Modest Is REALLY Hottest In Hell (Christians & Bikinis)

 

modest is hottest

Modest is Hottest; it’s also true in hell.

What will you be wearing on the day of judgment? Scantily-clad or not, we could be in for a surprise. The Bible tells us that on the last day there will be many seemingly good people, who in all likelihood dressed quite modestly, to whom Jesus will say, “I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness” (Matthew 7:23).

These individuals will be DEVESTATED because they thought they were GOOD. After all, they were covered in good deeds.

They were covered in humble dress: one-piece bathing suits, tankinis, and shorts to their knees,

They were fully-clothed in church attendance, giving to the poor, and a near flawless morality.

Wearing a one-piece or not, these individuals may soon find themselves swimming in the wrath of God for all of eternity.

How shockingly scary. This verse ought to shake our souls out of slumber and compel us to cry out for those trusting in their own goodness for salvation.  We must examine our own fragile estate and make sure we are resting on the perfect righteousness of Jesus Christ and not our own triumphs.

To the religious crowd who was trusting in their own morality for salvation, Jesus said, “For you are like whitewashed tombs, which outwardly appear beautiful, but within are full of dead people’s bones and uncleanness.” (Matthew 23:27)

Looks can be deceiving. We can look wholesome and clean on the outside, and yet our hearts can be a million miles from God.

Heaven is not a place for good girls – prudes properly celebrating each other’s goodness for all of eternity.  On the contrary, heaven is a place for those who have realized they are completely jacked up and in desperate need of being saved from their own goodness. Jesus looked through the swimsuit we were wearing and saw deep into a soul that was plagued with sin. He didn’t come for the healthy and the modest, He came for the sick and vile.

Christianity is not about wearing a bikini or one-piece.   Our hope is only found in wearing the righteousness of Christ – a garment none of us deserve or have merited.

If you have not read part one of The Swimsuit Edition: God Loves The Hoochie Mama, click here to jump in the conversation.

Let’s continue to walk through the process of deciding what to wear this summer.

 

Does it cause another to stumble?

More specifically, does wearing a Bikini cause others to stumble.  Yes, of course it does. Victoria’s Secret created an empire off of lust. Frankly, it’s difficult to see how some bathing suits are that much different from panties and  push-up bras. One might say, “It’s okay because we are at a beach.” But does lust go on a vacation at the beach? Umm . . . no. I would argue lust is very much hot and heavy on the shorelines and at the local pools. Lust has no regard for context or culture. Men and women are sinful at beaches, pools, kitchens, shopping centers, America, Spain, France (in nudist colonies), strip clubs, and church pews.

What causes us to lust? Is it leggings, cleavage, short skirts, bathing suits, smoldering Latin accents, handle bar mustaches or chiseled abs?

handlebar-moustache

Sin causes us to lust. We are all sinners who lust, and we are all in need of Jesus.

We would find a way to lust even if everyone was covered in burlap from head to toe. All of a sudden necks and earlobes would be the new sexy.

As Christian women, sometimes we simply say, “It’s my body. I can do what I want.” But again, it’s actually not our body; it’s His body.   Our bodies were purchased with a price – the price of the Son of God (1 Cor. 6:20).

Other times we’ll say, “Well, men are going to lust no matter what I wear, so why does it matter? It’s not my problem, it’s their problem.” Well, maybe that’s true, but does that mean it would be wise to dangle a crack-pipe in front of a drug addict, and just tell them to “man up” and gain some self-control? Of course not. Sometimes we make decisions not based upon what we have the freedom to do, but based upon what is in the best and most loving interest of those around us. Jesus calls us to love our neighbor as our self. If what we are wearing will in a unique and obvious kind of way likely cause our neighbor to stumble into sin, are we loving them (as Jesus commanded)?

Side note:  I am  convinced that many times women are choosing what outfit to wear in order to impress other women.    We are just as bad as men when it comes to checking each other out…I’ve seen it and I am sure you have too…A woman walks into a room and she is devoured from head to toe by other women!  We can cause one another to struggle with lust(non-sexually) by stirring up insecurities of the soul.  I wonder how many eating disorders, depression, anxiety, anger, and fear are birthed from seeing other women half dressed.

 

Can we help one another lust less?

What it really comes down to is that when we become Christians, it is no longer about our body, it becomes about being a part of HIS body – the church.

It is no longer about good tan lines and getting attention. Our lives becomes one in which we die to ourselves, considering others in the body of Christ. We exists for one another.

Our brothers and sisters have told us that dressing immodestly causes them to lust, and when our family is hurting (or struggling), we should be hurting. To love a brother in Christ isn’t to tell him just to get a grip on his lust. To love a brother in Christ is to sacrificially and selflessly go out of our ways to guard and protect him the sin that so easily besets him. They struggle enough as it is; let’s not do anything to complicate the matter. Are guys going to struggle with lust regardless? Yes, probably. Yet God forbid that we be the reason for them to fall into sin.  Jesus said in such a case, “Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him if a great millstone were hung around his neck and he were thrown into the sea.”

The bikini was named after an atomic bomb. I wonder if it sets off an explosion of lust in the souls of others.

I often hear women say, “Well my husband is ok with what I am wearing.”

Husband, I am sure you love seeing your wife naked (you should and I hope you do often) but encourage her to save that sexiness for your eyes only. Don’t allow other men to take visuals of your wife into the bedroom with them at night to play in the rolodex of their minds.

To be honest, my passion for helping our brothers has grown tremendously since having sons. OH. MY.

I did not have any brothers growing up so I was in shocked to discover how entirely different boys are from girls. Fixated on anatomy…just saying.

I want my boys to be great lovers one day when they are married. I want them to be naked and unashamed with their wives. I want my kids to have fantastic sex lives.  This comes through understanding who God has created them to be and the boundaries that He lovingly sets up for his children.

Yes, I want their eyes on Christ, but this is so hard because there are so many shiny things everywhere begging for their attention.

One of those things is beautiful women. High schoolers running in bra-tops, virtually every commercial they see on television, and even their sister’s Barbie dolls . . . they are all asking my boys to glance their way and stay awhile. So we tell them to “bounce” their heads when they see something inappropriate, but sometimes you can just about get whiplash trying to avoid sin.

I want to fight for their eyes, but I realize that the battle is not for the eyes; it is for the heart.

Women are to be treasured, respected, honored, and valued. Yet the media tells them women are for sex and merely objects to be used.

Women also can make this exact same statement with their clothing.

What should our take away be?

This posts asks the question, “What should Christian women be wearing at the beach this summer?”

modest is hottest 6

Freedom

“It is for freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.” (Gal 5:1)

“But He rescued us to be free, so why are you trying to put the heavy yoke of a modest swimsuit on me?”

(I have a friend who compared a one piece bathing suit to a cocoon, in which a beautiful butterfly was trapped inside of.)

Do we say, “Let freedom ring, lets put on a string?”

We are free from the slavery of sin, not free to do whatever we want. We are free to love God and to love others. We are free to be loved by God.

A woman who is covered by love is going to look different from the world.

Following Christ changes our talk, dress, eating . . . it changes everything!!!!

Sometimes loving looks more like dying. Before Christ we were white-knuckling our life – afraid to let go. Christ took our lives, and now it is not our own.

Christ set the example for love when He laid down His life for us. We are free to lay down our life for others. We are free to be servants laying down our lives for others and for the glory of God. We are free to be extend peace to parched eyes, but how can we show the peace of Christ when we are waging war on the eyes of others and fighting for their attention, groveling for their applause?

Finally, we are free to take it all off!

Let’s take it all off this summer! Take off all of our pride. Take off all of our selfishness. Less is more. Let’s clothe ourselves in humility, love, and respect. Let’s be a people that bear each others burdens, instead of baring it all.

Let’ bare our souls before the eyes of God, instead of our bodies for the praise of men and women.

We don’t dress modestly because we are ashamed of the bodies God has given us. We cover because of love.

How can we make this summer a selfless summer? Just remember you are choosing more than a swimsuit this summer.

There is no doubt this post will offend people that why it has taken me so long to write about this topic. My hope is that this will start a conversation that will challenge our thinking, making us hunger to love Christ and others more.

Christian, we should not be rolling our eyes at cleavage hanging out and huffing and puffing over short skirts. We should run to these women and welcome them into our homes because they are no different from us – just different struggles.

Let us clothe ourselves in humility summer.

Stop Hatin’

Remember this ancient saying…… “Don’t hate the player, hate the game.”

Love covers a multitude of sins (I Peter 4:8).

 

 

 

‘Royals’-Living The Fantasy

royals

 

Why in the world do we watch reality TV? Really though, why?

It’s because we long to escape our boring reality into someone else’s story, a story far bigger and seemingly greater than our own. Somehow the Kardashians seem to be a little bit more intriguing than changing diapers, going to the office, making dinner, and trying to find all of those missing socks (seriously though, where do they go?)

Our desire to be around greatness has created a culture of celebrity worship. Against my better judgment, I always end up on E! Entertainment. Be honest, we know you look through People and Us Weekly magazine columns out of the corner of your eyes in the Kroger checkout line. I totally get it; I do it too! We need to know which celebrity has a saggy bottom and who is getting fatter by the second. Although I hate to admit it, I’m somehow interested to see if the Bachelor has found true love (ha – ha). I mean seriously…. It’s important for me to study the downward spiral of former Disney Stars.

Entertainment pulls us in and out of our boring life’s. By switching back and forth between reality shows, are we really just seeking to escape our own seemingly dull realities?

Although we may have a dream for greatness and a drive to rule (even if it is living vicariously through someone else), not everyone can be “royals,” as Grammy winner Lorde proclaims.

And we’ll never be royals.
It don’t run in our blood,
That kind of lux just ain’t for us.
We crave a different kind of buzz.
Let me be your ruler, you can call me queen Bee
And baby I’ll rule, I’ll rule, I’ll rule, I rule, Let me live that fantasy.”
Why has this song resonated with our culture?

Lorde is not only an incredible artist with fabulous locks and my new favorite up and comer…. she is right! Not all of us will be “royals,” but in many ways we still possess a fantasy to rule. If you are like me, you have probably come to terms with the fact that you are never going to be a real life princess. In all likelihood, we will never hold an OSCAR in our hand, and will probably never even be nominated as “mom of the year” in our hometown. We realize we may not have what it takes to rule the red carpet, but it’s okay. There are still plenty of little kingdoms that we can rule. We become Daydream believers amidst our ordinary lives.

Our kingdoms can be found in the midst of laundry piles multiplying on our couches, dining room chairs plastered in weird looking remnants from dinners long ago, surrounded by our court jesters covered in peanut butter, in a cubical with one of those swivel chairs and posted notes everywhere, pews, play groups, classrooms, seminary, and even the blogosphere.

We mock celebrities for their absurdities and lavish lifestyles; as Lorde says, “Gold Teeth, Grey Goose, Trippin in the bathroom, Bloodstains, Ball gowns, Trashing the hotel room.”

We may say, “We don’t care, we aren’t caught up in your love affair,” when in truth every one of us have been in a love affair with ourselves.
Although we may have never “seen a diamond in the flesh,” oh how long to capture greatness. (Even if its just flipping through the television.)

Even if it is simply, “driving Cadillacs in our dreams.”

We were not made to be “Royals” receiving applause; we were made to give the applause to Jesus Christ – the only One worthy of praise.

Our little kingdoms will one day be destroyed.

 

Goodbye, Bravermans

ash
“Mommy, WHAT is on your forehead?”

How do I explain ashes to a very confused four year old? How do I tell her of frailty and mortality?

“Honey,” I say, “this is a reminder.”

Ellie says, “A reminder?” She’s obviously still confused, although very aware of her mother’s forgetfulness (keys, phone, wallet, school papers, etc.).

I reply, “Yes, a reminder that mommy needs Jesus.”

She says, “But MOMMY, you already have Him.” (Score! At least she recognizes that I “have Jesus,” because I’m sure that some days she has to wonder).

Then I say, “Yes, I have Jesus, but sometimes mommy forgets that I need Him every day – even this very moment. These ashes on my head remind mommy that I am not a superhero, and I am in need of rescuing. Jesus rescues me!”

Why Ashes?

Living in the land of entitlement where we feel as though we deserve the car we are driving, the house we are living in, the food we are enjoying, and the entertainment we are consuming, we need to be somberly reminded that the only thing we actually deserve is hell. We are entitled to God’s wrath and judgment; after all, Romans 6:23a teaches us, “the wages (or payment) of sin is death.”

I will confess that so many times, I think God owes me comfort. I deserve to sit here, watch Parenthood, and eat my popcorn because I worked hard today. “God, I did laundry all day; I deserve to sleep well tonight.”
bravermans

In a dark sanctuary lit only in candles – singing songs of brokenness and repentance – I would join a line of other sinners, who like me, were in need of a reminder. It was our sin; it was my sin that nailed Jesus to the cross.

Looking into a mirror, I take the ashes and paint my forehead with a cross. From dust I came and to dust I will return. No, I am not immortal. I will die. Someday soon I will find myself lying in a casket. Looking in the mirror, I pray that I would see myself for who I truly am – a sinner in need of grace. But there is more to it than that. I was not left to merely be consumed as ashes, but Christ covered me with beauty through pouring out His blood on the cross.

There is something bittersweet about mourning. My husband tells me I am really good at mourning. Lament could possibly be my spiritual gift. I find myself thinking and turning my thoughts towards why I sin. Oh how often I feel the heaviness of sin, and I cannot wait to see heaven’s gates open up. Then, and only then will I no longer have the desire to bow down to other loves. God’s wrath was poured out on Jesus for my sin, and He has not wrath remaining for me. Therefore, I can run freely to His throne. I don’t have to hide my sin; He knows it all, and yet He still loves me – and it’s all because of Jesus.

Mourning may last for the night, but joy comes in the morning (Psalm 30:5).

And so we turn off our television set, not to show how much self-control we have, or even that we are keeping ourselves from something the Lord has given us to enjoy. No, we turn of the tube to ask the Lord to remind us that all we really need is Him, and that all things are a gift, even watching the Bravermans.

Beautiful

We spend a lot of time looking at ourselves in the mirror. Sometimes we like what we see and other times we walk away with a list of a million things we’d like to change. And it’s exactly those days that we keep returning to that self-absorbing mirror. Do we ever stop finding things wrong? No. Because we aren’t perfect. No one is.

Studies completed in the past few years by various groups have shown that women will spend an average of five days a year in front of the mirror. The average life expectancy for women in the United States is 81 years old. Lord willing you live to be 81, you will have spent 405 days of your life in front of a mirror. That’s over a year of your life.

Our standard of beauty is fixed on temporal things: Images we see from fashion magazines, actresses we see on TV, or the woman sitting next to you at church. We fall into a cycle of comparing our beauty with other peoples, forgetting that we each reflect God’s beauty. In Genesis 1:27 we learn that God created both men and women in his image. “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.” You are just as much an image- bearer of God as the woman on the cover of that magazine. Though you may look nothing like her, you both reflect the image of your creator.

It is not a sin to be beautiful. Living in a country where physical beauty is celebrated from beauty pageants to magazine covers to career promotions for the more attractive – we get a distorted view of how we should celebrate beauty. Young ladies are shaped to crave to be sought out for their outward beauty. Our culture celebrates the physically beautiful yet disregards those they deem less so. Christians perceive beauty as something bad because of how the world perceives it. To be beautiful isn’t wrong, but our lenses for seeing and celebrating beauty shouldn’t be the same as the worlds.

The lenses we use to see beauty is God’s word. If a person were to spend 15 minutes a day studying the Bible for 81 years than we would only spend 308 days of our life in God’s word. This means that most people will spend more time in front of their mirror focusing on their outward beauty than spending time reading/studying their bible.  We know from Proverbs 31:30 that “beauty is fleeting”.  You won’t physically be beautiful forever no matter the amount of anti-aging cream you use or the surgeries you choose to have. You are going to get older. It’s a fact. Why fight it?

We fight it because we put our value in our outward beauty and not our inward beauty. In the same verse that we learn that beauty is fleeting we also learn that it’s the woman “who fears the Lord” who is to be praised. We learn how to fear the Lord not by changing ourselves physically to match the beauty of our neighbor but by spending time listening to God speak to you through his word.

We are surrounded by beauty. We see beauty in creation. We see beauty in a great meal, a sweet dessert, and in people. Beauty isn’t limited to a person’s physical appearance. Each of us with our own standard of beauty need to be reminded that all things beautiful and ugly point back to God’s fame and eternity. Stop comparing and competing to be beautiful and know God and let your relationship with him be the most beautiful thing about you.

Guest Blogger:   Amanda Edmondson (friend since childhood)
Amanda, co-leads the Women’s Ministry and is the Women’s Director of the Midtown Campus in addition she is the Executive Assistant to the Lead Pastor at Sojourn Community Church in Louisville, Kentucky. She has taught women in various settings and written blogs for Gospel Taboo, the Gospel Coalition, The Resurgence and Sojourn Women. She desires to see women know God and be transformed by the gospel.