Tuesday, November 4, 2008
After my last post and the mixed emotions I was met with I began thinking about how to reply. I am working on a book with my sister Naomi about modesty but one of my chapters which is called, "More than clothing," I feel I expand and explain my views on this whole submission and serving men thing. It's long and since it was for my book it may not come out well on this blog but I'll do my best.
In the New Testament I’ve found only a handful of teachings to women. Jesus never instructed women in his teachings unless it was universal. He did miracles for women and loved them unlike most men of that day who viewed them as property (in exception to true believers who did treat women properly.) He used women in His parables. He blessed them and cared for them but His focus was on men, mainly His disciples.
Later in Paul’s letters and others more specific instruction is given. Women had been serving the Lord, going to prison for it and being beaten. They served the poor and needy and sacrificed themselves in many ways. Then in some of the churches confusion started. This whole New Testament Christianity was new. Then Peter, Paul, and others revealed God’s special will for the women of His church.
Men where given this instruction. They were told you are to love your wives as Christ loved His church. They are asked to be willing to die for us. 1 Peter 3:7, You husbands in the same way, live with your wives in an understanding way, as with someone weaker (admit it we are weaker) since she is a woman; show her honor as a fellow heir of the grace of life, so that your prayers will not be hindered.” Hint... (Don’t marry someone who is not willing to die for you not only physically but to his own desires also.) If I’ve ever seen a living example of this it is my Papa. He works hard for my mother, he tells her in front of us all the time how much he loves her. He does whatever he can around the house even on his day off like, sweeping, washing dishes, ironing his shirts… (now that Naomi are older we can help him out by doing those things) Just little things that make my mommy’s day easier. So don’t marry a jerk. However he treats his family he will treat you, watch him!
(P.S. This does not mean you can boss him around. One the contrary. We have a part in this too. Here it comes….
Titus 2:3, Older women likewise are to be reverent in their behavior, not malicious gossips or enslaved to much wine, teaching what is good, so that they may encourage younger women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be sensible, pure, workers at home, kind, being subject to their own husbands, so that the word of God will not be dishonored.
Looks to me like our role in life is pretty clear. We are to love our children, to be sensible, get this – workers at home. Hint, hint, hint. Let’s keep going.
As far as leadership goes. We may think we have so much to say to men. Often times we feel so much smarter, right? Wrong.
1 co. 14:34The women are to keep silent in the churches; for they are not permitted to speak, but are to be subject to themselves, just as the Law says. If they desire to learn anything, let them ask their own husbands at home.
There you have it. God doesn’t like it when women behave like what a pastor once said, “A bull moose.” You can just hear her come into the room, “MOOOOO.”
Your adornment must not merely be external – braiding of the hair, and wearing gold jewelry, or putting on dresses; but let it be the hidden person of the heart, with an imperishable quality of a quiet and gentle spirit, which is precious in the sight of God. 1 Peter 3:3 and 4
It is not wrong to try to look your best, but the real person should not be just your outer garments but the inside. When you have a quiet and gentle spirit, God calls it precious in His sight. He doesn’t call many things precious. (Another word for gentle is meek)
Let’s keep going, its just getting good.
Women must likewise be dignified, not malicious gossips, but temperate, faithful in all things. 1 Tim 3:11
Just another call to not be a bull moose.
Pet. 3:1 in the same way, you wives be submissive to your own husbands so that even if they are disobedient to the Word, they may be won without a word by the behavior of their wives, as they observe your chaste and respectful behavior. Your adornment must not merely be external - braiding the hair, and wearing gold jewelry, or putting on dresses; but let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the imperishable beauty of a quiet and gentle spirit which is precious in the sight of God. For in the way in former times the holy women also, who hoped in God, used to adorn themselves, being submissive to their own husband; just as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord, and you have become her children if you do what is right without being frightened by any fear.
This broadens the verse I put earlier. But just read it over again. Remember how Sarah obeyed her husband in Genesis? She is commended for that because God has designed it so if we obey our authorities He will bless that.
“Even if they are wrong?”
“For the most part, yes. There have been a few stories in the Bible like when the disciples were brought before the Pharisees and commanded to stop preaching. Jesus had told them to go out and proclaim His Gospel so they rested in that higher authority. When it comes to your parents and eventually your husband I think we are commanded to obey them without a word so that they will be won over by our willing and GENTLE SPIRIRT.
“But what if they ask me to do something terrible liking stealing or murder?”
“How many authorities ask that? Come on.”
“Alright, I once heard a sweet women whose unsaved husband did not even allow her to come to church for a time. She was in my Sunday school and when he finally gave her permission to come be with us again she said something like this, “If you are trusting God in your circumstances and leaning on Him in obedience to move this authority’s heart then He will keep you safe from such things. Just like he saved Sarah from being sexually assaulted when she was taken.”
This woman is still living with the same husband and I am glad to tell you God is still working there.
1 Col. 11:9 for indeed man was not created for the women’s sake but women for the man’s sake. Therefore the women ought to have a symbol of authority on her head, because of the angels. However, in the Lord, neither is a women independent from a man or a man independent of a women. For as the woman originates from the man, so also the man has his birth through the woman; and all things originate from God.
I have news for you girls, you were not created equally with boys. I know, in our flesh that makes us so mad. We buck against submission, and authority just like God said we would in the Garden of Eden (Gen. 3:16)
We want to fight against it and be equal. Sorry to say that doesn’t work. Never has, never will. In our culture today you find in marriage often a bull moose of a women and a mouse of a man. And each is trying as hard as they can to fulfill their own desires. You see we are so busy trying to reach the top of the mountain we’re stepping on men’s head as we try to reach it. You may be doing it even without intending it just because our culture is so wacky. God designed men first in His image. Admit it Jesus was a boy because males are suppose to take the lead. Imagine where the church, your school, your youth group could be and do if the men took a mighty lead? The thought excites me. But they really can’t until you step out of the way and do what God intended you to do. You are to serve and lower yourself willingly. I know it’s hard! I know so often I can be that bull moose. But if we embrace this as God’s will and His perfect plan we will find so much joy and fulfillment in doing His bidding. The world says, “Everyone fight for the top!” God says, “Humble yourself and I will bless you.” Can you imagine how many divorces wouldn’t happen if the couple would just die to self? It’s unbelievable. So yes, men should serve you too. Let them figure it out don’t tell them. Hopefully the older men in your church are instructing them in that like the Bible tells them to. Love it when a guy opens the door for you. I sure do. Appreciate them going out of their way to bless you. Now the first time some of them do it you might be tempted to think he’s so mature and nice and then have this big crush on him and you go out of your way to try to be there when he’s at the door. Don’t do that. Let men serve you. Feel free to let them fold the chairs while you direct or watch. Or if you help don’t feel like you have to do three chairs at a time just because they are. I’ve sometimes been teased in a funny way when we were doing chairs in our fellowship hall because my puny self only carries one chair at a time. And I really think that’s okay. When you are in a large group with boys and girls, let the boys lead in prayer. I’m not saying you shouldn’t pray at all but make them lead. Set it up because for many of them it’s a challenge just like it is for us to be quiet. We’ve become bull mousses and they’ve become mice. Change that by forcing them to step up by behaving quietly.
1Tim. 2:9 - 15 Likewise I want the women to adore themselves with proper clothing, modestly and discreetly, not with braided hair or gold or pearls or costly garments, but rather by the means of good works as is proper for women making claims to godliness. A woman must quietly receive instruction with submissiveness. But I do not allow women to teach or exercise authority over man, but to remain quiet. For it was Adam who was first created then Eve. And it was not Adam who was deceived but woman, being deceived fell into transgression. But women should be preserved through the bearing of children if they continue in the faith and love and sanctify with self – restraint.
Finally to modesty. You may have thought I lost it there for a minuet. Don’t worry, I’m getting there and then I’ll tie a nice big bow on everything. Let’s focus on the verse this book started on. It’s the first few phrases.
Likewise I want the women to adorn themselves in proper clothing, modestly and discreetly, not with braided hair or costly garments, but rather by the means of good works as is proper for women making claims to godliness.
In the New Living Lydia Version
Girls and women, it is God’s desire for you to dress modestly. So by golly do so. Not with flashy and brand name clothing, or so mach make up no one would know you if they saw you when you wake up in the morning. Don’t be caught in the latest trends. But wear something that not only covers you but makes a statement. Modesty is so much more than being covered. It’s making a statement of godliness.
Now for the really fun part. Are you ready because this is where it all ties together? By the way have you been catching on to any themes?
Modestly, Discreetly, Shameless…
When you hear the word modest, what do you think of? Being covered more than most? Holy? Does something similar come to your mind? I always thought something along the line of “covered.” Webster defines it like this,
Modest – adj. having or due measure, modest. Having or showing a moderate opinion of one’s own value, abilities, achievements, etc.; not vain or boastful; unassuming. Not forward, shy or reserved. Behaving dressing, speaking, etc. in a way that is considered proper or decorous; decent. Moderate or reasonable, not extreme. Quiet and humble in appearance, style, etc. Not pretentious.
That’s a pretty good definition but I don’t think it even begins to open the word up like the Greek. Looking these words up in a different language as been really exciting. At points I would just have to set the books aside and think for a moment. Sometimes I said I can’t live up to that, and others I sat in awe in God’s holiness by defining our dress in such a way.
I used two versions, King James and New American Standard Version. Both were very helpful and in many ways similar. Their wording was a little different.
NASB Likewise I want the women to adorn themselves in proper clothing, modestly and discreetly, not with braided hair or costly garments, but rather by the means of good works as is proper for women making claims to godliness.
KJV - In like manor also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with braided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array; but with good works.
Now since proper clothing and modest apparel come from the same Greek word, Kosmios, coming from the word World and to set in order. This refers to the order God had when He created the world. The definition…
Kosmios – (from style:italic;">Kosmos (2889) order. To set in order, adorn. That which pertains to space and not time. The sum total of the material universe, the beauty of it; the sum total of persons living the world) Orderly decent. Plato presented Kosmios as the citizen who is quiet in the land, who fulfils the duties which are incumbent on him as such and are not disorderly. He, as well as Paul, associated such persons with sophron (4998 ) sensible, self controlled, one who voluntarily places limits on his freedom. The virtue of the kosmios, however, is not only the propriety of his dress and demeanor, but of his inner life, unerring itself in outward conversation. semnos (4586) one who has a grace and dignity not obtained from earth only. While one who kosmios behaves himself well in his earthly citizenship and is asset, the semnos owns his quality to the higher citizenship which is also his.
Next please; Modesty and Shamefacedness…
127 Shamefacedness, modestly (a sense of shame) from Aidos – modesty, an inner moral repugnance to a dishonorable act. Shame. Grief that a man perceives from his own imperfections considered with relation to the world taking notice of them. Grief upon the sense of disesteem. Aidos finds its motive in itself, implies reverence for the good as good, not merely an act as that to which honor and reputation are attached. Found only in 1Tim. 2:9 , Hew. 12:28
It just keeps getting better…
4997 discreetly - soundness of mind, self controlled.
2689 clothing (only word for clothing in the Bible used) (to keep calm or quiet)
Modest – keeping due measure
Are you thinking hard yet? By these definitions this verse means so much more than to keep covered. It’s calling us so much farther than just not having cleavage show or tight pants. It’s calling us to holiness. Hear it again… “holiness.” To be made in the image of God. Let that sink in.
Now let’s try this verse again with the definition.
NASB Likewise I want the women to adorn themselves in orderly, calm and quiet clothing with grace and dignity. To be one who does not set her citizenship on earth but in a higher place, to have a deep sense of shame to not take this to heart and be remorseful beyond words if she were to cause her brother in Christ to sin. To be sound in mind and to keep due measure. To be orderly and modest in her appearance. Not with flashy and expensive clothes, or gaudy and tacky attire, but with a quiet and submissive spirit.
Where are you?
So after that…where are you? Modesty is more than being covered. It is more than having a desire for modesty. It is more than making sure everything is not too tight. It actually is saying something about style. It’s to be orderly in the same way that God made the world and everything in it orderly. That can be a little scary. I can think of a lot of styles today that are not orderly. I don’t want to be accused of being judgmental, because I’ve worn some of these things too. But could we say, ripped up and faded jeans with holes in them. Even if they cover they aren’t orderly. Spray painted hair gives a tacky and unorderly appearance. Heavy eye makeup. Clothing that shows through to your underclothing or draws attention to it. Tacky items put together to make an outfit that maybe covers you and maybe is so stylish but in no way does it promote a quiet and gentle spirit.
We are to be sensible and self controlled. Our clothing is to be calm and quiet. These shirts that are nothing but sequence…. Lots of makeup that is not natural looking. Writing on your rear… jewelry hanging everywhere.
Do you feel ashamed of your sin? When you think about all the guys around you have you done something or worn something that could have caused them to have lustful thoughts? And when you think about it to you have a repugnance and disgust for it? You should…
“Don’t wear clothing that shows your figure.”
“But that’s everything!”
”I feel like that too sometimes. I feel like I’ll end up looking like an old lady in balloon shirts and pants. I would like to say you can wear clothing that is attractive and modest at the same time but... It all depends how you look at attractive. Attractive I would argue is not always the latest styles. I’m not going to make a list of rules however, that would be so easy. What you should be doing is seeking God and reading these definitions over and over again. There is no way getting around it. Believe me I would have found it. If you ever find anything tell me and I’ll write a sequel, “I was wrong.” But the Bible says over and over again how you are to behave and how your dress should be affected by that.
It’s a lot to think about. Some of you may have heard much of this your whole life while others of you… this is all new stuff. I know for you this is very difficult to grasp and I wish I could be there to talk it through with you and pray for you as you wrestle with putting away those bull moose tendencies. I’m still working on it.
This doesn’t mean you have to be quiet all the time and never share how you feel. I am not telling you that. If anyone where to tell you that it’s not me because I am a strong believer in talking everything out. No problem can be solved without it. But can we all admit we’ve taken it too far be conforming to our culture?
My call is to commit (me totally included) to let the men step up and become leaders and we can become followers. If we use God’s methods so many problems will be resolved.
One more thing. You can be more talkative around your girl friends than when boys are around or adults. When with your family you can act more playful and fun than when at a gathering. That’s not being hypercritical but giving a public witness.
You are God’s Princess.
Let’s go back to this verse one more time.
1 Col. 11:9 for indeed man was not created for the women’s sake but women for the man’s sake. Therefore the women ought to have a symbol of authority on her head, because of the angels. However, in the Lord, neither is a women independent from a man or a man independent of a women. For as the women originates from the man, so also the man has his birth through the women; and all things originate from God.
This shows God’s plan so well. All things, all things originate from Him. Just because He had given you a role of submission doesn’t mean you are any less important in His eyes. I strongly believe He loves both man and women equally and we will all get a reward in Heaven because of what we’ve done, not because of who we are.
Check what you commit to pray about and take action. Make a difference…
___ I will not be a bull moose at any time
___ I will treat guys like guys and not my best buddy, realizing there is a difference and a distance to keep.
___ I will allow guys to serve me
___ I will accept what God’s word says about modesty and submission, applying it to my life. This means to your parents and one day your spouse. (you don’t have to submit to the boys in your youth group. Just let them lead)
___ I will have a mindset that in light of all eternity whether I’m wearing something stylish or not doesn’t matter that much.
___ I will seek to encourage others in this new teaching
___ I will try hard not to cause my brother’s in Christ to sin in my actions, clothing, or speech
___ I will seek godly advice on applying this to my life