Summer Temptations: Immodesty

Summer is a time when we see immodestly all around us. At the mall. At the pool. Pretty much everywhere we go. Sadly, we even see it in the church. Take a look at our culture–immodesty is the cultural norm. Really, what difference does it make if I dress immodestly? Why should I even bother trying when so many other women around me choose to dress immodestly.

These questions are ones I have wrestled through. Why should I even bother? Does it really matter? It does matter. Listen to what C.J. Mahaney says about modesty.

Modesty means propriety. It means avoiding clothes and adornment that are extravagant or sexually enticing. Modesty is humility expressed in dress. It is a desire to serve others, particularly man, by not promoting or provoking sensuality.

Here are a couple of things to consider:

1) Modesty cares for and protects our brothers in Christ.

When we choose to dress immodestly, we are seeking to draw attention to ourselves. It by no means serves our brothers in Christ when we show up to church or to any event, dressed in a low top and a short skirt. As sisters in Christ, we are called to care for our brothers in Christ, not causing them stumble. As Paul tells us in Romans 14, “Therefore let us not pass judgment on one another any longer, but rather decide never to put a stumbling block or hindrance in the way of a brother.” Although this passage is specifically talking about food, it applies to modesty as well. Every time a woman dresses immodestly, a man struggles with lustful thoughts. It causes him to stumble, putting a hinderance on his relationship with the Lord. Let us not cause our brothers to stumble! Modesty should be the way we dress wherever we are and whomever we are with.

2) Modesty reveals a humble and self-controlled heart, a heart that trusts in the Lord.

When we choose to go against the tide of the world and dress modestly, we are cultivating humility instead of pride. We are dependent on the Lord for his attention above the attention of man. This attitude of heart glorifies the Lord and shows that we value his approval above the approval of the world. Praise God for the grace he gives so freely!

Now, here are a few great resources we’d like to direct you towards that have been helpful to all three of us.

1) Remember the Worldliness book study last year? Well C.J. Mahaney had a great chapter in this book entitled, “God, My Heart, and Clothes”. It has been very helpful to me! Click HERE to visit a past post for the download of this chapter.

2) The Rebelution had a modesty survey a couple of years ago. Thousands of guys wrote in on what causes them to stumble. It is very helpful. You can visit that site HERE.

3) Girl Talk has a very helpful pamphlet called the Modesty Heart check that is great to take along to the clothing store. It has several questions to ask yourself before purchasing a clothing item. You can read about and download the Modesty Heart check HERE.

4) One of the best resources is your dad. Get your dad’s opinion on what is modest. Get his approval on what you wear. He is a guy after all and knows the struggle. This is the best way and it honors your dad when you consider what he thinks.

Lastly, please don’t fall into legalism about modesty. Modesty does not earn our way to heaven, that work has already been done. Seek Christ and pray when you have questions. Seek the wisdom of older women who have gone before you. Most importantly, keep your eyes on Christ crucified. May the Lord be glorified!

Advertisements

Fighting Attraction: Selfless Love

When we are attracted to a guy, it is so easy to let our emotions take control. We might think that we must do something to get his attention. I find it amazing that so much sin could be revealed when I like a guy! Pride, selfishness, envy, discontentment, and anxiety to name a few!

Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. – 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 ESV)

I wrote these two questions to evaluate our hearts on the matter of selfless love:

1. When the guy I like talks to any other girl, am I quick to be envious that he would talk to her instead of me? (Love Does Not Envy – 1 Corinthians 13:4)

2. Am I trusting God to provide what I need when I need it, or do I want things to happen when and how I desire them to? (Love does not insist on its own way – 1 Corinthians 13:5)

Are either one of these things true of you? I am guilty or both! They are many more questions you could ask yourself (read the verses from 1 Corinthians 13 again). We will never be able to be perfect in love. But, by the grace of God, we have the opportunity to learn what true love is now and put in into practice with our family and friends!

Let’s choose to love selflessly no matter the circumstances. This is a good time to learn now before we enter into marriage. I need to learn how to selflessly love my brother and sister. I must confess that I so often fall short of this but, God uses my shortcomings to remind me that I need HIM to help me! Another way is to watch others. Watch your parents and other married couples in the church. This is just one way to focus on others rather then focus on your desires and wants at the present time.

To echo a couple things that Bronte said in her post, it helps so much to share these things with your parents. They have been through crushes before and are wise as they are older than we are. It is also a good thing to remember that the guy you like is most likely going to be married to someone else. This often helps me! One last thing. Remember the work that Christ has done for you on the cross! He has shown the only perfect of selfless love! To Him be the Glory!

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.” -Galatians 5:22-23 (ESV)

 

Fighting Crushes: Self-control

We’ve decided to do a little “series” on crushes. And as I was praying about, this I felt led to share from a Christian standpoint what crushes are and why we need to fight against them. Here we go!

First of all,  having a crush is totally normal. You are not weird if you are attracted to a guy. Actually, to a certain extent crushes are a good thing. The attraction between a man and a woman is God-given, and therefore good (James 1:17). But crushes become wrong when we start to think about a certain person a lot and when we start fantasizing about that person. This is wrong because it’s having a lack of self-control. Proverbs 25:28 says, “A man without self-control is like a city broken down and left without walls.” This is a serious matter. When we lack self-control we leave ourselves open for all sorts of trouble. For example: if I keep thinking about a specific guy, if I dream about him and all that, and then I find out he is interested in someone else, I will be left heart-broken. Another thing my mom always reminds me is this (and it’s so helpful): the guy I’m attracted to is probably someone else’s future husband. That puts things in a whole new light! While he might not be married now he probably will be someday—and it most likely won’t be to me. This really stresses my need for self-control.

One thing I really want to encourage you ladies to do is talk to your parents if you find yourself falling for a guy. As teens our parents are our principle source of help and encouragement. There have been many instances when I feel overwhelmed with weariness of fighting for self-control and I go to my parents and I am reminded afresh of the power of the gospel and that I do not have to go through this alone. God is here with me and He will give me all the help I need. Now I understand that it might feel embarrassing to talk to your mom about this. But it doesn’t have to be. Your parents love you and want to be there for you. They know how you feel and they want to help. Please take advantage of the God-given gift of Christian parents. And if you don’t have Christian parents, I suggest going to another mature Christian woman for help.

Psalm 73:25-26 says, “Whom have I in heaven but you? And there is nothing on earth I desire besides you. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.” Even if I fail, God never does. I have no strength in and of myself. But with God all things are possible . . . even getting over a crush. And Jesus is way more satisfying than any crush could ever be.

Self Control: Thoughts

“Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and give no opportunity to the devil.” -Ephesians 4:26-27 (ESV)

Oh, you’re just nervous, it’s normal. You were angry, but THEY provoked you, anyone would have gotten angry. Have any of these thoughts or ones like it ever raced through your mind? Has anyone ever told you that it is “normal” to struggle with sin?

images

We live in a culture where anxiety, anger, lust, selfishness, and envy are considered “ok”. It IS normal to struggle with these things in the sense that everyone struggles with them. What is not made known in our culture is that all of these thoughts are not ok! They are sinful! A rebellion against what God has commended us to flee!

“Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” -James 4:7 (ESV)

I must learn self control with my thoughts! At the recent Contentment seminar at our church, Mrs. Kim Erickson was talking about taking your thoughts captive. Catch them and get them out of your head! Your mind and thoughts are a battleground. The truth of God vs. the lies of the devil. Oh, how easily we fall into the lies of the devil!

How do we fight the lies of the devil? Read carefully through these verses.

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints, and also for me, that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains, that I may declare it boldly, as I ought to speak.” -Ephesians 6:10-20 (ESV)

We must put on the belt of truth:

Fill your mind with the truth that is in the Bible. God’s word is true and we can always trust in the truth in the Bible.

We must put on the breastplate of righteousness:

Remember what God has done for us through Jesus’ death on the cross. He has forever purchased us and we can NEVER be taken out of His hand once we are truly saved! We now have the righteousness of Jesus!! What a Savior we serve!

We must put on the shoes of peace:

Again, we are at peace because God’s wrath is no longer one us! We have the peace that comes through the Gospel.

We must take up the shield of faith:

We must have faith that God works ALL things out for our good whether that involves pain or not! God is wholly Sovereign!

We must put on the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit:

As said before, we must remember the truth of the Bible. When we are in the word, we grow in godliness! Memorize Scripture and fight the lies with truth from the Bible!

AND PRAY IN THE SPIRIT AT ALL TIMES!!

We must pray for everything. The prayer of a believer is powerful! God will answer our cries according to HIS will for our life. Remember that he works ALL things for OUR GOOD!!!!

May God be Glorified!