Tuesday, April 24, 2012

To Wear or Not to Wear? That is the Question.

Alright, guys, I have to apologize right off the bat.  I am so sorry that it has taken me so long to get back to blogging.  It was my intention to blog at least once a week, but I fail you and me.  I have literally been mulling over this post topic for over a month now.  But the truth is that this is yet another difficult topic to tackle.  It is an issue that sometimes can become a hot topic.  It is an issue that requires a sensitivity and a non-judgmental tone.  It is an issue that I have had to wrestle over numerous times.  It is an issue that every woman should consider.  It is the issue of modesty.

What got me thinking about this issue are some pictures I saw on facebook, some pictures of young teenage girls in bikinis.  These young girls are daughters of a facebook friend from home.  Their mother, my old friend, posted these pictures of her daughters.  They were enjoying the beach on their spring break.  These girls were clearly very attractive young ladies.  But despite that, I was very sad when I stumbled across these pictures.  I was sad for 3 reasons.  One, that we are all made in the image of God, which is clearly stated in Genesis 1.27  1 Corinthians 15.49 confirms this by stating, "Just as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we shall also bear the image of the man of heaven."  Does it bring honor to his name when we immodestly display his creation made in his image?  Another reason it saddened me is that the temptation to lust can literally lead men to death.  Proverbs 11.6 & 7a "The righteousness of the upright delivers them, but the treacherous are taken captive by their lust.  When the wicked dies, his hope will perish."  "Then the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from trials, and to keep the unrighteous under punishment until the day of judgment, and especially those who indulge in the lust of defiling passion and despise authority."  The Word is clear here in 2 Peter 2.9 & 10 that there will be a "day of judgment: for those who are unrighteous and indulge in 'lusts of defiling passion'."  May it never be that any man is found unrighteous and justifiably condemned over lusting after us.  May it never be that we, whether ignorant or not, lead men down a path of death by displaying our bodies in an immodest way.  The third reason that this is saddening is that it was these young girls' mother who posted these pictures of them.  It has become the norm for a few generations now to immodestly display our bodies in such a way as to attract attention to them instead of our good God.  We have exchanged worship of a good and loving creator for worship of an attractive yet temporal creation.  

Now before you guys start jumping to any turtle neck conclusions, let me just say that I get it.  I get the dilemma.  Why is there a dilemma?  Why don't we all just wear what we want to wear and be responsible only for ourselves, after all the Bible does not clearly address what we should and should not wear?  What you consider modest I consider prudish or vice versa.  Why should I change the way I live my life or what I wear because you struggle with lust?  WHY?  Simply put, because of the gospel.  Christ was FAR from thinking of himself while He suffered on the cross for me and you.  The gospel calls us to, as Paul puts it, "live is Christ and to die is gain."  (Philippians 1.21)  So if that's the case, who are we to be only concerned with ourselves?  We, like Paul, must fight the good fight of living a life that was purchased by Christ on the cross.

So onto the dilemma.  You put on a dress or a bathing suit that you FINALLY feel comfortable in and that is flattering.  FINALLY!  It ever-so-slightly hides the imperfections that you wish would just go away.  BUT, the dress seems to hug a little bit to closely to certain assets you have, or that really cute bathing suit dips down just a little to low.  Thus the dilemma.  I SO GET IT!  I have been there so many times.  And quite honestly there have been times when I have not always opted for the more modest option.  I vividly recall the struggles I had shopping for my wedding dress.  I found a dress on line and in the catalog.  It was the first one I picked up to try on in the store.  I tried it on.  Success!  But I wanted to make sure it was the one I wanted, so I tried on some other dresses.  Well, low and behold I found another one that I LOVED!  It was an amazing dress.  It seemed completely perfect for me, EXCEPT that the only one in the store was at least 2 sizes too big.  BTW, the other dress had quickly become a unimportant memory.  So, the seamstress came out and started pinning and tucking.  But despite all the folding, tucking, pinning, and yes even prodding, the seamstress could not guarantee that the dress would adequately cover this and that.  Again the dilemma, the dilemma I hate.  I went back and forth for at least a half an hour trying to decide what to do.  Finally I just decided to go with my original dress, which was free from hassle and the dilemma.  So, again this is a dilemma that I am very familiar with.  And because I am familiar with it I feel the freedom in addressing it, and encouraging sisters to let the gospel guide them even in this area.  Let the gospel shape your heart and its desires.  

Yes, I know that there are those girls out there who know what they are doing when they choose to wear certain things that are significantly revealing, but I believe that most of us make our choices out of unintentional ignorance.  We choose it because it's cute and comfortable.  But Christ did not die to redeem us so that we can live cute comfortable lives.  Christ redeemed us so that we would be women who adorn themselves with "respectable apparel, with modesty and self-control."  (1 Timothy 2.9)  My heart's desire is that we honor the Lord in every way we present ourselves to the world.  I hope and pray that you can receive this encouragement from a sister who is far from perfection but who nonetheless is striving to live a life consumed with Christ.

Please take time to listen to this short snippet of CJ Mahaney addressing this very issue.  He is very kind and gentle in his encouragements.  I hope his gentleness can soften the blow of any grace I am lacking in addressing this. CJ Mahaney on Modesty 

So, ladies, when you ask yourselves "to wear or not to wear," I challenge you to think not of yourselves but of brothers whom you would hate to be led to death.