Lucia's Blog: THE BEAUTY OF BEING CHASTE: WHAT IS BIBLICAL BEAUTY? PART TWO
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Isaiah 55:8-9

Isaiah 55:8-9

Monday, April 7, 2014

THE BEAUTY OF BEING CHASTE: WHAT IS BIBLICAL BEAUTY? PART TWO

 

"Beholding your chaste behavior coupled with fear. Whose adorning let it not be the outward adorning of braiding the hair, and of wearing jewels of gold, or of putting on apparel; but let it be the hidden man of the heart, in the incorruptible apparel of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price."  
I Peter 3:2-4


Biblical Beauty and how it pertains to being CHASTE is often misunderstood.  So often, it is seen as one extreme attitude or the other. While one side seems to obsess over an outward beauty, vainly and carelessly taking pride in our withering flesh, "For, All flesh is as grass, And all the glory thereof as the flower of grass. The grass withereth, and the flower falleth."  I Peter 1:24, the other side seems to reject beauty altogether, trying to avoid sin by making the flesh ugly and taking pride in the attempt. 


 

Have you ever heard the saying "Beauty is as beauty does?" Indeed, it is a good saying.  Here is a better one: "Beauty is, when the beauty is HIS." It is the beauty of Christ in us that makes us BEAUTIFUL.  "And let the favor of the Lord our God be upon us; and do confirm for us the work of our hands; yes, confirm the work of our hands."  Psalm 90:17.  If you are indeed His child, then the beauty of the Lord is in you.  This beauty should be seen by the way you treat others and the way you avoid sin striving to live a godly life. But, it must also be seen in your manner of speech, how you carry yourself, how you behave and definitely the way you DRESS



I'd like to discuss for a moment these two extreme attitudes:  
 
  • The first extreme is supported and demonstrated by Wendi Worldly.  She supports the idea of a woman's duty to dress modestly, which ironically she includes in her call to be chaste, by misinterpreting the Biblical concept of Christian liberty.  But, the Bible clearly commands women to adorn themselves with proper clothing, modestly meaning descent and proper, and discreet, meaning self-control, not with braided hair or gold or pearls or costly garments; but, rather by means of good works, as befits women making a claim to godliness. "In like manner, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefastness and sobriety; not with braided hair, and gold or pearls or costly raiment; but (which becometh women professing godliness) through good works."  I Timothy 2:9-10.  While these two verses don't seem to condemn braided hair, gold, pearls or nice clothing, they do make it clear that a woman's modest heart must show godliness when it comes to the way she dresses or chooses what to wear; whether it is her jewelry, her hair style, her clothing or simply the smile on her face. 
Many accuse Paul of being legalistic by trampling the Christian liberty of women. We must never forget that God's Word is true and unchanging. The foolish young man of Proverbs 7 discovers that there's a type of beauty that is not real at all,  "He goeth after her straightway, As an ox goeth to the slaughter, Or as one in fetters to the correction of the fool; Till an arrow strike through his liver; As a bird hasteth to the snare, And knoweth not that it is for his life."  Proverbs 7:22-23.

Although we live in a culture that is infested with immodesty and nakedness like never before, it is nothing new to those who practice SIN.  Immodesty has been an epidemic from the beginning of time. 

Satan has deceived and drawn more women into the sin of uncleanness by the adornment of fine clothes than he could have possibly done without them. I wonder what the worldly of Bible times would have called the attire of a harlot? I am pretty sure it was not as enticing and tempting as are the garments of many women today who profess Christianity. 

The following is a statement of how Wendi Worldly justifies her immodesty: "God doesn't care how I dress. All He cares about is what's on the inside. It doesn't matter if I look like a wild girl because God knows I'm not a wild girl. Besides, I have the Christian liberty to do what I want. I'm just wearing what everyone else is wearing. If guys lust, that's their problem. God knows my heart. " 

But, the problem here is that Ms. Worldly doesn't know her own heart, "The heart is more deceitful than all else and is desperately sick; who can understand it?"
 Jeremiah 17:9. 


  • Let's examine the other extreme attitude, Maggie McFrumpy. While this extreme may not draw any one into fornication, its false thinking maybe equally damaging. There's no specific "modest uniform" that is officially "godly." In fact, you can dress a girl in a strict "modest uniform" and she can still portray an immodest or sensual heart. Just go to a private girl's school and observe their behavior. Modesty is a matter of the heart which can't be solved by only physical means.  
Among all Christians, our styles will differ, but we must all consider how we may build up one another. That includes what we choose to wear.  Notice, that our main goal should be that of pointing others to Jesus, not ourselves. The way we dress speaks honestly of the beauty and purity of Christ in us.  "And put on the new man, that after God hath been created in righteousness and holiness of truth."  Ephesians 4:24.


"And have put on the new man, that is being renewed unto knowledge after the image of him that created him."  Colossians 3:10.


Maggi McFrumpy exchanges one form of pride for another.  Here's what she has to say:  "Beauty equals vanity.  To be truly modest is spiritual.  I must dress as plain or as frumpy as I possibly can. It proves my dedication to God.  People who dress in pretty clothes, or who wear make up, are vain and obviously trying to attract attention.  My modesty beats your modesty any day of the week." 

When we start thinking that there's only one style of modesty and it is holier than all others, or we think we have outdone someone else by how wonderfully modest we are, then we are showing everyone that we are walking in pride. This is not modest at all. We can find a great example in Ezekiel 16.  Here we see God allowing outward adornment, but at the same time we see a stern warning against the pride that can accompany feminine beauty. It is a great reminder of Who it is that makes us beautiful. Notice what it says: "I also clothed you with embroidered cloth, and put sandals of porpoise skin on your feet; and I wrapped you with fine linen and covered you with silk. And I adorned you with ornaments, put bracelets on your hands, and a necklace around your neck. I also put a ring in your nostril, earrings in your ears, and a beautiful crown on your head. Thus you were adorned with gold and silver, and your dress was of fine linen, silk, and embroidered cloth...exceedingly beautiful and advanced to royalty...your beauty, for it was perfect because of my splendor which I bestowed on you," declares the Lord God."  Ezekiel 16:10-14.  Notice when God said--which I bestowed on you. This implies that God approves of women wearing some jewelry or beautiful garments, otherwise, God would not have adorned His Bride this way.  Ezekiel 16:15 

Throughout the ages women have failed to trust in the Lord, but instead have chosen to trust in their own beauty.  "Moreover Jehovah said, Because the daughters of Zion are haughty, and walk with outstretched necks and wanton eyes, walking and mincing as they go, and making a tinkling with their feet."  Isaiah 3:16. You see, the problem is not in dressing beautifully. It is sinful when we become lost in our pride forgetting and disobeying the Lord. Then, it is not a matter of the clothing or jewelry that is sinful, but our own wicked hearts. The heart matters!  "I will punish her for the days of the Baals when she used to offer sacrifices to them and adorn herself with her earrings and jewelry, and follow her lovers, so that she forgot Me,' declares the Lord."   Hosea 2:13.


In conclusion, both of these two extremes are in error.  Ironically, neither view is very modest.  Both disregard the fact that our outward appearance does matter. Again, Biblical Beauty, not sensuality, is very important.  Biblical Beauty reflects both the splendor and the creativity of God.  God loves beauty!  Had God not loved beauty, He would have created the world with a boring and shapeless landscape of dull colors.  But, He didn't!  His exquisite masterpiece of creativity and love of beauty is clearly seen and evident in all His creation.  From the depths of the oceans, to the dazzling stars in the Milky Way, from the amazing microscopic organisms hard to see with the human eye, to mankind whom we can see, God created beauty in it all.  He chose to create a world filled with remarkable beauty!   

In my next study, part three, I will be discussing the beauty of chastity and what it means.  It is the inward beauty that is of first importance. God sees our hearts. I will be answering the question, "Does God care about what we wear or how we present ourselves to others?" 

I want to make it clear that not everyone who dresses plain and frumpy is doing it out of pride.  Likewise, someone who is dressing immodestly may not realize that the way they're dressed is inappropriate. In my writing, I have purposely used two extreme examples to make my argument.



Luci