Thursday, July 25, 2013

Modesty in dress: Why?

Early memories still haunt me!  When I was five years old Mom took me into a women's changing room at the beach. I have never been the same!  I still remember the questions I had in my mind which I never asked. As I matured the puzzle came together. Males and females are different!

Society is on a roll. It seems that the movers and shakers are determined to have a unisex nation. Why in the world anyone would want men and women to be indistinguishable is beyond reason!  Regardless of their agenda, men and women are and will always be different!

Genesis 2:22 "And the rib, which the Lord God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man."

I don't know how God did it, but he "cloned" Eve from Adam. However, God's technology is well beyond modern man's. God cloned a woman from a man and they were male and female!

Genesis 5:2 "Male and female created he them; and blessed them, and called their name Adam, in the day when they were created.

God didn't create an androgynous mutation. He created discreet genders with opposite, but complementary characteristics.  
Mark 10:8 "And they twain shall be one flesh: so then they are no more twain, but one flesh. 9 What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder."
Jesus was referring to man and wife and this verse is often quoted at weddings. However, verse 9 says "what therefore God hath joined together" applies more that just a marriage!  It would apply to "whatsoever".
Man and woman were called "Adam" (Gen 5:2).  Adam means "earth" and is the Hebrew generic nomenclature for man (mankind). Adam and Eve were different from each other, but they were the same in their humanity.  God made mankind. Mankind is not to be "put asunder". God made male and female. The genders are not to be "put asunder". God's intent is that we be male and female and we are to have a natural attraction for the opposing sex. Eve was created as a mate and helper for Adam. She was to provide companionship and offspring for Adam. 
God had a plan. That plan was to populate the earth with his new creation. In order to do that God, in his wisdom, put an attraction in place. Woman was sexually appealing to man and man likewise was appealing to the woman. Sex is not "dirty". Mankind has abused what God created and made sex something to strive for, brag about and even laugh at.  That's not what God intended!  With the "Original Sin" of our forebears all that changed!
Genesis 2:24 " Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh. 25 And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed." 
You can see that before man's sin, genitalia, breasts and sex weren't an issue. It was natural!  "shall be one flesh" has multiple meanings, but not only was husband and wife to be one in mind and thought, but were to bond physically. They were to love and procreate. Procreation is a sexual activity and we have desires and passions to drive the mechanical functions necessary.
Then mankind sinned! 
Genesis 3:7 "And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons."
Adam and Eve ate of the "Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil". In their knowledge, their innocence was lost. They recognized their own nakedness, but now that same nakedness took on a new perspective. Nakedness went from innocent to provocative. Being ashamed (and pragmatic) Adam and Eve made themselves clothing and covered their genitalia. Since that time lust and lasciviousness has been the rule!
Eve was the first modest woman!  Modesty is dressing in a manner which will not draw attention to yourself. Modesty is a proper and correct method of dress. Modesty also includes proper behavior and proper speech. Much of the time immodesty occurs in all three at one time and a truly modest person is modest in all three!

1 Timothy 2:9 "In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with broided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array;"
Paul reinforced what Adam and Eve discovered on their own!  As our first parents realized after they lost their innocence, public nudity is a shame!  Paul said women should dress "in modest apparel". "Apparel" means "clothing". What did Adam and Eve cover? They covered the parts of the body which stir excitement in each other. One might use Genesis as an excuse to dress topless, but we are to be modest "with sobriety", which means with gravity in manner. We're not to play games with God's intent!  We know that "excessive" amounts of skin is provocative.  We're "turned on" by the beauty of the opposite sex and it's not their clothing that presses the libido button, it's what the clothes leave exposed!
Yes, society has changed and will continue to do so. However, God doesn't!  Sobriety might mean that men and women don't have to wear swimming apparel as they did in 1900. However, sobriety certainly isn't a ticket to wear a "teensy weensy polka dot bikini". We know the intent of the wearer. It's to titillate men. If men are titillated they lust.
Lust is the second half of the equation. Those who lack modesty (both men and women) are the temptation which causes the other party to sin. 
Matthew 5:28  "But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart."
We all know that we can lust after a fully clothed woman, but if one's honest, it's much easier to lust when a woman is insufficiently clothed.  An immodestly dressed person is a stumbling block to those who are trying not to sin. I don't want to lust!  I want to remain pure. It seems like I've heard that before!
Paul said Romans 7:15 "For what I am doing, I do not understand. For what I will to do, that I do not practice; but what I hate, that I do."
Yes, we do what we know that we should not do. There's a battle going on inside Christians. Our flesh wants pleasure, but our soul desires purity! We're always battling those two thoughts. Romans goes on to point out by God's grace that if we're a Christian, it's the flesh that's sinning!  James tells us how to handle temptation; in a manner that Satan will flee from us!
I've addressed modesty and why it's expedient. You may argue with me on what's modest and what's not. God guides us in all things. Don't depend on me, a preacher or the government to tell you what to believe and how to dress. With sincerity examine yourself in the light that God has given you. You may not dress as a nun, but you will make changes.  Make changes to help me. Make changes to help many others of the opposite sex. Make changes to please God! 

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