Tag : radiating Christ

2 posts

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I was waiting for my sister Beth to come back inside the college building so we could return to our evening STNA class when I heard the door slam.  I turned around and noticed a 30-something year old man walking inside.  He stopped when he saw me by the sign board and asked, “Are you Baptist?”  I smiled as I told him I wasn’t, knowing the reason for his seemingly random question – my loose blouse and floor-length denim skirt.

“Pentecostal?”

“No, I’m actually Holiness.”  I said. 

“Oh, that’s what I was going to ask next!  I appreciate the way you dress,” the man said with a smile.  I thanked him and he walked on, but when Beth came back in and we started walking as well, he turned around and called, “More people should dress like you do!” 

But I have occasionally wondered why I dress modestly like I do. 

I mean, besides the fact that I grew up with it and that Mom and Dad wouldn’t let me out of the house wearing something even slightly inappropriate.  Why does it matter what I wear?  Before I delve into the reason that I’m actually grateful for the opportunity and privilege of dressing modestly, I want to make the purpose of modesty clear.

The reason I choose to wear clothes that are modest and cover my body is to help out my brothers in Christ.  In Matthew 5:28, Jesus says that “whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.”  This is true for both men AND women (and guys don’t need to forget modesty for themselves); however, from what I’ve heard, guys are much more visually stimulated than girls are, and therefore have to fight much harder to avoid lust, especially when a girl is showing off what she’s got. 

I am very aware of the debate going around in Christian circles of why it is a girl’s responsibility to keep a guy’s mind pure toward her, and just to make things clear, I believe that it is ABSOLUTELY the guy’s responsibility to keep his mind and thoughts pure, and I could point you to guys that say the exact same thing.  But look at what Romans 14:13 & 19 say:

“Therefore let us not judge one another anymore, but rather resolve this, not to put a stumbling block or a cause to fall in our brother’s way…Therefore let us pursue the things which make for peace and the things by which one may edify another.”

Instead of concentrating on myself and whining about I have go to all the trouble to find modest clothing, I want to remember that I am doing this to avoid being a stumbling block for guys around me.  Modesty is a way that we girls can help and bless our brothers in Christ, edifying both each other and them by pointing them toward the Lord instead of our physical features.  Paul, in 1 Corinthians 8:13, showed how far we should be willing to go to help a brother not to stumble: “Therefore, if food makes my brother stumble, I will never again eat meat, lest I make my brother stumble.”  Wow – there’s a challenge for you!  If something you do all the time causes someone else to stumble spiritually speaking, would you stop doing it just for the sake of that other person’s relationship with the Lord?

Yes, dressing modestly is hard sometimes, and we might struggle with having the right attitude through it, but we must remember that by not drawing attention to our bodies, we are serving the Lord!

But for me, modesty is more than just an act of obedience – it is a privilege.

Let me give you an example.  A recent example that, in fact, inspired this post.  I recently started working part-time at a local assisted living facility (which is almost a nursing home), and the dress code is a provided navy polo shirt and khaki pants, though they allowed khaki skirts as well (yes, I asked. 🙂 ).  To be honest, I really wanted to just find some loose scrub pants instead of a skirt, mainly because pants tend to allow for more movement and have more pockets (both VERY convenient in a nursing home).  However, Mom thought it’d be better and more modest to wear a skirt, and even loaned me one of hers until I could find a better one for myself.  So I wore the skirt.

I still wasn’t sure that this was the best plan, but God had other things in mind.  Co-workers and residents alike commented on my dress for the each one of my first six days of work, asking why I wore it, complimenting me on it, and asking what denomination I was.  One guy even asked to make sure that I wasn’t Amish and that we did indeed have power in our house!  These questions and my answers to them led to deeper things, like brief conversations about God, the Bible, my 10 siblings (news which is a literal jaw-dropper), homeschooling, and my unusual beliefs on many different subjects, both spiritual and non-spiritual.  I didn’t say everything right, and not even all that I probably should have regarding who God is to me, but I was amazed at how open these people were to talking about “religion,” and how it seemed to stem from the fact that I was different in an unusual way – and just because of a simple skirt!

I don’t mind wearing a skirt to work anymore – in fact, I appreciate the privilege I have in doing so, to not only stay covered and keep guys from lusting, but also to represent the Lord in the midst of a secular environment!  I feel very different, and I know I am, but God has called us to be holy, which means set apart from the world.  Jesus didn’t fit in either!

Modesty is a unique opportunity to show co-workers, neighbors, friends, and strangers that I am different.  I’m thankful that God uses it to open doors to talk to others about Him, and to explain why I do things differently!

All Scripture taken from the New King James Version.

 

Green Glade

Remember the little book, Teddy’s Button, from the Lamplighter’s Rare Collector’s series?  The young boy, Teddy, is a naughty child who accepts Jesus into his heart and struggles to fight for his heavenly Captain.  He soon realizes his worst enemy is himself, and names that “old self” Bully.  Teddy tries hard, but finds that he sometimes loses the fight with Bully, and learns to lean on his Captain for assistance.

Well, today I feel like Teddy.  My “Bully” has been appearing much more and fighting much harder than I want him to.  And over the past few days, God has been dealing with me in many areas that I haven’t been wholly devoting to Him.  Conviction is setting in, and it isn’t a pleasant feeling.

But because of that conviction, I’m back to where I always should be – at the feet of Jesus begging Him to empty me of myself and fill me up with His Spirit.   I’m back in the little valley of self-realization, where I begin to realize the foolishness of my “wisdom” (1 Cor. 1:25), the selfish motives of my “service,” and the limit to my knowledge compared with the Almighty God.

I’ve messed up.  Instead of aiming to point others to Christ through every conversation, I constantly wondered about their opinions of ME.  I’ve kept silent while passing strangers when a cheerful “Good morning!” could have made their day that much better.  I have not taken “every thought captive” (2 Cor. 10:5), but instead let words flow out of my mouth without thinking of the effect they might have on their hearer.  I’ve wasted minutes throughout the day that could have been used to guide my heart back to its Maker, and I’ve allowed material things just a little bit more priority in my life than they deserved.  But every little thing does matter, and little things build up.

I’ve willingly exchanged SO MUCH – the Lord’s strength and power over sin – for SO LITTLE – the temporary gratification of my flesh.

Yesterday, I listened to a message that related us as Christians to a broken piece of mirror.  A mirror is not a source of light, but if clean, can reflect the light of the sun into dark places.  As children of God, we are just the same.  We are not the light, but if we are free from sin’s stain, we can reflect the Son’s light into darkness.  But as my pastor pointed out a couple of weeks ago, we cannot radiate Christ unless we have spent time in His presence.

I’ve heard so many messages about building our days around our time with the Lord and NOT the other way around, yet I’ve been tumbling into bed exhausted after another busy day, spending only as much time in the Word as I had to in order to support my claim that I do read my Bible every day.

But the Lord is emptying me once again of myself and all my follies, so that He may fill me up with His Holy Spirit.  Pain may be involved in the process, but the result will be more glorious than I can imagine!!!

O Jesus, come!  Reveal to me who You are; show me what it means to radiate with Your love, joy and peace!  Meet me in my weakness and be my strength.  Guide me as I walk the road of life, and help me to always do everything to Your glory.  I truly want nothing except what brings glory, honor, and souls to You.  Keep me on Your path, Lord – I am sooo imperfect and I need You to help me through.  Draw me ever closer to You! 

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