Summer is definitely here and with the temperatures rising everyone begins revisiting the question of modesty (or lack thereof) and what is "okay" to wear or not wear as Christian's. There are so many things we could talk about on this subject (and I've got about a million thoughts in my head about it for sure!) but today I wanted to just focus on one in particular that has stuck out to me.
I recently saw a blog post by a young lady that became instantly popular and received lots of attention and praise. The main point of her message was that she was choosing to not wear bikinis like most of the other girls she knew. Now this idea in itself might sound good (although her choice of a swimsuit in place of it was far from what I think is modest either...that's an issue for another day!) but it was her reason given for the choice that caused me to pause. She said it was a "sacrifice" for the men she was going to be around. Hmmm, really? A sacrifice. Like she was paying such a huge price and having to be different from her friends was a hardship but she was doing it just because it was best for others. Wow.
There are so many other words and reasons that come to mind when I think of why we should choose to be separate from the world and modest in how we dress. Before I get into some of those though let me explain my reaction to the idea of modesty being a sacrifice. When I think of sacrifice I think of something big being done. One of the definitions of the word is to give up something for the good of someone else but it also says that what you're sacrificing is something of value, importance, etc. Hence the hang up for me on bikinis. Why would not wearing one be considered so hard to give up? Because it's unpopular? Because you want to look good? Because you might be made fun of or not get as much attention as the other girls? I'm just not seeing any of those reasons as being valuable. Are you?
I guess what I'm trying to say is that when I think of sacrifice,I don't think of not getting to wear what the world thinks is best or what helps me fit in with everyone else or what shows off my body more and makes me look good. Instead, I think of Jesus. I think of Him giving up heaven to come down in a body of flesh. I think of Him taking my wicked sins upon Himself and suffering on a cruel cross in my place. I think of how holy and righteous He is and worthy of so much more than what He chose to do for me. But He did all of it anyway, because of love. Now that is a real sacrifice.
And us? We're just called to obey, to serve, to glorify, to try to be holy like Jesus....for the exact same reason. Love. Love of a Saviour who freely gave His blood for our sins. I wouldn't call that a sacrifice, I'd call that an honor and privilege.
As for wearing bikinis(or any other article of clothing that is so revealing).......I'm still trying to figure out why a Christian lady would think that's so important anyway? Here's a verse that comes to mind when I think about what I'm wearing:
"For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's." (1 Cor. 6:20)
Is not being a stumbling block to the men around us important? Yes, definitely! But I don't really think that is the only reason to dress modestly nor do I feel like I'm sacrificing my clothing choices for their sake alone. My first and foremost reason to be different in this area is to honor God.....because I belong to Him. I'm not over here patting myself on the back every time I put on my swim skirt and shirt and feeling like I've given up something special in not wearing a regular bathing suit. I love that by doing so I can save my body for my husband only and hopefully also keep other men from lusting over my flesh (and if we're honest keep other women from comparing what they look like too!) but my main purpose is really just to glorify God in my body. To me it isn't a sacrifice at all compared to what He's done for me. Because I could never repay Him anyway, but Him being so willing to die for me makes me want to be willing to live for Him!
So there are some things I felt like the Lord put on my heart after reading that article. I hope it was a help to someone reading. Just to be clear before I go, I think any small step toward modesty is a good one regardless of the reason, but I also think that we need to be careful about our attitude and reasoning behind the choice as well. Especially if we're putting the message out there for numerous others to see! Let's encourage and remind ourselves and each other to be holy because He is holy. And then any added benefits (like protecting men's purity) to that will just be extra blessings to our obedience.
~ "I'll live for Him, Who died for me; how happy then, shall my life be!" ~
(linked up with the Modest Monday post here)