Lucia's Blog: 2014-04-06
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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

THE BEAUTY OF CHASTITY: HONORING MARRIAGE - PART ONE




Early in my walk with Christ, I learned that PURITY means more than simply avoiding fornication.   PURITY, like other virtues, begins in the heart.  The Bible calls it CHASTITY.  It doesn't always mean "ABSTINENCE."  Married women are exhorted to be chaste,  "To be sensible, PURE, workers at home, kind, being subject to their husbands, that the word of God may not be DISHONORED."  Titus 2:5.  "As they observe your CHASTE, and RESPECTFUL behavior. "  I Peter 3:2.

Being CHASTE is more than a physical state, it is an active virtue that continually exhibits PURITY in thought, word and deed.  It demands that I honor the estate of marriage and the marriage bed.  It goes beyond avoiding FORNICATION.  In fact, it is far more active, since it involves loving my brother in Christ enough to help protect his chastity as well.   "For the whole Law is fulfilled in one word, in the statement, "You shall love your neighbor as yourself."  Galatians 5:14. I am commanded by the Lord to honor marriage, whether it is my marriage or my neighbor's marriage.  "Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled for fornicators and adulterers God will judge."  Hebrews 13:4.


As mothers we have an enormous responsibility to protect and train our daughters when it comes to chastity. We are our daughters' example.  As they are growing up into young ladies, they are watching us.  They are trying to find out how to become godly.  If my daughters see me dressing provocatively with clothes that reveal or accentuate what should be very private, or perhaps, putting on clothes that are skin tight or low cut to attract the attention of men,  then they are likely to follow my example.  Let's be good examples to them and not stumbling blocks.  Our little girls want to be just like their mothers!   What an honor!   Please, let's make sure we are pointing them to Christ:  "Be imitators of me, just as I also am of Christ."  I Corinthians 11:1.

Dads are not off the hook!  Dads, do you know your daughters are watching and listening to you also?  If their hero, daddy, is attracted to sensuality in other women, they will likely become this kind of woman.  Our sons also learn this kind of behavior.  They notice what kind of movies, entertainment, books, magazines and so on that their dads are engaged in.  These boys are observing what their dads value most in women and this is critical because eventually they will be affected by whether or not Dad respects, protects or is faithful and honors their Mom.

Jesus said that everyone who looks at a woman to lust for her has committed ADULTERY with her already in his heart, "but I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart."  Matthew 5:28..  Men must take this seriously.   They must take this to heart! They need to learn to guard their eyes as Job did.  "I have made a covenant with my eyes; how then could I gaze at a virgin?"   Job 31:1.

Now with this is mind we, as women, can make it easy or difficult for men around us.  The choice is ours!   It has been said that just as men have the sinful tendency to lust after women; likewise, many women have the same tendency to lust after being lusted after.   Notice how the married woman of  Proverbs 7 was not actually a harlot.  She plainly dressed like one.  The motives of her heart were to entice a young man:  "And behold, a woman comes to meet him, dressed as a harlot and cunning of heart."  Proverbs 7:10. However, there are women who perhaps because they are naive, dress in a way that's provocative without any sinful intention. Still, remember the old saying,  "Don't advertise what is not for sale!"

Unfortunately,  many times a woman's pride or insecurity causes her to dress immodestly in order to be noticed, "Likewise, I want women to adorn themselves with PROPER clothing, MODESTLY and DISCREETLY...."  I Timothy 2:9.   One thing I know for sure is that men are easily affected by the way we dress, carry ourselves and behave.

So often, it is our young women who are not aware of the effect they have on men.  So it is up to us, the older women in their lives, mainly their mothers, to teach and train them.  As women who profess godliness, we are to glorify God by communicating to others what Biblical beauty is all about. Beauty is NOT sensuality, in the way we dress and carry ourselves.  It is our DUTY to our brothers in Christ not to appear sensual!   "For you were called to freedom, brethren, only DO NOT turn your freedom into an OPPORTUNITY to the flesh, but through love serve one another."  Galatians 5:13.

If I dress and carry myself in a way that is to entice another sister or woman's husband,  the fact is, I am not loving my brothers in Christ and their wives.  My goal is to save my body, physically and visually,  ONLY for my own husband.  My obligation as a godly mother is to teach my daughters to save their bodies PURE for their future husbands, as well as to love their brothers in Christ enough to not cause them to stumble.

In my second part, I wish to consider the question "Is frumpier holier?"  or can CHASTITY be feminine and beautiful?


Luci