"We women must realize how visual men are, and because of that we should wear modest clothes. Not because we don't have the right to wear what we want, but for the benefit of the spiritual life of our brothers in Christ."~ Heather Arnel Paulsen ~ Emotional Purity: An Affair of the Heart
I've been meaning to participate in the last few In "other" Words Tuesdays, but something ALWAYS comes up. Go figure, today I have nothing but time. And every time I look at the quote that Loni chose, my mind drifts far from the intended focus. Odd how that works. I've tried probably ten times to find something new and thought-provoking about the idea of modest dress and the intent of the heart vs. the misdirection of the eyes, but you know, there are so many more eloquent writers out there who have written volumes both in blogdom and in print about the issue of modesty. My eye, however was drawn straight to the title of the book the quote was taken from. Emotional purity is something we don't hear much about, and while I'm not able to browse the shelves of a Christian bookstore over here to see what is on the shelves currently, I'm intrigued to find a copy of this book to see what Ms. Paulsen has to say on the subject. Having come straight out of the fire quite recently, though, I do have some thoughts on what it means to me and why I believe it's so vitally important to today's Christian.
In all honesty, I believe with all of my heart that the modesty issue wouldn't be an issue at all if our minds were truly emotionally pure. Why? Well, look at what the word "pure" means--free from contamination; without any additives or revisions. Spiritually, a pure mind would be free from anything other than the motives of God. No "opinions" that justify ignoring scriptural truth, no denominational or societal biases. Just the mind of God. What place is there for arguing the gray areas or "how far" is "too far" when it comes to dress, behavior, or thought.
The world sees the mind of Christ as a chain, binding God's people to a set of rules that restrain. But the truth is that when one has been washed clean of sin by the blood of Christ and left behind worldly concerns to adopt the mind of Christ, it is a freedom that the world can't imagine. The "rules" don't matter anymore, because someone who has denied self in favor of the Will of God will not have their own motives overriding God's.
Back on topic a bit, I tell my teens while discussing modesty both in dress and in behavior that we can't ultimately be responsible for what people *SEE* in us, but we are most definitely 100% responsible for what we *SHOW* them. Does the mind of God dictate our dress, our speech, our attitudes, our reactions and our actions? Are our emotions pure, unspotted by the lust of the eyes, the lust of the flesh, and the pride of life? If not, can we call ourselves true ambassadors of Christ?