Tag Archive | righteousness

Necklines, Hemlines & Blocks

As a Minister to Youth a couple decades ago I would find myself reminding some of our female youth that when they wore short skirts to church then went bounding up the stairs things would show they didn’t mean to be seen. I always felt as if I was speaking strictly for my own benefit for repeatedly they would say, “Miss Faye in church men shouldn’t be looking!”

I would counter with, “Of course they shouldn’t, but frankly men are visual creatures and when you offer them visual treats their eyes are going to be drawn to them, in church or not. Plus, do you really want males in church or out of church to see what you are displaying?”

Fast forward a decade plus and I am having a similar conversation with my niece over an eighth grade graduation dress, then a senior prom dress. Again, it seemed like a useless conversation.

With our own daughter my husband and I started early to correct behavior and to teach her modesty. We’ve tried to instill in her not that her body is something to be ashamed of or that is “dirty” but that there are special parts of her body that deserve special consideration and that are private. It has not always been easy to teach modesty to a young girl in this day and time.

Fashion has seemed to dictate clothes for girls that are as revealing as their adult counterparts. We often struggle with finding appropriate clothing that is going to allow our daughter to feel good about herself in the way God would want. Low necklines, short hem lines, tight fits and thin material. Plus, the lack of garments such as slips available for girls!

Yet with our daughter the message seems to have gotten through. At least she knows what we will say yes to and no to when it comes to her clothing and when she is looking at what characters on television or what models in magazines are wearing she remarks, “Geez, didn’t their Mama tell them to put some clothes on?” Even the men in her life she expects to be appropriately dressed. When we passed a Jeep full of bare chested males whose bodies boasted tattoos and evidence of working out she yelled (inside the car), “Go put some shirts on! No one wants to look at your naked self or your tattoos.”

Sadly in church this Sunday I wanted to repeat my conversation with the youth of long ago, only with women of all ages.

The young lady who’s long in the back, short in the front dress that was made of material so thin you could see the color of her underwear when she walked across the front of the church.

The mature woman in the choir loft whose breasts were showing.

The lady in the front row of the congregation the men were having to look anywhere but in order not to get an eyeful.

The teens in skimpy spaghetti strapped tops.

The teenage boys and girls in jeans so tight I wouldn’t be amazed to learn that they had to soak in baby oil to get into them.

This wasn’t an unusual Sunday either, which makes it more of an issue. I remember the young woman who came to sing our special music one Sunday whose dress would have more appropriately labeled a sweater and had males all over the church blushing or gawking.

Yes, men have a responsibility to keep their thoughts pure and to not lust after females. Yes, they should be focused on worship in church. Yes they are responsible for their own decisions, actions, thoughts, feelings, impulses and sins.

But we women have responsibilities too and I believe one of those is to be modest in our clothing choices. Instead of referring you to what Paul in 1 Timothy 2:9 had to say directly about women’s clothing choices or Peter in 1 Peter 3:3 I want to draw your attention to I Corinthians 8:9 where Paul in discussing the eating of food scarified to idols but which I think can be aptly applied to my point.

“Be careful, however, that the exercise of your freedom does not become a stumbling block to the weak.”

Yes, I propose in the area of lust for the members of the opposite gender we all have our weak points. And knowing that I believe we all have a responsibility NOT to try to be a stumbling block to anyone. For if we are daring to dress with less modesty in the choice of clothing we have to go to worship the Lord our God in, WHAT are we choosing to wear outside the church?

The church is not a body of believers who are perfect, it is a body of believers who are sinners saved by grace who join together to learn about the Word of God, draw strength and encouragement from our church family and then to go into the world and tell others about Jesus and how He has changed our lives and can change theirs.

The world does not share those common goals.

Before anyone gets riled up thinking I am calling for a return to women covering themselves head to toe behind burlap sacks that is totally untrue. All I am saying is that we can choose to dress in ways that are attractive WITHOUT our breasts showing, our underwear being revealed or every curve or lack thereof we have being broadcast to anyone whose eyes happen to look our way. Along with that must also come an attitude change. If we want men to think of us as intelligent, kind, strong women capable of anything why would we want to advertise ourselves as objects for their sexual impulses? If we don’t want people to talk about how our clothing doesn’t fit us well, we might be wise to think modestly and wear clothing in the size appropriate for our bodies EVEN if that number doesn’t make you feel happy or that hemline make you feel young.

Choosing modesty,

-Faye

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The Life of Righteousness-Part 3


The Life of Righteousness-Part 1 covered the first reason I believe that it is difficult, hard even, for me to live a life of righteousness. These reasons may very well apply to you as well. I believe they are common to all of humanity.

Honestly I find it difficult to live a life of righteousness all the time. Do you? I sin, often with the best of intentions, yet I knowingly do wrong. I know better yet I do not do better.

If this describes you too we are in good company, as the saying goes, for I believe no one accounts this better than Paul in Romans. “I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it. So I find this law at work: When I want to do good, evil is right there with me. For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; but I see another law at work in the member of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within my members. What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? Thanks be to God—through Jesus Christ our Lord.” (Romans 7:15-25 NIV)

As a layperson and a flawed human being, there are I believe, three things that make living a righteous life seem difficult:

  1. We arrive in this world with the capacity for both good and evil.
    1. In order for us to learn to choose to do the right thing God left some specific instructions in His Word.
    2. We have a responsibility to ourselves to recognize our inability to be likely to choose to do evil rather than to choose to do good, to live a righteous life.
    3. I realize that this goes against the view of society that men are inheritably good. I do believe mankind is capable of great human kindness to our fellow man. But I also know that without intervention man, woman or child will most often choose to look after number one and to do that it often means we break someone else. I also believe that intervention has to be the Lord, His teachings and His presence in our hearts.
    4. Which leads me to the conclusion we get the “cart before the horse” oftentimes. We want to live a “righteous” life, be a “good person” but we leave Christ completely out of it. True righteousness comes from following Jesus. This means we must absorb as our own belief what Paul was given by God to write in Romans 3:21-24, “But now a righteousness from God, apart from the law, has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.”

Part 2:

  1. Satan preys upon us in multiple ways.
  2. One is that he preys upon our weaknesses.
  3. Satan also distracts us from the Word of God and God himself. Satan appeals to our sense of self-pride. Peter, dear disciple that he was, struggled with pride and anger. He swore that Jesus would never die the way He told His disciples, the way the prophets of old had foretold. Jesus rebukes Satan in Peter in Matthew 16:23. It was the same trap Satan laid for Eve in the Garden of Eden.
  4. Satan deceives us as Paul tells us in 2 Corinthians 11:13-15 through false teachers.
  5. How often we underestimate the abilities of Satan to test our faith, to distract us from a life of righteousness that honors God! Furthermore how much more often do we overestimate our ability to recognize a scheme of Satan for what it is, a way to pull us from doing God’s will!

This isn’t to say that we can fall back upon the old cliché because Satan can’t FORCE us to sin. “You, however, are controlled not by the sinful nature but by the Spirit, if the Spirit of God lives in you.” Romans 8:9 N.I.V. Along with this is the assurance we have from God as He inspired Paul to write in I Corinthians 10:12-13 “So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall! No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.”

Part 3:

  1. We CHOOSE to sin. We CHOOSE evil. We CHOOSE to take the easy way. Instead of the small gate and narrow road that leads to life that Jesus spoke of in Matthew 7:13-14 we choose the wide gate and the broad way.
    1. Everyone has a choice.
      1. Eve and Adam had a choice. (Genesis 3:7)
      2. David had a choice concerning Bathsheba and Uriah (2 Samuel 11-12).
      3. Jonah had a choice in the book of Jonah whether to follow God’s directions or not.
      4. Judas had a choice whether to be a true disciple of Jesus Christ or seek and choose to betray Him in Matthew 26:14-16 and Mark 22:1-6.
      5. The list could go on and on for everyone whose testimony God inspired the authors of the books of the Bible to record had a choice, right or wrong, good or evil, God or Satan.
      6. So too do we, have a choice.
    2. It occurs to me that righteousness was never promised to be easy for Jesus never promised us choosing to follow Him, choosing to seek His way would be easy.
      1. In fact, He told us just the opposite, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)
      2. Furthermore Jesus told the disciples, “Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to turn ‘a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law—a man’s enemies will be the members of his own household. Anyone who loves his father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, anyone who loves his son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; and anyone who does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me.” (Matthew 10:34-38)
    3. Therein is the grave mistake in my previous reasoning, in my initial question and the truth behind my initial confession; living a righteous life, choosing Jesus’ way every time was never supposed to be easy. Or simple. Nor is it meant to be lived alone. Jesus is beside us, in the form of the Holy Spirit, every step of the way. Did He not promise to send us a Counselor in John 14:26-27, “But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”
    4. The best words I can convey to you is this that in order to live a life of righteousness which we are called to do as Christians, as true Believers in God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit is simply this.
      1. Pray unceasingly as God had Paul instruct us in 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, “Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”
      2. Study God’s Word. Devour it daily as if it is your last meal.
      3. Respect the law of the Old Testament but do not forsake the grace in the New Testament that frees us from the legalist following of the laws given before Jesus’ died on the cross. . Romans 7:5-6, “For when we were controlled by the sinful nature, the sinful passions aroused by the law, were at work in our bodies, so that we bore fruit for death. But now by dying to what once bound us, we have been released from the law so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit, and not in the old way of the written code.”
      4. Stay connected to a body of Believers who seek to live the Scriptures under grace and truth as you can cling to as the absolute truth.
      5. Live it. Do it. Be it. Be consumed by it. Choose it daily. In every decision choose righteousness. Our goal is to be imitators of Christ. We will not be perfect as long as we are alive in this imperfect world but we must give it our best.

 

-Faye

The Life of Righteousness-Part 2


The Life of Righteousness-Part 1 covered the first reason I believe that it is difficult, hard even, for me to live a life of righteousness. These reasons may very well apply to you as well. I believe they are common to all of humanity.

Honestly I find it difficult to live a life of righteousness all the time. Do you? I sin, often with the best of intentions, yet I knowingly do wrong. I know better yet I do not do better.

If this describes you too we are in good company, as the saying goes, for I believe no one accounts this better than Paul in Romans. “I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it. So I find this law at work: When I want to do good, evil is right there with me. For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; but I see another law at work in the member of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within my members. What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? Thanks be to God—through Jesus Christ our Lord.” (Romans 7:15-25 NIV)

As a layperson and a flawed human being, there are I believe, three things that make living a righteous life seem difficult:

  1. We arrive in this world with the capacity for both good and evil.
    1. In order for us to learn to choose to do the right thing God left some specific instructions in His Word.
    2. We have a responsibility to ourselves to recognize our inability to be likely to choose to do evil rather than to choose to do good, to live a righteous life.
    3. I realize that this goes against the view of society that men are inheritably good. I do believe mankind is capable of great human kindness to our fellow man. But I also know that without intervention man, woman or child will most often choose to look after number one and to do that it often means we break someone else. I also believe that intervention has to be the Lord, His teachings and His presence in our hearts.
    4. Which leads me to the conclusion we get the “cart before the horse” oftentimes. We want to live a “righteous” life, be a “good person” but we leave Christ completely out of it. True righteousness comes from following Jesus. This means we must absorb as our own belief what Paul was given by God to write in Romans 3:21-24, “But now a righteousness from God, apart from the law, has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.”

Part 2:

  1. Satan preys upon us in multiple ways.
  2. One is that he preys upon our weaknesses.
    1. In Job in the first chapter verses 6-12, Satan comes among the angels before God and God asks him where he had come from. (No doubt God knew where Satan had been but he asked Satan to lead him into what was to follow.) Satan replied he had been roaming through the earth and going back and forth in it. Satan had been, certainly, looking for someone to lead into sin. This is when God asked Satan had he considered Job. This conversation lead to Job’s greatest time of testing of his faith. Job does not sin, even when he loses everything, all his material possessions, his children and grandchildren, his servants, his reputation as a righteous man amongst his friends and his health.
    2. I Peter 5:18 states, “Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for some to devour.”
  3. Satan also distracts us from the Word of God and God himself. As Jesus explained in the parable of the sower to the disciples, “Some people are like seed along the path, where the word is sown. As soon as they hear it, Satan comes and takes away the word that was sown in them.”
  4. Satan appeals to our sense of self-pride. Peter, dear disciple that he was, struggled with pride and anger. He swore that Jesus would never die the way He told His disciples, the way the prophets of old had foretold. Jesus rebukes Satan in Peter in Matthew 16:23, “Jesus turned and said to Peter, ‘Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men.” It was the same trap Satan laid for Eve in the Garden of Eden when he told her, “You will not surely die,” the serpent said to the woman. For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”
  5. Satan deceives us as Paul tells us in 2 Corinthians 11:13-15 through false teachers, “For such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen masquerading as apostles of Christ. And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light. It is not surprising then, if his servants masquerade as servants of righteousness. Their end will be what their actions deserve.”
  6. How often we underestimate the abilities of Satan to test our faith, to distract us from a life of righteousness that honors God! Furthermore how much more often do we overestimate our ability to recognize a scheme of Satan for what it is, a way to pull us from doing God’s will!

This isn’t to say that we can fall back upon the old cliché because Satan can’t FORCE us to sin. “You, however, are controlled not by the sinful nature but by the Spirit, if the Spirit of God lives in you.” Romans 8:9 N.I.V. Along with this is the assurance we have from God as He inspired Paul to write in I Corinthians 10:12-13 “So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall! No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.”

There is the third and final post on this subject still to follow. Hope to have you back to read that post and the conclusion, for now, of this topic.

-Faye

The Life of Righteousness-Part 1

 

Honestly I find it difficult to live a life of righteousness all the time. Do you? I sin, often with the best of intentions, yet I knowingly do wrong. I know better yet I do not do better.

If this describes you too we are in good company, as the saying goes, for I believe no one accounts this better than Paul in Romans. “I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it. So I find this law at work: When I want to do good, evil is right there with me. For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; but I see another law at work in the member of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within my members. What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? Thanks be to God—through Jesus Christ our Lord.” (Romans 7:15-25 NIV)

As a layperson and a flawed human being, there are I believe, three things that make living a righteous life seem difficult:

  1. We arrive in this world with the capacity for both good and evil.
    1. In order for us to learn to choose to do the right thing God left some specific instructions in His Word.
      1. Proverbs 22:6 “Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it.”
      2. Proverbs 22:15, “Folly is bound up in the heart of a child, but the rod of discipline will drive it far from him.”
      3. Proverbs 29:15 “The rod of correction imparts wisdom, but a child left to himself disgraces his mother.”
    2. We have a responsibility to ourselves to recognize our inability to be likely to choose to do evil rather than to choose to do good, to live a righteous life.
      1. Again Paul himself reminds us in Romans 7:18 “I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out.” Therefore, unless taught otherwise, we will resort to looking out for ourselves, to lives void of consideration for anyone but ourselves. Which reminds me of the wisdom saying, “A man wrapped up in himself makes a very small package.”
      2. Proverbs 14:12 “There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death.”
      3. In defense of his making of the golden calf for the Israelites to worship in the desert while Moses was on Mt. Sinai, Aaron reminded Moses in Exodus 32:22, ” ‘Do not be angry, my lord,’ Aaron answered. ‘You know how prone these people are to evil.’ “
    3. I realize that this goes against the view of society that men are inheritably good. I do believe mankind is capable of great human kindness to our fellow man. But I also know that without intervention man, woman or child will most often choose to look after number one and to do that it often means we break someone else. I also believe that intervention has to be the Lord, His teachings and His presence in our hearts.
    4. Which leads me to the conclusion we get the “cart before the horse” oftentimes. We want to live a “righteous” life, be a “good person” but we leave Christ completely out of it. True righteousness comes from following Jesus. This means we must absorb as our own belief what Paul was given by God to write in Romans 3:21-24, “But now a righteousness from God, apart from the law, has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.”

For part 2 please check back tomorrow.

-Faye