more difficult when women dress more and more immodestly. Churches need to take more action to help Christian women know what is at stake.

    4. Kelly K

      For every one article, sermon directed at men about lust there are about 300 directed toward women. Maybe instead of acting like a victim you should open your eyes and ears and hear what women are being taught. Specifically how they are solely at fault for mens sins. Just what you are intending to imply.

  5. Ike

    Thanks Tim, for the feedback, encouragement and additional thought. Very helpful.

    Chany, you are absolutely right, lust is certainly not a male-only struggle!

  6. nancyj

    “Nearly all vices are rooted in the future. Gratitude looks to the past and love to the present; fear, avarice, lust and ambition look ahead.”
    ― C.S. Lewis, The Screwtape Letters

  7. Rachel Allen

    This is the best article I have ever read on this subject. Thanks for bringing balance. It was so refreshing.

  8. Mae Lynn Ziglar

    This is such a great perspective on lust. I think the blame game can go both ways. I would hope that women would not use this perspective to dress however they want; men and women should take responsibility in the area of lust.
    Thanks for sharing Ike! Oh and I love the new look of the blog.

  9. Aleah

    Thank you for this! I’ve never been challenged to think through the other side of this and having worked with junior high and high school girls it has come up frequently. It’s opening my mind to question other areas I might not be approaching holistically with scripture, and allowing my culture to overly impact my interpretation. Great post!

  10. Lesley

    Sharon, beautiful new site. How fun to get to know your husband’s heart a little bit more. Ike, thanks for sharing your words of wisdom with us. They certainly come from the Lord. I love that you are challenging men while I also acknowledging women can be “helpers” in their lust battles. I hope this post gets shared many times over.

  11. Lesa Engelthaler

    Thank you Sharon for “sharing” your blog! 🙂 And thank you Ike for articulating so incredibly well what has rattled around in my head but I never could get out. So grateful! peace, Lesa

  12. Janet

    Sharon & Ike,
    I want to thank you for this. It’s so nice to hear a reasoned male response to this issue. Most of what I’ve encountered is either centered around men who have chosen to view pornography and struggle with that particular issue or the conversation centers around covering up women’s bodies so that men don’t lust. There has been very little conversation or awareness brought on the spiritual (and fleshly) discipline that is expected (via scripture) regarding lust. I do think we don’t hold men accountable in this area of sin as we would in any other area — we give them a pass and shrug it off as human nature (God created me this way).

    So, thanks, again.

    1. Chase

      I agree wholeheartedly with Ike that the men need to take responsibility. Christ died so that we might no longer be a slave to sin (Romans 6) We can talk about fighting lust practically, but Ike gave some suggestions that I can relate too and agree with. Philippians 4:8 I believe is a great scripture to memorize for men.

      However I believe it is important to approach modesty in light of marriage and the Gospel. We could talk all day how men should not lust and women should dress more modestly. The truth is modesty reflects a bigger picture, and I praise God for the women who have felt the conviction of modesty and respond to that conviction.
      When I met Lauren, she had many great characteristics. The one that shined brightest, that spoke most about her was her modesty. Sure, I loved her heart for Christ, people, and missions. But there was something behind the modesty. Honestly at that point in our relationship it showed me what we all think about modest women: she cared to look out for her brothers, “in the world not of the world”, and a reflection of obedience. However, there was so much more that I began realizing.
      Lauren often had to battle with legalism and her convictions. She sees other Christian women she respects who don’t dress as modestly. Thus she doubts her convictions and wonders if she is living in freedom. I also have to ask myself, are my desires for a modest wife Legalistic? After all, I’m called to love unconditionally, realizing my own sin; not focusing on the exterior but on the heart. Yet after praying and reading scripture- I think these desires are not legalistic. If marriage is a picture of the Gospel. Christ the groom- the display of God’s unconditional, jealous love for us. We as the Church, the Bride- submissive and obedient to our Husband as a response to His great love. Then guys- you have crazy affection for your wife. A Godly, jealous affection. If your single, this applies to “future wife.” (Men, we still love, forgive continuously as we have been forgiven)
      Ladies your modesty is upmost for Christ your Eternal husband. Secondly, your earthly husband. To exalt Christ in marriage. Single women, the same applies to you. Trust me, you are serving your future husband in your modesty. In your covering you are most revealing. Revealing a love for a future husband who will be jealous for your body which you have gladly protected from others for him. Ultimately revealing a love for Christ who is Your Husband (Isaiah 54:5) and He will one day return for you (John 14:3). And you will be with Him forever. What great news, and an encouragement for those who may never enter marriage here on earth.

      I think this post did a great job confronting how men can justify lust. But i’m afraid some women, like Lauren, might read this and feel a pull away from their convictions. The truth is modesty convictions are more deeply rooted in the Gospel then just commandments. And I believe we should honor and encourage women who desire to respond in obedience

  13. Michelle B.

    I love this article. Although men and women have equal parts to play in all this, I honestly think that when women dress immodestly, they are like bait to men. I think this is why women get addressed first and most prevalently. One thing that I notice women saying is, “well I’m covered!”. But what some don’t realize, is that their clothes are so tight (even though everything is “covered”), it’s like the jeans are painted on. It leaves nothing to the imagination. Women on the worship teams is where I struggle the most. Thanks for the perspective, I’ve emailed this to my friend and my husband. Blessings!

  14. Pingback: “Immodesty and Lust: A Man’s Perspective” by Ike Miller | Matt Capps Blog

  15. Kate Hagel

    I really am encouraged by this article. I’m not sure what level of modesty we’re talking here, I believe that I dress in a non-provocative way. I don’t WANT to be the object of a man’s lust (except obviously within the healthy context of my marriage). But, what is so frustrating to me from the woman’s perspective is that I just want to scream, “I’m in here! Me! A REAL human being occupies this body!!”

    One piece that I feel was missing from your “tips” (though you kind of hinted at it in #3) is to look at the woman as a human being. A soul, created by God in his image, occupies this shell. See the woman, not just her exterior shell.

    Thank you for this perspective.

  16. Jenny

    My husband recently talked to my 10 year old son about how to keep oneself pure in a world of countless temptations. He gave him practical advice on averting eyes in certain situations. That night my son went to get his haircut and when he came home he commented to his dad about how the woman kept bending over in front of him to snip his hair and how he could see down her shirt and what to do about that. my husband was able to coach him on averting his eyes, looking at the ceiling, etc. Wish more boys were being coached on their responsibility in these situations.

  17. Miss Savoury

    I love this article sooo much!!! I dress modestly, but as a woman feel embarrassed when I know a guy is “looking” at me. It makes me sick. I feel sooo discouraged when I read articles or watch Christian videos how “men just can’t help it”…it makes me feel like putting on cloths that completely hide my figure. I want myself to be saved for me beloved only…sometimes I feel helpless against men, and it drives me nearly insane. Also, I want my future husband to be pure…and I am get worried after hearing over and over how “its just a part of life” guys lust after girls: end of story. There is a time for erotic pleasure…on your wedding night and until death do us part…but that is later. It makes me feel cheap when I hear the comment “guys only have one thing on their minds”. My view is then “we’ll then you’ll never get that thing from me…if that’s how you think about life”.
    Thank you for saying that not only can guys be pure, but they can walk in victory…it is REQUIRED of them. Thank you, thank you, thank you! Purity, saving any kind of sexuality for the wedding night is a beautiful and rare thing. I have so much to give, I only ask that he be pure…a man can unlock a woman’s heart by simply being honorable…I am so glad a man is calling it out on other men!!! Thank YOU SO MUCH.”

  18. MnM

    I’m glad that someone brought this up! Immodesty hurts, but it’s the heart that needs healing. Even using filtering software like Covenant Eyes only does so much, and even emphasizes how much the problem is in the heart. However, I have yet to hear about how a man can fight the temptation besides “doing better next time”. Prayer to God and confession to brothers is key, but what does one do to fight the lust?

    1. Ike

      MnM, thanks for your comment. Maybe I am reading between the lines too much, but it seems you are speaking more specifically to internet pornography. Obviously the issues are related, but fighting the temptations of each can differ. XXXchurch accountability software is a great resource, especially when your accountability is with someone you really don’t want to disappoint, like your spouse or a family member! I think it also important to remember that the issue of pornography is much larger than overcoming personal addiction. The Porn industry contributes directly to the problem of human sex trafficking. Men overcoming porn addiction contributes directly to defeating the demand that makes sex-trafficking a rampant issue. Defeating porn addiction is about more than a personal liberation, it is also about the liberation of women, girls and children from modern day slavery.

      I would be glad to offer further suggestions if you initiated the conversation by emailing me personally through Sharon’s blog.

  19. abov

    good article….i disagree with it however….women who are growing in Christ SHOULD be more modest…not necessarily because she does not want her “brother” to lust….but because her body is holy if she is in Christ and it belongs to her husband if she is married…..to dress immodestly with a stubborn heart, claiming there is freedom in Christ, is just as bad as the man that lusts after her…..its all heart issues. if a women in church is approached for dressing immodestly, im sure the ladies that approached her did it with a heavy heart…..its a tough subject to deal with. i feel this article gives Christian women permission to not have to deal with WHY she is dressing immodestly……is she seeking attention? does she think looking cute equates to showing too much skin or revealing certain body parts? When a woman’s heart is dissected, it might reveal more than just immodest dress- namley pride in her appearance, pride in looking “cute”, pride in the fact that she wears a size 0, or 2 or whatever number gives her validation. The issue of dress SHOULD be an issue that the church addresss….not necessarily to help men not lust.(but im’ sure will help men lust less)…but for women to seek the true issue of wanting to dress however she wants….im certain the root cause of immodest dress will inevitably be PRIDE!

    1. Ike

      abov, thank you for you comment! I actually agree with much of what you say here. my hope is that your disagreement is not so much with my content here but instead, with the fact that I did not direct an equal burden of responsibility to women to dress modestly. As I mention in the blog, there is certainly a place for that conversation, but unfortunately, space did not allow here. However, if I were to write a blog to address modesty, I would likewise treat it first and foremost as an issue of the heart. My main points here were to address a problematic notion (all men lust hopeless and helplessly) and an unbiblical and unjust habit of the church (shifting the primary blame and responsibility of male lust from a man’s heart to a woman’s body). Thank you again for your valuable contribution to this blog.

    2. Kelly K

      The issue of modesty is always talked about. Not once has women gives women permission to do anything. Why is it once someone talks to men about their part in these issues people automatically turn the full blame back on the women. You disagree that men should at any point in his entire life be responsible for his thought pattern? Why is it you think this issue is only a womans issue and never should men look to themselves?

  20. Gerardo Ortiz

    Thanks Ike for your insightful comments and for showcasing self-discipline as an important part of a man’s spiritual walk with Christ. You are right in saying we men think we are somehow justified in lusting after women as if it were their fault. It is not, it’s our sin. We need to continually repent of that.
    But I would like also like to point out that women modesty is explicitly mentioned in Scripture in 1 Tim 2:9. The context is that of the local church assembly (1 Tim 3:15) where men are instructed to pray with holy hands without strife (1 Tim 2:8) and women are instructed to dress modestly. Of all places, the local church is meant to be a place where women dress modestly.
    May the Lord bless your marriage. It is so nice to see you blessing others together.

    1. Ike

      Gerardo, thank you for your encouraging affirmation. You are absolutely right, my aim here is not to ignore or dismiss the texts that speak to modesty, and certainly not to dismiss any responsibility women have in the matter. As you show, the 1 Tim. passage provides instruction for orderly worship and community. What biblical texts on modesty do not seem to allow is the shift of blame, guilt and shame for men’s lust to women–making this point was my intent here.

  21. Jess

    This was great not only for understanding but for application for myself. Men aren’t the only one’s who struggle with lust and it is good to ask ‘why?’, for many areas of ones life.

  22. Tina

    I really appreciated the insights, Ike. Thank you. Men and women share in the responsibility. As women, we need to ask ourselves, “Why are we drawn to dressing immodestly?” There are plenty of comfortable, stylish and affordable clothes available that accentuate our femininity without compromising our integrity. Here’s to us all helping one another appreciate the beauty and strengths of the feminine and masculine natures of God and recognizing the gift of sexuality!

  23. Eli

    I’d like to humbly submit what I feel is an important distinction:

    1) Men have a seriously hardwired visually-driven attraction to the female form. This is not lust. This is a powerful mechanic that is very beneficial in the right context(ie. marriage). There are a lot of cute clothes that flatter/cling to the angles of a girl’s body in a way that really hits guys on a semi-subconsious level. Knowing clothing designers, I don’t think this is accidental.

    For me, it’s like a shot of adrenaline that goes down my spine that really wakes me up. (When I first notice a girl dressed in a way that trips my ‘woah baby’ trigger. This often happens *before* I’ve even consciously registered that there’s a person nearby.) I kinda resent this. When this happens, I feel the girl has shared something with me that she should be saving for her husband. I also hate being baited by something I can’t have.

    2) Lust comes in when you choose to feed your desire for that person and start consciously thinking/fantasizing about them in a sexual way. There’s definitely a mental shift at this point and you’re aware that you’re starting to feed your carnal nature. No man should have an excuse for going here.

    I’m really good at “averting my eyes” and all that shiznit. The problem is, if you’re going to dress like that, I can’t talk to you very naturally because you’re distracting as heck. I want to see you as a person, and you’ve made yourself a sexual object sprinkled with visual MSG.

    The point I’d like to see made is that if a girl wants to have nice, natural friendships with guys, then she should dress so she doesn’t keep triggering hormone rushes in every guy who looks at her. Where’s that threshold? I think from personal observation that most women know intuitively… it’s that extra level of cute/sexy that triggers the “wow girl” reflex.

    1. Ladybird

      Unfortunately for you, there will always be women who trigger your hormones, consciously or not (the same outfit can fit two women very differently, depending on her figure), so you’re going to have to learn how to deal with it like a grown up instead of blaming women for your inability to ignore your hormonal urges. I mean, if I can ignore the hormonal urge to act like a demon because I have PMS (I could happily club someone over the head until they die just because they exist during that time), why can’t you control yourself?

    2. Kelly K

      You need to read more. Because MOST OF THE ARTICLES Address only the women. never once the man. Open your eyes and search this issue in depth. You will finally realize that their is more people who hold women accountable. Less that hold men accountable. I really wish people would read more and realize that MEN ARE NOT BLAMED THE MOST. WOMEN ARE.

  24. Sarah

    I absolutely LOVE this. Thank you!!! I grew up with a wonderful, God-fearing father who did not view women as sexual objects, but as humans who deserved respect regardless of how they were dressed. As an adult, I am tremendously blessed to have married an AMAZING man of integrity who has a very healthy view of women (again, not as sexual objects, but sisters to protect). Unfortunately many of the “Christian circles” I grew up in taught that girls were responsible for the problem of lust, and that our bodies were a danger to men. It really messed me up for a long time. One thing that I was taught that will NOT be passed down to my daughters (if I have them someday) is the notion that we as women should dress modestly so as to “protect our brothers”. Women should dress in such a way that shows honor to the Lord, for HIS sake and no one else’s…not because our bodies are “too sexual”, as if somehow God messed up when He made us. I remember feeling so betrayed when I realized in high school that while I was dressing modestly to ‘protect’ my male friends, they were ogling the girls around us who dressed more immodestly and/or looking at porn in their free time. I certainly didn’t see my modesty as helping them, and it gave me a very warped view of the female body…besides that, our convictions should never be built around other people; they should be built on the Lord.

    Now, as a married woman, I dress fashionably modest (my husband’s words, not mine), but you’ll never see me in a potato sack attempting to hide the fact that I am a woman. One commenter above said, “there are a lot of cute clothes that flatter/cling to the angles of a girl’s body” like it was a bad thing. I believe clothes SHOULD “flatter” our bodies! I’m most certainly not going to flaunt my body (except for the rare occasion my husband asks I wear that one “little black dress” for date night, haha) – but I’m also not going to dress like I have the body of a 12-year-old boy. God made me a woman and I intend to dress like one – classy and feminine. As long as my husband approves and thinks I’m dressing modestly and honoring the Lord, what other men choose to dwell on is their responsibility.

    1. Eli

      What? I absolutely think those clothes are a good thing… I also think women should feel flattered when guys give them a second look.

      I was just trying to make a distinction between sexual attraction and lust.

      Don’t strawman me… we’re on the same page. I’m talking about clothes in the “little black dress” category. If I had used the word “flaunt” instead of “flatter” you would have been with me all the way.

  25. abov

    Can I also add…..that the woman you are referring to in your article, when approached, she appeared to become indignant and seemed to want an “ear” to vent her frustrations. I don’t know how your and your wife handled the situation with her, but it seems like you tickled her itching ears with “yeah, that is wrong. those men lusting because of your dress need to also be publicly shamed too”…..I would hope you did not cast blame on the men in her church in her eyes. She obviously is an immature Christian woman if she does not have the discernment to dress more modestly, not only for herself, but for others…and NOT out of legalism…but true Gospel centered conviction. If you tickled her ears and cast blame on the men, instead of addressing HER issues, then i feel that you cause more harm than good in helping this women to grow more Christ like. The fact that you are bringing it up here, on a public forum is great…..but it seems like you too quickly sided with the immodestly dressed women. What would “publicly shaming” the men for lusting after a women due to her dress look like? having them walk down the aisle? lol…..You dont think that men….who are obviously IN CHURCH are not privately struggling with Christian women IN CHURCH who are dressing immodestly already? New Christian men who are sincere about their faith and make an effort to want to stop seeing women as visual simulators, well dont you think they go to God with repentant hearts and maybe even go to their wives with their struggles? How do you think the women who approached this immodest women KNEW she was causing men to lust after her? Probably because the men were honest with themselves, with God and their wives. Again….it all goes back to WHY a woman wants to dress immodestly. I think Chase addressed it perfectly in his comment. BRAVO Chase!

    1. Ike

      abov, unfortunately, you are making a number of inappropriate and impossible assumptions that I did not suggest:

      1. That it was women who confronted her and not men.
      2. That these women who you assume confronted her were motivated by love and concern, not jealousy and spite.
      3. That our friend was dressed immodestly in the first place. I gave no indication as to how modestly or immodestly dressed she was.
      4. That she became indignant. I specifically state that she responded graciously and informed us she would gladly dress more modestly.
      5. That my wife and I did not attempt to speak in a balanced way both to the importance of her modesty and to men’s discipline.

      It seems you have embellished the illustration in a decidedly different light than the bare details of the story I provided. Also, it is not my intention to advocate for the public shaming of anyone, but only to say that the fact that men in general can place judgment on women for dressing in a way that causes men to lust, without there being any personal shame for their lust is a problematic tendency of the church.

      My intent here is not to make judgments about these men’s personal sincerity, but only to say that as a man myself, the idea of confronting a women about her immodesty comes with a sense of reticence and personal shame for having lusted in the first place. This, unfortunately does not seem to be a reality for the majority of the church.

      Finally, I am not passing judgment on anyone in the story. If anything, I am attempting in this post, to be on the side of men who are honest with themselves, God and their wives. My hope is that this post would give them hope for freedom from the mastery that lust often exercises over men.

      The reality is, even if we could convince every woman in the church to dress at an appropriate level of modesty, we men still live in a world where we will encounter immodesty every day. As a result, the only hope we men have is the Holy Spirit’s fortification of our efforts at self-discipline such that we are not subject to lust after every “immodest” woman we meet. Would you agree with this last paragraph? Thanks for the conversation!

  26. Sherry

    This is perfect for addressing the male side of lust. I do not think a woman should ever be corrected for her dress because a man lusted after her. That is HIS heart issue. However, on the other hand, Proverbs is full of the woman’s heart issue, of those who would be seductresses. Is her dress designed more to seduce her brother or to honor him.

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  28. Sharon

    This is very well written and timely! Ike articulates this issue very wisely; he should do more writing! Thank you for sharing these thoughts. May I copy them to paper for sharing with others, please?

  29. Joseph Steel

    Interesting subject. And some interesting takes on what is proper, or not proper.

    Just as non-believer do, believers can get involved in all sorts of seemingly relevant, but superficial right or wrong debates. The reality though is simply this … It’s a matter of growth in life — and that, more than anything else, is what fellowship between believers should focus on.

    If a believer constantly seeks to look to the Lord, this one will have access to the Lord’s overcoming strength. But none of us do, and that’s okay, because, when we fall (and we all fall) we can then know the Lord’s forgiveness.

    A believer’s only reason for our present being is to grow in Christ (growth in life), and God has chosen this world as the environment for our growth to take place in. And what we see and hear often influences for the way we conduct ourselves.

    Sure, we can try an use our learned morals and ethics to make choices, just like many non-believers do. But let’s not forget that the Tree of Knowledge included knowledge of … good … and evil. Therefore, when we try to make “good” choices, we often make these “good” choices out of our human nature, and not Christ. Which is pretty much just as sinful as making a “bad” choice.

    Rather than trying to justify being legal by coloring it as scriptural or other typical excuses that we really don’t have the spiritual measure to fully understand, what I’m learning is to develop a taste for life. That way, hopefully, I know when I’m in life, or, conversely, when I’m in death.

    Keep in mind that there are just two threads that everything written in scriptures are founded on — life and death. In the beginning there is life. Death then enters the picture, and throughout the scriptures there is an ongoing battle between the two. At the end of the scriptures only life is present.

    Looking at scriptures from this perspective keeps things fairly simple. Perhaps, instead of complicating things with human reasoning, we should just try and keep things simple.

    When a man looks at a woman in a certain way, does he know if he’s doing so in life or in death? And when a woman dresses herself, is she thinking she’s doing so in life or in death. That’s the only question any of us need to ask ourselves. And the best any concerned believer can do is help other believer grow in understanding of the two.

    Here’s an exercise … With a life or death perspective, read this blog again, along with all the comments, and see what view opens up to you.

    Proverbs 29:18… “Where there is no revelation (view), people cast off restraint.”

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  31. Joseph Skywalker

    Greetings, I am very familiar with this subject and I thank God that there are people who are also raising this grave issue that has eaten deep into the House of God. I wish i could put more into this post but i will like to point a few things: First of all, God himself created us wonderfully and in His image and so no, and i mean no part of the woman’s body (breasts, buttocks, size or anything) is lust inducing!!! in that were the case, then we will have a reason to blame God right?, the next thing like you rightly pointed out is that each and everyone of us is responsible for what we believe about the body and how it reflects in our perspective of the opposite sex. This does not mean that we are not sexual beings, because we are, God made us that way, but it is meant to be used for His glory. Regardless of the attire of the woman, if our hearts are converted to the righteousness of Christ and we see that sin does not come because of the body we are seeing but from our own self centered desire from a sinful heart, we can then see that everyone has a choice; treat her with respect or degrade/objectify her in one’s own heart. You will come to realize that many of the so called beliefs regarding men and women that the church has accepted are actually ‘learned’ because all around us (media) that same false message and zero accountability is repeated again and again. Even if a woman dresses ‘Modestly’, there will always be people who will still lust after that woman regardless because the old man of sin is still inside him. If there is one thing that really got my attention from the article is that when we keep assuming wrongly that men cannot help themselves because of lust, we are indirectly saying that the blood of Jesus Christ, His sacrifice and the truth from His word is not sufficient to defeat sin and renew our minds!!!! God will give us grace to seek the truth and expose sin for what it really is and that men and women will realize that we are responsible for our thoughts, intent and subsequently actions regardless of others. Shalom.

  32. Kaitlyn

    Ike,
    Could you identify the difference between being attracted to someone and lusting after them for us?
    I think people often get attraction confused with lust. And as a result beat themselves up constantly over something that they really have no control over (attraction).

    1. Ike

      Kaitlyn, thanks for the question. I apologize for taking so long to respond. I think a helpful, though not thorough distinction might be something like this: Attraction is about my appreciation of another’s beauty and the way in which it conforms to the ideal of beauty functioning in my mind. Lust goes beyond this appreciation to a sexually charged desire to dwell visually on them or even to acquire them for my own gratification.

  33. Breanna Northrup

    Thank you so much for saying this! For a while I have struggled with this. I felt everyone was telling me it was my fault if a man looked at me like a sexual object and I felt so horrible and felt like just as mainstream tells me my body is for lust as does the christian community and that I should wear everything covered up. And even thought I have heard woman talk about this, I have never heard/read a man saying this. I meant so much to me. I guess there are nice men out there.

  34. Emily

    Thanks so much for this. I particularly appreciate that you mentioned that the act of looking into a woman’s eyes makes it easier not to lust. This is practical, of course, but I like to think that looking a woman in the face acknowledges her personhood – and decreases the likelihood that you’ll use her or see her as anything other than Imago Dei.

  35. TheHelmsD

    It’s good to analyze this but I’d say its a pretty even split between guys and girls doing their part. Guys should keep their heart, minds, and eyes right…but so should a woman respect that. I think that is generally accepted way to put it…but no girls shouldn’t be Locked in towers and no guys are not pigs for looking at a woman…and if women want to understand men’s physical attraction just think of it kinda like women’s emotions, but physical…guys aren’t pigs for lookin at a girl (just keep it right between them and god) and girls aren’t all emotional wrecks (rely on god my people)….there are good and healthy parts to both and both need to be kept in check….

  36. del

    This was such a nice article. It’s refreshing, because I’ve grown up in the Church, and have always heard the argument that my clothes will cause my brother to sin. I’ve always found that a bit unfair. In bible school, we were constantly lectured about our jeans, not allowed to wear tank tops or skirts above the knee because we are disrespecting our brothers and causing them to sin. Like it’s OUR responsibility for THEIR hearts. Yes, as the Body of Christ, we should uphold one another the standards of Jesus, and no, I should not willingly place anyone in the way of sin.
    However, I am so tired of being shamed because I am a woman and men just can’t help themselves.

    Modesty should not be addressed with men at the heart of the message either: modesty is all about self-worth. Does the woman see herself as God sees her? If she knows her value is in the Lord, and she understands how God sees her, her dress will be fitting to that.

    GOD should be my reason for modesty, and not MEN.

  37. Jessie

    I have a question, Ike. I am a teenage girl, and was recently reprimanded for “immodesty” at my church camp. Apparently some of the younger guys were talking about me and a friend disrespectfully, so my friend and I were pulled aside and sort of shamed. How can we go about this when it is young teenage guys? Is there a way to do it respectfully and in a Christly manner? Thank you:)

    1. Ike

      Hi Jessie, I am so glad you commented on this post, I hope you still get this! I work as a high school small group leader in my church and so the teenage struggle with issues of lust and modesty are very important to me. It is where the rubber meets the road, if you will.

      The difficulty at your age is that boys level of maturity often has not caught up to the intensity of the hormones coursing through their bodies and so the suggestion to “discipline your minds” often falls on deaf ears (but not always). More importantly, it is difficult to reason with them about disrespect because it is a teenage boys dream for an attractive girl to think about him the way he thinks about her.

      At the same time, teenage girls do not often fully understand their bodies or the extent of boys physical struggle with it.

      With that said my response is two-fold. 1) we as youth pastors and small group leaders need to do a better job helping young men to understand “disrespect” and why it is a problem to look at and treat teenage girls as purely physical objects. We also need to do a better job of teaching young women about both the power of their bodies, (which I write about here: http://www.christianitytoday.com/women/2013/july/mans-perspective-history-of-lust.html) and how to conduct themselves in ways that fit God’s good intentions for them (dressing in ways that demonstrate and promote your self-respect without at the same time tarnishing or diminishing your individual expression–you are not a copy of someone else, we are all original creations).

      2) secondly, although many have read this article as placing the blame all on men, your situation is an excellent example of the imbalance I would like to correct. I have no idea what you were wearing or why it was considered immodest, but it sounds like you were confronted and the boys were not. That is the kind of blame-shifting that is problematic. These conversations are never fun, but if they are going to take place, as they did with my friend, it ought to be done justly and fairly.

      Finally, I think language is important. You do not bear full responsibility for their disrespectful talk, if at all, and in this conversation you should not be made to feel as if it is.

      I hope this is helpful, please let me know if I can answer any more questions or clarify anything! Thank you so much for writing!

      1. Jessie

        That did help a lot. Thank you! I also appreciate how you talked about both the male and female roles in these situations. A lot of what I have heard lately is “It’s his fault” or “it’s her fault”. It’s encouraging hearing your words of (in a manner of speaking) “it’s everyone”.

        Is there anything (besides encouraging myself and my sisters in Christ to dress more modestly) that I can do to help and possibly cut down on these situations that have a tendency to hurt people’s feelings?

        Thank you again, for not only writing this article, but replying to my question! I appreciate it VERY much. God bless you!

  38. Kevin

    There is an important element missing from this conversation. As a married man I struggle with lust continually. A hugecontributor to this is a lack of satisfaction in my marriage. My wife shows a near total lack of interest in sex. In addition both my wife and many other women I observe seem to drop the ball maintaining their attractiveness for their husbands. When a husband is dissatisfied with an overweight spouse he is typically demonized as
    shallow and unspiritual. Where is the call to accountability for wives to make sure their husbands are satisfied at home?

    1. Melanie

      Kevin, unfortunately for you, there is no such command in the Scriptures for wives to meet a certain weight requirement or “attractiveness” for their husbands. The face that a husband is “dissatisfied with an overweight spouse” shouts from the rooftops that he does not love her as Christ loves the church (which is YOUR commandment, by the way). Your responsibility is to lead your wife, primarily by being an EXAMPLE of Christ’s love to her. My guess is that, most likely, you don’t make her feel very beautiful and that she KNOWS you are dissatisfied with her. Now you tell me, why would ANY woman want to have sex with a man who finds her both unattractive and unsatisfying? You need to take a serious look at the issues in your own heart (which is exactly the “element” present in this article) and see the very strong need for attention and growth in the areas that seem to obviously immature. You’re a perfect example of what Ike is discussing. Blame is shifted to your wife and you are shaming her when in reality it is a drastic deficit in your own heart that needs the work. You work on yourself and show your wife love AS CHRIST LOVES THE CHURCH and I guarantee you, she will start to come around.

      1. Kevin

        @Melanie- You miss the main point and make a lot of incorrect assumptions. Main point- a man that has his needs met at home is less prone to being tempted by other women. 1 Cor 7:5 “Do not deprive each other…so that Satan will not tempt you…”. Regarding sin and self control, you want to condemn me for difficulty in keeping a natural appetite for sex in check (lust) but want to give a pass to women for not keeping their appetite for food in check (gluttony). As for my personal situation, availability is the primary issue. From the FIRST MONTHS of our marriage my wife rarely made herself available. Way before she was overweight. I thought she was gorgeous but she never seemed to have time for intimacy. She never missed an episode of the Bill Cosby Show, however! When advances were continually rebuffed, I did not want to beg, and I did not want to force her to partake in something she didn’t want to participate in. I was not interested in “pity sex” or “duty sex”- I wanted a WILLING partner for MUTUAL enjoyment. The rejection cooled the passion toward my wife, and in self-protection I began stifling thoughts of her as a sexual partner- “expect nothing and you won’t be disappointed”. Unfortunately, the hormones and myriad tantalizing women have never gone away. I’ve never been with another woman, but with Jesus’ definition of fantasizing being adultery, I am a repeat offender.

        You also have no idea of the degree of difficulty men face in this. I see stunning women all the time (whose beauty is God’s artistry, not something perverse) and must shut down the natural reaction to admire and desire them. As I am expected/ conditioned to become dead to the most beautiful of women, are you expecting a frumpy lumpy indifferent wife to quicken my pulse? A husband should have realistic expectations, but every wife should make a reasonable effort to be pleasing and engaged. Back to the appetite correlation, if you lived between a classy bakery and a gourmet restaurant with tantalizing odors wafting about constantly, how excited and content would you be with a bowl of porridge for every meal, every day? No, wait- you only get the porridge a few times a year.
        Again, you do not appreciate the challenge- it would be like me, a man, berating you for being so emotional, especially around that time of the month. If you just tried harder, you could be even-keeled, rational and 100% pleasant all the time, right?
        If I were half the jerk you assume I am, my marriage would not still be intact. In reality, I muddle through as best as I can, love my wife in spite of the situation, but fail often, which definitely strains my relationship with God.

        1. Esther

          @Kevin
          I agree with justin. I aalso think you and your wife should go to a Christian marriage counseling. Praying for you and your wife…

        2. Susan

          Kevin, you have my sympathies in this situation. It is important for us to be reminded that we need to meet our husband’s needs in this area, and that not doing so can make his battle more difficult, just as Paul said.
          I agree that counseling would be good for you and your wife. It’s very possible she is not aware of how her behavior is affecting you (and possible you have behaviors that are affecting her as well). I wish you the best.

    2. justin

      In connection to your dissatisfaction you and your wife need to read 1 Cor7:1-5. Realize your are disobeying God and seek wise council through a godly mentor couple.

  39. jb

    I very much agree that men need to take responsibility for their thoughts and take a serious look at thier problems. Just because we’re “wired this way” doesn’t mean we are powerless to do anything about it. If we have no desire to change, that’s a major problem. At the same time, it would be ridiculous to think that we ought to be able to go to a nudist colony and only look at peoples faces.
    Most of you must come from more “conservative” churches. Mine isn’t liberal by any means, but it is casual. I can’t remember a single time female modesy has been addressed in 10+ years. Maybe it’s talked about in women’s groups, but it isn’t in the full congregation. There are regular mentions of pornography problems and how to get help with that. I think BOTH men and women need to take a serious look at themselves and the “other side”. In my church, there are some highly “fashion conscious” women who wear what I would say 20 years ago would be something you would only see in a dance club. At some point of immodesty, the clothing is simply not appropriate for a Christian. But that line seems to be moving right along with the culture. Everyone is desensitized to how much we’re showing and seeing.
    Men ask yourselves “am I honoring God and being faithful to God and my spouse/future spouse”? Women ask yourselves “what is my motivation for wearing this?”
    I like to say that your body belongs to God, yourself, and your husband/wife (or future h/w) ONLY. Showing too much (skin or shape) is like giving it away to the whole world. Looking too much is stealng it. Is that what you want to do?

  40. Hal

    It is a simple thing to do. Spend more time in God’s Word. From front to back. I offer this though. Read Psalm 27:1-17 to start in KJV.

  41. Monna

    Loved this post from a male perspective! When my husband and I got married, we addressed this topic thoughtfully. He has gone out of his way throughout our marriage to avoid looking at women in any way but respectfully and as a friend.
    I can’t even begin to describe how much confidence I have in his love and fidelity as a result.
    He considers it his responsibility to keep his eyes and heart focused in the right direction. I have a lot of friends who wish their Christian husbands would do as much.
    Thanks for the thoughtful post! We need to be willing to talk about these topics honestly and openly.

  42. Roy

    First, let me say i have not taken the time to read ALL of the replies ahead of mine, so I apologize in advance if I repeat something others have said. Ike, I agree with you that men NEED to take responsibility for their own actions, thoughts, etc. I agree that men have been allowed for far too long to play the “victim” card as if they are without sin and culpability. I agree with the practice of looking a woman in the eyes (for multiple reasons I have seen listed above), and have read (and struggled to emulate) the book “Every Man’s Problem” from the “Every Man” series by Arterburn and Stoeker (highly recommend). However, I need to also point out the role of women in this issue. No, I’m not going to preach about women wearing or not wearing certain articles, types, or lengths, etc of their clothing. My concern, as a man who is in CONSTANT struggle with lust (mostly due to prior & current derogatory sin patterns for which I am constantly seeking God’s help to overcome), is that it seems that women, especially younger women, don’t seem to either know, understand, or possibly even care what struggles men are dealing with. Christian young women are warned to “dress modestly”, “cover up”, “don’t be a temptation”, etc, but are never given true Biblical principle and/or practical reasoning and/or instruction as to the multiplicity of the sin of lust. And, I will admit, if they were truly given ALL the underlying information, they would probably give up leaving their house altogether. (hahaha) But our society is continually bombarding women (and men obviously) with the issue of their sexuality, attractiveness, and desirability — which they are told HINGES on their looks, weight, and clothes. It is natural for a woman to want to be attractive — even if only for their own self-confidence let alone trying to find a life-partner. However, it seems to me that younger women are NOT being taught AT HOME what modesty means for them — both as a woman in general and as a CHRISTIAN woman — in the society around them. Too often they are given basic “guidelines” which seem arbitrary at best and possibly even repressive to a woman’s attractiveness. Why aren’t we teaching our daughters (I speak as a father of a young daughter) and sons the definition of true beauty through the pursuit of God’s approval rather than man’s? Why are we not telling them what kinds of sin are pervasive in today’s society — both in men and women — so they are not thrust into society as innocent lambs to the wolves? Why do we allow corrupt influences — including television, movies, schools, and even friends, etc — to “teach” our sons and daughters the intricacies of human nature, rather than “train up a child in the way he should go”? I could go on into specific circumstances where good, Godly young women — from good, Godly families with good, Godly fathers and mothers — have become a distraction and even a temptation for me (as well as others I’m sure) simply because they DON”T know, understand, or seem to care how others (especially men) are affected by what they wear. Don’t get me wrong, i understand my own sin, my own responsibility, and my own culpability, as well as the temptations that are associated with them. However, I feel frustrated when i enter what should be a “safer” environment, such as church or small group meetings, and am confronted again with too much skin, or too little fabric, etc. This issue ALWAYS raises a circular argument, so it will most likely never be resolved. My only desire here is to encourage PARENTS of both boys and girls, of both young men and young women, and even of adult children to teach them, talk with them, train them in God’s ways…and when they are old, they will have the understanding necessary to not depart from your Godly training.

  43. Lori Jeffries

    Thank you so much. You are right, women do need to dress in a modest manner, but this is only part of the equation and probably the least important part. In a world, that by in large, could care less about dressing modestly, I think this word is all the more important.

  44. Geoff

    Here’s a “thread necro” for you: back from the dead after three months!

    Thanks for the insightful post here — we men certainly can and should do better, if we are indwelt with the Spirit of Christ.

    Our nation has been coopted by the Enemy, and that ancient enemy has turned America into a nest of ambient pornography. It is quite literally inescapable — last night I went to “Despicable Me 2” with my wife, and one of the previews included a woman gyrating in what amounted to underwear … before a G-rated film (my wife says the woman’s name is Beyoncé). I turned my back to the screen until she let me know it was over, but I have to say — it made me fighting mad. The war is literally EVERYWHERE.

    But just because the war is everywhere doesn’t mean we should stop fighting it.

    Thanks again.

  45. Lori Williams

    I agree with what you are saying. Putting all the blame on the woman does seem to take away the responsibility from the men. My ex husband would look at other women all the time and in his mind, he was just being a “normal” man. He thought I was the one with the problem for not accepting him that way. I tried to get him to understand that when he ogled other women, it not only made me feel terrible about myself, it was disrespectful! I would like to take a moment to address the issue of a woman dressing “modestly”. While I certainly agree we should, modesty is in the eye of the beholder! How do we know what is “modest”?

  46. Al Miller

    We are called to magnify Christ in our bodies. If this is what we are doing the other issues are dealt with by definition: male and female.

  47. Darwin Perkins

    Ok, Sometimes this old world victorian “modesty” gets to me in the wrong way.
    I feel that we spend much too much time defining modesty in terms of someone else rather than in an internally consistent, loving fashion. Let me illustrate: “Who determines modesty?”

    It appears to me that the issue is not immodesty, but rather, who is “allowed” to determine what modesty is.

    At the base is that fundamental question.

    If you say that people viewing a woman determine if she is immodest, then I suggest that even a fully veiled woman in a burka could be (and has been) determined by some to be immodest.

    If you maintain that it is not the reaction to the dress, but the wearer who determines the level of modesty, you may be closer to the heart of the matter.

    So, let’s take this to the logical end. If a woman fully covered by a burka can act or be perceived as immodest, can then a woman, fully unclothed, act or be perceived as modest?

    Again, I submit that it depends on the viewpoint. I know many women who, dressed or undressed would choose to act and carry themselves modestly.

    I also know may people, male or female, who love to judge everyone on a standard that they personally can never live up to.

    On a beach, is a bikini modest or immodest? Does the size of the suit matter? How about topless on a beach in Southern France? How about nothing at all at the Club Orient on Saint Maarten?

    Were natives on Tonga immodestly dressed when “christians” arrived and put clothes on them?

    I’m reminded of a picture of a conservative rally, a very large gathering, where a few women painted themselves in latex in the American flag. they wore only latex paint… There were no sleezeball comments, no attempted rapes, no quick grabs, in fact, they were closely guarded and protected by the adult males in the crowd as they moved through just to be sure that the more adolescent-minded among them kept themselves in check. Contrast that with any of the “Occupy” rallies where there were always attempted rape reports, harassment, and simply poor public manners. Is perhaps, the comportment and personal actions as important, or even more important, than what pieces of cloth cover which portions of the body?

    Can someone go to church in a swim suit? Of course, Is that immodest or immoral? That’s frankly not your call. The important thing is that they decided to come to church, not what they chose to wear. Never forget that in your quest for personal perfection.

    I submit to you that if your reaction to how a woman dresses is your definition of modesty, you may want to rethink your concept of your sisters in the gospel since that should include every woman in the world…

    So, What is Modesty? Is it how she/or feels about herself and how they choose to present themselves, both body and mind, to the world? Or does it become defined through the jealousy, lust, or Ill-ease that someone may “feel” when they look at a woman, regardless of what she is wearing?

    I think far too many “good Christians” believe their interpretation of “right”, “moral”, “modest”,”correct”, “circumspect”, and perhaps even “righteous”, is the only acceptable interpretation. Otherwise why would they consign every other living being that doesn’t attend their version of the church services in their chosen sect to hell, past, present and future?

    You know the Bible says, “Judge not that you be not judged.” But the next verse is seldom quoted: “For with that same judgement yea shall be judged.”

    So, what is Modesty?

  48. Gwen Williams

    I read your article…as a person that was married to a womanizer and my stepfather was a womanizer I can understand your point of view….however, I agree that women should dress more modestly to show respect for themselves as well as others. On the other hand, if a husband truly loves his wife and has respect for her I think he should want to show the discipline that is spoken of and try to avoid situations that may place them in harms way. Sometimes, it doesn’t matter what someone is wearing that causes people to lust and desire another person sometimes it is just they refuse to resist. People will sometimes do things to get those reactions because they have a low esteem of themselves because like myself, we feel belittled by our spouse and want someone to make us feel beautiful. I do not dress in that manner mostly because I am too old to and also because I am already too self conscious because of the results of breast cancer and I know that what happened with me also happens to a lot of others both male and female. Our society as a whole determines results based on the physical rather than the internal, spiritual attributes. Even though I won the battle with cancer, I lost the battle for my marriage on many different levels. The blame of lust lies with all of us. And all of us need to deal with it and go before God to seek forgiveness and ask for his strength to fight it.

  49. Steve Picray

    I agree that the responsibility lies with both sides: the men are responsible to deal with our problem of lust, and the women are responsible to not be a stumbling-block. I would only add that I really appreciate the women in my church who dress modestly so that I am not distracted while trying to worship. I know I’m going to be bombarded all week in public by challenges to my purity, but it is nice to have a safe place at church where I can let my guard down a little and not have to fight so hard against the temptation to lust. I appreciate my sisters who understand this and don’t dress immodestly.

  50. darkgrayknight

    Thanks for this post. It is encouraging to read that there is hope to move on from lust and not just hear it’s every man’s problem. I’ve had plenty of struggles in this area and still need to be mindful of those three questions you noted. Since we cannot control the world, learning how to have self-control in the area of lust is very important. I also agree that women still need to dress modestly, as that is what scripture directly mentions.

  51. Claire L. Duffle

    Thank you for posting this!!! I’m kind of sick of the whole “boys will be boys” dialogue that’s been going on, and also of the reaction some women have to the whole debate. Both sides have gone to the extreme of either blaming the other gender totally (the men), or saying “I’m going to wear whatever I want and flaunt it!” (the women). Not all of course; but a very vocal few. And we all know what happens when the vocal and persuasive few start talking; others who are impressionable (esp. teens and young adults) start to follow. It seems so obvious to me what happens when the blame is placed on only one gender; that gender ends up victimized no matter how hard they try to follow the rules (i.e., Muslim cultures where women are continually shamed and punished when they are raped, even though they are usually as covered as they could possibly be, among others). It’s definitely a heart issue. We keep trying to put band-aids on our culture, rather than reaching out to those around us and affecting heart change. Discipleship (and mentoring, as you mentioned) are more effective and long lasting than rules will ever be, and create better people, because they are after God’s heart and weighing everything against that, not some pseudo-Biblical-but-I-added-a-few-extra-policies rules someone created.

    I also might add that refocusing the modesty debate to responsibility of men as well as women not only means men have to take more responsibility, but that means that we should all see men as who they are created to be in Christ, as human beings too. If I were a man, that would be offensive to me, because I’d feel treated as less than human myself. I’d feel like it was more of a put-down than an excuse. I’d want to say, “Hey! I’m capable of more than that people!” Beyond just holding our men to higher standards and expecting more, I believe that by looking at my own husband as a wonderful creation of God and a human being, I’m letting him know that I admire him as a person and a man and a leader and all those things, rather than just holding him to that higher standard and having only expectations. I think it should not only be about the higher expectations, but about seeing men also as a person made in God’s image.

    I hope this makes sense. Thank you again for this fantastic article. This really brings a refreshing side to the debate.

  52. Caleb Frink

    I read through this blog post as somebody who is burdened for purity in men. I agree whole heartedly with you Ike, in your very most basic premise (as I understood it) that no matter what a woman wears, men are still responsible for their thoughts. It makes me sick when I hear men (sometimes Christian ones) say things like, “There is nothing wrong with doing a little window shopping” or “It’s ok to look as long as you don’t touch.” Comments like that are absolute lies, and frankly have no place in the life of a Christian. No matter what a woman is wearing, it is still our responsibility as godly men to discipline our minds to look away when necessary, and to train our eyes about where and where not to look. However, I was somewhat frustrated with some of the things that were said in the article, as I felt they didnt accurately approach the reality of the situation that godly men all over the world face. I do want to acknowledge that I don’t know all the ins and the outs of the situation, merely what was written in the original post, so I may make assumptions here that are wrong. If I do so, please understand, my intent was not in anyway malicious.
    Firstly, I noticed that it was said that there were men in the church that were struggling with her dress. Now I have no idea what the attitude was in the approach that was made to her, if it was gracious and loving, or judgmental or condemning, or whether it came from leadership in the church, or come through as a form of gossip. It just struck me though that it was men (I am assuming more than one). That would seem to me to indicate that there probably was some issue with what she was wearing, that it was causing a means of temptation to these men. I don’t mean that to sound judgmental, I have no idea what clothing she was wearing, but if there was more than one man struggling with the way she was presenting herself, than chances are that something was wrong there.
    Secondly, what probably frustrated me the most about the article, was this seeming implication that if a man is “struggling” with lust, that means that he is embracing his carnal desires and making no effort to change. The article said, “there seemed to be no corresponding “rehabilitation” required for these men who, apparently, struggled with lust.” Let me just say that struggling with something is absolutely not the same thing as embracing your sin. Dictionary.com defines struggle as, “to contend with an adversary or opposing force.” That is exactly what happens with godly men in regards to lust and the things in their minds. They must contend every day with this carnal sin nature, and must battle to keep our bodies and minds under submission. Even the Apostle Paul talks about the struggle it was to keep his body under submission. (I Cor. 9:25-27) There is no doubt about it, that every man in this world is confronted with the temptation of lust – some men embrace it, and some men struggle with it. For some the struggle is short until there is victory, for others it can be long and discouraging…especially when you come to what should be a safe haven (worshiping at church) and there are still temptations literally right in your path. I believe wholeheartedly that for men to win the victory over lust in their lives, they MUST have accountability, and yet men are afraid to get that accountability, for this very reason, they are afraid that they will be judged for this sin that they are STRUGGLING with. They desperately want to win the victory, but they are afraid that they will be looked down on or scorned for even having a difficulty in this area. I am not suggesting in anyway that we coddle these men, or tell them that it is ok, lust is just part of being a guy, however, we must acknowledge that this is a sin that is common to man (I Cor. 10:13) Again, I don’t know all the specifics of this situation, but it really bothers me when somebody is truly struggling (contending with) a specific sin, whether it is lust, or anger, or foul language, and we take a pious and judgmental stance with them, when in reality, although we may not “struggle” with those sins, I guarantee there is some other sin that we are, or should be struggling with and against.
    My last frustration with this article, may be somewhat more off the wall, but it is just the unique way in which my mind works. Again, my intention is not to offend people, if I do I apologize, I am simply suggesting another perspective with which to view it. It is pretty well acknowledged that for men they are heavily influenced by physical and specifically visual attraction, and for woman, they are heavily influenced by emotional attraction. As a married man, I know that to attract my wife, it isn’t primarily about (lucky for me) looking good, but about doing things for her. To continue to woo and pursue her (which is another topic for another day) I must do things for her – write her notes, get her flowers, jewelry, cook her dinner, etc. Now, as I was thinking about this article over the past couple days, a new scenario played out in my head. What if a man bought roses for a married woman (not his wife) and bought her jewelry, and cooked dinner for her, and wrote her notes? What if that man caused that married woman to fall in love with him? The two do not have a sexual relationship, but in their hearts they begin an “emotional affair.” The woman, who perhaps is married to a busy man who “doesn’t have time” for her or the kids, begins to wonder what it would be like to be married to this new man. She thinks often about how good it feels to be with someone who notices and appreciates her. Who is at fault? Many people would say that it is the fault of the man, because he enticed or seduced her, that he “played with her heart.” We would tend to sympathize with the woman, and although we would acknowlege her sin, we would be more quick to point the finger at the man and accuse him of seducing her. Is that really consistent though?
    In regards to modesty, I don’t believe any specific type of clothing is sinful for woman to wear, it all has to do with context and wear you are wearing that clothing and who is seeing you in that clothing. Solomon said in Ecclesiastes 3 that there is a time and place for everything. There is nothing sinful about giving gifts of roses and jewelry and of writing notes, but again it is all about context. Just as we would clearly recognize that it is wrong for a man who is not her husband to be giving a married woman gifts of flowers and jewelry, so we must recognize that it is wrong for a woman to dress in such a way that would tempt a man to think about her as only a husband should. Just as we would (rightfully) give that man a share of the blame for causing that woman to be a part of an emotional affair, so we must also give immodestly dressed woman a share of the blame for causing that man to stumble – whether intentionally or unintentionally.
    I Thessalonians 4:4 commands every one of us to “possess his vessel in sanctification and honor.” I believe that possessing your vessel is a two-fold process. Firstly, and obviously, you must be careful about what you allow to go into your vessel – you must guard yourself against impurity. For men, that definitely means being vigilante against lust, and guarding what thoughts we allow to enter our minds. For woman, it means to protect yourself from giving your heart to someone who is not your husband. However, I think possessing your vessel also means to be very careful about who you offer your vessel to – men, don’t you dare take advantage of a woman’s emotions and play her for your own selfish ends. Ladies, don’t tempt us guys with your bodies, just because you enjoy being noticed, and feeling attractive – because many of us, men and woman alike, are struggling with some sin, and we desperately want to win the victory over it, but it just makes it all the more dificult when somebody throws a temptation in our way.
    I apologize that this became so long, and again, my intention was not to offend in any way, however this was something that really burdened me. Ike, if you have any questions for or comments for me, please feel free to email me!

  53. Ash

    Good article.
    As a woman, I’ve always tried to dress modestly – less to keep my brothers from stumbling than simply for the sake of modesty itself. It wasn’t till I met and became good friends with young men who struggled with lust issues that I thought of it any other way. And since then, most of those young men have gone on to overcome those issues. It’s not because the women around them started wearing more, it’s because they prayed, fought, begged God’s help, and ultimately won. Recently one of them mentioned that he has a hard time doing his job (a visual search of a person for security check) when a woman is dressed immodestly, because he’s spent so much time drilling it into his head that he’s to look at her eyes not her body.
    Guys don’t need girls to save them from themselves. A little help might be nice, but ultimately it’s up to them.
    As far as modesty goes, I think those that preach it should focus less on “helping our brothers” and more on “you don’t have to show off your body to be worth something, to find a guy, or to fit in.” Modesty’s more of an image issue.

  54. Justin Ryan Boyer

    Ike – Thanks for manning up and writing this. My wife had a similar thought a few months ago that she shared with me. I’m glad something was put out there publicly and that it was from a man.

  55. Jorge

    thank you for addressing this issue. My family and I left a Southern Baptist church in which we were very active members and part of leadership for 11 years, in part due to this problem of immodesty. As a deacon, I (and my wife) approached the Pastor, assistant Pastor and youth Pastor about this problem. Their answers: (Pastor) “I’d rather err on the side of liberty, rather than legalism.” “The verses in Timothy are not addressing what you are talking about.”
    (Asst. and Youth Pastors) “We can’t preach about this because we have to be careful not to offend people.”
    We made it clear that we were talking mainly about those in positions of leadership. Sunday school teachers bare their breast, worship leaders “worshipping” God while revealing their wares and parading miniskirts!
    All we wanted was for someone to have the courage to preach the whole counsel of God. There are those in ministry positions posting pictures on social media scantily clad, kissing vodka bottles, parting in clubs and pretending to have sex with statues and when this things were brought to the Pastors attention, he snickered and sort of dismissed the whole thing. I was labeled a legalist. Oh man…the frustration. Some teenage boys expressed to me and others that the manner some of the females, young and older ,dressed in church was a stumbling block to them.
    I brought this up in a deacons meeting that was addressing one of those teenage boys who had a sexual impropriety and how we could help him recover. I said we can begin by addressing the problem of immodesty in our church. The Pastor was livid. “We’re talking about a brother who had a sexual downfall and you’re bringing up immodesty. You’re always bringing that up!” (I don’t understand that logic)
    “It’s connected. He has expressed a problem with immodesty in our church that causes him to stumble.” I replied. “Give me the pulpit for one Sunday. I’ll preach on the subject if no one else is willing.” His response: “You’ll never step on that pulpit again!”
    I can’t wrap my head around this.

  56. Patsy H

    Thank you so much for addressing this. There are other issues that I have noticed and experienced where the women was confronted or a sermon preaced directed at the women only. The mens side of the issue is never brought up. Thank you so much for your input.

  57. Jazmine

    Dear Mr. Ike, I couldn’t agree with you more about this is a both way fail. The women dress in a no modest to call and some times, women attention, the men has sin in their heat that drives them to lust. Women don’t dress unappropriated just because they do, they do with a purpose. I was in the world, I dressed like that, I know what I wanted. I saw myself as regular women dressing regularly, but the intention of my heart was other. I don’t doubt that when a women dress with low top, or higher skirt they do it as not trying to get the man eyes. Sorry, but when we go there, we know the reasons. Another thing: Why they have to dress like they are going to a bar when they go to church? it used to be the place that you came to focus on the Word of God, and learn the way that you will live your life through the week, now, you see women in the churches dressing like they are going to a party, a bar, a worldly place…. It is not about being legalistic, it is about what they will do if they both, man and women, were standing in front Jesus?. Christiany is sliding from what God intended to be, and the results are an easy believing church. Now women don’t dress skirt because they want to be rebellious, you don’t see a different between man and women in the church. I alwasy say: when man stop ussing the pants (and I mean in many ways), women stop using skirt. Think about it. It is not why is right in their eyes, but who is doing what is right in God’s eyes. No one. So, ladies, start dressing properly. Man start turning your eyes to God. Both, don’t make excuses!

  58. Dan Schoeffel

    Ike:
    As it sounds you know the Scriptures quite well, I believe you know this, but I looked for it in your blog: the only way for any of us, men or women, to “free and renew ourselves from the possessive oppression that lust exercises upon OUR minds” is to daily go to the cross of Christ and drink in richly the heart-changing and empowering forgiveness Christ so richly gives to us there (Gospel). There is a plethora of “how-tos” (Law) out there on fighting lust, but very few recommendations for the empowering of the Gospel. I am part of a group of people trying to do this in this very battle. Check out http://conquerorsthroughchrist.net/

  59. Dan Hock

    Being a man that struggles with this I agree 100%. However, I also look to the Bible where it says to not be a stumbling block to another Christian. These women dressing immodestly are not only being a stumbling block to Christian men, but also to non-Christians that will not become Christians because the women do not follow what is preached.

  60. Mark Buzard

    If a woman is dressed modestly, a man’s glance isn’t as apt to fall elsewhere on her body…. is there any other reason for a woman to wear blouses that have cleavage or worse, her breasts showing, than for attention…… and whose attention? Not women’s, unless they are lesbians….this article is ok, though it seems to try to put it all on the man. A good question is why do Christian women want to show cleavage or more, who do they want skirts or shorts that show more than they cover? And why cover up to answer the door at home when they wear the same thing to the beach, just a different color?

  61. Derrick

    This is an excellent article! Thank you Ike for taking the time and risk to put yourself out there! I can imagine many men would rebel against this!!!

    Thank you!

  62. Dwight Gingrich

    There are so many good thoughts both in your original article, Ike, and also in the comments. Truly this is an issue where we each must bear our own responsibility. Thanks for bravely speaking to the subject!

    That said, I have a question: Is desire the same as lust? Isn’t there a difference between the God-given joy that a man finds in the beauty of a woman’s body and the lust that tries to illegitimately own the body of someone to whom he is not married? I ask this because sometimes it seems like the call for men to control their lust (or to overcome it, be freed from it), depending how it is expressed, feels like a condemnation of the God-given desire a healthy male feels for a woman’s body. I think Jesus draws this distinction in the Sermon on the Mount. I am told by exegetical scholars that Jesus condemns looking for the purpose of actively lusting, not the initial automatic response of joy when the beauty (illegitimately seen) is observed.

    In practice, this means that I don’t feel guilty when I experience that initial response of attraction at the sight of an inadequately-covered woman. Rather, I tell myself that this means my response are working as God designed them to work! Then I also–quickly, by God’s grace–remind myself that this particular display of beauty (whether visible to my eyes or only triggered in my imagination) was not designed for my pleasure, since the woman in question is not my wife. (I write as a blessedly married man.) From that moment on, I must actively bear responsibility to cooperate with the Holy Spirit in maintaining pure thoughts and actions.

    Again, I say all this because sometimes the talk about men needing to control their lust feels to me as if it is a subtle condemnation of the God-given desires a healthy male should bear. It is as natural and as good for a man’s body to respond with anticipation toward the revelation of a woman’s body as toward the aroma of a good steak dinner. In both cases, to experience no response of desire means that something good has died inside the man. And–which is your point–in both cases the man must control his appetites by the grace of God and not become a fornicator or a glutton.

    The difficulty that we men face, of course, is that the general unclothing of women in our society means that our good desires are being stimulated overtime, calling for the exercise of far more self-control than God ever designed us to have to use. Given our own fallenness, this difficulty is multiplied. This calls for miraculous grace–and let us never forget that it is possible to live in victory! But for a woman to voluntarily dress immodestly is as unkind to a man as it would be for a cook to intentionally tempt someone who is fasting with a table richly spread with an inviting feast. For her to turn around and then condemn the fasting man for desiring would not only multiply the unkindness, but also insult the Creator of physical hunger.

    I have one more related concern. I suspect that the undressing of our culture, the growing assumption that nakedness is normal, and the related assumption that any response of sexual desire to that nakedness is a sign of moral failure all contribute to the growth of same-sex desire. For some, the constant display triggers constant, overwhelming heterosexual desire; for others, it seems to leave them bored and deadened–what is not secret is no longer interesting. Same-sex desire has multiple roots and exists in many varied forms. But could it be that even Christians can contribute to this warping of desire by simultaneously exposing each other to nakedness and then making even God-given responses feel evil?

    Again, thanks for sharing. Your post is a good reminder of my own responsibility to honor God with the desires he has placed in me.

  63. Alyssa

    Thank you!! This was a refreshing break from the bikini-shaming that plagued my newsfeed earlier this summer.

    I understand that it is very hard to be a man, but it is also SO hard to be a woman! Living life flip-flopping between the double-sided coin of insecurity and pride is exhausting. Women already struggle so much with body image, I think the last thing they need is the media (and men, even Christian men) demanding that they be drop dead gorgeous and them beating them over the head with their attempts to be lovely.

  64. Mark

    If every woman in every Christian Church in America were to suddenly dress more appropriately, guess what? There is a world out there that doesn’t play by our (God’s) rules. So guys, better work on your self-discipline because immodesty isn’t going away.

  65. Chris Quimby

    Nicely presented, mature dealing with the subject. I desire to get to a place where I look at every woman as if she was my daughter or sister, for they each ARE someone’s daughter. I might often be deceived into thinking I am visually consuming the attractiveness of another lady because I admire her beauty, but deep in my heart, I know I would never look at my daughter or sister in the same way. That is lust, however seemingly benign, and the subtle deceptiveness of it. Thanks for sharing.

  66. Allan Kelly

    It is unfortunate I think on both sides of the fence. There are few programs out there for men who struggle with lust and the media and society as a whole promote questionable dress to a younger generation of girls every year. I attend the Vineyard church here in Duluth, MN and we have what is called Men Pursuing Purity program to address this problem and there is one for women as well. I wish there were more of these programs throughout society. Even if there were, we still live in a society that shows a lack of beneficial media advertisements.

  67. Elliot

    I really love this article! However we have to remember not to be pendulums, we cannot lay all the blame on the men, nor can we lay all the blame on the women. Men can be free from lust and we should always be working towards that goal. That does not mean that women can dress however they want. There must still be conviction of modesty. There must be a balance that is found between the two sides. Again, I really liked this article, and I think you understand what I am saying and probably agree with it. I simply did not see it being overtly stated in the article. 🙂

    1. davidjeremybroman

      Men can help it. They just don’t want to. They are driven by their lust more than their ambitions to their calling. I say this to my shame. Its more of an insecurity for a man not to pursue his natural desires.

  68. KS

    Thank you so much for this!! I grew up in (and still attend) a Mennonite church, where the women and youth girls dress in a way that most people would agree is modest. However, I can tell you that in our churches, there is still a great deal of struggle with lust and pornography among the men, and this has stamped into my mind that we women cannot “fix everything” for the men simply by dressing modestly. It just isn’t the be-all, end-all that many men seem to think it is. I’m not saying it doesn’t help, because I believe it does! But I see a huge need for men’s accountability and for men to stand up and decide that, with God’s help, they are going to win this battle!
    Thank you again for writing this – it is so encouraging for me to see a man who is being strong, taking responsibility, and doing the right thing.

  69. Tom Heiden

    Sure seems like you are trying to please this woman who was confronted about her immodesty! The big problem here is tht the man who wrote this is confusing two completely distinct and separate issues, and in his seeming desire to please this offended woman goes way too far getting the cart before the horse! Women must, like all of us, be very careful to not become a stumbling block to men, who are predisposed to being tempted to lust. When a woman who already knows this dresses provokatively, she is advertising that she is wanting to be desired. That is a primary tool of Satan to solicit men to lust and sin. The women must firstly make sure they are not seeming to be advertising something that is not really available. (sadly, often it is or they wouldn’t be dressing this way)
    The secondary issue is that men can and must overcome no matter how a woman is dressed. “To the pure all things are pure.” Why would a man be hanging around anywhere women are dressed like prostitutes? Why go to modern so called churches where women are often dressed like the women they watch and admire on TV every night? God’s grace is sufficient for us to overcome, but not by sitting around allowing for the occaision of the flesh. We should not sit around subjecting ourselves to adulterous women who have no modesty and virtue and godliness.

  70. Sam

    What church do you attend? You should switch churches if male lust has never been addressed. It has at all churches I’ve attended.

  71. Mike

    Recently the city of New York game out and stated that they will no longer prosecute women who go topless in the city. I for one will never visit the city of New York ever again as a result. Now we would love to say that no Christian woman will never expose herself as a result of the new rule, but we all know better. These women kind of remind of Matthew 18:6 better to tie a large millstone around your neck and toss it into the sea then to cause these little ones to stumble. and yet men we do have the responsbility to flee sexual immorality. See I Cor 6:18. if your thoughts are of lust and you struggle with it. The problem maybe is you and not the woman you so desire. So just do yourself a favor flee and do not put yourself in that place to be tempted with wicked thought again. finally men I do not think it maybe your place to point out to women what maybe inappropriate. Let the elder ladies teach the younger ones what is good and right.

  72. Aaron Terrazas

    Ah, the old red herring to focus on the lust of men, blame their sin on women to have them carry it for them as if they were Jesus Christ. Here is another thought…women lust too. Yes, studies have shown that women just just as much as men, but they are less honest about it when asked because of the social stigma that is they appear to have any sexual desires, they are easy. Men, when asked will be more honest about it because its expected of them.

    Great article by the way. It is always a heart issue and we need to stop putting the blame for our sins on others to carry or trying to carry our own sins.

  73. Cyndel

    Thank you for this.
    I’ve been thinking about this subject for a while now, and as I have 2 young sons I very much consider how this is for men.

    I am trying to teach my kids that the human body is nothing to fear or be ashamed of. Starting with their own. That every part of their bodies were created for a purpose, right now they are learning the primary function, later when they are ready they will learn the sexual function.

    The second thing I focus on is to see someone first as a child of God, made in the image of God, with a story we don’t know. To look at a person and see past the clothes and to who they are. If we learn to look at a person and see the Child of God made in the Image Of God FIRST, then when is their time or room to lust?

  74. Jennifer Harshman

    Thank you for placing the responsibility where it belongs! It doesn’t matter how “modestly” I dress, I still hear the message that I’m responsible for what men do, and men are helpless oversexed animals, and that is so wrong. Thank you. I’m sharing this!

  75. Dick Dixon

    I am in TOTAL agreement Ike. Knowing and doing is a struggle…I think in my mind when I am confronted with lust that it is raining and about to storm and I need to get in out of the rain. It works because my mind has switched to something other than lust. Self control comes from respect for others and the ones you care for, especially the women in your life.

  76. Frank Turk

    What bothers me about this way to view this issue is that it reasons from a perspective which is too individualistic. That is: it forces the sinner to live with his sin without the support of his community; it causes his wife to live without the support of her sisters in Christ; it forces the church to not seek greater, public holiness but only private, internal holiness.

    Do men have a heterosexual sin problem? You betcha. That is actually the point. In the same way your church probably doesn’t serve wine at the Lord’s Supper to prevent offending those with an alcohol problem (that is: we go so far as to change the elements of an ordinance Jesus explicitly established at the last supper), since we know me have a sin problem let’s simply show them the mercy of modesty.

    Why is that somehow offensive — unless the exhortations of Heb 10:19-25, and 1 Cor 9 and Rom 14:13-19 are no long part of our canon of doing right by one another?

    1. Ike

      Frank, Your point is well taken and I can see how you arrive at this conclusion. Had there been more space, I would have incorporated the vital importance of community in aiding brothers and sisters in these issues. However, at the end of the day, it is the individual who is tempted to lust after a woman while he is walking down the street and it is the individual who is lured into looking at porn on their computer when no one else is around. These narrow concerns were at the forefront of my mind.

  77. janette

    I liked it! I’ve always wondered why men weren’t given more responsibility in the equation. But the only thing I don’t agree with is when he said that “it has nothing to do with a woman’s clothes.” Remember when Paul said he wouldn’t eat meat ever again if it caused his brother to stumble? When a brother or sister in Christ has a weakeness, it’s kindness to consider it. It’s both/and, not either or. My husband (a mainlander), at 19y visited his cousin in Hawaii and went to church there one Sunday. A girl in a bikini and wrap skirt sat next to him. At the end of the service, the Pastor asked the congregation to hold hands to pray. Yeah, look into her eyes then… haha! it’s the same “circle” in marriage… love your wife, respect your husband… it’s neither one or the other that makes it work… it’s both, so both have responsibility. But, I’m glad that he brought up the side of the coin that is rarely talked about.

  78. John Ring

    Great discussion, Sharon. Ike’s comments were right on too. We, as men, who are not animals; but are sinners, need strategies for not being drawn into engaging in the sin of lusting after a woman. There will always be women dressed inappropriately, which is in large part why the SECOND LOOK that Ike referred to even happens. (Example: Many more cars would be stolen in we left our cars unlocked and our keys in our cars.) Other strategies include: 1- Immediately looking away from an inappropriately dressed woman or billboard, or TV commercial, etc. When I lived in Las Vegas I drove alternate routes to avoid certain perpetual billboards. (2) Having several short verses memorized that the Holy Spirit can bring to your remembrance in the situation, (3) Being “prayed up” each morning and before venturing out of the house or workplace into the public. (Sometime we also encounter the battle ground at work), (4) Ensure that our own wife, daughters, granddaughters, female relatives don’t dress inappropriately in public. Be positive by complementing the conservative dress. (5) Attend Bible studies that address the trap of lust when available–kind of like getting a booster shot. (6) And as Ike wrote, focus on the eyes/face of women when talking to them.

  79. James Nelson

    I agree with some of what this article says, I mean MEN have a tendency of blaming their physiology for their behavior, and that’s NOT an acceptable perspective ANY regenerate man should take. We ARE new creatures in Christ Jesus, but we are also still in the flesh. To isolate the issue from a shared issue to a MAN’s issue is NOT correct either. The world markets immodest clothing to women (who buy it), for Men (who we KNOW are driven powerfully, and visually). This isn’t new information, and there is, and remains a shared responsibility, NO FREE LUNCHES. Every Born-Again believer MUST ask WHY they are doing, what they are doing, whether it is the man taking a second glance, or the woman making inappropriate choices in clothing … we ALL have an agenda to feed: the lust of the eyes, the lust of the flesh, and the pride of life. This is why Galatians talks about bearing one anothers burdens. There are issues that men deal with that Christian women NEED to help bear, and VISA VERSA. Again, NO FREE LUNCHES. As a whole though, the Church in general has not, and does not teach us HOW to regulate our own minds. It just tells us we should, and then blames us when we fail. I don’t know where I got the idea, but as a young person very early on, I decided that I was already married. I decided that if I couldn’t behave as a married person ought as a young person, how was I going to accomplish that as an adult with a wife, family, and more freedom? No. It had to start then, and so it did. I purposed to act as if my wife was already present, and I only needed to find her in the larger world. But with that sense of responsibility to a REAL person, yet to be found, I (with God’s grace and protection) entered the marriage covenant physically pure. No, this doesn’t solve all problems, and the world is constantly trying to undermine our higher spiritual intentions, but with an internal discipline in place, EARLY on. I had far fewer struggles than my peers. As attested to by their frustration with my refusal to indulge in the typical conversations. These, sorts of strategies aren’t being taught, and they NEED to be.

  80. Caleb

    Ike, I would like to thank you for, as you said, addressing an issue that is not often spoken of in the church. That is, that the man’s complicit sin in his lust is not addressed when a woman is addressed for “causing” a man to lust.

    As you wrote in the article, this is a heart issue. On both the male and female part there is a responsibility to resist sin and temptation, a need to use the power of the Holy Spirit for victory over sin and for wisdom in our choices, a command to not judge one another, and to love Christ and our brothers and sisters in Christ. I feel that when it comes to this issue of modesty and lust, both men and women should work hard, with the grace of God and the power of the Holy Spirit, to have a sanctified heart on the issue.

    For the man:

    The Bible states that we are no longer slaves to sin, for he who has died is freed from sin (Romans 6:7) (just read the whole chapter). This shows that we are not forced by anybody or anything to lust. What’s more, I Corinthians 10:13 tells us that God will not allow us to be tempted beyond what we can handle, and He will provide a way for us to escape or endure. This tells me that it does not matter if every woman in the world stopped wearing clothes for the rest of my life, I have no excuse for sin, and God will help me to escape or endure it.

    For the woman:
    This is also an issue of the heart. Do you find your identity in the fact that you are attractive, or is it because you are made in the image of God, and have been bought by the blood of Christ? Why do you wear what you wear? I believe this is something that requires discipline, sanctification, and the leading of the Holy Spirit (same as the man). Also, a man may sin as a result of seeing a woman. This does not mean that the woman caused him to sin, but if it is because of her dress, could it be that she has a heart issue, and is finding her identity in her beauty? Again, this is a heart issue that a man has no business addressing. He needs to confront his lust. But as Paul tells us in I Timothy 2:9, women are to dress modestly, and instead (v. 10) adorn themselves with good works and godliness. Women need to practice godliness, even if every other woman in the world is not, and dressing immodestly. Romans 14:12-13 says we will each give an account to God, that we are not to judge one another, and to determine not to be a stumbling block to others

    So to conclude, this is a heart matter. Men and women are called to live by the Spirit, love our brothers and sisters, and to live set apart from the world, not shifting blame or judging others.

    Blessings to everyone, and may God’s grace and peace be with you all, so that we may love one another and get past all of this blaming others for our own sin.

    1. Barbara

      Caleb. Thank you for sharing scriptures. I’ve heard so many men say that God put this in them to lust (because to multiply). I believe that satan uses this type of thinking to keep men in bondage. When you keep “looking”, someone is going to “look” back . Then what have you entered yourself into. What comes first “the look” or the “affair”. The “look” comes first. Men have got to guard their thoughts and guard their eyes. And ask God to forgive you when you fail and to help you. But keep trying to be Holy. Don’t see someone and then look again or put yourself in a position to look again. Your wife might not see, but GOD does. My husband makes me feel inadequate and I get a tight feeling in the pit of my stomach because I am so HURT. Please don’t do this, men. I see more than my husband thinks I do and yet I am still here because I believe in marriage. I don’t believe in throwing it away. It is not jealousy and men would like to say. It is HURT because you are my husband and to see your eyes go up and down a girl’s body , kills me.

  81. Ralph Winestock

    Thank you Ike for your insight. However, at my age , 20 years of marriage under my belt to a wonderful woman, and true struggles that I’ve brought to the cross over and over again as most Christian men have done, let me say with full clarity–it’s the immodest dress that draws a man’s eye–specifically, this man’s eye when it’s the farthest thought from my mind. Now, this goes into what I watch on TV, and I fortunately, am not one watching pornography or any other stimulant, except the occasional R-rated movie that has passion wrapped into the story. In other words, I can go weeks without thinking or fantasizing about another woman in the slightest. The moment my eye catches seductive dress, it naturally goes there. This is why the Apostle Paul was emphatic about it. I will do my part and I believe that you have a valid point in addressing men. However, a lot starts with immodest dress. There is just no other way around it. Women can’t possibly understand unless they’ve been around seriously honest men for a time. It’s just a genuine problem, just like it would be very distasteful and unloving for me to drink a glass of wine around an alcoholic in the process of getting straight. Not cool. Same with the code.

  82. Don Saelzler

    Hey, it is like this: But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart. (Matt. 5:27-8). imho, whay Jesus is trying to tell you is that men cannot help lusting. For the life of me, I do not have the slightest idea of what is wrong with lusting after women. Now ACTING on that, presenting unwilling advances, sexual innuendo and all that creepy stuff…… that is the sin. If you can’t control yourself from looking then poke your eye out. Good heavens, lust is healthy; it is what helps keep the human race going. Keep in mind the old saw ‘the more furtive the glance, the grander the illusion’. We are men and if you wear a loose sweater then we wait for you to twist and outline yourself. The point being that simply being near women causes lust. But it is not unhealthy. Example I am at the beach or at work and I see a woman and I think hmmmm. wowie zowie and if I was like 40 years younger you know what else would happen. That is not a sin! Not controlling my urges and forcing myself on a woman is a sin. Why do you supress your humanity. Is laughing at a joke somehow un holy? Is going to the toilet unholy. Sexual attraction is part of gods plan. I My goodness, you can quote scripture all you want but you cannot turn off lust. But we can control our behavior and not let our lust offend people, just keep it to ourselves until the time is right between two people then enjoy the lusting. The ‘sin’ if you will about girls revealing so much that the guys can’t think straight is that they will attract men in an unbalanced way thus shortchanging themselves of a more love based relationship. If your clothes shout ‘screw me’ then we men hear the shouting, not the whispering. To repeat myself, I cannot figure out why you think that lust in and of itself is some kind of sin. Mistreating women is a sin. Disrespecting people who deserve respect is bad. Longing to touch the woman across from you is not a sin, but touching her when she does not want to is a sin. Making lewd remarks and suggestions is most often a very creepy thing made worse only when men don’t get the hint to ‘buzz off’ and do not stop the banter. I will rue the day when I see a woman and I do not think of sex at least for a few seconds. I am not a masher, some kind of creep, rapist, adulterer. Just a normal guy. Men get excited by women. We must be civil about it. Being un-civil about it, that is the sin.

    1. lifelong learner

      I haven’t read all of the comments, but I speculate that Don Saelzler is confusing lust with sexual desire. Being precise with definitions is prudent when debating any issue. God created marriage; He created the physical desires that men and women have; the physical desire is good when it leads to expression within marriage. I don’t understand how looking at another (who is not the spouse) with sexual interest will enhance one’s marriage. It doesn’t work that way.

      1. Don Saelzler

        to lifelong learner. If in my post above, I did as you say and confused the word ‘lust’ with the phrase ‘sexual desire’ because of a distinction in the definition (of which you are aware and I am not) – then logically speaking my comments are not even relevant to the topic. Sorry about that. My ideas that ‘men are attracted to women no matter what they wear’ evidently has no place on this site. I will bow out. Peace.

      2. Barbara

        lifelong learner. THANK YOU. It does not enhance the marriage. It kills it. I asked my husband the question, :What would you feel or do if I treated you the same way and had the same thoughts that you have toward the opposite sex? He said he would leave me in a heartbeat.

  83. Lynn

    Some will take this as an excuse for women to dress any way they want, immodestly, because now they aren’t responsible, the men are. Sorry, but women who flaunt bare thighs and boobs are asking for trouble. Would Jesus be pleased with this?

  84. Carl Pozyck

    David was an anointed king of Israel, a righteous, Torah-observant man after Elohim’s own heart. Yet, in a moment of weakness, he went after the lust of his own heart, having looked upon another woman in her nakedness. Try telling him that he wasn’t allowing Elohim to be strong enough within him.

    If a woman in a congregation who needs to be told to dress more modestly has just as many issues as the men she is provoking to lust, and, they need to be addressed as well.

    The fact is, most of us who weren’t raised in the best possible environment have actually had parts of our neurological circuitry transformed by being exposed to pornography and fornication. We should be able to come to the sanctuary of Elohim and expect a safe haven in which to be protected from such nonsense of the world.

  85. Lee

    Good article! Repeating the verse you posted… ““You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart. (Matt. 5:27-28), Jesus carefully did not leave out “with her”. I realize many men will lust, regardless of a woman’s modesty, but the responsibility to be chaste in our interactions is equally heavy. Male is not to lust and female is not to lure.

  86. James Heffington

    I think this falls short brother. This is a legalistic approach to the battle against the power of sin in your life. You will eventually lose. Removing yourself from the occasion of sin is great but you have to go further. I would suggest careful reading of Romans 6 and maybe some time in the book, “The Normal Christian Life” by Watchman Nee. You must die to sin and live in the life of Christ in order to have victory over sin. There is a mystery and transcendence to our walk with God which must take us beyond three points of application which we can accomplish in the flesh…provided we want to live a life in the “super” natural rather than the natural. Good words here but I encourage you to take it deeper and press into the place of real victory. None of us are perfect but real consistent, righteous living is found only the power of Christ…not the flesh.

  87. Frank

    Immodesty/lust: I appreciated Ike’s blog here. Especially the 3 questions at the end. Good stuff. By the way, in the first line of the 4th paragraph, the word should be “empathize” not “sympathize”.

  88. Kari Dent

    Thank you for the oft-neglected other side of the coin. Men absolutely share in the responsibility to repent of and control lustful thoughts. However, teaching young women to dress modestly is part of the responsibility of mature Christian women. We cannot address or help “rehabilitate” a man who is lusting; that would be inappropriate. Mature men should be teaching this to the younger Christian men. This is part of their responsibility. If both sides are being mentored from Scripture, then much can be accomplished. Both issues – immodest dress and lustful thoughts – are really matters of the heart. And, by the way, men can also dress immodestly (pants on the ground… hello?) and women can think lustful thoughts. It’s about the heart, y’all.

  89. Mike Purnell

    Rare is the woman my carnal body self could not enjoy my imagination has taught me. Subsequently, rare is the woman I do not like. But my upbringing and conscience formation has taught me to not focus on those things that would frustrate me. Where I go with the attraction is wholly up to me. Where the honorable man goes is where I always try to go, and it means getting out of my head and into the reality of getting to know the woman as a fellow human traveler, and someone my family, wife, et al, would find interesting, also. Or get into the reality of some other endeavor and out of fantasy. It’s just being responsible, isn’t it?

  90. Michael

    Just a quick two cents to all the comments I’ve been reading on women having to dress more modestly… I agree with Ike and some other commenters on that this is a two way street and both sides need to take responsibility for their role Christian women should dress modestly I’m not going to say more or less because that is something that each woman must decide for herself about what is modest. But women should be modest dressing immodestly and then saying that men should control themselves is an unfair expectation mainly because most men that they will encounter wont be practicing Christians. As believers we are not only called to keep other Christians from sinning but rather we have a responsibility to help every pson believer or not from sinning. In this regard dressing immodestly not only makes it a struggle on Christian men to stay chaste but makes it ten times as hard for men with no spiritual guidance to keep their thoughts pure. That being said I think the real heart of this article is intended towards men being more chaste in their thoughts and in that regard we cannot in anyway blame women. It is true that an immodestly dressed woman provides more of a temptation to think lewdly but the responsibility for the sin lies wholly on the man. It is possible to be lustful even to a perfectly modest woman and I think that as men we often times try to blame it on women in order to avoid our own responsibility. Well of course I was lustful didn’t you see the way she was dressed? Rather than accept that we had an active role in that lustful thought we play the part of the helpless and forced victim. This again goes back to the fact that we are not only called to be chaste in our thoughts toward Christian women but every woman and there will be many immodestly dressed non Christian women that we come in to contact with in our daily lives. Does that mean that it is not a sin to lust after them? By no means. I agree with Ike that the heart of the problem for men is a mans heart. We must come to appreciate the uniqueness and beauty of womanhood and the individuality of a woman before we can make strides towards chastity. We often times blame parts of women for causing lust but it is that self same separation and objectification that causes a culture of acceptance towards lust. “We’ll of course I can’t help my self just look at the top she’s wearing or how short her skirt is”. We as a culture have separated the woman from her parts and this disambiguation creates a pocket of space in our minds where we don’t feel guilty about lust. When we come to understand woman in the entirety of her existence and how none of h can be separate from all the rest of her that understanding causes a deeper connection and love that is similar to the love Christ had for all of us. He didn’t love us for parts of us whether it was our good parts or the parts of our lives that were sinful. He loved us for our entirety and when this kind of love begins to seep into our lives it becomes hard and even revolting to think of women unchastely. While women have their own responsibility to be modest that is a call for them to heed and a sin for them to avoid. We as men cannot use that as an excuse to avoid the responsibility of our sin. God didn’t say be chaste to modest women nor thou shalt not covet your neighbours modest wife. Even if all the women in the world walked around clothe less men would still be called to the same standards of purity and chastity by God. Ont try to pull the stick out of your brothers eye when there is a log in yours comes to mind. Each person must be fully responsible for his own purity despite the environment that he is in. Men and women too need to take personal responsibility for their thoughts and sins. That being said as Christians we must always also try to help our brothers and sisters to lead as holy a life as possible. So while modesty is important it is not the problem nor cure to lust. And so cannot be the focus of teaching when it comes to lust. It is not what enters you (what you see) that makes you unclean but what comes out of you (your thoughts and actions). Just my two cents…

  91. Steve Chan

    I’m late to the discussion because I’ve only found this stie today, but I appreciate the blog. Our church has held weekly “Celebrate Recovery” meeting for almost a decade now. And what I have loved about this group from the 1st time I visited in 2006 is that everyone who attends knows that each of us cannot succeed on our own (we have tried and failed) apart from both God’s enabling and our accountability to our fellow man. Yes, it is a personal battle that almost every man fights.

    One of the strongest truths that helps me to stand firm in the fight against these temptations is the truth: The power of sin is in its promise of pleasure, but God intends to defeat it with a Superior Promise of pleasure.

  92. Beth Matsuda

    Agreed. Even if we do dress modestly, what is to stop them from lusting after other less “careful” women on the street and at the beach? We live in a culture of “sexy style” where men can see this just about anywhere. Also, in some cultures, men have different ideas about what is “modest” and what is not. Should we go around dressing in burka just to stay safe? We ALL have the responsibility of controlling our lusts be they physical, emotional or psychological triggers. It takes self control. Helping our brothers and sisters is important too. I have been in situations where there was mutal attraction yet we learned to see each other as “brother” and “sister” and the battle it out from a biblical perspective. We both came out clean and better off in the end.

  93. Patsy

    Great article..

    keep it up !

    YEs the act is always nearly on the woman. An the men need to get the accusations to.. Not just cause they are men routine, should they not be chastised. Th epreacher should have told the men, “She is one, an You are many, So it is You not her. Lust in the eye of the beholder. They looked, an they were the ones weak. HOnest though seen some the things women are wearing to church. I See young teens wearing things they cant stoop not the slightest in. Women too.. OR other things bout to come out the top.. GOd Bless

  94. ashley

    Shocking, another group of evangelical Christians who blame women for the choices men make. It’s the same train of thought that arrives at “she wouldn’t have been raped if she wasn’t drunk/dressed that way/ out so late. Yet another reason I went Anglican.

  95. Siby Moleakunnel

    It is important for examining our own heart (motive and purpose) when men are looking at a woman second time or a woman is wearing sensually an attractive outfit. Our look or dress is not really going to help us but our dependency on Jesus and His work on the cross. The more we long and desire Jesus the more we capture Him in our mind and heart in His grace.

  96. Tim McClymonds

    I definitely agree that ultimately men must “gouge out” their eyes in a Christ-like, Holy Spirit enabled consecrating of their minds and hearts to Christ, seeking to be pure in all things. I was just at a pro baseball game yesterday. I saw lots of cleavage and nearly bare behinds. I expect that in the world. But I don’t expect it by the Christian community; yet I see it frequently, though perhaps with slightly less audacity, in Christian circles as well. Yes, men must control themselves. That has never been the question, in my eyes. So — without blaming Christian women for my lust — are you loving your brothers by even remotely thinking about whether your dress or blouse shows your cleavage (as an example)?

  97. Bob Jordan

    Here’s a paper I wrote and taught in prison on the subject of “Lust.”

    God invented sex, and made it to be confined to married couples. But man, always seeking to debase and degrade that which God has provided, has, in many cases, given himself over to fornication (sex between unmarried persons) and adultery (sex where one of the people is married to another person). The Bible has a lot to say on this subject AND what we, as men, can do to overcome attitudes of lust.

    Proverbs chapter 7: “My son keep my words, and lay up my commandments with thee Keep my commandments, and live; and my law as the apple of thine eye. Bind them upon thy fingers, write them upon the table of thine heart. Say unto wisdom, Thou art my sister; and call understanding thy kinswoman: that they may keep thee from the strange woman, from the stranger which flattereth with her words. For at the window of my house I looked through my casement, and beheld among the simple ones, I discerned among the youths, a young man void of understanding, passing through the street near her corner; and he went the way to her house, in the twilight, in the evening, in the black and dark night. And, behold, there met him a woman with the attire of a harlot, and subtle of heart. (She is loud and stubborn; her feet abide not in her house: now is she without, now in the streets, and lieth in wait at every corner.) So she caught him, and kissed him, and with an impudent face said unto him, I have peace offerings with me; this day have I paid my vows. Therefore came I forth to meet thee, diligently to seek thy face, and I have found thee. I have decked my bed with coverings of tapestry, with carved works, with fine linen of Egypt. I have perfumed my bed with myrrh, aloes, and cinnamon. Come, let us take our fill of love until the morning: let us solace (delight) ourselves with loves. For the goodman (husband) is not at home, he is gone on a long journey: he hath taken a bag of money with him, and will come home at the day appointed. With her much fair speech she caused him to yield, with the flattering of her lips she forced him. He goeth after her straightway, as an ox goeth to the slaughter, or as a fool to the correction of the stocks; till a dart strike through his liver; as a bird hasteth to the snare, and knoweth not that it is for his life. Hearken unto me now therefore, O ye children, and attend to the words of my mouth. Let not thine heart decline to her ways, go not astray in her paths. For she hath cast down many wounded: yea, many strong men have been slain by her. Her house is the way to hell, going down to the chambers of death.”

    Old Testament through New Testament details the lust of men, and how it caused grief and misery for not only themselves, but others associated with them. How can we avoid lust? Here are seven ways:

    1.) KNOW GOD’S COMMANDMENTS This requires the Christian man to study the Bible, even memorize parts of it. Proverbs 7:3 “…write them (the commandments) upon the table of thine heart.” Psalms 119:11 says “Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.” Specific commandments: Exodus 20:17 “…thou shalt not covet thy neighbors wife…” 2 Timothy 2:22 “Flee also youthful lusts…” 1 Thessalonians 4:3 “…abstain from fornication…” Know the word of God, don’t be like the young man in Proverbs 7 who was “void of understanding.” (Remember Joseph in Genesis 39 and David in 1 Samuel 11.)

    2.) DON’T PUT YOURSELF IN A BAD POSITION Notice the young man “passing through the street near her (the harlot’s) corner; and he went the way to her house.” Men can be tempted by sexual lust. After entertaining the idea of sin, the next step is to get near it, BUT IF YOU DON’T GET NEAR IT, YOU CAN’T FALL INTO IT! Psalms 1:1 says, “Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, not standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.” First, we’re walking towards it, then we’re standing in the midst of, then we’re sitting down in SIN, getting comfortable! AVOID IT IN THE FIRST PLACE! The young man was “caught” by the harlot, but he had to BE THERE to be caught!

    3.) DON’T BE DECEIVED BY YOUR HEART The harlot tells the young man, “I have peace offerings with me; this day have I paid my vows.” The devil will make sin look religious! This ties in with the first point above, about Knowing God’s Commandments. It is said that you can’t keep the birds from flying over your head, but you can keep them from making a nest in your hair! Lustful thoughts can come- but if you reject these thoughts, you can get the victory over the temptation. The man listened to his heart (verse 25), and it deceived him. Jeremiah 17:9, “The heart is deceitful, and above all things desperately wicked, who can know it?”

    4.) DON’T RATIONALIZE IN YOUR MIND In the previous point the young man was made to think God didn’t mind what was about to happen, and the deception began. But the harlot continues on, saying, about how everything is prepared, how her husband is not home, how she wants him and that the “time is right for love.” And the Bible says, “With her MUCH fair speech she caused him to yield, with the flattering of her lips she forced him.” She wanted him, and he “yielded” to her, after convincing himself (through her words) that it really was OK and that no one would know! James 1:14, 15 says, “But every man is tempted, when HE is drawn away of HIS OWN LUST, and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin, and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.”

    5.) KNOW THAT ILLICIT RELATIONSHIPS WILL NOT ENDURE “But we were in love, so we didn’t need a marriage certificate, we chose to live together.” Have you ever heard that? When the married woman, acting as the harlot, met the young man at the street, she said, “…I came forth to meet you, diligently to seek your face, and I have found you.” Clearly the young man was flattered. “She came specifically for me!” But the end of the chapter reveals the true story, “For she has cast down MANY wounded, yea, MANY strong men have been slain by her.” When you decide to live with another woman, it may not be long before she’s living with someone else.

    6.) KNOW THAT GOD WILL JUDGE IMMORALITY The last verse of the chapter says, “Her house is the way to hell, going down to the chambers of death.” The Bible says in Galatians 6:7, “Be not deceived, God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.” Remember Sodom and Gomorrah? With God, payday is not always on Friday, but there is a payday.

    7.) PRAY This is not specifically referenced in Proverbs 7, however, it works. When you have a wicked thought, pray! When you know that you’re going to be around someone who is attractive to you and you have feeling towards them, pray! God will help you, and the desire towards that person will reduce. In the Lord’s prayer, it says “…and deliver us from evil…” (Matthew 6:13). God will!

    Keep pure. If you’ve committed fornication, seek God’s forgiveness. See 1 Corinthians 6 9 11. We can be clean, AND WE CAN STAY CLEAN.

  98. Martha

    YES!!! Finally, someone has said it. Christ calls us to love, and lust is NOT loving. His questions really hit the nail on the head. If you were looking her in the eye, you’re probably more likely to look at her as a human being that can be loved, not an object that can be used.

  99. Mark Makary

    Sure we all are responsible. I am on board that this is a 50/50 thing. Both sides def have a role to play and both sides have a right to voice frustration. I think we all need to work on “ourselves” where we can. That said, I almost feel like women quietly enjoy a superior sense of judgement, even if they don’t say it – and that they really have no context for the other side, especially when they are in high school or college – no context.

  100. Pingback: “Modest Is Hottest” and Other Lies | Cult of Clair

  101. Emily

    I appreciated this post. One thing that I still have not seen addressed though is women lusting after men. It is only in the last two hundred years that the world started publicly acknowledging that women had sex drives. We too struggle with lust, and I have certainly been in situations growing up in the church where though young women were required to wear bathing suits, men could stay shirtless. Am I the only one who finds a well toned six pack distracting? This is something I would like to see: the community’s recognition of a woman’s potential to lust and how we can cope with that as well. I understand that in the day to day men aren’t at church wearing things that are particularly “immodest”, but lust does not only result from cleavage and I think lust should be addressed as a gender-blind issue, at least from the starting point. If it is a condition of the heart, we both have them, we both long to know and to be known, and we both are called to discipline and life in the freedom of Christ.

  102. Gwendolyn Huber

    I am amazed. Yes women should dress modesty and. appropriately but where do you draw the line? She should wear baggy clothing, no make up, and not fix her hair?? When is a man going to take responsibility for his. ow thoughts and actions? When we are all. Covered from head to toe and they still have inspection thoughts? Women can’t go jogging without a can ofpepper spray and if something happens to her what do we hear in the aftermath? “She asked for it, she should have taken a friend with her, she was too pretty. ” It’s like a pediphile blaming his relapse on a nearby park. We all suffer temptation but I don’t blame the wrapping on a chocolate bar for my sweet tooth..no matter how it’s dressed, I still know its chocolate. As for the worship leader lusting after college kids, I agree somethings like spandex should not be worn in church but if she were jogging or at the gym where that type of clothing is appropriate, would you have the same issue? If so, maybe you should talk to God about this instead of blame shifting your lack of consentration. If you wouldn’t have a problem outside of service with spandex, I would suggest addressing the whole congregation in reguards to honoring and reflecting Christ with our clothing choices.Make the convoy interesting by wearing a football Jersey and shorts with a cap have a praticipating woman wear a tank top and put an old man up there with a hoodie and baggie jeans…point we should all dress appropriately for services not only women.

    1. Gwendolyn Huber

      And I really do know English but my phone is being difficult. I forgot to thank you for this article, I’ve always heard a woman being blamed for a man’s lust and am excited to hear a man call other men to deal with and take responsibility for their part in the situation as well.

  103. Phil Martin

    Thank you Sharon. Thank you Ike.

    Ike, I really like your reflection question about whether we men look at a woman’s eyes or her body. Most of the time, I only see her face and hair. What are your thoughts about this particular behavior? And, does this seem healthy?

  104. Alicia P

    I have been struggling with this area for over 5 years. My story is no different than many. I began attending a large church in my city 4 years ago, and became attracted to the sr. pastor of this church. I found myself attending church merely to see him, and not just to hear from God. I would never approach him (as I have certain boundaries), but I started withdrawing from the church. It worked!! I was removing myself from the situation so that I could focus on my relationship with God. However, recently, I reluctantly attended this church again. Once again, this emotion has become even more overwhelming than ever before. I’m amazed because I don’t know this man of God, and he doesn’t know me. I “escape” by not staying around until benediction or joining this church. Even though I have not returned, I am still thinking about him. Please help me pray this spirit away. I don’t desire to fall into such temptation, and I know my desire is not the same as God’s desire for me!

    1. Barbara

      Alicia, I heard you. I’m praying for you and many that read this will pray also. You can get thru this, God took it off of me and He will do the same for you. You have done the right thing in leaving the place that was making you stumble. Keep praying, Alicia.

  105. Lisa

    My husband and my daughter’s boyfriends are all strong men of faith who are committed to “not looking” whether in everyday life or at advertisements. It’s simply a way of life to them because they have trained their eyes and mind through Godly practice. I will never really know how difficult or easy this way of life is for them, but every now and then I catch them turning away from immodest females and lingering lovingly on the face of the women they love. It’s a beautiful action to behold!

  106. Halle

    Just. Thank you. So much. This is great. As a woman who struggles with lust, it’s helpful for me. As a woman who gets dressed in the morning, it’s helpful. I really appreciate this balanced take on this topic. Oh thank you.

  107. H Whitaker

    Everyone needs to take note of Matthew 5:28. When a woman dresses immodestly causing men to lust after her, she becomes a part of the sin! ..WITH HER…

  108. Daniel Andrews

    No time to read all 170 comments, so maybe this has been said. I agree with 100% of your comments on this subject; I would add, that in my case, looking a woman in the eyes is no “barrier” to desire – it ALL starts in the HEART – reminding myself that not every “connection” needs to be eroticized or sexualized.

  109. Caleb Julin

    I want to thank you for this post! It is nice to hear another male who has addressed the issue. I myself wrote a blog post about modesty. I do not seek to be one of the men who judges on modesty and doesn’t change himself. By no means! My life has been a constant battle against the struggle with lust, and sometimes I am winning, sometimes not so much. It was this that inspired me to write about the aspect of lust that has been the hardest for me, immodesty. So ladies, please don’t think that I am judging and not changing, please see this as complimenting this blog post. My post is how those of us who want to change view immodesty. (Please glance over the comments as well because some clarifications are made there) Please give it a read! Whether or not you agree, I hope it at least makes you think!
    http://mountaintopfloridiot.blogspot.com/2014/07/modesty-what-most-men-wont-tell-you.html

  110. Kelly K

    Thank you for this article. While women should dress modestly. I have always thought at some point we have to address the real reason men automatically see women as sexual objects instead of humans. It is truly a heart issue. An issue that constantly defends men and directs the blame solely on women and women alone. It always amazes me when people act like men are the ones who are held solely accountable. They obviously haven’t really listened to the entire sermon or article. In every case where someone directs attention to mens sin life they only focus on men for a short time. Soon and very soon all the attention is directed primarily toward the women and almost a complete defense of the men. Its like saying. “Men do not lust unless a woman dresses in a provocative way and then lust away.” “Men love your wives unless she disrespects you and doesn’t submit to you, then you can treat her like the garbage she is”. Men always seem to be given the sermon in conditional manners while women are given it in unconditional manners. No matter what women must respect and love her husband unconditionally. While men are told to love and respect their wives or women in general conditionally. Women constantly have to earn respect love and fair treatment. Men are freely given this with no conditions what so ever.

  111. Helen Ross

    Really well written sir! Thank you for sharing some sensible thoughts and for not allowing the seed of culture in which women are blamed for sexual crimes/assaults/behaviours of men.

    Instead, you call on all of us, men or women, to look to ourselves and the bible for our guidance. That, sir, I respect and appreciate.

  112. Hannah

    I think most of the comments here show the damage that feminism has caused on women in America. Most of the comments are women whining about how bad they feel when a man is looking at them. This is just so stupid. All this talk of ‘objectifying’ their bodies is indeed ridiculous. As a woman, I can say that any woman knows when she is dressing to attract the attention of a man. We can just feel it. For example, when a skirt is too short, or when our cleavage is showing, we know it. So these women saying that men should train their thoughts not to objectify them is absolutely ridiculous, when they are doing everything they can to show off their body parts. Everybody knows that men were made to find the female body pleasant to look at. It is biology, the way God created male brains. And every woman knows that many men will look at her throughout her life, if she is attractive. By ‘attractive’ I mean she has a beautiful face and body. Why are women whining about this? What is so bad about knowing that a guy is looking at you? It doesn’t mean he is going to rape you. There is a clear confusion here, women are considering a look or a comment as the same thing as being merely looked at with being raped, somehow. Bear in mind that I am not talking about women who have been raped in the past, that causes psychological effects I am not qualified to address. But the majority of women should stop complaining about being objectified by men, and just get on with their lives. If a girl or woman dresses with the intent of showing off their body parts, they do not have the right to complain about being looked at. I can honestly say that sometimes when I notice a man is looking at me I feel flattered. I know I am not advertising anything I shouldn’t be, so I know he is just admiring me. It reminds me that men find me beautiful, and trust me, every woman or girl wants to be considered beautiful. So embrace your beauty, girls. If a man says a nasty comment in the street when you pass, just ignore it, because some people are indeed animals. But if a man compliments your appearance, just be grateful that God made you beautiful. I can honestly say that if some day I step inside a male-dominated environment and not a single man looks at me, I will be genuinely concerned about the way I look.

  113. Su

    I think it’s a bit of both, A woman should treat her body with respect & not dress too revealing, like not putting cleavage on display or wearing tiny tight mini skirts. Which are going to attract lustful looks. But where does it end? Muslim woman go to the extreme of covering there whole bodies in loose baggy material to even hide there body shape. I think this article was very well written & the responsibility lies with men & each individual person to control there thoughts & there thinking but also women should give men a hand by not putting assets on display by wearing revealing clothing.

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