“Why do women want to dress like men when they’re fortunate enough to be women? Why lose femininity, which is one of our greatest charms? We get more accomplished by being charming than we would be flaunting around in pants and smoking. I’m very fond of men. I think they are wonderful creatures. I love them dearly. But I don’t want to look like one. When women gave up their long skirts, they made a grave error…” ― Tasha Tudor
We live in a world that is very concerned about how women dress. But we live in a culture that is not at all concerned about immodesty. C. J. Mahaney describes immodesty this way: “Immodesty, then, is much more than wearing a short skirt or low-cut top; it’s the act of drawing undue attention to yourself. It’s pride, on display by what you wear.” And that can be pride in your looks, your taste, or your purchasing power.
Often, Christian women are motivated to modesty by a fear of causing lust and fear of display. But that is an unChristian understanding of modesty. It is so easy for modesty to merely external, and to fall into legalism because our clothing is not an expression of a heart that is in love with Christ and seeks to bring good to other people. Modest clothing is motivated by a desire…
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After making a lot of cozy cups for our church family, we were able to raise enough money for a intriguing webinar by the Botkin Girls on Reclaiming Beauty. We were very excited when we sat down the first night in front of our laptop, eagerly anticipating the wonderful style advice and quick-fix techniques. But we had to get through the ‘spiritual’ stuff first. That stuff that is boring, old and just the precursor to the things that matter about turning heads. But really, that is where the true beauty begins.
We are now on week four of listening to it so I don’t remember much from the first one. Here are some well-compiled notes that a sister in Christ wrote that I have shamelessly stole to cover my embarrassment:
“What God says about Beauty and Beautification: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly”
By Anna Sofia & Elizabeth Botkin
The webinar started with the Botkin ladies announcing their disclaimers, such as that they are not teaching men, nor elders, but that they are speaking to their peers, young ladies. They also made a point to say:
“We are not encouraging daughters to figure these things out apart from their parents.”
These are my thoughts and notes on their first session of their seven part series. I hope you enjoy my ramblings.
When we think about beauty, we tend to have images of Hollywood actresses and models in our minds, yet, we are constantly barraged by the pairing of ‘beauty and sex/seduction’ together. So conservatism has placed a new standard of beauty in our minds, we think of nuns, shapeless clothes, dim colors, and faces devoid of make-ups. But what we have missed is that these are the extremes, we see what we don’t like, so we immediately run to the furthest extreme.
“The truth is not between two extremes, but in a totally different direction.”
So, to get a clear perspective of what God says beauty is, we first would have to remove all the other pictures of what we think beauty is. A few views of beauty are as follows:
Body/Spirit, meaning that the spirit matters, and the body doesn’t.Not the same as “spirit/flesh”.
To have the ideal body
…hippies, indulgence of the body
Remake the body in your own image (plastic surgeries and defacing the body)
Beauty means to be seductive in nature. But this isn’t how we are to behave, yes we are created as sexual beings, but we are to keep that in the context of marriage.
So, now what? If neither of these is the correct answer, what is? First we need to realize that:
“The world did not create beauty: God did.
The world does not own a copy write on beauty: God does.”
We must remember that we are the temple of God (I Cor. 3:16-17). A temple is beautiful, majestic, grand…but we need to remember that we MAINTAIN the temple but we do not worship the temple. To be the holy of holies as it were, as a Christian, means more than simply an outward appearance, but inside the heart needs to be nurtured, groomed, guarded, protected, and grown.
“What does the Bible say about Beauty?”
“One thing I have asked of the LORD, that will I seek after: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD and to inquire in his temple.”
The word used for beauty here, means delight, pleasant, tangible, to be enjoyed.
“We must remember that all of creation was created to be enjoyed by its Creator.”
(These are pulled directly off a picture I took of two slides on the webinar.
– The body is created in God’s image, and should reflect God’s image. (Genesis 1:26)
– The body is fearfully and wonderfully made. (Psalm 139:14)
– The body is part of the physical world we are supposed to tame, cultivate, refine, and take dominion of. (Genesis 1:28)
– The body does not belong only to its owner. (I Corinthians 6:19, 20, I Corinthians 7:4)
– We’re supposed to be glorifying Someone Who is not ourselves in our bodies. (I Corinthians 6:19, 20)
– The body is a symbol for Christ’s church. (Ephesians 5)
– The body apart from the spirit is dead. (James 2:26)
– The body will be glorified for God’s eternal purposes. (I Corinthians 15)
– The first body is natural; in this body men toil for God’s mandate in hope of the resurrection. (I Corinthians 15)
– Deeds performed in this natural body will be judged. (Acts 17:31, John 5:22, 27, I Corinthians 6:3, Jude 6, II Corinthians 5:10, Ecclesiastes 12:14, Matthew 12:36, 25:32-46, Romans 14:10, 12)
– The body is a temple for Someone greater than ourselves. (I Corinthians 6:19, 3:16, II Corinthians 6:16))
“The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork.”
His glory, His beauty, His creation ought to proclaim His glory. …What is your body, your appearance, proclaiming?
Now, some think that since the world tries to make us think that beauty equals seductive, that we should just abandon it entirely. Besides, we have natural beauty, so if we use make ups, then we think we are trying to say God’s creation isn’t good enough, right? NO, this is wrong thinking. We must remember not to be legalistic, thinking that being plain, simple, or our attempt of being invisible is a work for righteousness. The Pharisees tried that, it didn’t work for them either.
““And when you fast, do not look gloomy like the hypocrites, for they disfigure their faces that their fasting may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, that your fasting may not be seen by others but by your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.””
Their actions were motivated by their pride and vanity, we must remember that we are chosen, not because of ourselves, but by His pleasure, and now we are to represent Him, and His glory.
You see, God’s creation was made perfectly, but in Genesis 2:15, God tells Adam to “dress and keep” the garden. That is to make something that was already perfect and lovely, even better.
“Then I bathed you with water and washed off your blood from you and anointed you with oil. I clothed you also with embroidered cloth and shod you with fine leather. I wrapped you in fine linen and covered you with silk.And I adorned you with ornaments and put bracelets on your wrists and a chain on your neck.And I put a ring on your nose and earrings in your ears and a beautiful crown on your head. Thus you were adorned with gold and silver, and your clothing was of fine linen and silk and embroidered cloth. You ate fine flour and honey and oil. You grew exceedingly beautiful and advanced to royalty.And your renown went forth among the nations because of your beauty, for it was perfect through the splendor that I had bestowed on you, declares the Lord GOD.”
We see in this Scripture, that God takes His bride, and enhances her natural beauty.
“The body left in its natural state is an ideal that we never see in Scripture.”
His clothing us, is a ‘type’ (a shadow of something to come) of Him covering us with His blood.
We are gloriously redeemed, let us display that.
How Beauty goes from Good to Bad to Ugly
If we continue to read on that story in Ezekiel, we see that God’s people sorely abused the lavishing that God had bestowed upon them, and played the whore to all the nations, she misused her beauty. So….God removed it from her.
““But you trusted in your beauty and played the whore because of your renown and lavished your whorings on any passerby; your beautybecame his. You took some of your garments and made for yourself colorful shrines, and on them played the whore. The like has never been, nor ever shall be. You also took your beautiful jewels of my gold and of my silver, which I had given you, and made for yourself images of men, and with them played the whore. And you took your embroidered garments to cover them, and set my oil and my incense before them. Also my bread that I gave you—I fed you with fine flour and oil and honey—you set before them for a pleasing aroma; and so it was, declares the Lord GOD. And you took your sons and your daughters, whom you had borne to me, and these you sacrificed to them to be devoured. Were your whorings so small a matter that you slaughtered my children and delivered them up as an offering by fire to them? And in all your abominations and your whorings you did not remember the days of your youth, when you were naked and bare, wallowing in your blood.””
I would encourage you to go read Ezekiel 16 to the end…it just stunned me how much God expounds on His unfaithful people. And here again in Isaiah…
“The LORD said: Because the daughters of Zion are haughty and walk with outstretched necks, glancing wantonly with their eyes, mincing along as they go, tinkling with their feet, therefore the Lord will strike with a scab the heads of the daughters of Zion, and the LORD will lay bare their secret parts.
In that day the Lord will take away the finery of the anklets, the headbands, and the crescents; the pendants, the bracelets, and the scarves;the headdresses, the armlets, the sashes, the perfume boxes, and the amulets; the signet rings and nose rings; the festal robes, the mantles, the cloaks, and the handbags; the mirrors, the linen garments, the turbans, and the veils.
Instead of perfume there will be rottenness; and instead of a belt, a rope; and instead of well-set hair, baldness; and instead of a rich robe, a skirt of sackcloth; and branding instead of beauty.”
Another thing to note:
“Beauty is not dangerous, we are.”
Matthew 5:16 “In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.”
We need to remember that we are being watched, whether we care or not.
You are a billboard, what are you writing on it? Or are you trying to tear it down?
I Timothy 2:9 “likewise also that women should adorn themselves in respectable apparel, with modesty and self-control, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly attire,”
In this verse, we find the word “kosmios”, or in English “cosmos”. It means orderly, virtuous, decent, modest, well-ordered. The cosmos is the universe, a single spoken sentence, things are unified, and ordered.
The mind, body, and soul are not separate units, but they are one person.
Your personality, intelligence, and outward appearance ought to be unified.
We also see the word “kosmeó” which means to decorate or put into order. This verse also lists modest and self-control, and when I looked up their Greek words and meanings, they are more like character qualities than descriptions of outward beauty, such as shamefacedness, discretion, and sanity. (for more references to the character qualities of inner beauty, look up I Peter 3:3-4)
God created beauty, because it is a facet of Himself, it is not to be used for seduction.
Our culture has a ‘simple’ formula for understanding their reasoning for doing things.
Subjectivity —> Objectivity —> Culture —> Religion Externalized
Subjectivity – I want to be sexy.
Objectivity – I want this because its an idol, because someone else is sexy and I want to be like that person.
Culture – I want this because it is the cultural norm, its cool to be this way, if im not this way I’m excluded, an outcast, worthless.
Religion Externalized – atheism, there is nothing after death, thus enjoy as much as possible now, whatever feels good…do it.
What are some biblical ideals of beauty?
“Beauty is not 22 years old.”
We do find a few things in the Bible that are listed as beautiful.
– White hair
– Sarah was called beautiful (I think she was 100+ years old at that point too!)
….yes I do realize that to stop right here is sort of nonconclusive, but this is all I have for now. I hope that you have enjoyed my thoughts on this lecture done by the lovely Botkin ladies.
~ Jessica Blomgren September 29, 2012