Monday, October 10, 2011

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Dressing The Christian Body Physically And Spiritually


Ephesians is a wonderful book from which to glean the importance of being properly dressed and equipped for protection against the ‘elements’ that may seek to cause us harm either directly or indirectly. When reading about putting on the whole armor of God, it reminded me about the time when each morning, the children and I would stand together and actually say and mimic the actions as if we were truly putting on God’s armor before we set foot out the door to begin our busy day. As I mulled over the importance of dressing properly, and the consequences of not doing so, the flood gates of thought seemed to pour in with numerous applications that God might have for us as individuals in our daily lives, both in the natural and spiritually.

In today’s world, it has become the norm for females, both young and old, to dress very provocative. It seems that the lower the neckline, the shorter the skirt, and the tighter the outfit, is the general guidelines for the fashions of the day. I don’t say this to be critical for I do not think that they even consider their dress to be immodest, but rather simply the fashion and therefore acceptable. My sisters and I were blessed with a Mama who always did her best to teach us to behave and dress as proper young ladies. Unfortunately, I can not say that I always did either. But at least I was given a good foundation from which to learn and my heart was then ‘prepared’ to be open to the process of further instruction from the Word of God in my walk with the Lord as He has worked to melt me and mold me into His image. However, every where you look today, the value of dressing modestly is not encouraged, but discouraged. Moms are setting examples for their own little girls that dressing in scanty tight clothes is the proper and normal way to dress. Yet, this is not recognized as a danger to the vulnerability of them selves or their daughters. God instructs us to dress in the moderation of modesty in order to protect us from lustful eyes.

I’m writing this with those of us who profess to be Christians in mind. We are supposed to be in the world but not of the world. We are supposed to be transformed and led by the word of God, not conformed into the image of worldly ways. Those things which are acceptable and pleasing in God’s sight should always be valued more highly, and therefore more important, in guiding our daily lives even down to the little regarded guide for dressing properly. My Mama gave us a pretty good guideline to follow as we began to develop into young women. She told us that a little bit of cleavage was acceptable but, when necessary a nice little insert of lace or other cover, perhaps like a camisole, should be worn for the sake of modesty.

As young ladies and women today, we have somehow lost sight of the fact that dressing immodestly provokes the male to then often assume that we are purposely provoking them to behave in lewd and even overt actions towards us. I am not saying that the way a female dresses gives a male the right to touch, attack, or assault a woman. I am saying that the way we dress can possibly be a contributing factor that could produce an undesired response or action towards us. That in itself is just another good reason to follow the directions of God to dress modestly.

Furthermore, I know that for gentlemen, this provocative type of dressing presents a real problem. It is common knowledge, even to the biblically illiterate that a man is stimulated by what he sees. You have heard it said that “all men are alike, or a man always looks at my breasts and not my face.” My husband, for one, does NOT want to be put into that box of generalization. He has even been known to say the following to a waitress: “I don’t want to be disrespectful of you and the other young ladies. Do you suppose you could ask your boss if you could wear your name tag higher so I wouldn’t be put in the position of appearing as though I am looking at you rudely?” Some men do look at women in a lewd manner, no matter how she is dressed. However, it isn’t fair of a woman to dress so provocatively and then complain that all a man looks at are her breasts when he is talking with her, or that he looks at her in a lewd manner as if undressing her with his eyes.

I thank the Lord for my Mama. I didn’t always understand her comments or suggestions at the time, but they were stored in my memory for future thought and ‘pearls of wisdom’ for me to consider. I remember when I was about thirteen or fourteen years old, I was wearing a slip in front of my brother-in-law, Mike. As far as I was concerned, he had been a part of my life since I was in the fifth grade. I loved him and thought of him as my bother. I felt so close to him, it was not unnatural for me to sit on his lap with my arm around his neck to talk with him even as I was thirteen or fourteen. He never gave any sign to me that he was ever uncomfortable when I did this. So when my Mama said I should put on a robe or something, I really couldn’t understand why she would say that, and I thought she was being foolish at the time. Regardless of how innocent my actions were in my thinking, my Mama’s words would return to me many times over the years to remind me that how we dress before others is important. Even if our actions are ‘innocent’ in our own eyes, it is more important to learn and move in God’s directive to give no place to the devil and give no appearance of evil. It is really being educated to be considerate and thoughtful of others and to follow the guide of moderation in all things.

God tells us that He is a jealous God. This does not mean that He is envious of us. It does mean that He is vigilant in His love and loyalty towards us. In like manner, He desires that we would be vigilant in our love and loyalty towards Him. He promised us this covenant type of relationship when He said He will be our God, and we will be His people. We have been given a human to human type of relationship that is meant to be a similar covenant which is found in the marriage relationship between a man and a woman. God says there is but one true God. If we truly believe that He is our God, we will be loyal to Him and Him alone. We won’t give any parts of our lives to any other gods. In like manner, one man and one woman are to be given in marriage, cleaving only unto one another. That word cleave holds an abundance of meanings such as loyalty, love, and submission to one another.

God has commanded that we are to have no other gods before Him, and we are to love the Lord with all our heart, mind, soul and body. So too, man and woman are to be married to one another and not go after others. Our love is to be loyal to one another alone according to our marriage vows. What has all of this got to do with how we dress? Well, if a woman is to give herself entirely to her husband, why would she dress in such a way that entices other men to be drawn to her? Why would a godly woman want to contribute to the possibility of causing someone to sin? Isn’t it far better to know that those attributes that God has given you are to be shared only between the two of you and no others? As our covenant with God is between Him and only those who believe in Him as the one true God, so also a man and woman given in marriage are to have that same kind of covenant relationship.

God is a God of balance and order. He does not expect a woman to cover herself entirely as some try to teach. He tells women to dress modestly, not immodestly. So it should stand to reason that our neckline should not be so low, or our skirts so high and tight that we seemed to be very close to having most our bodies revealed to any and every one. Should a female, of any age, dress in such a way that to the world we seem to be saying, “Come one, come all, taste of my wares that I freely give without discrimination or regard.” First of all, what message do you want to convey to your husband? Are you his and his alone? Why would you want to dress in such an imbalanced way that it seems to advertise that you do not hold your self for the pleasure of your husband alone, but perhaps you are not loyal and that which was supposed to be for your husband alone is to be shared with any man that comes along?

As a Mom, what kind of an example do you want to set for your daughter? In guiding your daughter, what message do you want to give her about how to dress in a godly fashion instead of a worldly fashion? Did you know that they are making padded bikini tops for little girls? The image of dressing provocatively has even been reduced to the younger and younger ages. What are we trying to promote in our present society?

In today’s world, where the less we wear is becoming more and more acceptable,
immodesty seems to be the normal, and modesty is the unacceptable, prudish abnormal standard.
Perhaps, because it has become the normal, maybe you haven’t even thought about whether the way you dress is pleasing before the Lord or not. I don’t submit this to be judgmental of anyone. But merely as food for thought that we might seek guidance from the Lord in even such a matter as how we dress. For me, I would like to think, if I were standing before the Lord here on earth, that He would be able to look at me and say, “Well done my daughter,” even in such a small matter as how I have chosen to dress. We are to be in the world, but not of the world.

Never accept my word or opinion. We are always encouraged to “test the spirits”. If what ever is proclaimed does not line up with the Word of God, cast it aside. Being led into all truth through the Word of God by the power of the Holy Spirit is first and foremost. Moderation in all things is always a good guide in helping us know and do what is pleasing before the Lord.

I include a list of a few scriptures that may be of help to guide us in finding that balance in moderation for ourselves and daughters no matter what our age may be.

Romans 12: 2; I Corinth 10: 31; I Thess: 4, 4-7; Matt. 5:28; I Tim. 2:9; Prov. 3: 21-22; Phil 4: 9


Just as our bodies need to be dressed before we start our day, each of us needs to be mindful of the needs of our spirit to be dressed and equipped for the day. Too often, we think only of the outer man and neglect our inner man. When it’s raining outside we make sure that we prepare ourselves at least with an umbrella. If we are going to be exposed to the sun for an extended period, we apply sunscreen lotion for protection. We understand that there are elements that could cause our bodies harm, both from nature and from mankind. So we take measures to protect ourselves.

In order to be spiritually dressed and equipped for the day, we are reminded to “be strong in the Lord.” When we become born again Christians, we have become united with Christ which automatically makes Satan and his demons our enemies. As it says, these are not flesh and blood, but they are very real adversaries, and in many ways much more dangerous than the conditions or situations that would attack our physical bodies. Yet we go forth each day giving little or no thought as to whether we have taken heed of any part of Ephesians six which exhorts us to put on the whole armor of God that we may be equipped to withstand all the fiery darts of the enemy.

Ephesians 6: 10 - 17
10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. 18 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.

It seems that the very first step in getting ‘spiritually’ dressed is to pray and spend time in the presence of the Lord, for without this step we have not given ourselves the advantage of becoming “strong in the Lord.” The very first part of our armor starts with protecting our mind, for the mind is where the battle against our spirit will begin. We are told to put on the helmet of salvation. Salvation is faith in the saving power of Christ. The helmet will protect us from the lies of Satan who never ceases to try to deceive us. He knows the word of God and is very adept at sprinkling in just enough truth to make his lies seem to be true. If we are to have the “mind of Christ,” we must be secure in knowing who we believe in, not just knowing about Him. Satan and his demons know about Jesus, but they will never believe in Him as Lord and Savior, and they will never obey Him. We are encouraged to always strive, with the help of the Holy Spirit, to have the “mind of Christ” in all situations and upon every occasion. We are to follow the actions exemplified for us by Jesus – love, humility, truth, service. Always endeavor to think and act as Jesus would. Do not let our desires lead us into sin. Avoid those situations that would open the door to gratification of sinful desires. We are exhorted to renew our minds. How? By the washing of the water of the Word.

We are to have the belt of truth around our waist and the breastplate of righteousness across our chest. Righteousness is granted us by the grace of God through faith in Christ. It is our faith in the Lord God that is imputed to us as righteousness just as it was to Abraham. Self-righteousness and righteousness are total opposites. Righteousness is the condition of being always right, completely sin and guilt free. Self righteousness says man can save himself through his own good works. Yet this is never attainable, for no matter how ‘good’ a man may appear to be, he can never keep all of the law and never sin. Man can never meet the holy standards of the Lord. Only Jesus is qualified as completely sinless and without guilt. Without God, man’s righteousness is as filthy rags. With God, the believer is covered with the blanket of righteousness bestowed upon him because of his faith in the sacrificial blood of Jesus. Faith, righteousness, forgiveness, redemption, and eternal life are all gifts from God. They are gifts that can not be earned, but received only because of the grace and mercy of God when we accept Jesus as Lord and Savior. “Let us walk honestly, as in the day, not in rioting (carousing) and drunkenness, not in chambering (sexual immortality) and wantonness (debauchery), not in strife and envying But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh to fulfill the desires of the flesh.” (Romans13: 12 – 14) That is how one is to “put on the Lord Jesus Christ” in both attitude and behavior. “And be found in Him (Christ), not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness of God by faith.” (Phil. 3: 4)

We are to be equipped with the shield of faith. Faith comes by hearing, and hearing the Word of God. How can ones faith be true and strong if it is not rooted and grounded in the Word of God? At times, our faith is non existent, shallow, or completely in error due ignorance, immaturity in the knowledge of the Lord, or just plain rebellion and refusal to build our faith based on the truth of God’s Word instead of the ‘truth’ as we desire to see it based upon our own opinions, or false teaching from other sources. Either way, it all boils down to our own responsibility to study the word of God that we can be a workman that need not be ashamed, but able to rightly discern the word of God. Disciples, apostles, teachers, preachers, etc. have all been given to the church that we may learn and equipped with the wisdom and knowledge of the Lord. God tells us that “My people perish for lack of knowledge.” This does mean worldly knowledge, but the knowledge of God. The Word tells us not to be deceived, by ourselves or others. If we are not diligent to study the Word, we will be easily led astray by every whim of man and Satan who both contribute to the mass of false teaching that is rampant in the world and even in some of our churches today. If it were not possible for even a believer to be deceived, we would not be told “be not deceived.”

Ginger Rahn


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