Thursday, May 29, 2008

On Momming

The things in life that we are most prone to take for granted are generally not the things we should take for granted. The things we presume on are usually not those things which are ordinary, but rather, the things which we most regularly see.

The funny thing about what we most regularly see is that it becomes what we actually notice the least. When you see a friend's kids everyday, you don't notice how much they're growing and changing, but when you don't see them for a long time, you notice every little change. What I see the most is what I tend to notice the least.

In my life, the place I spend most of my time is at home. As a student, I do most of my work from my desk at home. Since our church has no official office, my desk functions as my office for my job as well. All this combines to make me a genuine homebody (though I'm not as bad as Tim Challies... rumour has it he was born with quite a dark complexion, but has only turned pasty over the past 185,342 consecutive days of blogging).

In my world, then, the things that I am most likely to not notice are the things that happen at home, since it's where I spend most of my time.

Here's one thing I take for granted all the time, that I never should: my wife works hard.

Stay-at-home moms get a bad reputation in lots of circles, but let me tell you, it is a hard job. All the worst aspects of all the worst jobs are combined in this one. Low (no) pay. Repetitive tasks. Very little by way of immediate results. Everything you do needs to be redone in a few hours, tomorrow, or next week. You're forced to multi-task in ways that no human should ever be able to multi-task. No one appreciates you. No one sees the work you do. There is very little by way of intriguing conversation over the course of a day. Loud noises and crying that would drive anyone else nuts in about five minutes are your background music. There is almost no imposed structure on your day (which is bad for scatter-brained people like myself who need order). The hours are long and irregular. When everyone else takes vacation, it only means more work for you. Your job is literally never done. Then a husband wants dinner, time together, and then romance at night when you're ready to fall over you're so tired.

Then whenever you're at dinner parties or meeting someone new they ask, 'What do you do?' You answer, and they say, 'Oh...'. Who has it harder than all this?

I see it everyday, but how often do I notice it? More often than not I take it for granted. I think my busy-ness means it's okay to let her work hard and be busy too. I think it gives me an excuse to presume on her work. I think that she should be able to handle it... she always does, right? I end up taking for granted the very one whom God has given me to enable me to do my ministry. I could accomplish nothing without her, but how often do I stop to think about that and thank her? Or better yet, help her?

I am a slow learner. I hope that you men who read this are not as slow as me.

Honour your wife. Tell her how she's a blessing to you. Explain to her how you see God's grace active in her life. Point out the fruit that God is bringing about through her labours. Encourage her with a note or a written prayer for her. Speak highly of her ministry to others. Look for new ways to help her with her job. Care for her as you would your own body. Kiss her, tell her you love her. Do something... do anything! Just don't take her for granted.

In doing this, you'll be valuing what God values, and thus, he will be honoured as you honour the one who is your glory.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

How Simple and Shrewd Viewed Sage

I wrote this a few years ago for a different forum. I thought I might as well post it here as well. Hope you enjoy!


In a place far from here three men, each on a pilgrimage met each other as they were travelling down a forlorn path. Conversation quickly revealed that the three were all desirous of reaching the same destination. One was an old man named Sage who said he had himself carved these paths many years ago. The second man was Simple, a smithy by trade, who often seemed quite pliable. The third man, a young noble named Shrewd, was wise in his own eyes and often desired to forge new paths, even as he imagined Sage had done when he was young.

As the three travelled on for some days, Sage offered direction time and again as he led them through grounds neither of the younger men had seen before. Every time he provided direction, no matter how unlikely it seemed, his word proved to be true and they found themselves to always be headed in the right direction.

Eventually, when the two young men awoke one morning, they found Sage already dressed for travel. He informed them that he had to depart for some time, but that if they followed his directions, he would meet them at the end of their journey. After some days on the path, he said, they would come to a cave. Despite what they saw, no matter how difficult the path through the cave would become, they were to keep going and not give up. This was the only route, he warned, that would take them to the land they desired.

Sure enough, after two days of walking, Simple and Shrewd found themselves at the mouth of a cave. Shrewd took a good long look at the cave, examining it from various perspectives. He warned Simple that caves such as this had been found to be perilous traps before for clueless pilgrims. Simple, however, was convinced that this was the cave he had been told they would find. Seeing that Simple would not be swayed, Sage reluctantly said he too would enter, but that Simple must go first.

As they entered the cave, they found that it travelled only down. Further and further it went, and the air got increasingly frigid. Soon it was totally black and both Simple and Shrewd were in despair for their lives. Looking ahead as far as he could, evaluating the little of the contours of the cave his eyes could discern, Shrewd began to speak:

'Simple, this is all wrong. Anyone with a half a brain knows that a cave which leads to open land lets in light from both ends. If it is day time outside, and there is a way out of this cave, then we would be able to see light. It makes sense. To follow this path any longer is illogical. We can see that with our eyes. If you insist on staying here anymore, you will have to go it alone, because wisdom advises me to turn around.'

Simple reasoned, 'The man Sage has never lied to me. He has led me safe this far, and even his words about this cave proved true; the way is difficult. Would it not be more foolish now to turn back, having seen that his counsel has been good thus far?' And so he spoke to Shrewd, 'I cannot see the light we both know we should see. But I know the man Sage, and I trust him. I will not turn back.'

So Shrewd and Simple parted ways.

Shrewd quickly, since he was moving towards the light, found his way out. Once out into the forest again, he surveyed the land, checked his compass, and headed off to forge his own path; to take the road less travelled and make his own mark. Not a mile from the cave, as he was looking at his compass, thinking hard about which way made the most sense to him, he happened to walk in between a family of bears, separating a mother from her cubs without even knowing it. He was mawled, and there he died, compass in hand, never having reached his desired land and never having carved the paths he had wanted.

After Shrewd left, Simple continued slowly through the cave. Shortly he had to feel his way along with only his hands as his sight completely failed him in the dark. Several times he hit his head or stubbed his toe, and many times he even began to question whether or not Sage's words had been correctly spoken--or perhaps they had been misunderstood on his own part? He was, after all, an unlearned man.

But after some time of following the dark, damp, cool walls of the cave, Simple noticed that the wall on his right side disappeared and he realized that he was at a corner. Turning the corner, he caught a glimpse--could it be?--just a glimpse of light ahead. The more he walked toward it, the brighter it got, until he was finally able to walk with ease.

Coming out the other side of the cave he found his old friend, Sage to guide him the rest of the way home to the land of rest he had always desired.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Parenting and My Heart

Sometimes it's good to do what's counter-intuitive. In fact, I've found that the longer I've been a Christian, the more I need to second-guess and examine every motive. Sure enough, there is deep-rooted sin in there somewhere. I've found God's evaluation of humanity in Gen 8.21 ('the inclination of their minds is evil from childhood on') to be absolutely correct in my case every time I'm willing to consider for longer than 23 seconds.

This examining and cross-examining of motives and actions is almost nowhere more necessary than in parenting. What can on-first-blush appear to be 'for the baby' can really be simply for my immediate gratification ('I made her feel nice, now I feel better about my ability to parent'). What is really sad about this, though, is that what is often for my immediate gratification as a parent will more often than not be to the child's long-term harm.

So, for example, we're in a store and Susie really wants something, but I already told her she can't have it, I had not planned on buying it, we haven't budgeted for it, and she doesn't need it. What do I do as a parent? The ball is only $1.99 or something silly like that. She is sad if I don't get it. She's happy if I get it. Why not just 'make her happy' and get it? Wouldn't it also make me happier to just buy something for my daughter that I know will make her happy?

Because we teach by example, I'm teaching Susie something in that situation when I give in and buy it. I'm teaching her that it's okay to make unplanned purchases, on an impulse, whether you have the money or not. I'm teaching her that when you complain and fuss in life, you get want you want. I'm teaching her to look for happiness in 'stuff' that can be purchased. I'm teaching her that it is okay to strive against an authority. In all these ways I'm doing my daughter tremendous spiritual harm by 'making her happy' in that moment.

If that's true--and I know it is--then why would I give in to her? Why would I cave when she has a fit? Why would I leave her undisciplined when she breaks rules? Why would I let her go to bed late, get up early, eat what she wants, etc., when I've thought it through and prayed it through ahead of time? Why would decisions that my trusted counsellor (my bride) and I have talked through at length be discarded in a moment?

Because I love my daughter? Far from it. That's the opposite of love.

Why would I be willing to 'do whatever it takes' to stop our baby from crying and make her 'happy'? Because the inclination of my heart is evil from my childhood on. Because my heart is desperately wicked and deceitful above all else and I cannot understand it. Because my near-sighted selfishness is willing to sacrifice the long-term spiritual welfare of my child for the immediate gratification I get from feeling like a good parent; or maybe so that I can congratulate myself on how gracious I am.

I believe it. Now all I need to do is continue to preach it to myself as I make the moment-by-moment decisions I need to make in parenting. God give me grace to be faithful!

Monday, May 26, 2008

Rich Man's Vacation

Well this afternoon I'm back in the office, sorting through e-mails and trying to figure how to begin catching up after two weeks of vacation. The highlights were (among other things) a trip to DC to visit Covenant Life Church, and a trip to the cottage this past weekend.

More than just doing stuff though, this vacation was great because I got to spend time with my family. In a song called 'Home', Paul Brandt says 'Time just flies no matter what you do.' That's true. Especially when your kids are as young as ours are. I can't believe how quickly they change. What a blessing to be able to have this time with them!

And then there's my amazing wife. Stacey is so patient to put up with me and my schedule. Without a doubt one of the things in life that never ceases to amaze me is how my wife can just keep going, doing job after job (though it's more like job-during-job, piled on top of job) around the house, and with the kids, yet she always seems to be able to do it well and do it with grace. She ministers to me in amazing ways, even though our schedule doesn't allow me to be able to spend as much alone time with her as we'd like. So this vacation was a blessing in that regard as well.

I'll post a few pictures from the vacation below, after the words of one of my favourite Paul Brandt songs. While our house is not 'run down' and our bills have yet to 'pile up', I can totally identify with what he's saying.

Rich Man
I look in the mirror, don't see much
Fashion sense a little out of touch
The house is run down as the bills pile up
But I'm a rich man

Breakfast table, morning rush
Sometimes it seems we barely have enough
But if it's true that all you need is love
Then I'm a rich man

When she smiles or they call me Daddy
All the worries of the world just seem to fade away
I'm alive and I know what matters
If this is all I ever have
Well, that's ok
'Cause I'm a rich man

So every morning, and brand new day
With each and every single breath I take
I'm blessed and I'm thankful, yeah I've got it made
Oh, I'm so glad life turned out this way

I've loved, I've been loved,
Show me someone else with as much as me

Yeah, I'm a rich, rich man
Yeah, I'm a rich man
Oh, I'm a rich man
I've got it made
What matters, what matters
I know what matters
Oh, I'm alive

Friday, May 23, 2008

Don't Believe Them

When people tell you that families are a drag, that kids are a sacrifice, that it's too much work, or that you should wait and have fun before having kids... don't believe them.

We're heading to the cottage this morning, so I just thought I'd post some pictures from a couple of our cottage trips last year. Nothing but delighting in God through the bounty he's given us. What an amazing blessing to have a family that enables you to worship God better! What a wonderful end to our vacation.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Passing It On

An old professor of mine used to say 'The teacher's questions become the students' dogma.' In other words, what the teachers fancies with, the students accept and develop.

Don Carson puts it a slightly different way. He relates the American Mennonite experience as somewhat paradigmatic of what can happen in any church setting. He says, roughly, that the first generation of Mennonites believed the gospel, and saw that it had certain social entailments. The next generation assumed the gospel and believed in the social entailments. The third generation denied the gospel, but was committed to the social entailments.

Every Christian parent and every Christian teacher I know wants to pass gospel-belief on to the next generation. But how do we do that? I would suggest, based on the above insights, that the way to pass the gospel on is to be excited about it.

As Carson has often related, he understands that as a teacher, most of what students hear will be forgotten. But what do students remember? Ultimately, students remember what excites their professors. Children will have impressed on their hearts and minds what was most important to their parents.

Do you want to pass gospel-belief on to the next generation? Then let me ask: What excites you? What occupies your thoughts? Your time? Your imaginations? Do you spend more time on hobbies than on developing gospel-passion and gospel-living?

Everyone laughs when children first begin to imitate their parents and do things we unwittingly do, but they clearly see. It's funny. They are observant, they notice what we do, even when we don't. Why would we expect any less when it comes to our spirituality?

What do you speak about most at home? What issues get you most passionate? What causes get you to get excited at the drop of a hat? What habits in your life are the most consistent? What priorities are evident in your home?

These are the things you will pass on... whether we are intentional about it or not.

So let's be intentional! May it never be said of us that we passed on causes or diets or health-awareness or gender equality or views on parenting or anything that is less important and less eternally significant than the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

It's Better to Be Christian

Life is better as a Christian... for so many reasons.

The other night, when Stace and I got back from our trip to Washington DC and our visit at Covenant Life Church, I had the pleasure of putting my girls to bed.

Susannah and Caitlyn have both had special songs that I sing to them when I'm putting them to bed since the time they were born. As I sing to them I pray for them while they fall asleep. These are precious, spiritual times that I know I'll always remember.

Here's what non-Christians have to sing:

Rock-a-bye baby, in the treetop,
When the wind blows, the cradle will rock,
When the bough breaks, the cradle will fall,
And down will come baby, cradle and all.
Compare that with what I get to sing to Susannah:
I will praise You all my life
I will sing to You with my whole heart
I will trust in You
My hope and my help
My Maker and my faithful God

O faithful God
My faithful God
You lift me up
And you uphold my cause
You give me life
You dry my eyes
You’re always near
You’re a faithful God
And here's what I get to sing to Caitlyn:
O great God of highest heaven
Occupy my lowly heart
Own it all and reign supreme
Conquer every rebel power
Let no vice or sin remain
That resists Your holy war
You have loved and purchased me
Make me Yours forevermore

I was blinded by my sin
Had no ears to hear Your voice
Did not know Your love within
Had no taste for heaven’s joys
Then Your Spirit gave me life
Opened up Your Word to me
Through the gospel of Your Son
Gave me endless hope and peace

Help me now to live a life
That’s dependent on Your grace
Keep my heart and guard my soul
From the evils that I face
You are worthy to be praised
With my every thought and deed
O great God of highest heaven
Glorify Your Name through me
Need I say more? Life is definitely better as a Christian.

'O Faithful God' by Mark Altrogge © 1987 Sovereign Grace Praise (BMI)/Dayspring Music (a division of Word Music).

'O Great God' by Bob Kauflin © 2006 Sovereign Grace Praise (BMI).

CJ May Be Done...

As I posted before, CJ Mahaney's blog has been featuring parts of his chapter on modesty from the forthcoming Crossway book called Worldliness: Resisting the Seduction of a Fallen World.

You can read the summary post here. It contains an index with links to each of the seven sections and some additional application questions as well. The application questions are broken down into three categories: For your mind, for your heart, and for your life. Go check it out; it will be well worth your time.

While CJ may be done posting on this topic, I thought I'd point out some further resources on modesty of dress and why it is so absolutely important to the Christian walk.

  • Mary Mohler, wife of Al Mohler has a booklet called Modelling Modesty available for free download from the Southern Baptist website. You can get it here.

  • Al Martin, pastor of Trinity Baptist Church in New Jersey has an excellent pastoral appeal to th women of his church for 'decided modesty' available for free download here (video or audio). He argues (I think quite well) for the urgency of the matter as one of gospel importance. Check it out.

  • John Piper, who needs no introduction to anyone has a couple good little articles you can read on his website. One asks: 'Is modesty an issue in the church today?' Another asks: 'Why is a daughter's modesty a dad's responsibility?' Both are well worth the read.
It is my hope that these resources will help you form a biblically informed worldview, which encompasses clothing as a representation of what is going on inside the heart (of both women and men).

Tuesday, May 13, 2008


When our TAG ('Truth Application Group') finished up last week we were sharing with each other what we had learned through the group and during the time period of the group. For me, the answer had several parts, but one of the main things that I've been thinking about since we started meeting (and one of the things that's been the greatest blessing to my heart!) is the topic of fellowship.

Too many people use the word and never think about what it means. 'Fellowship' is roughly synonymous with 'participation'; in fact, one Greek word is translated as either 'fellowship' or 'participation' throughout the NT. To have fellowship, then, means something like 'to participate in something along with another person who is also participating in the same thing.'

Christian fellowship is even more specific, though. 1 John teaches that because we're in Christ, we have fellowship with God (within the life of the Triune God himself). We have fellowship with one another, then, when we each participate in the life of God and share that experience with each other so that each of us can better experience the life of God (by sharing the other's experience of the life of God).

That's all really wordy and convoluted, so I asked my cousin and really cool graphic designer, Josh Rivers, to do a little graphic for me. It's below.

What I want to highlight from the above picture is this: shared life experiences does not equal fellowship. Just having things in common in this life (ie. being the same age, same marital status, same life stage, etc.) is not fellowship. Fellowship is sharing in each other's experience of the life of God. It is necessarily God-centred and God-focused.

The lesson from that is this: If we choose our Christian friends the same way the world chooses their non-Christian friends (ie. how are you like me? what earthly things do we have in common? are we the same age / gender? do you have the same interests?) we're missing out on more than just fellowship with each other. We're missing out on wonderful, new experiences in the life of God. What a shame!

Below is another graphic from Josh. This one simply shows how as each one grows closer to God and experiences more of his life, it increases the true fellowship that each person can have with each other.

Do you want to be a good friend to a brother or sister? Grow closer to God and you will be inviting them into the life of God, revealing God to them. This is the essence of friendship.

Children (of) Believers

A little while ago, the Challister posted some thoughts he'd been working through on why it is that children of believers are more likely to believe the gospel--and in particular, why they are likely to believe at a young age.

Here's a part of his conclusion:

A person’s spiritual condition, it seems, is much like the condition of a patient with systemic sclerosis. While all humans are born sinful, children have less of the pollution and less of the hardening of adults. While the extent of our depravity cannot change, for from the moment of conception it encompasses all that we are, the degree will and must change. Life without God progresses much like the disease. It causes increased hardening. What was once soft becomes hard; what was once supple becomes stiff and stretched. The longer a person denies God and the more his internal pollution increases, the more hardened he becomes against God and against His gracious offer of salvation.
I agree with what Tim wrote in this post, and recommend you give the whole thing a read.

I was thinking about another reason today, though. The gospel is 'good news.' It is good news of the grace and mercy of God. The trouble is that most people in our world find grace and mercy irrelevant anyway, since they don't need them (at least from their perspective). I think another good reason why children of Christians might well be quicker to receive the gospel is simply that they have categories for thinking of issues like right and wrong, sin and holiness, law and justice.

A little while ago Stacey and I were at a playground with our kids. One of the kids that were there playing had decided to go run and jump in a big mud puddle. He played around in it for a little while, getting himself into a disgusting mess. When the mother / caregiver / guardian / nanny / keeper of some sort saw what had happened, she was upset. She yelled at him from across the playground: 'Didn't I tell you not to do that? That's not a good thing to do!'

I thought to myself 'That's not a good thing to do'? Why would she say that? And then it occurred to me: 'What else could she say?' Without God, categories that are absolutely necessary for raising children disappear. If that had've been Susannah, we would've had a talk about authority and obedience. We would do everything in our power to enable her to understand that there is a definite 'right' and a definite 'wrong' in that situation (obeying being right and disobeying being wrong), that she had chosen what was wrong, and that the necessary consequences would be meted out.

What would we be doing there? Is the important thing mud on the clothes? No, not at all. The important thing is her heart. If we are going to have useful inroads into her heart for discussions about the gospel, she'll need to be able to understand that there is an authority over her who has established right and wrong, that she has chosen what is wrong, and that apart from grace and mercy, the consequences will be severe.

The Christian parent who takes biblical categories like discipline, instruction, authority, obedience, submission, law, etc. seriously is building avenues into their child's heart everyday so that someday they'll be able (by God's grace) to think through their impending judgement and their need of mercy from the Judge.

Obviously, none of this will guarantee that a child will come to know the Lord. But I think if we're faithful to use the Lord's appointed means (discipline and instruction, establishing authority and obedience, etc.), he'll be honoured by our choices--and what's more important than that? But in addition, it gives us opportunities to preach the gospel to our children now--before the hardening is finally fatal.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Love, Part 2

In my most recent post on love, I offered this working definition of love:

that affection or passion which motivates me to pursue another's ultimate good, regardless of the cost to myself.
After that post a friend commented on the use of the words 'affection or passion' and just wondered if maybe love might be more about doing than feeling.

Many of us, I think, have been in Christian culture circles long enough to remember the DC Talk song Love is a Verb (if you don't know it, you can get the lyrics here). As a younger person that song had me reevaluate my definition of biblical love, so that I'd see that love isn't what culture says it is... too often, when I read of love in the Bible I used the world's definition (something roughly equivalent to warm-fuzzies; something that you can 'fall' into or out of on a whim, without your control).

But as I matured (at least I hope that's what I've done) even more, I came to understand that there is much more to love than mere 'verbing'. In other words, love is more than 'doing', although doing is definitely involved.

I think there's a balance somewhere here: Love the (outer) action is motivated by love the (inner) affection.

So that when Jesus teaches about love at the end of Matthew 5, for example, he shows that God's love is a love that involves action (he sends rain & sun). Now, are we to assume that such loving actions come from a heart that is not in a favourable disposition to the people being loved? Absolutely not. And we are called to be like the Father. Jesus teaches here that to love someone (like your enemy) means to pray for them. How can you pray for someone without any affection for them? However small, it must be there in some measure if you are going to intercede for them before the throne of grace. You are asking God to bless them with life, forgiveness, the alleviation of their troubles. Why would you ask this if there was no root for it in your affections? Surely Christ is looking for more than rote obedience devoid of heart-affections when he says 'be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect.'

Again, if we examine a passage like 1 Corinthians 13, we find the same thing. Love is that which bears, believes, hopes, and endures all things. It is hard indeed to picture how these things could genuinely come about in a heart devoid of affection for the person being loved. In fact, the only way I find I can genuinely love someone in these ways is to ask God to produce affection for them in my heart, so that my actions of love will be true--not faked or forced.

This is why I've thought it best to say that love is that affection or passion which produces... . In other words, love is not merely a feeling, but a God-wrought ability to have some of the same affection in my heart for one of God's creatures that God himself has. And just like God's love moves him to action, so this God-wrought affection in me will always motivate me to action.

Of course, this is always done absolutely imperfectly in my life. Sometimes life calls for us to just do what is right even before there is genuine affection in me. That's just because of my hardness of heart and slowness to be affected by God's truth and God's heart. Where I need to grow is in my continual experience of God's affections (his love for people, his hatred for sin, etc.) so that when situations come, the first affections to arise in my heart are God's own, so that my impulse will ultimately be genuine love.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008


I love our church. So does my pastor. A while ago he posted 34 things he loves about our church.

One Sunday night, when the weather was nice and the service had been over for more than an hour, and people were still hanging around talking to each other outside (because those of us responsible for locking the building had kicked them out), I began to wonder to myself if a church could ever get to a place where her people love each other too much.

I suppose in one sense, that could happen. If our love for each other ever superseded our love for Christ himself, or if our delight was in people, rather than in the God whose image is displayed in those people.

But when I thought about it more, the silliness of such a thought became apparent rather quickly. One can never love another person too much. No one could ever love more than Christ has loved (since this is how we know what love is) and clearly, Christ did not love too much.

But that got me to thinking that I needed a clearer definition of love. You see, when we think of love for another, we think of something which could supersede our delight in Christ, or something which could be taken too far, so that it is not in the other person's best interest. But really, at that point, it's not love at all... it's selfish delight in another person for the gratification of my own fleshly desires for entertainment or companionship or a sense of belonging or whatever else.

So here's the working definition of love that I came up with to help me evaluate whether I'm really loving someone, or whether I'm just having nice thoughts about them for my own benefit.

Love is

that affection or passion which motivates me to pursue another's ultimate good, regardless of the cost to myself.

Feel free to comment on that, if you like. I'm hoping to elaborate on that some more in the days to come.

Friday, May 02, 2008

CJ on Modesty

There are few Christian authors who can combine real cultural and spiritual insight, genuine love for the gospel, and humility while addressing everyday situations and life issues. One who I love as a preacher and a writer is CJ Mahaney.

CJ is currently through 4 of what will be 7 posts that are excerpts from the forthcoming book Worldliness: Resisting the Seduction of a Fallen World (Crossway, Sept. 2008), which CJ is editing. In this series CJ is giving excerpts from his chapter on modesty.

CJ focuses on the heart behind the clothes--which I love! Choice of clothing is like any other decision a person makes: it reveals something about a person's desires, motivations, etc. Pastorally, there are all kinds of issues surrounding modesty that can be addressed both in guys and girls.

Here's are a couple of the comments I've appreciated so far...

Any biblical discussion of modesty begins by addressing the heart, not the hemline. We must start with the attitude of the modest woman.
Modesty is humility expressed in dress. It’s a desire to serve others, particularly men, by not promoting or provoking sensuality.

Immodesty, then, is much more than wearing a short skirt or low-cut top; it’s the act of drawing undue attention to yourself. It’s pride, on display by what you wear.
There’s an inseparable link between your heart and your clothes. Your clothes say something about your attitude. If they don’t express a heart that is humble, that desires to please God, that longs to serve others, that’s modest, that exercises self-control, then change must begin in the heart.

For modesty is humility expressed in dress.
A woman’s taste for beauty can be an imitation of God’s character, but it can also become corrupted. And such was the case in this first-century church. Paul exhorted the women who professed godliness: “You should not dress in a way that resembles those who are extravagant, or worse, intent on being seductive or sexy. You must not identify with the sinful, worldly culture through your dress.” Paul was writing not to condemn attractive attire but to address its corruption by association with worldly ideals and goals.
Please know that I don’t write as a self-appointed critic. I am simply a concerned pastor who charitably assumes that most Christian women who dress immodestly are ignorant of the war with lust that men confront on a daily basis. They probably don’t have a clue what goes on in a man’s mind and what effect their bodies have on the eyes and hearts of men young and old.

But I want no one to be ignorant after reading this chapter. ...
And I don't want you to be ignorant. So go check out CJ's blog and follow this series as he posts. It will be well worth your while!