Since yesterday's post, I have been thinking a lot about what modesty truly means. I know it's not only about clothing choices, and I would like to share some things the Lord has shown me over the past twelve or so hours.
The whole issue of modesty boils down to a mindset. It's about way more than clothes. Christian women have fallen for the lie that the world has embraced, namely: "It's my body, I'll do what I want with it". This belief has infiltrated the church in covert and seemingly harmless ways. The church, in its effort to reach the world by being all things to all men, has indeed adopted some of their philosophy.
The world believes women should do what they want with their bodies. Therefore the abortion rate is monumental, pornography addiction has ruined countless homes, and women's lib has so influenced us that we have taken out "honor and obey" from our wedding vows because it sounds ancient and unreasonable.
But if you have accepted Christ as your Savior, your Lord has this to say:
"What? Know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you,
which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price:
therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's." (I Cor. 6:19-20)
I believe we cheapen the gift of Christ's death on the cross when we are in willful disobedience to His commands. The price of His blood is what purchased our forgiveness, and we need to always be mindful of behaving in a thankful manner, by pleasing Him with our lives.
We have all heard the above verses many times. (Especially if we grew up in church and attended youth meetings!) But I think the in your body part is emphasized over the in your spirit part. It's all well and good to look right, to say and do the right things, but if our spirit is silently rebellious, it's all for nothing.
Our bodies will not do right, or be able to do right, until our spirit is in line with Christ's.
Let me say that again: Our bodies will not do right, or be able to do right, until our spirit is in line with Christ's.
What does that mean? It means that yes, we need to glorify God in our body- staying pure, etc....but that cannot happen until we first have brought our spirit into the submission of the Holy Spirit.
"Watch and pray that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing,
but the flesh is weak." (Matt. 26:41)
Christ is the speaker of the first verse above. Oh how He knew the human condition! Those who belong to Christ have a willing Spirit within us, but our flesh is so sin-filled, wicked and weak that we need to be in constant communication (prayer) with the Lord. We need His strength and mercy in our every moment.
"For I know that in me (that is in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present
with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not." (Romans 7:18)
The second verse is written by Paul, one of the greatest Christian men who ever lived. He admits, readily, that he knows what is right, and yet has a hard time doing it! His Spirit wants to do right, longs to do right, but his flesh clouds his mind, and he cannot follow his Spirit.
It's not an easy thing, this modesty mindset. It takes work. It's a conscious effort to glorify the Spirit that resides in us over ourselves. It's so easy to make the focus be about us, what we're doing, how we look, what we say. It's self-promotion, pure and simple.
But how are we to turn a lost world to the loving and saving arms of Christ when we are so much in the way? How can we lead them to life when we are displaying fleshly death?
"(4) That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. (5) For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit. (6) For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. (7) Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither can be. (8) So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God." (Romans 8:4-9)
When we are acting with an immodest mindset, we are displeasing to God, and cannot please him, because we are carnally minded. We are not thinking on the things of God, but rather selfishness and our own agenda.
How can a person be told to focus on Christ when they cannot stop staring at our exposed chest/legs/shoulders/back? How can we help an unsaved friend turn to the love of Christ that we proclaim, when we are hateful and impatient with our children in their presence? How can we rebuke a person for swearing when we've just laughed at (or made) an off-color joke? How can the world be won when we continue to promote self above Christ?
This immodest mindset has slowly, methodically, and dangerously changed us as Christian women. Our influential role for Christ in the lives of our family and community are severely diminished when we choose to follow it. Let's work hard to glorify God first in our spirit, so our body has a fighting chance of getting it right too.