Saturday, July 14, 2012

Modesty Matters: Bringing your dress code under the authority of Jesus Christ. The Simple Truth.

I will never forget the day when I had a little bit of extra money in my hands as a college student.  I went to the Fashion Bug department store in Dyersburg, Tennessee and purchased a skort set.  Well you may be tempted to ask “What is a skort set?”.  Skorts were very popular back in the early to mid 90’s.  These sets were made to look like a short skirt in the front, all the while it was actually a pair of shorts.  My desire was to be with the latest fashions and “what not”.  So, I purchased this outfit and brought it home.    Being the teenager that I was and sure that since I was legally declared an adult, my mother wouldn’t have any issues with my new fashion purchase.  I should have known better.  I mean… I was raised by Momma V, as she is so popularly known now.  So in the small moment in which I lost my mind to even purchase this stuff, I decided to wear it outside while my mother was gone away from the home. Well, when she returned she didn’t hold back her thoughts on my latest fashion mishap.  Momma would later say, “This mess is TOO short”.  Well, she was right.  And of course since I was still living at home, I dare not argue with her… after all, she is my beloved Mother.  All I could remember was “You’re not wearing that… not in my house”.  Enough said.  Well, the skort set ended up in the garbage… along with my sister’s My Buddy Doll… but that’s another story.

You may be wondering why modesty is so important.  Why do a blog on how women dress?  Is it really important?  Before I answer those questions, let us look at the definition of the word modest.  According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, modest is defined as “having a moderate estimate of oneself; observing the proprieties of dress and behavior”.

Being modest in your dress means dressing in such a way so as not to bring shame to the glory of God, to your husband (if you are married), and to the body of Christ as a believer in Jesus.  In this modesty, we as women are to dress in such a way as not to bring attention to ourselves by what we wear.  So this explains why I can’t go to the salon and ask for blue, green, and yellow weave.  NO!  First of all, I’m not joining a circus; secondly, it would bring too much attention to self, which is ungodly to say the least.  Everything that we do, including what we wear, should glorify God. 

1 Corinthians 10:31 states “Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.” (KJV)

Why is dressing modestly so important?  Ladies, we all need a checkup from the foot up every now and then.  We need to examine our wardrobe to see if what we are wearing is glorifying the King.  We need to examine ourselves to see if we are indeed in the faith, and our dress wear as women of God is a big part of this.

2 Corinthians 13:5 says, “Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?” (KJV)

Are you a reprobate? If not, then do not dress like one. As women who belong to Christ Jesus, our conduct should represent Him in every way. 

1 Peter 1:14-17  “As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, but as He who called you is Holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, since it is written, ‘You shall be holy, for I am holy.’” (ESV)

Romans 12:1-2 “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.  And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” (KJV)

The issue of lust and pornography:  Okay ladies, let us get serious for a moment and admit that we have caused a lot of men to fall all because of what we were wearing.  Yes, I place some of that blame directly on our shoulders… and rightfully so.  Have you been to the local market lately and seen how some women dress?  This is not just limited to the local market.  Women we are often undressed where it relates to worship on Sundays as well.  Ouch! 

Matthew 5:28 “But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.” (KJV)

For the sake of debate, I am not referring to us ladies wearing skirts that reach down to our toenails.  Nor am I referring to wearing long sleeve shirts when it is 100 degrees outside.  Let us be sensible for a moment.  What I am referring to is the deliberate use of our bodies in causing others to look upon us in a lustful manner.  Ladies, we are beautiful.  No doubt about that.  But in our beauty, has it ever occurred to us that our dress wear, short skirts, low cut blouses, and cleavage showing, may be causing some of our beloved brothers in the faith to stumble and fall? 

The evil one desires to have us “show off” our body:  Isn’t this what the evil one desires most?  We see it everywhere: Five easy tips to get a bigger butt; Twelve steps to having sexy breasts; Six ways to achieve sexier legs.  This trash is everywhere.  So no marvel that Satan is behind all of this self-promotion.  And no, I’m not against us looking presentable at all.  However, we’ve bought into a lie and a trick of the devil, to make us think that we are to show off our figures, our bodies.  We forgot that we do not belong to ourselves in the first place (1 Corinthians 6:19-20). We forgot that beauty is ever fading. 

Proverbs 31:30 “Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised”. (ESV)

Here is the Simple Truth:  Our love for the Father and our love for one another should manifest itself in how we dress.  We are not auditioning for The Next Top Model.  This is not “Let’s make a deal.”  We should care less about what the world is doing or how they dress; for the world is dying every day.  But we…we are living to please our Heavenly Father.  We live to bring Him glory.  It is for Him that we are even alive at this very moment.  After all, the very air we breathe belongs to Him. 

So with regards to being fashionable, be fashionable.  Be lovely.  Be elegant.  Be sophisticated.  But don’t forget to be holy.  That is our mandate as women of God first and foremost. 

1 Peter 3:3-4 states “Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel; But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price.” (KJV) 

Although these passages of Scriptures here are in the context of marriage, there is a lesson here that should not be overlooked by us single ladies. And that lesson is: we should not be interested so much in having others notice us for what we are wearing externally. We should be more concerned with the hidden man of the heart. Our outward bodies are decaying away but our inner man is being renewed every day (2 Corinthians 4:16).

Lastly, if you are a non-believer, then this post is not for you.  This post is for women who call upon the Name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, to call us back to holiness, purity, and modesty in how we dress and what we wear.  So after stating all of that, if you are a Christian and you are offended by this post, REPENT!  …as I’m offended by it myself… and I wrote it.

So what’s a girl to do? Some practical solutions to it all:
* Ladies, go throughout your closet.  If you have an outfit that does not glorify God (and only you can determine that with the help of the Holy Spirit), then throw it out.  Do NOT give it away.  Why cause another sister to offend someone by what she wears.  Throw it in the garbage.  Side note: should there be some married ladies who happen upon this post, I have no instructions at all for you.  In this case, you should ask your husbands.  This particular post is for single ladies; although, I pray that it may be a blessing to married women as well.
* Ladies, should you have a blouse that shows cleavage, to the point where you can clearly see the formation of your breasts, throw it out… or perhaps you can use it to dust around the house. 

*Lastly ladies, let us pray for one another.  The issue of modesty is an issue we all are dealing with, including me.  Like I stated earlier, this post offends me… and I’m the writer.  So don’t be discouraged.  I’m not here to give you five tips on showcasing your beauty.  I’m not here to bring you under legalism or bondage for that matter either.  I’m here to help us all to glorify God in how we dress and in what we wear.  So to that end, we need to pray for one another ( James 5:16; Colossians 1:9-13).  But also in prayer, let us remember that faith without works is dead (James 2:26).  Therefore, we need to be the women God is calling us to be.  Thus, we will live holy and acceptable unto the Lord, our God.  Ladies, are you ready to pray?

In Christ, our Helper forever:  Heavenly Father, I come to You to first humble myself and to ask You for Your forgiveness of my sins.  Father God, I ask for Your forgiveness of dressing in a way that does not please You nor bring glory to Your Name.  Please forgive me for every time that I caused a man to lust over me in what I wore.  Forgive me for using Your temple, this body, in a manner that did not please You.  I am Your child.  I live to bring You praise.  Please be my Helper and show me how to bring honor to You in how I dress and in what I wear.  Let me know the importance of being modest in all things as unto You, my Heavenly Father.  Help me to display Christ to a lost and dying world, even if it means displaying Christ in how I dress.  To all things be done for Your glory forever, in Jesus Christ Name.  Amen.  

Additional Scriptures to ponder:  
Proverbs 11:22; 1 Timothy 2:8-10; Matthew 18:6-7; John 7:24

Monday, July 9, 2012

“But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.” Isaiah 40:31 (KJV)

As the Lord blessed me to celebrate my recent birthday, I began to ask myself some thought-provoking questions. You see, I have taken the past several weeks, if not months, to evaluate myself in light of Scriptures, to reflect on the goodness of God, to meditate on His precepts, and also to ponder. Over the past several years, I have seen single women make some poor choices in choosing a mate all because they did not wait on the Lord to give them His best in a mate. And of course by the time a woman reaches a certain age, there are undoubtedly many questions as to why marriage hasn’t come yet. It almost reminds me of that old saying: Are we there yet? Well…not yet my friends. But this is not a lesson on cultural society’s expectations for marriage. This perhaps may be a lesson on the sovereignty of our faithful Lord. So if you are single, as I am, you may be tempted to ask some similar questions as to why you remain single. To be honest, I stopped asking that question years ago. Why? Because God has shown me through His Word the importance of waiting on Him. Besides in this life we will have to wait, whether we like it or not. So why not wait on God’s choice for a mate? To be honest, part of my desire to wait has been based on seeing so many people, even those whom I dearly love, make choices based on their emotions rather than choosing a spouse based on God’s Word.

Psalm 27:14 – “Wait on the Lord: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the Lord.” (KJV)

Psalm 84:11 – “For the Lord God is a sun and shield; the Lord bestows favor and honor. No good thing does he withhold from those who walk uprightly.” (ESV)

No good thing:  Marriage is a beautiful blessing from the Lord: a God-given covenant between a man to a woman only; meant to last until death separates. This explains why no one should enter into a marriage lightly. If you believe like I do, then you believe that God will not withhold any good thing from those who walk uprightly. We are His children. We seek to please Him in every way. Even when we sin and fall short of the glory of God, we repent and continue to follow Christ on this journey. We do not short-change God in anything, including our singleness. 

Here is the Simple Truth:  Sometimes we as single women can tend to focus too much on why we are not married. When we should ask ourselves, what can we do to prepare for marriage, if marriage is the Lord’s will for us? How can we as single women best serve the Lord during this time of singleness? Should the Lord tarry, here are some things we as single women need to remember:

1.       It is God’s will to give to those a husband as He desires. Genesis 2:18 states “And the Lord God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him.” (KJV). God is holy and He is sovereign. Job 42:2 states “I know that You can do all things, and that no purpose of Yours can be thwarted.” (ESV).  Our Heavenly Father knows when the time is right to introduce you to your future mate. So let us be still. You never know who you may meet while in the frozen foods section of Wal-Mart. God is the BEST Matchmaker. EVER!!!
2.       Be NOT idle! Do not waste this time wishing you were married. Spend this time doing the Lord’s work wherever you find your hands to do. 1 Corinthians 10:31 states “So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” (ESV).
3.       Do not despise your married friends. It only lends to covetousness of which the Lord has already given us His Word on that subject. (Reference Exodus 20:17).
4.       Prepare yourself. Now I’m sure you all have heard this one before. Read the Bible. If you desire marriage, pull out those Scriptures that pertain to the role of a wife towards her husband. This is even beneficial for those single ladies who do not have the desire for marriage. Also find a good Biblically based book on the subject of preparation for marriage. This will come in handy as you prepare. Seek the advice of other Godly women who are married. Ask them some questions as to how their spouses went through the courtship process with them. Gather as much information as possible.
5.       Seek out accountability beforehand. I am aware that there are some Christians who are with the mindset that accountability is not biblical or that perhaps they do not want others in their business. Well…that’s not my view. I invite certain Godly people into my business. Why? Because of the issue of sexual purity, and my desire to maintain my sexual purity when I am in this courtship process. I need accountability and you do to. We do not need to think of ourselves so highly and super-spiritually minded as to think that we are not prone to sexual immorality. If this wasn’t so, then the Apostle Paul would not have written 1 Corinthians chapter 7 to address such issues. (Reference 1 Corinthians 7). Proverbs 27:17 – “Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another.” (ESV).
6.       Pray for your future husband. This one requires no further explanation. The following website is from Revive Our Hearts Ministry of Nancy Leigh DeMoss which includes 31 prayers wives can pray for their husbands. I am convinced that as single women, we can at least pull a couple of these prayers to pray over our future husbands.
7.       Rest in His hope. We do not know everything. We have not all the answers. But one thing I can say with surety is that our God is faithful. He hears our prayers and His timing is certainly perfect. Let us rest in the hope that our faithful Father in Heaven will perform His will in our lives, whether that is to remain single or whether that is to marry one of His children. Psalm 138:8 – “The Lord will perfect that which concerneth me: thy mercy, O Lord, endureth for ever: forsake not the works of thine own hands.” (KJV).

Our Lord, our Savior:  Dear Heavenly Father, I pray for those reading this blog that You will fill them to overflowing with Your Word in their lives. May they be able to understand what is the hope of Your calling, what Your will is for them in every situation, struggle, and trial. May we not grow weary in well doing for in due season, Your Word states that we will reap, if we do not faint. We pray now that You will make us into excellent women and wives for Your glory alone, in Jesus Almighty Name. Amen.

Books I recommend:
The Bible (English Standard Version or King James Version or both) SMILE!
Choosing God’s Best: Wisdom for lifelong romance by Dr. Don Raunikar
The Excellent Wife by Martha Peace
Becoming the Titus 2 Woman by Martha Peace
Feminine Appeal: Seven virtues of a godly wife and mother by Carolyn Mahaney
Videos I highly recommend watching:
Biblical Manhood by Dr. Voddie Baucham (Full sermon link listed below and available on youtube)
Biblical Womanhood by Dr. Voddie Baucham (Full sermon link listed below and available on youtube)