Modesty is a hot topic! No one wants to be told what they can and cannot wear. As a ministry that tackles these tough topics, believe me, we know. But the seductive, tight-fitting clothes aren’t the true problem. It’s the heart behind them, the heart that says to God... “I don’t care what you have to say about my body.” But God does care. He wants what is best for us in all areas of life.... even our wardrobe. And modesty is about so much more than the outfits hanging in our closet. In the book “What’s Up with the Fig Leaves?”, Heather Thieneman uncovers the purposes and practices of modesty. I read the book this summer, and it answered so many questions that I, frankly, didn't know how to address. Rather than asking what to wear and where to draw the “hemlines”, she challenges us to consider why we wear the clothes that we do.
As the rainbow flag proudly waves over my city’s Pride Festival this weekend, a prism of color fills my instagram feed with stories of friends coming out and reminding the world that love is love. But what is love? I ask. “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud….” 1 Corinthians 13. Love is not proud. Did you catch that?
Sitting in the church pew, Mo admits that she looked every part “good girl”. She wasn’t trying to lose her virginity before prom night like so many of her classmates. She didn’t even feel the need to have a boyfriend. No. She admits that it all felt beneath her. Like a judgmental prude in her ivory tower, she pompously promoted abstinence knowing she still had her own virginity vow intact. But her self-righteousness lacked the humble reverence for God’s ways. And it didn’t take long for her heart to shatter under the weight of her pride.
From front to back, the authors are candidly honest yet gracefully tactful about the details of their own sexual sin. If there is one thing you’ll get form this book, it’s that you are not alone. We all sin. We all have sexual struggles. And we all have the same solution - Jesus Christ. Written for older teens and college girls, this book includes practical resources for the Christian woman who wants to reclaim purity in her life.
In the church, we often talk about the sexual acts we should not commit. Some sign purity pledges, some get accountability, and some simply say it’s too hard to live in purity, so they compromise their theology. Really though, as with all sin, at the end of the day, it all comes down to being a heart issue. With sexual sin, lust is the root of the problem, and lust is 100% a heart issue. Lust starts in your heart before it makes its ways into your actions. So it’s time we get real about what our hearts desire and start thinking about what we're thinking about.
"Are you really going to stick to your whole purity ring thing? Like, you know, wait until you’re married to have sex?" I was shocked. I couldn’t believe my friends would even consider asking me such a question. They knew my conviction on this subject. I was pretty open about it. I thought it would be normal in my circle of influence to wait until marriage to have sex with my husband. I thought that was a common conviction of women in the church. I thought all girls were being taught the same message about sex that I was taught at an Across My Heart retreat almost eight years ago. So why was it such a surprise to my friends that I was going to wait?
A woman of God doesn’t live for herself. She considers the other: how will this affect the men and women I call friends. If I’m wearing a tight dress to show off my figure and make all my friends jealous, am I causing division? If I’m wearing a low cut shirt and trying to draw attention to myself, am I being conceited? If I’m wearing a bikini to make guys drool, am I tempting them to lust?
God’s design for womanhood as laid out in scripture is beautiful. It’s not about being the “perfect housewife.” It’s about finding freedom in glorifying God when we live out His ways.
The devil has taken the message of purity and warped it - to make us believe that our virginity makes us worthy in God’s eyes. It has caused the church to turn sexual purity into an idol. Sexual purity is a gift from God, and it is just that - a gift. It reveals God’s heart to us. The gift of sexual purity should never take precedence over the Gift-Giver.
A generation of girls made an abstinence pledge with the doe-eyed hope of a passionate wedding night only to discover their new husbands (who often were virgins themselves) had no clue what they were doing. Depending on how good your communication with your new spouse was, this night could still end up being sort of what you hoped and dreamed for. But, it could also end in frustration. Your first sexual encounter, what you had been waiting for and saving yourself for, could seem to be a disappointment.