So, this post blog post has been rolling around in my head like one of those little balls in a pin ball machine (like a real pin ball machine, not some app). To post, or not to post. To open this Pandora’s box, or to leave it safely shut from public opinion. What I write is a reflection of my deepest convictions, and I hope I adequately convey how much I love people and how much I am not here to judge or create dissension. I am not better than anyone and I do not claim to have figured it all out. BUT, like Paul, I press on. I’m constantly trying to figure out what God means by what he says in his word, because if godly living is a place, I want to be right smack dab in the middle of it at all times, walking in truth. I don’t want to do a single thing that would hinder God from using me or speaking to me. Even if it affects what I wear.
A few weeks ago, I shared an article on Facebook. Naively, I hoped it wouldn’t stir up a fight. It was about bikinis and how destructive they were. Well, I was wrong. It incited quite a lively discussion, which really got me thinking. I read through the comments, and I began to see a pattern. For many Christians, modesty=legalism and wearing what you wish=freedom.
For many women who grew up in ultra conservative homes, being told what to wear was accompanied by shame, legalism, and and a desire to belittle women or insinuate that women are to blame for men’s issues with lust. Thus, once many women leave their homes, they find freedom in realizing that God still loves them if they show their shoulders. This is true-He does! lol. But as I really began to think and pray, I asked God, “Why is modesty important?? Why does it really really matter for women to be modest? For anyone, really? When you had Paul talk about women being modest, what did you envision? I know clothing has changed drastically since bible times, and Paul couldn’t give a detailed list of what not to to wear because bikinis and leggings didn’t exist then. However, discretion is mentioned enough times that it’s a hot button christian issue—and other religions too. Many religions actively shame women and women are made to believe they are evil if they show any part of their body to anyone except their husband. I know that can’t be right, because we are made in the image of God, but still the question stands. I live in Georgia in 2016. I’m 22. What does God ask of me today, right now in my religion, in my country, with my relationship status?
So I opened my bible and discovered the answer to my question was so much bigger than skirt length and shoulder strap width.
Take this passage for instance:
Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, 4 not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.
5 In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:
6 Who, being in very nature[a] God,
did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;
7 rather, he made himself nothing
by taking the very nature[b] of a servant,
being made in human likeness.
8 And being found in appearance as a man,
he humbled himself
by becoming obedient to death—
even death on a cross!
9 Therefore God exalted him to the highest place
and gave him the name that is above every name,
10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
11 and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father.
Wait, that didn’t mention women or modesty? No, but it gave us a beautiful picture of Christlike living. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, 4 not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.
Hmm.. the whole crux of Christianity is encompassed in the person hood of Jesus Christ, who did not consider equality with God something to be grasped(ALTHOUGH HE WAS EVERY BIT AS MUCH GOD) he lowered himself to the form of a servant and considered others above himself. Ladies are you getting this?? THE MAN himself didn’t go after equality. My goodness this is just wrecking me in every way.
We have an incredible honor and privilege and mandate to be selfless and to consider others above ourselves. We have the opportunity to do this every day in a million ways for women, men, and children. We do this in our speech, our actions, and our clothing. Modesty is just one way we honor God. It’s not everything and it doesn’t make us better, but it helps us be like Jesus.
I’m not a man, I don’t see women the way they do. I struggle with lust in a different way. Yes, women lust (see 50 shades of Grey). I do not get turned on by seeing a woman’s hot legs. I get jealous. ha. I cannot in good consciousness, though, show off alll the glory of my legs when I know it’s going to be a struggle for my brother, not because my legs are something to be ashamed of, but because I follow Christ.
See Romans 14 and exchange food for bikinis:
Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in the way of a brother or sister. 14 I am convinced, being fully persuaded in the Lord Jesus, that nothing is unclean in itself. But if anyone regards something as unclean, then for that person it is unclean. 15 If your brother or sister is distressed because of what you eat, you are no longer acting in love.Do not by your eating destroy someone for whom Christ died.16 Therefore do not let what you know is good be spoken of as evil. 17 For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit, 18 because anyone who serves Christ in this way is pleasing to God and receives human approval.
19 Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification. 20 Do not destroy the work of God for the sake of food. All food is clean, but it is wrong for a person to eat anything that causes someone else to stumble. 21 It is better not to eat meat or drink wine or to do anything else that will cause your brother or sister to fall.
Maybe instead of fighting for equality and dressing any way we want and saying “Sucks to be you boys” we should try the whole concept of living selflessly and trying not to cause our brothers to stumble. That’s my desire.
But I know what you are thinking. Some guys are turned by the sight of a girl’s ankle. Some guys stumble over the back of my elbow. What do I do then?
I don’t know. Use common sense, ask other guys. Take a poll. Talk to your dad. Ask the Holy Spirit. It’s not a matter of black and white, it requires you to think deeper than skin deep. Think about what you wear and ask yourself if it honors God and others. God will answer you back and so will other men. listen to them. Remember, our lives are not about us. We are here to be poured out for others. It’s so much bigger than leggings and tank tops. I can’t emphasize that enough. Modesty is a beautiful way women represent Christ by honoring others and not considering equality with men something to be grasped (I am saying this in the context of modesty because many ladies say “well why don’t men get lectured about walking around with their shirt off?). I can’t get all psychological all on that, but I’ve never stumbled over a shirtless guy, unless he was really really really hot, (jk jk).
I don’t understand men. But I’m trying. So last week over waffles, I asked some good guy friends of mine: “So do you really think modesty is a big deal for women?” And all they all said yes.
I trust them. I respect them. So I’m going to try and honor them. I’m gonna swing my closet doors open and ask God to help me me honor him in this one way.
Ladies, I implore you. Set down your sword for a second. Take off your bitter feminist cape and take yourself out of the equation. It’s not about whether you think it’s appropriate or not. It’s about honor and respect and being a tool for the Lord to use you. Imagine the doors of opportunity that will swing wide as we lay our desire to be hot and pick up a desire to be godly.
Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting;
but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.
PS: this whole selflessness/not being a stumbling block applies to drinking, language, movies, the way we act, etc etc. We no longer live under the law, but under grace, which, if you hadn’t noticed, is a MUCH higher standard.
Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2 Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. 3 For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. 4 When Christ, who is your[a] life,appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.
5 Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature:sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. 6 Because of these, the wrath of God is coming.[b] 7 You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived. 8 But now you must also rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander,and filthy language from your lips. 9 Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices 10 and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator.11 Here there is no Gentile or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised,barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all.
12 Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. 13 Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.14 And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.
15 Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. 16 Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. 17 And whatever you do,whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.