Glad I got your attention. Let’s start by going in order of my title here.
It says in 1 Corinthians 10:32, “Don’t cause others to stumble, whether they are Jewish, Greek, or members of God’s church” (GWT). I take that passage to mean this: Do your part to help someone not fall into sin. As a woman, I strive to not portray my body in a way that would cause someone to lust. How do I do this? It starts with how I dress.
When a female is wearing a shirt that shows off her cleavage, people usually look. I believe when a woman purposefully shows her cleavage it sends out the message: “Hey, here are my boobs, I want you to notice I have them.”
If our goal is to get men to notice our body then our affection is in the wrong direction. We are not acting in love. We are acting in selfishness and our attempt is to bring attention to ourselves and not to God. As a believer we shouldn’t want to cause our brothers in Christ to lust over us. Especially when the Bible says we shouldn’t.
If you didn’t know this already, men are very visual. It is the way God made them. As women of God, let’s make a conscious choice to not cause our brothers in Christ to stumble. Let’s not show off our breasts. Those are for your husband’s eyes only. Even if you’re not married yet they are for your future husband.
So, if you have a shirt that is low cut, put a tank top on underneath. I have tank tops in a bunch of different colors, and practically wear them with every outfit. I like to be extra careful, so I don’t have to worry if my shirt goes too low, I will already have a tank top on underneath.
I’m not saying to wear turtlenecks, I’m just saying to make sure no crack in the front or the back is showing.
Would you walk into an apartment complex and strip down to your bra and panties? Probably not. So then why do we think it’s okay to wear bikinis in front of people? It shows the same exact amount of skin, it’s just made out of a different material.
Our culture believes bikinis are socially okay and no big deal. It’s simply what we wear to the pool. I disagree with this thought. There are many beliefs in the world that we as the church should not embrace.
Our bodies are not our own; they were bought at a price. It says in 1 Corinthians 6:20, “You were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body” (NIV). This body isn’t something I can just do whatever I want with. I need to be honoring God with everything I do, and that includes the way I dress.
You may be reading this rolling your eyes, and thinking I am totally old-school. But for the first 22 years of my life, all I wore were bikinis. It wasn’t until the Holy Spirit convicted me 3 years ago that I started wearing bathing suits that had more coverage. So, if you are thinking I’m a crazy lady, take it to prayer, and ask God if a bikini is something you should be wearing or not.
The purpose of a bikini is either to look sexy or get a good tan. I don’t think either excuse is a good reason if it keeps men in bondage to lust. Something to meditate on ladies.
I am constantly seeing cleavage and bikinis in profile pictures on Facebook. Talk about taking “wearing it out in public” to a whole new level.
I am going to say something that may shock you: I fully believe that this is soft porn. Yes, porn. Pornography by definition is: writings, pictures, films, etc, designed to stimulate sexual excitement. Pictures of women showing cleavage, in bikinis and other sexual positions are a form of soft porn since your body is in a position that can stimulate men sexually.
One pose that is very popular right now is “The Ho Shot” or “The Prostitute Shot.” This is when a girl takes a picture of herself from above and you get a good look down her shirt. The reason this is called the prostitute shot is because this is how prostitutes take pictures of themselves. It enhances the look of the breasts and because of the position it is taken in (enough said). I’ve seen even 12-year olds taking pictures like this.
In a study of 1000 girl scouts aged 14-17, 74% said they believe “most girls my age use social networking sites to make themselves look cooler than they really are.” Also, 22% of girls with low self-esteem claim they portray a “sexy” image on social networks; 14% of girls with higher self-esteem said the same.
You will attract what you put out there. If you want someone to honor you and your body then start by honoring and respecting your body. This goes for Facebook as well. Oxford professor Susan Greenfield reminds us, when you are posting information on Facebook, you don’t have the benefit of other people’s immediate reactions. “[It] makes it easier to reveal yourself in a way that you might not be comfortable with,” says Greenfield. “You become less conscious of the individuals involved, less inhibited, less embarrassed and less concerned about how you will be evaluated.”
Be yourself. Don’t try to be anyone else. You are a beautiful shining woman of God. You don’t have to try to enhance anything. Just smile and be yourself. You are fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalms 139:14). You are beautiful!
Love you Ladies! Believing for a generation of godly women to rise up and stand for purity!
Alyssa Shull and her husband Matt are the founders of Shull Ministries International, an organization dedicated to reaching out to the younger generation through media, youth services, and evangelistic outreaches. Alyssa and Matt are the hosts of Skunks TV, a fast-paced 30-minute show designed to entertain and educate youth. Alyssa is also the founder of The Pink Lid, a weekend event for young ladies to learn about purity and modesty.
Thank you Alyssa!
Your thoughts on Facebook pictures are spot on. Lately, I have found FB to be the primary arena of temptation for myself in regards to purity. I hate to delete or block friends, but suggestive pictures like you mentioned are far more deadly than one might imagine. I fully understand the desire for affirmation and the like, but when a young woman (or not so young for that matter) post suggestive pictures in order to receive compliments or to feel good about herself, she is devaluing and bringing shame to every involved party. I hate to see this for many reasons.
May we all be like Christ in our testimony, virtual or otherwise!
Amen, amen, amen! What a wonderful post that every woman (young or old) needs to read!
Thank you woman of God, may the Lord bless you for this wonderful message!
This is right on!
A modest lady will attract a “REAL” man.
I pray for the young men growing up in today’s world. They have the odds against them of even remotely being pure minded.
thank you God for women that speak up and confront other young ladies about modesty and are not afraid to lead.
Outstanding post- I could not agree more!!!
Blessings in Yeshua HaMashiach,
Either be hot or cold. The problem with “standards” theology is what is acceptable to one person is abhorrent to another. A “bathing suit” with more coverage, as you put it, is still viewed as enticing lust in certain religions. Orthodox Pentecostals or even Muslims will find your bathing suit inappropriate. What’s your answer there? That they should get over it and that they have a problem because of extreme views? Perhaps, another person could say the same about you. If you’re not prepared to be totally covered, wear a head covering, never swim in the presence of men, never wear pants or shorts or wear a tank top then you probably are creating a middle ground standard that is acceptable to you but unacceptable to others. The truth is you having long hair might turn a guy to lust….what’s the solution?? Either be totally immersed and commited to full standards as described in the old and new testaments or live under Romans 8.1 and be yourself and let God deal with the heart. It’s not what a person wears or eats that defiles the heart.
@Jasmine – I think part of the issue you are bringing up is, “How can we give objective standards of modesty when people’s subjective standards can be very different?” This is a great question. But I believe the Word of God sanctions this kind of standard-making. Paul wrote that women should adorn themselves in respectable apparel, with modesty and self-control (1 Tim 2:9), but he didn’t stop there. He followed that statement with “not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly attire.” In that day, Greek hairstyles for women were fairly simple: hair was parted in the middle and pinned in the back. But a culture change was sweeping the region. Women in the imperial household were wearing their hair with elaborate curls and braids with expensive ornaments. The elite throughout the empire copied this style. For Paul, the appearance of braids and ornaments was more about what the fashion communicated. They carried connotations of imperial luxury. It conjured up images of notoriously immoral Empresses like Valeria Messalina and Poppeaea Sabina, ancient equivalents of Cosmopolitan cover girls.
The point is Paul didn’t just stop with generic statements about modesty but actually gave a practical example of what modesty might mean for the church in Ephesus. While drawing practical lines for men and women today is admittedly difficult based on vast cultural differences, it is not a fools errand to try (as Alyssa is).
Now, of course you are right: there are many who would find Alyssa’s standards immodest. And if she were speaking to young ladies in a different cultural context, she would probably need to change the specifics of what recommends as modest apparel. The point is: we need to be sensitive to culture in which we were placed, not every culture for every time (because we don’t live in the midst of every culture at every time).
As a southern baptist, not a pentecostal, I still find it absolutely horrific that any person proclaiming to be a Christian would think that bikinis are okay. they are LITERALLY underwear. Oh, wait, except they’re tighter and shinier. Defending that, really, is an abomination to God. I’m 23, and I’m not 200. Not even 150. Not even 130. So to all those thinking I’m some over-weight ugly woman raised in a cult somewhere, think again. I could wear a bikini if I wanted to. But I don’t. Why? Because you wouldn’t want me walking around in my panties in front of your husband. So why would you walk around in yours in front of mine?
Thank you for writing this. I cannot thank you enough nor express what it means to me to see a beautiful, young woman say these things. I am in my mid 30s and have always felt the same way! No matter how much other women try to convince me that I should be proud of “what God gave” me and show it off, I just can’t. I have dressed modestly (I would like to think fashionably, too) most of my life and it is what makes me the most happy, and makes me feel like me. It would hurt me to think I could ever cause a married man to look at me lustfully. There have been times I have tried to change how I dress to please family and others around me and just fit in but it made me feel sick inside when I did. As time passes, I realize modesty is so frowned on, as if it is a negative thing. Thank you again for posting.