Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Week 80: Beauty that is more than Skin Deep

Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain,
but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised
.” (Proverbs 31:30ESV)

Marvelous Creature
Most of girls in this world are naturally beautiful. But not all girls however are physically, stunnedly beautiful, to be honest. So what they do? Modern girls would use all sort of methods to improve; lipstick, powder, eyebrow pencil, nail polish, hairspray, perfume, deodorant, moisturizer, facemask, shampoo – not to mention all the other things they do to get themselves in good shape~
The result is usually pleasant for both boys and girls (okay, let me make it sound more matured; both men and women). And don’t get me wrong, I’m all in favor of girls being as beautiful as possible as they can be. Of all creatures, I think woman is the most marvelous one.

Between Beauty and Suggestiveness
But having said that, it must be pointed out that there is a difference between beauty and suggestiveness (word ‘suggestive’ here mean ‘stimulating further thought.’ Therefore, my use of ‘suggestiveness’ here refer to ‘sexual suggestive’). Girls can dress themselves so that the result is either one of those two. A girl can be beautiful without being suggestive, and she can be suggestive without being beautiful.

I was sitting with my brother’s friends when they told me about their experiences attending the local church. One of them, named Cristol, spoke out this topic;
We were late for service so I and my friends have to sit at the back row. After singing few hymns, it was time for sermon. As I’m about to concentrate my attention on the speaker as he share the Word, my eyes wandering at the girl in front of me. The way she dressed lures my desire within. Hers’ back was exposed… and when she walks by, I saw how short her skirt was [Pause]. I’d like to say that by the way she dress; I find it hard to keep my thinking clean, even in the church. It stir me up inside.”

Silly Joke or Honest Confession?
I can identify with his problem. We do. All men do. It’s hard to keep our thought pure with that kind of ‘exposure’. When I told this similar situation to my girl friends, they sometime burst into a silly giggle. They thought that what I said was a joke. But on behalf of all men, hear me say: This is not a joke! With frankness and seriousness what Cristol said was absolutely true. I want readers (and your friends if you share with others) to get the message: maintain Christian standards in your dressing and help one another to keep our thoughts pure from lustful and evil desires – by God’s grace, we can.

As I write earlier there is a difference between beauty and suggestiveness. Beauty, in my definition (in this context), is like, for example; you can look at a beautiful sunset and be amaze by its splendor (like what the sunset does to me last evening). But you don’t want to possess it, to own it. You can’t take hold of it and put it in your pocket, except, like most people who have camera would perhaps take pictures of it.
Suggestiveness on the other hand is like, for example; you may see a beautiful Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC). If you’re normal person, if you’re hungry, you don’t want to just stand there and look at it, don’t you? You want to take hold of it, possess it, consume it, and be satisfied with it.

This is the kind of feelings that beauty and suggestiveness create when boys look at girls. Like the later example, improper dressing creates in the male mind not just a feeling of admiration, but a desire for possession, for satisfaction… this is the beginning of men’s failure to keep their eyes and heart pure.

Behind mere Attraction
Now, let not put the blame on girls alone. I understand that most girls don’t realize this (and boys are naturally perverted, including me in my carnal mode). They are duped with fashion designers into thinking that boys like looking at them just because they are attractive. But the psychology behind this is much deeper – men are able to imagine much more than what it is. When girls dress provocatively (meaning, ‘arousing sexual desire or interest, esp. deliberately’), it to suggests nakedness… men fall mightily down to Sheol!

But what’s wrong with nakedness?” you may ask me, “Didn’t God create the human body? Isn’t it a beautiful thing?” For this argument, I’ll let Barry Chant, the author of Straight Talk about Sex (Whitater, 1977) to answer these questions (let me relax first);

“If we look in the Book of Genesis, however, we find one or two very interesting things about nakedness. The most important of all is this: You remember that after Adam and Eve sinned, the first thing they did was to make clothes out of fig leaves? And then when God asked them, ‘Who told you that you were naked?’ They couldn’t answer? For no one had told them! They just knew (Read Genesis chapter 2 and 3).
What had really happened was that through sin they had become spiritually naked. The protective righteousness with which God had surrounded them was removed. And because they were spiritually naked, they also felt physically naked. So they try to cover up.
To blatantly display the naked body – or to dress in such a way as to suggest nakedness – is virtually an act of defiance against God. It is saying in effect, ‘We have no need of covering, God. We’re OK. We don’t need You at all!”
Dress for the Glory of God
Dress modestly..
Let’s pause for a moment, and reflect on what you had just read [Pause]. Girls, with humble heart and gentleness, I plea with you, for the sake of one another, and in respect for the holiness of Almighty God, be careful how you dress. I’m not going to suggest what kind of dress you shall wear – enough for me to say that it is helpful if you dress modestly. Again, girls, for the boys’ sake, try to be beautiful without being provocative. In the old time, Christians were persecuted and suffered physically for the sake of Christ and His Name. Perhaps today, we, us, have to let go of some clothes and let go of the desire to be always updated by the latest fashions in the market that doesn’t bring Glory to God. Thus, join the God’s Army to also ‘suffer’ worldly desire by dress properly and modestly for the sake of Christ. It’s our duty and joy.

My Long Last Words
Too often, Christian girls (and boys alike) allow the world to dictate their standards of dress. Placing popularity (even in the church buildings) and the approval of their friends at the top of their lists of priorities, they allow God’s standards to come second or third or fourth – or even lower than that. I’m still young and fleshy too – thus I understand that we all are facing daily temptations to conform ‘to the pattern of this world’ (Romans 12:2). We live not in the perfect world yet, but in a mixed society with pagan, godless and sinful community. We are, after all, forgiven sinners. Not perfect, but under sanctification by God, namely being made holy.

Again (I may don’t know when to stop sometime), girls, (boys, take note too!) you may have to face social pressures, perhaps even scorn from school, college – even work-mates. But it’s worth to live by God’s standards. One of it is by the way you dress. If you don’t dress carefully (I know that sometime you are simply unaware of it), don’t lay all the blame on others if you get into trouble… you know exactly what I mean… you may asked for it. The End.

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  1. Good one,a good reminder to myself.last year,after reading and learning abt proverbs 31 thoroughly,i have thrown and given away some 'suggestive' was so shameful knowing that i,as a christian sister,had provoked others by the way i dress.forgive me. :)

  2. Thanks sis for your comment. Men like me also need to be reminded too on how we can better serve others by the way we dress, acts, speaks etc., anyone who may want to share with us is welcome. Surely one man perspective is bias in some level. Thank you :)

  3. but kan gang .... no matter how some girl not wearing exposes clothe , if their shape is .. ermm how shud i simplify it .....

    if their certain part of the body sizes are ''abundantly blessed'' , susah jua to avoid those eyes not to lure on it .... i experienced it myself ... i just wear a baggy pants and baggy shirt ..... masih juga yang bersiul n etc

  4. Ha2 this is ‘adult’ conversation, great! Hmmm… there are issues (such as smoking, masturbating, etc.) where the Scriptures don’t have the exact outline of dos and don’ts; this and that; specifically. For sure what the Proverbs writer, Paul and Peter wrote about the way woman should dress were true during the Biblical times; based on their context and depend on the culture itself. We cannot tell the Hawaiian girls to wear sarung and tudung… it wasn’t practical for their environments… So even though what the ancient Biblical writers said about the way we should dress (not apply to all) may somehow acceptable for us today, it may not wholly practical for the modern day’s girls. For example, the practice of “women would wear a veil when entering a Church” (1 Corinthians 11), would you wear it?

    So I must conclude that the outward ethical dressing may not be practical for girls today, but the principles behind the outward expression which is the inward attitudes should never be altered, namely, dress modestly and without being provocative. I should add: with self-respect and humble in the presence of the Lord and his people.
    Having said that, my respond to your comment is this; you can’t avoid what others say or think about you. Some people are just perverted and outburst in imaginations… we can’t control that – it’s not your fault if they ‘lure on it’ when you simply wear properly and modestly. Get your inward attitudes (and motives) right, by discernment – you know what to wear! Hmmm... I hope this is helpful :)

    Have an abundantly blessed day! :P

  5. nice one bro! a reminder for myself too :D


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