Zechariah 13:9

And I will bring the third part through the fire, and will refine them as silver is refined, and will try them as gold is tried; they shall call on my name, and I will hear them: I will say, It is my people: and they shall say, The Lord is my God. Zechariah 13:9

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Where is the Line?

This has been by far the most difficult post I have ever thought about writing!
It has been in the "writing" for weeks and weeks.  I have changed the title at least four times, deleted paragraphs, added others, changed the main topic, and almost pitched it out of my blog world, but God kept prodding me. 

with HIS help, I am going to attempt to put words to what HE has put in my heart.

For many of my friends, they already know that HE has put in my heart a passion for purity, modesty, healthy sexuality and a hatred for legalism.
Legalism?  How does that word fall in here?
It does and that has been the difficulty about this post - attempting to tie it all together and make any sense to the readers.
Plus, this is very personal to me.  I feel smack nab in the middle of what I am about to share.

There are so many blog posts and articles on the subject of modesty and to be honest, I don't read any of them anymore.  There is such a diverse opinion on what "modest" is and I would like to give a different perspective on it.  You are probably tempted to put your mouse on that red X in the corner and never give me a chance to pick your brain. But, just wait a minute......

Lets go back in time..........

Until the 20th century, hats were part of a man's attire.  If a man did not wear a hat in public, he was not well, nor completely dressed.  The vest and suit coat were also part of the attire. Men dressed up for every day activities. 

  The t-shirt was invented in the early 1900's and it was considered an undergarment.  In the 1950's, it became a stand alone, outerwear garment.  The gentlemen of the early 19th century would have turned over in their grave to see men in public wearing JUST a t-shirt and, of course pants - casual pants, for really!  dress pants with a neatly ironed crease down the front wouldn't jive with a t-shirt.  Or would it?  Well, today it would!  A man can wear a t-shirt with a suit coat over top and it is stylish!

   In the 1800's, if a woman showed her ankles, it was considered shameful.  They also wore hats or some other form of covering on their heads when they went out in public.  The bathing suits looked like a long dress like this one. It was worn with pantaloons and a mopcap and at some beaches they had to be inspected and hem lines measured before the woman would be excepted on the beach.

 over time, the dress standards became more and more lax and the standard of acceptability moved right along with those changes.

Progressive's asked questions like
"What is wrong with change?  What is wrong with eliminating a piece of garment? Or shortening it?  What is wrong with showing the ankles, or going hat-less?"
I can imagine the accusations that were thrown at the conservatives.  After all, weren't the conservatives choosing to be stuffy and legalistic and unwilling to conform to the styles of the day!?
The accusations are still flying around today!

If we see a man wearing a full piece suit, including a top hat, or a woman wearing a floor length skirt, we would say that they are wearing costumes! 
They weren't costumes years ago!

 The public summer dress for men today is a t-shirt or muscle shirt or NO shirt and shorts and for a woman it may be tank tops and shorts (less if you visit the beach). 
 If the folks from the 1800's, or even the early 1900's, were to visit us today, they would be horrified and accuse us of being naked!

Culture changes.

The majority of Christians down through the ages have participated with all the cultural changes, the lax attitude of dress and have even developed the mentality that if they are counter-culture they are "legalistic".  Uh!  There is that word!

Some did resist major changes, even though they, too, shortened dresses, and removed some articles of clothing.  They refused to except the styles and fashions of whatever day they were living in (for awhile anyway).  They saw the change as sinful and scary, for where would it end?  Fear was born!  Fear that someone would want to look fashionable or immodest and then what?  The "then what" would force others to question their stance on the issue and that is an uncomfortable thing to do sometimes!  We would rather feel justified in our opinions and to do that, "rules" are made to force other people to comply with our beliefs.  Does this work at changing the inward most important part of a person?  To encourage people to become Christ-like?  No, it creates legalism and hypocrisy.  The focus turns to submitting to the brotherhood and "fitting in" rather than focusing on a personal relationship with GOD and seeking what HE desires for us.   

However, some of us have a knee jerk reaction to this "legalism."  If we grew up with it and saw the ugliness of it, the desire to run far away from it grows deep.  We don't want to look like "them", act like "them", go places where "they" are!  And in the process of escaping "them" and "it" (legalism) we tend to except and permit ideas that normally we would shy away from.
 We fear being considered legalistic.
This is not right either.

Modesty is dictated by the fashions and trends of the day we live in.
What is modest to us now would not have been modest 100 yrs. ago.
In 20 years from now, maybe even sooner, what will be considered as modest?  And who will dictate that?
Will that generation look at pictures of what we wear today and consider them costumes?


And that line is drawn by each and every one of us!
They may look different, BUT you will draw a line, I will draw a line -

a line where we will not go along with the cultural changes, will not except the fads and fashions of the day, you will only go so far excepting the undressing of others.  A line where you will choose to be counter-culture, a non-conformist.
 An odd-ball you will be in the eyes of the progressives!

And the result of NOT drawing a line?
The nudist colony!
The way our culture is leading us, we will arrive at the end of the broad highway that leads to the encampment with an entrance marked
"Welcome to the Nudist Colony Where There Are NO Lines!"
The nudist will accuse the bikini clad, or speedo clad figures of being legalistic, of not conforming to baring it all!
See?  No lines!

And when that destination is reached, my friend, our society will have disintegrated to a low life.
Can you imagine?  I can!  And it is UGLY!

We look with disdain at those who are more conservative than ourselves, who choose to draw their line behind us.
Why?  I believe it is due to fear of legalism, the lifeless life that comes with it, the dislike of being told what to do.  We don't want to be accused of being stuffy and old fashioned.  Or maybe we feel guilty or uncomfortable about their line, because maybe theirs is better.
Maybe we look down our noses at those who have drawn their line way out ahead of us.
Why?  We may believe that they are too "worldly".   Too loose in their living.

Our assessment MUST come from within God's standard.

All of us need to bend at the kneecaps, seriously seek God's face on where the line is for us!
If you are being shoved and prodded along the broad highway, apply the brakes!
Pull over at the rest area, do some "self examination", figure out where your line is and how it compares to God's, and then take a stand.

It is crucial that the line you draw is supported by what is in the Word of God.
It cannot be based on what is in style, what your personal opinion is, what all your friends are doing.
That does not mean that God's line will be dumpy, frumpy and not stylish.
If it is based on God's standards, the line will be beautiful!  And free from legalism!

If the scriptural line that you draw makes you an odd-ball!
Be a steady, happy odd-ball knowing that you are right where God wants you!
 Take a stand, even if it means you are alone!

Will it be easy?  No, but God never promised an easy life!
He did promise a life of freedom, of victory, a life of inward peace and joy!
All within HIS lines!

Where will you draw yours?

Why is this personal to me?  Because I am not a legalist, even though the progressives would think that I am because I choose to be more conservative in my dress and thinking.  The conservatives would think that I am a progressive because I choose to wear a variety of clothing and don't "fit in" by obeying man made rules and laws.

I am an oddball!
An oddball am I!

This is where I am until God shows me that my lines are wrong.  :)

May God add His blessing

Until next time....

1 comment:

Bethany Eicher said...

You are so right on! Thank you for writing a hard post. I like it!