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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...
So Why Did I Become a Christian? Featured
Recently, I heard it again. “Rebekah, one day you’ll wake up and find out how much fun you’re missing out on…. Oh yeh, and every third day, I talk to the “holy man” too…”
People with more liberal outlooks have their way of getting their message across. They want no condemnation for their lifestyles. However, they LOVE to mock, scoff, blaspheme in playful or abrasive ways, your simple, steady commitment that you might not even verbalize but only live before them.
Ever happen to you?
Thinking this over recent, fairly mild brush of persecution, I’ve put some questions to myself (rhetorically).
Why did I become a Christian? I was 5—but I longed to be Christ’s. I wanted to know Him and go to heaven.
Was it because I just wanted to be different-just-to-be-different? No…
Perhaps it was a personal preference? No--It never occurred to me…
Did I just fall into it by nature? Definitely not by nature…
Did I have a natural aversion to lust making it easy to be pure? I was thinking of one woman’s infringing conversation about my singleness suggesting that I lived in a state of aggravated, unsatisfied sensual desire. “It must be so hard for you to stay pure.” I couldn’t believe it. This was a Christian! Waiting on the Lord’s best, He doesn’t leave you struggling. God’s ways fill you up and fully satisfy even the healthy (though frequently perverted) human elements He created to be holy and set apart for His chosen union.
Was it because I just happened to be shrouded and sheltered from bad people through my childhood? My parents did protect me, but regardless, there have been plenty of “bad people” lurking in the shadows.
Is it because I haven’t tasted of something “forbidden” that would change my whole outlook if I but only had a bite of the fruit? There is no shame in protection and non-participation of biting into forbidden fruits! PRAISE the LORD—I have been guided well by Christian parents. Praise the Lord that He is my Savior that lives in me and is sanctifying not only me, but all who will profess and believe in Him—no matter what sins committed in the past life. Praise the Lord that He has instructed all that want to know that sin should not be tasted and sought out—it WILL destroy us.
I have encountered many different adults in my life that have suggested by words and gestures that only by experiencing a bit of the “dirty side” of humanity can you achieve being “just a little bit wiser” and “more intellectually fulfilled” in the human race. I think about a fundraiser for charities that I declined attending for a “good cause.” I was urged to reconsider and realize this would be a good opportunity for me to “grow.” Later I found out, the series of fundraising dance routines included a team that performed a toned down “strip tease.” There was no denying there was no need to “grow” for this. The Bible is very cut and dry on honoring the Lord with what we allow our eyes to see, our minds to think on, our ears to hear. We don’t need to compromise for a “good cause” because the money earned will do a lot of good. God can provide money in other ways through purer channels. And growth wise, we don’t have to experience the heat of the sin—or just be a sideline observer—to determine a counterfeit to what is truly wise and superior.
The thing about being a Christian it’s not just about having all the “I”s dotted and the “t”s crossed. It’s not just about looking the part when folks are looking your way. It’s about being committed—when people aren’t looking—everyday—to a living Savior and having an eternal perspective in a dying, crumbling, degenerate world. That sounds almost depressing—yet, in contrast—it is a living hope.
There is a REASON for the hope that is mine! There is a REASON that Christians can be a light and even stand alone. We offer, nothing in ourselves, but Jesus Christ in a living, applicable witness. The more I live, the more I am convinced that following the Lord is the most hopeful, the most rewarding and the only way to live. Can I do it perfectly? Not in my own strength—not in the least.
To paraphrase the words of a visiting pastor at church, “We might put our sword down as Christians. But you know what? In Christ, we don’t have to live with our sword down. He enables us to pick it back up and keep going.”
By choosing the ways of Christ—they hurt or damage no one. Christ’s ways can make people uncomfortable, convict their consciences and make them angry wanting to lash out and perhaps even hurt us. Yet, Christ’s ways, in themselves, only tend to life and peace. Following Christ entails sacrifice and dying to oneself but such self-giving is life giving.
I would tell anyone that was honestly wanting to know—that being a Christian is a daily renewal. Yes, I became a Christian at an early age. I didn’t start out with a big list of habits to overcome. But, like anyone else, I’ve had to allow Christ to daily work on me. Profanity may not be in my vocabulary, but the heart still requires Christ’s redemption to purify thoughts that stem from selfishness, anger, pride. No, I may not have the vices or habits that are blatantly on the “blacklist”, yet, there’s a higher calling that constantly points out areas of growth needed to overcome attitudes that, if left to fester, the worst sins all stem from.
Christianity does not come by nature to any of us. But we were made with a void that only Christ Jesus can fill. And, the more a righteous lifestyle is cultivated, the stronger, healthier and more vibrant we do grow! We learn from experiences in a journey moving forward.
So why did I become a Christian? The reasons are many. The benefits are innumerable. It has been the best decision. The bi-product of Salvation in Jesus Christ is standing forgiven, provided with Sovereign help to overcome, given an abundant provision of joy (even in tough situations) and a lifestyle that tends to life right now. And my hope lasts to after death, when I’ll be with Him eternally in a perfect, sinless world.
For young people especially, I would encourage you to be willing to stand alone, if necessary. Make the commitment—be the valiant disciplined. It is possible. It is attainable. It’s a daily walk that requires you to trust the Lord, rely on Him for strength, and to be renewed in His mindset. Just do it. And as you do—you’ll find that a cultivated crop of a righteous lifestyle gives the best return. May God keep us very faithful and growing, ever deeply rooted, in Him.