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Seven Thoughts to Consider about Purity in Public
Titus 2: 3-5 - The older women likewise, that they be reverent in behavior, not slanderers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things— that they admonish the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be discreet, chaste, homemakers, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be blasphemed.
What employee hasn't had to sit through the dreaded video on how to handle sexual harassment in the work place or in public? It's unpleasant and embarrassing but it often defines situations and conversations we've probably had to handle.
From a woman's point of view, it's no surprise that this is an ongoing "issue" in the work or public place considering how some women (even professing Christians) act and present themselves in public.
Here's a few things Christian women especially would do well to consider about purity in public:
1) Matthew 10:16 - Behold, I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves, so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves. A woman has the ability to often steer the situation with inappropriate attention from males (and sadly even females now days!) and often PREVENT situations before they fester. Plan for success – ask God for wisdom daily in the workplace or when going out in public!
2) Proverbs 11:22 - As a ring of gold in a swine's snout, so is a lovely woman who lacks discretion. / Proverbs 31: 25 - Strength and honor are her clothing... Before even opening her mouth, a woman speaks the most by her conduct, the way she dresses and even by her body language. Have discretion in your deportment. Walk and present yourself as a daughter of the King and a follower of Jesus Christ. You reflect Christ and His image should be gaining a stronger resemblance in your life day-by-day!
3) Proverbs 31:26 - She opens her mouth with wisdom, And on her tongue is the law of kindness. / Ephesians 4:29 - Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers. / Matthew 12: 36-37 - But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment. For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned. Ephesians 5:4 - Neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks. When she does open her mouth, a woman need be careful! Somethings just don't need to be discussed outside the home. The nature of topics certainly need to be thought of twice. Are we vulgar in our speech? Well, we need to repent and not be vulgar! What do we laugh about? Be a lady. How we talk and what we talk about, all sends volumes of insight to our coworkers about what we're willing to receive from them. Women, we can be inviting others—just by what we tolerate--to include us into their dirty or off-colored conversations. Speak up by your actions, leave the room and don't just go along with the trend. When the right timing, let your co-workers know about your church and some of your church activities. Yeh, go ahead and be thought of as a "church girl!" It won't fix all, but by doing our part, we women can certainly help guide the situation and while we're at it, witness a living Christ in our lives to our lost coworkers and the public we encounter.
4) 1 Timothy 2:9 - ...that the women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with propriety and moderation... A woman can be modest if she wants to be. Women, please think "modesty" when you think about what you wear! Modesty is God's idea. Cover it up your nakedness...wear more fabric! For the conservative crowd, dresses can be just as immodest and revealing—watch the necklines and revealing fabrics! Just because it's a skirt doesn't mean it's appropriate in fit, length or perhaps that high slit to reveal a thigh and leg should be sewn up. Pouring yourself into a long pair of jeans with no skin showing doesn't make it less revealing! Also what you wear can be pretty! Nowhere in the scripture does it contextually tell us we get extra "spiritual points" for looking dumpy, ill kept and wearing faded clothing all the time (Hey! But it's true, we all need some dumpy clothing to paint the house in!). Go before the Lord and ask Him to help you get His idea of what you need to look like. It's a personal walk—but we can be united in Christ to have HIS idea.
5) Read Proverbs 31 - A Christian woman is not one of the "guys". A woman of character, high morals and Godly pursuits will be respected by most—even unbelievers. A Godly woman understands that the Biblical, God given role of womanhood if a gift that can be rejected and missed. It doesn't just happen (especially in our world today!) that women embrace God's plan for woman! A woman that truly is seeking God will behave like one. That means, in our society, that women respect how God created men in a leadership role capacity (even if the men don't understand). It means, we conduct ourselves with femininity and actively seek to live out the standards God has given us as women. "Putting one over" on the guys and competing between the sexes has no Biblical support. Being mannish is not "okay". (This is from a woman that likes to sweat outside, train horses, has helped a father and brother's work in plumbing, fencing, ranching, etc. A woman can still do and help do physical work in a God honoring way, but as a woman not trying to be a man.)
6) 1 Thessalonians 5:22 - Abstain from all appearance of evil. / 1 Corinthians 1:9 - But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. If you are single, act like you are married in that you reserve yourself for that one man (or woman) in your affections, conversations, entertainment, etc. That sounds crazy, but if we believe God is true to His word, He will provide a spouse in His timing. A wise mother said to her daughter, "There's only one man—just one. You don't have to try out everyone." Be the type of woman that the man of character would want for a wife. Presenting yourself as "one of the fun girls" to your coworkers or others in public is going to attract the same kind of person for a spouse and damage your witness for Christ. God put the solitarily in a family. Be known as a single person that is a family person. Invest in your parents, siblings, nieces, nephews, etc. Serve the brethren in church. Yeh, it's okay to be mocked as being "boring" and having no "fun." It is guaranteed that wholesome, righteous fun (that's really very broad in spectrum) will tend to life, character and enduring relationships when the counterfeit of a self-culture of "night life binges" and "sprees" will only end in moral corruption and broken, emptiness. Psalm 68: 6 God sets the solitary in families; He brings out those who are bound into prosperity; But the rebellious dwell in a dry land. Those "too friendly" customers that what to invade your space—stiffen the arm to prevent the embrace. Let it be known you belong to a church, a family. You girls, get your Dad to come visit you, let them know you have a "covering" and a man in your life. Get your brothers to walk in on your lunch break. Speak of the Lord. They'll get the message!
7) 1 Corinthians 7:1 - It is good for a man not to touch a woman. / 1 Timothy 5: 2 – [treat] The elder women as mothers; the younger as sisters, with all purity. A note for the Men of the church or in public! Keep your comments on a woman's physical appearance reserved for your family! Many grandfatherly and fatherly types have a grace quite capable of presenting compliments and kindest actions with appropriateness—like apples of God in settings of silver. But some/most men would do better to refrain. Every time you meet in church, it is inappropriate and uncomfortable to a woman to give her an update on what she's wearing, her hair style, how well she looks, etc., etc., etc. While any honest woman would confess that admiration and being thought beautiful is a compliment—a godly woman neither seeks nor desires such attention from men beyond family. And consider, from some sources, it is more an aversion or insult to the woman than a gratification. A good rule for men would be to ask themselves, "Would I want another man to say this to my wife?" "Would I want another older man to act this way toward my daughter or sister?" "Would I say this if this woman were married and her husband standing next to her?" Even if the woman is single and young, she is likely someone's future wife. Act like a brother—and what brother goes around excessively hugging or telling his sister she's beautiful?
This is the first part of a multi-part series...
Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God. Matthew 5:8
Purity is a hot topic in the Christian world today.
In our culture, "to be pure" often is associated as being naive, abnormal, wimpy and "no fun." Even in Christian "upstanding" circles, the idea of physical purity (e.g. virginity, abstaining from substance abuse, not being a drunkard, etc.) has shockingly become a novelty. Many parents just expect that their children will turn wayward, have a "fling" and then hopefully get serious about life and settle down.
It doesn't have to be this way.
God forgives—yet—what we often find is an attitude of acceptance among Christian crowds for the "sake" of trying to cajole and lure the wayward (especially the young) into church so we can "fix" them. Many churches and Christian organizations mistakely define love as toleration. Much effort is put into glamourizing the Message into attractive, marketable packages that will be appealing and more palatable to the Generation lost. They increase and diversify marketing strategies and grow to unnecessarily accept a lower standard and end up accommodating sinful lifestyles by providing "a comfortable environment" where lives ultimately don't change much. Nowhere in the Scriptures do we find it Biblical to accommodate and excuse sin. We are to instead call sin, sin and disciple nations in the Gospel, a solid hope in an unchanging Christ.
Christ's purity is not subject to or diminished by human definition, interpretation, marketing strategies or popularity. Regardless of man's efforts—Christ remains the same. Christ was and still is the perfect pattern. In Him is a surety, a foundation to be anchored upon and an absolute possibility in obtaining His ways (He. 6:18-20). Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever (He. 13:8). He is consistent, unmoving, uncompromising Way, Truth and Life (John 14:6).
As humans, we are incapable of obtaining purity by our own efforts. We can "look the part" and still inwardly be vile. Being pure just doesn't happen by itself. As Christians that read their Bible know, the first tenet toward is a relationship with Jesus Christ and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit living through us, putting on the armor of God, feeding oneself with the Word of God, bearing the fruits of the Spirit, and praying without ceasing. Being pure as Christ, though, does have some more action on our part. We are born with a free will, thus, WE have to choose to allow the Lord to work in us a daily renewing in a never ending lifestyle that permeates every part of us. Briefly, in application this means we have to set things asside. We have to keep our clothes on or even add more fabric to our clothing! We have to not read or watch trash. We have to walk away. We have to turn off the radio or television or computer.
In accord with Scripture and with the enablement of Christ, we have a choice and ability to control and to "... keep thyself pure" (1Tim. 5:22).
Our mind – What do we think about? Read? Entertain ourselves with?
Our eyesight – what do we view? Do we walk away or refuse to look at it? Do we turn it off?
Our mannerisms – How do we act? Are we ruled by selfishness ("this is just me, you'll have to lump it") or self-giving?
Our speech—What comes out of our mouths? Are we deceptive, backbiting, idle, vulgar?
Our desires – What do we long for? Do we inappropriately want something?
Our passions – Are we controlled by our lusts and impulses?
Our bodies – How are we presenting them? Using them? Managing them? Dressing them?
In our relationships – do we treat others as Christ would? Are we physically pure with others?
Our identity – Do we act as women should? Are we uncompromisingly feminine as God created women to be? Do we excuse ourselves as being mannish when God gave us a role of femininity?
How we work? – Do we work with purity? Are we blameless, ethical, integral and honest?
How we spend our time? – Are we good stewards of our time? What are we doing with life?
How we spend our money? – What investments are we making? Do we tithe? Are we responsible?
What entertains us? – Do we have hobbies and interests that God would approve of?
How do we care for our families? Are we committed? Do we invest and love the lives God has given us in our family? Do we honor our parents?
And the list could go on...
God doesn't want us to feel beat before we're start. He enables, He provides, He satisfies, He gives. What we have to do is make the commitment and live today, one step at a time. When we fail, we have to confess it and get back going on the right track. We have to be willing to change and make changes.
Let's bring this down to application.
What does purity look like in our daily lives?
To Be Continued...
Final Post on "Twelve Things to Do When You are Rejected"
Rebekah L. Holt
There are so many ways that we experience rejection in life. The environments of family, employment, church, dating/courting and social circles all provide the backdrop of some the most painful experiences caused by human rejection. Christians might be resigned to expecting the world’s rejection. But what about when fellow Christians are the ones to reject us? Christ did not promise His followers exemption from sorrows in earthly life. What He did promise is that all our needs would be met, including: help, comfort, wisdom, guidance, strength, grace, healing and HOPE!
So when we find ourselves rejected of men, what is our response to be? Here’s a few quick points for what to do when you are rejected:
- Give it to the Lord.
- Go to the Bible. Read Part One
- Remember Christ was Rejected.
- Recall that God is Sovereign.
- Know that God is at Work on Your Behalf! Read Part Two
- Realize Your Identity Before God.
- Beware of Counterfeits for Coping! Read Part Three
- Resist the Attitudes!
- Be Humble.
- Forgive. Read Part Four
11. Wait on the Lord for Strength, Renewal and Healing. God has promised to renew the strength of His followers (Is. 40:31). He warns us not to grow weary in well doing (Gal. 6:9). Before doing anything rash—wait on the Lord (Ps. 27:14). It is often through tough times that some Christians “call it quits” and selfishly consider their ways better than their Creator’s. Sadly many Christians have fallen away from the ways of Christ and rejected Him because it “didn’t work out like they wanted.” They think God failed them instead of realizing that God is a Faithful God that is an Ever Present Help in trouble (Deut. 7:9; Ro. 8:18-39). Any true athlete knows that in order to build muscle, you go through strenuous, consistent training and exercise. Those that quit the training course prematurely will never achieve their full potential in skill or development. They may never finish the course or win the race. The same goes for those that fall away when following Christ presents a tough route. Stay faithful to Him. Wait on the Lord. Trust Him. He can pull us out of a horrible pit and set our feet on a rock (Ps. 40). God is a God of Salvation (Ps. 68:20)! Those that are faithful to waiting on God’s perfect timing can testify that God is true to His word and does restore perfectly (Deut. 7:9; Jn. 3:33). Seeing God work is worth waiting for. But may the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you (1 Pe. 5:10).
12. While "Standing and Waiting," Get Busy With What’s Under Your Nose. The Bible tells us that when all is done, to stand (Ep. 6:13). Part of that “standing” is doing what’s under your nose. God has made us for work. Regardless of the situation, there’s going to be something in the “here and now” for us to do. It may be wiping window sills, putting up decorations, washing the car, taking out the trash or entering in information on an Excel spreadsheet. Whatever is on your plate—get up and do it. No one is going to do your work like you can. God has given you something to do now. An older woman once told me, “Keep in a routine. Discipline your life. Sweat if possible!” Above all, keep anchored on the promises of God. Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever. He knows our situations—every detail. He can make all things new (Rev. 21:5). He is the Master Creator; Our Savior, Provider, Redeemer and Friend. As His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue (2 Pe. 1:3). For I considered all this in my heart, so that I could declare it all: that the righteous and the wise and their works are in the hand of God… (Ec. 9:1). Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, Nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him (1 Cor. 2:9).
Thank you to all who have provided feedback on this article series. The Word of God is living and applicable to our lives. RLH
Being a Christian, we just come to expect an occasional cold shoulder or the "not-in-favor" comments from others that really don't seek the Lord as the center of their life.
But...what's not often discussed are the times we encounter Christians who choose to reject us in various ways.
The worst and most painful scenarios seem to be family or dating/courting divisions. What can be more agonizing than when actual professing Christian family members want nothing to do with you or even take legal action to reject you? What about a Christian spouse that quits and wants out when you're so dedicated and faithful? Or consider a very godly fiance that had a change of mind (and heart) and called it all off. Perhaps it was the unique "Christian someone" that for months led you, family, friends and others to believe was "in earnest", winning your trust, but then suddenly tried claiming nothing was intended by months of very personal, daily attention.
A holiday season certainly can be dampened by painful thoughts or memories of "what should or could have been," or by just the challenge of overcoming all the emotional backlash from being rejected and someone else's missing the mark. We don't gloat in other Christians' failings. Yet, experiencing rejection is often a two-sided sorrow we have to rise above: 1) the sting of their response to us and 2) the failure on their part to impart Christ in their actions.
How do we "handle" this? What is the Christian response? How do we overcome?
Continued from "Twelve Things to Do When You Are Rejected" by Rebekah L. Holt. Please Note: This article series is not written as a "fix all" nor can the authoress claim to have experienced every scenario and be an "authority" on the topic. However, the article series is written to point out scriptures and Biblical principles that God has given us that can help in time of need. In this fallen world, God doesn't always keep us from painful experiences, BUT, He gives us hope, grace, comfort and a tried and true way of handling the situation. Anytime we follow and obey God, it works.
- Give it to the Lord. Read Part One
- Go to the Bible. Read Part One
- Remember Christ was Rejected. Read Part Two
- Know that God is at Work on Your Behalf! Read Part Two
- Recall that God is Sovereign. Read Part Two
- Realize Your Identity Before God. Read Part Three
- Beware of Counterfeits for Coping! Read Part Three
8. Resist the Attitudes! The typical human response to rejection is not Christ-like! Some turn inward and refuse to “give” again. Others grow hostile, sour and resistant. Some are just indifferent, apathetic and don’t care. Either way is sinful! Christians are capable of responding sinfully to others’ wrong doings (Mt. 26:41; Gal. 6). God has told us look to Christ the Author and Finisher of our faith Who endured the cross because He knew the joy that would come (He. 12:2). Only with the Lord’s help and by sincerely surrendering to Him can we overcome the impulses of the flesh (1 Cor. 10:13). Search the scriptures for Christ’s attitude when He was rejected and model Him. The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you (Phil. 4:9).
9. Be Humble. Even when we are “done dirty”, as Christians, we have a responsibility to reflect Christ in our response to the circumstance. Use this time of sorrow (or anger) over being rejected to examine yourself before the Lord. Confess to the Lord if you have sinned in this situation (1 Jn. 1:9). Ask Him to help you to overcome your weaknesses—He will stand with you and strengthen you (2 Tim. 4:17; Is. 40:29). Allow the Lord to renew your mind with His thoughts (Ro. 12:2; Ep. 4:23). It takes humility to accept that God will vindicate even when it looks like that person is “getting away with it.” It takes humility to sort out your wrong doing from the other party’s, especially when you think yours was a smaller act. Ask God to give the grace and to enable you to be humble (Phil. 4:13). God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble (James 4:6).
10. Forgive. But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses (Mt. 6:15).This one can be difficult! When we are innocent and the rejection comes from someone else’s sinful behavior, it’s a temptation to feel justified in nurturing wrongs. Without forgiveness, we are not following Christ’s example or commandment (Luke 23:34; Mt. 18:21-22). Forgiveness does not mean resignation or indifference. Forgiveness is a sacrifice, a denying our “right” to holding a grudge or mulling over the wrongs in our minds. We realize that in God’s sovereignty, He is All powerful to work out His will in this situation. But Jesus looked at them and said to them, “With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible (Mt. 19:26). When bad thoughts come up about that person—pray for them. Simply just ask that God’s will for that person to come to pass. Shake the dust from your feet (and your mind) and move on (Luke 9:5)! But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you (Mt. 5:44). And whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him, that your Father in heaven may also forgive you your trespasses (Mark 11:25).
It's Holiday Season--a holly, jolly time of year! But likely someone's out there having to heal up due to experiencing rejection.
We're Christians. We love God's people. We expect that those professing Christ will accept us. But sometimes even professed Christians are capable of rejecting and disregarding others by their not allowing God to fully work in their lives. Leaders in the Church or in Bible based Christian organizations are very capable of brushing off the people God brings to them as did the pharisees to Christ.
Christ came to the very ones that said they were waiting for the Messiah. Because Christ came not in the "package" they wanted, most of these religious leaders rejected Him.
What do we do when we find ourselves rejected even by fellow Christians or strong Biblical leaders? How do we handle being scoffed at by a Sunday School teacher? How do we keep from sinning ourselves in being the receipients of what Christ experienced?
What is the Christian response to rejection?
Continued from "Twelve Things to Do When You are Rejected"
Rebekah L. Holt
1. Give it to the Lord. Read Part One
2. Go to the Bible. Read Part One
3. Remember Christ was Rejected. Read Part Two
4. Recall that God is Sovereign. Read Part Two
5. Know that God is at Work on Your Behalf! Read Part Two
6. Realize Your Identity Before God. What does God think of you? A human’s rejection can make us feel very worthless and meaningless. Even when we know we belong to Christ, humans tend to make us feel horrible about who we are. Know what God says about His people. When we confess ourselves as Christ’s followers, we are:
- God’s child (John 1:12)
- Bought with a price and belong to God (1 Cor. 6:19-20)
- Chosen and adopted by God (Eph. 1:3-8)
- Redeemed and forgiven of all our sins because of Christ ( Col. 1:13-14)
- Made complete in Christ (Col. 2:9-10)
- A Citizen of Heaven to Come (Phil. 3:20)
- God’s workmanship (Eph. 2:10)
- Free from condemnation (Ro. 8:1-2)
(Read more from the beautiful scriptural outline: “Who I Am in Christ.”)
7. Beware of Counterfeits for Coping! In today’s world even some Christians and Christian leaders have cashed into many hollow “self-oriented” counterfeits to putting “shoe leather” to whole heartedly trusting, obeying and waiting on the Lord. After bad things happen, many people (professed “Christians” included) look for quick, temporary solutions of comfort. It is shocking how many seek comfort through eating, drinking (getting drunk), doing drugs, having a self-induced “problem” that can be labeled, drugged and pampered with therapy or medication, getting a new physical “image,” going on a spending spree, committing fornication, choosing to be a homosexual, abandoning a family, getting a divorce, aborting a child, casting off responsibility, etc. Very popular today, there are “over wrought and stressed” Christians that are turning to the Hindu entrenched Yoga or the practices of Buddhism or some type of Eastern religious method of “redirecting”. We see many seeking counsel or comfort with self-interest (how can I please myself?) at the core. To sum-it-all-up, they go on a binge of self-gratification or just trying to get out from under the pressure of a tough situation. Such “man-made-efforts” ultimately lead to sin or actions that are blatantly an abomination to God! It has been falsely said, If you can’t love yourself, you can’t love others. Christ said that if we want to follow Him, we will deny ourselves and take up our cross to follow Him (Mt. 16:24). He told us that if we love Him, we will do what He says (John 14:15). When we are focused on self, we hurt or neglect others too in the process of pleasing ourselves. Thus, we become as the very people who rejected and hurt us.
The Bible has told us to love God with all our heart, soul and mind (Mark 12:30). We are warned not to seek after the world’s methods for deliverance (Is. 30:1-2). Jesus has told us that our situations are real and that He will help us! God is our refuge and strength, A very present help in trouble (Ps. 46:1).By seeking the world’s method of overcoming, we will find ourselves deluded and still in bondage. Seek Christ; He is the Way, the Truth and the Life (Jn. 14:6)! One of His ways of “redirecting” our sorrows or hurts is to give to and serve others. Our needs are going to be met even when we are giving out to someone else’s needs. It may seem or feel like we’re being overlooked, but God is faithful and truly concerned about us. God has our lives in His Hands. We are not capable of changing most circumstances surrounding someone’s choice to reject us. However, we are capable of not rejecting God’s methods or His truth that is free to us. And we are capable of not rejecting the people He wants us to serve. If you extend your soul to the hungry and satisfy the afflicted soul, Then your light shall dawn in the darkness, and your darkness shall be as the noonday. The Lord will guide you continually, and satisfy your soul in drought, and strengthen your bones; You shall be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water, whose waters do not fail (Is. 58:10-11).