Sunday, July 11, 2010

Lusting or Nakedness?

My wife and I were having a conversation this morning over the subject of sinful strongholds in the lives of men and women. We discussed how though there are similarities in these strongholds among the sexes, but more often than not, those strongholds will tend to differ based on gender. One such stronghold that we discussed was that of men's lusting, such as the desire even compulsion of men to stare at women's body parts, in person, on TV, on the Internet or in Magazines. To be sure, this is indeed a sinful stronghold among many men and some women, but one thing to understand is that it likely does not occur by itself.

I have often thought about this topic, as I like many men have dealt with this stronghold myself over the years. I think about what I consider to be one of the major themes of the Bible's Old Testament...that being the Holiness of our God and the holiness to which He calls us as Christians. The beauty of the Bible is that God never leaves us having to wonder about how we should behave in a practical way to follow His commands. The Bible is filled with practical
examples. But I tell you that an anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart. (Matthew 5:28 NIV). Here our Lord Jesus Christ in his Sermon on the Mount plainly tells men that he sins by simply looking lustfully at woman. Here the practical act is "the looking" (which we can easily understand...though not so easily avoid). My personal opinion (though not backed up by scripture), is that the looking does not refer to a casual glance that was not motivated by lust, but one of a purposeful stare after the woman is already in your known line of vision.

The point of this post however is the complicit sin of minimal clothing worn by women which when combined with the lusting of men creates a sinful situation all around. In additioning to warning men of refraining from the lust of the flesh, the Bible calls on women to dress modestly and avoid the extensive exposing of their flesh ...Lift up your skirts, bare your legs, and wade through the streams. Your nakedness will be exposed and your shame uncovered. (Isaiah 47:2-3) I am by no means attempting to absolve men by suggesting that women cause them to sin, however if we are honest with ourselves, we must admit that we live in a world where as the saying goes "sex sells". Corporations routinely sell their products and television programs via women parading around with little or no clothes on. Walk the mall on any given summer day and you will see "bare legs" all around.

Perhaps this is an "old fashion" notion. The notion that people (men and women) should dress modestly and avoid the possibility of causing someone else to sin by something that you do on purpose. I happen not to think that God's commands is ever "old fashion". As God so eloquently put it in Exodus ...Moses said to God, "Suppose I go to the Israelites and say to them, 'The God of your fathers has sent me to you,' and they ask me, 'What is his name?' Then what shall I tell them?" God said to Moses, "I am who I am . This is what you are to say to the Israelites: 'I AM has sent me to you." Exodus 3:13-14. The God who is "I Am" created commands that transcend time and are still as applicable today as they were when they were created unless He changes them otherwise (such as multiple marriages).

An object lesson from my own life to illustrate my point. I was recently walking down a stairwell and entered through the ground-floor door into a narrow hallway. Once in the hallway up ahead of me about 10 yards away walked a lady in a tight pair of white pants. The lusting spirit that is my flesh immediately demanded that I continue to look straight ahead (as is normal when one is walking in a narrow hallway). However the demand of God's Holiness required that I avert my eyes from that normal line of vision lest I be overcome by the weakness of the flesh. Thankfully, God's Holy Spirit won out, as I casually but purposefully dropped my head to gaze at the floor as I walked along. She eventually turned one way at the end of the hallway and I happened to be going the other way. Now I have no idea who that lady was or even what she looked like in the face. However I pray that at some point in her life she finds the revelation that would cause her to stop wearing those tight pants if for no other reason than to honor the God who created her.

A God who sends people to Hell?