A Higher Standard of Christ Likeness

I am not going to pretend to be a perfect Christian only to confirm that knowing God’s word is so important in helping us make good decisions. One perfect Christian is my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ has left us a perfect example of how to be perfected and freed from sin. The Bible gives us instruction on how to live lives in a way that can edify the body of Christ therefore bringing glory to God.

I have been making decisions over the last decade that have helped me come to know the special blessings that God has for women who choose to pattern themselves after His word. When I accepted Christ ten years ago, I struggled with accepting what Gods word concerning submission and modesty. It took almost two years and I had to dump a lot of baggage to wrap my mind around the topic of submission and another three to consider modesty as a viable option.

Even now, as I pray earnestly for God to show me his pattern for my life I struggle with some of the things he shows me. My current struggle is with I Corinthians 14:33-35. I have not gotten a clear understanding of whether or not it extends to include Sunday school class or just church service.

However, understanding God’s word begins with a desire to know it and a desire to understand it. This desire has translated into a desire to understand what instructions God has for the women. I have a responsibility to my own children to set an edifying example of how God is working in my life.

It was about three years ago, when I saw that my style of dress was showing up in my pre-teen daughter’s closet. She liked tight jeans and low cut shirts. I felt that it looked good on me but not appropriate on an eleven year old. At the time, I did not think this was a double standard. I believed that I was the adult and she was the child but in actuality, I had constructed a standard in her that was not appropriate. It was and is my job to know what Gods word is concerning being a women of God and to teach it to my daughters first. Secondly, I have a responsibility to the body of Christ to be an outward expression of what I know to be true in God’s word. This is what caused me to begin dressing modestly.

As I study the word, I know more about the heart and desire of God for the body of Christ as a whole and for women of God which leads me to the topic of this post.

My husband and I recently had lunch with two couples one of which had begun preaching earlier this year. The pastor talked about his vision for the church and about how he planned to build this ministry. All the while, I could not help but notice his wife tugging at some sort of bathing suit or tube top that she had on under her tube dress. I assume that it was sliding down and not supporting her properly. As I tried to focus in on her husband’s conversation, she would interject with a supportive comment here and there but I distracted by the women’s cleavage. I thought it was odd that the pastor’s wife would have so much showing.

As the man spoke, he mentioned his desire for his wife to speak in church, which threw up another red flag for me. I quickly lost any interest visiting their church. They were great people and good to talk with but I soon realized that I did not want to waste time visiting a church that I would most likely not join.

Later that evening when we arrived home my husband wanted to know if I’d like to visit this couples church and I politely declined. These are the reasons I gave my husband.

The issue of the pesky cleavage:

I have only been dressing modestly for around five years so my goal is not to condemn anyone who dresses immodestly, because I have been there. I simply know that I would not join a church where outwardly it does not appear to me that the pastor and wife have an understanding of how clothing or that lack thereof affects others. Titus 2:3 says, “That the older women should have behavior that demonstrates holiness”. Holiness is synonymous with “set apart” or different. This means that our speech, actions, appearance and character should be different from what an unsaved persons. II Timothy 2:9-10 gives us a specific standard for attire, “In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedeness and sobriety; not with braided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array; (but which becometh women professing godliness) with good works”.

The previous passage amongst others found in Proverbs 31:10-13 and Ephesians 5:21-33 are the basis on which I pattern myself. I do that because I know that there are people who are looking to me as an example of who Christ is. I am no women’s God or goddess, I only recognize how connected we are as people and whether we know it or not we leave and impression on people. As a woman of God, I want to be sure that I leave a good impression on people that will not cause the word of God to be blasphemed. Titus 2:3-5 tells us that we are teaching the younger women and that our actions can bring shame to God’s word.

The husband desires that his wife speak in church:

While talking the husband said, “I wish my wife would speak in church” to which she replied, “No, I leave the preaching up to you. That’s your calling”. When I brought this up as a reason not to visit the church, my husband thinks that the pastor was only implying that he wanted his wife to open up more by saying hello and talking to people more. If that is what the pastor was implying, I definitely do not want to visit a church where the pastor’s wife is introverted and disconnected from the congregation. However, let us say for the sake of discussion that the pastor does want his preach. If we look at I Corinthians 14:33-35 Paul speaks to the church of Corinth regarding women speaking in church.

We will most likely visit the church because my husband already gave them his word and although I do not believe that such a ministry would be a good fit for me I am open to whatever God wills. My reluctance is based on superficial issues; but it is the heart that God weighs (I Samuel 16:7). We met this couple for a reason and I submitted to God use of our meeting in whatever way he sees fit.

In closing, I admonish you to dig into God’s word. The Bible is a road map designed to show you his proper order for things. You will never meet someone who will epitomize all that Christ was, but strive to surround yourself with people who will help you become stronger in your faith and fervor as a Christian.

Comments

  1. Melanie says

    This is why I love A Proverbs Wife – the awesome deals and the awesome Biblical discussion that addresses specific issues. I, too, am not clear on the 1 Cor. passage. I believe that Paul was saying women should not preach. Earlier in chapter 11 he talks about women’s heads being covered when they pray or prophesy, which makes me think it’s okay to speak in church, but not preach or be a deacon, or be in any position of authority. However, women do not lead prayer in my church. But they do if we break into small prayer groups on Wednesday nights. I don’t think a woman should teach a man in Sunday School either. However women teaching women in Sunday School is biblical (Titus). As far as dress – you are right on the money and I would have been distracted by the preachers wife too, and would not want to attend that church. The bottom line is we are not to do anything that would be a stumbling block to others coming to Christ. I try to remember that every time I am getting dressed to go to church. Thanks Proverbs Wife for digging in God’s Word and sharing what you find! You are a treasure!

    [Reply]

    Saidah @ AProverbswife.com Reply:

    @Melanie,

    Thank you so much Melanie.

    [Reply]

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