September 1, 2010 § 2 Comments
On Monday, August 30, 2010 our class went straight to the hard stuff in Lesson Five: Purity in the Oblivious (Authority, Appearance, and Appetite.) This lesson included the dreaded word ‘submission’ and I almost expected some rebuttal, but there was none.
Authority is the right and responsibility of decision-making. We discussed authority in relationship to our marriages, our church leadership, our jobs and our government.
Submission is almost a dirty word among women these days. Why? Part of the reason comes from the feminist mindset of our day. For instance, the feminist tell us that they are fighting for all women. They say that women deserve equal this and equal that. And what women would not want their rights defended? The deception is that yes, those words appeal to us, but in pursuing purity we find that God does not instruct a woman to be demanding, He instructs her to be submissive.
As I type these words, I can see all the women reading this beginning to cringe.
The matter of authority in a home does not make a woman a second class citizen, a doormat, or a less valuable person. This is the truth that the feminist deny. It is much more honorable to follow God and allow the final decision on matters of our marriages and homes be left to our husbands than it does to demand what we think we deserve.
And what do we as Christian women deserve? If we received what we deserved, we would spontaneously combust and find ourselves wandering in the darkness of Hell. We deserve nothing, but Jesus offers us everything.
This is true for all people, men and women. Submission is not a gender issue. It is a responsibility issue. This carries over from submission in our marriages to submission to our Church leadership to submission to our superiors on our jobs and to submission to our government. God is not pleased when we rebel against any one of these. God is pleased when we trust in Him.
God instructs us all to submit. If we are followers of Jesus Christ, we will purify our motives and do as He did. Jesus submitted to His Father for our sakes. Are we any better than He?
A quick look at what God says about loud, demanding, argumentative women is not an appealing look. He in no way regards this behavior as honorable. A woman who understands authority is a free woman, confident of God’s protection in her life and has no need to demand her rights. She has instant access to the most high God. There is no force that can match that power and she rests confidently knowing this.
Moving on to the issue of appearance, we spoke of the women identified in Isaiah 3 and noted the behavior of these women caused judgment to come to Israel. To dress in an alluring, flashy, or sexy way tells the world we want attention and that we are not confident and free. Women who do this may not realize they are causing men to stumble in their faith. Purity here means we must be aware not to become a stumbling block to any.
It would be a worthy study to take one day and observe all instances of the impact a woman’s clothing or behavior that tempted another man from thoughts of his wife or his duties. Pursuing purity means we put away our need for immediate attention and not take part in any man looking at us instead of his wife.
On the subject of appetite, we discussed what truly defiles us. It is not what we eat; it is what we allow in our minds. We restrict what is bad for us when we want a healthy life. We should do the same in the area of our appetite for entertainment.
There are many avenues we need to discuss here. What music do we listen to? What television do we watch? What books do we read? This is all abstract. We are oblivious to harm we do ourselves by listening, watching, or reading anything that does not bring honor to our lives.
I’ve often said “I don’t need any help sinning, I do just fine all by myself.” and this is true. Why allow such things into our minds? The result is we are defiled. Because once we allow these things in our lives, we will speak of them and we be defiled.
August 5, 2010 § 1 Comment
“Clarity of mind means clarity of passion, too this is why a great and clear mind
loves ardently and sees distinctly what it loves.”
– Blaise Pascal
“A prudent man foreseeth the evil, and hideth himself:
but the simple pass on, and are punished.
– Proverbs 22:3
Lesson Five: Purity in the Oblivious
(Authority, Appearance, and Appetite)
This week our study focuses on authority, appearance and appetites. These are areas that many women are oblivious. To be oblivious is to be not mindful, not conscious, and often unaware. In essence, this obliviousness is lack of knowledge
The topic of authority is not only seen as offensive but often destructive to women who adhere to feminism. A feminist attitude does not respect the biblical authority given to us in God’s word. These women are oblivious to the impact of their actions to their marriages, their homes, and most importantly, to their fellowship with God.
While no woman wants to earn less or be treated unfairly in the workplace or the home, women with knowledge of true biblical authority are far more confident whether they are treated fairly or not.
If you searched for the definition of feminism, you find this statement: ‘A movement for granting women political, social, and economic equality with men.’ What woman would not want to be a part of this movement? After all, if a woman desires a career, should she not want the treatment as her male counterparts? Of course she should, but that does not violate what God instructs her to do.
Pursuing purity in all areas of our lives means following God not just at Church but also at home and in our workplaces. The power of God’s word is not subject to any rule or regulation a government can put forth. Being oblivious to true biblical authority and disregarding it in our appearance and appetites is a foolish choice.
Have you served on a committee at your Church, participated in a community group, or become part of a book club or some other group with others that share your interest or hobby? If so, you were one member in a group of members with one purpose. You and other members gather together to take part in fellowship or work toward a common goal. Each member of your group, committee or organization is an individual with no one person being considered better or more important than the other.
In order for your group to accomplish your goals, your group needs a leader. The leader is granted authority and responsibility for the purpose and goals of the group.
Authority is the power or right to give orders or make decisions. In the home, God granted authority to men. He did not grant this authority to women. Many women disagree with this concept because they think it devalues a woman, it somehow makes a woman less important than a man.
Women who are oblivious to, ignorant of or rebellious against this authority are separating themselves from fellowship with God.
“For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness,
and going about to establish their own righteousness,
have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God.”
– Romans 10:3
Granting authority to the husband in a home doesn’t devalue women, it frees them. Just as in the example of the committee, if a mistake is made or the purpose is not realized, the responsible person is the leader. The members are not in charge and therefore are not accountable. It is the same in marriage. The husband is ultimately responsible for the family.
We cannot disobey God because we do not like what we read in the bible. To pursue purity is to first become aware of what authority is and whose authority we are under and then make conscious changes in our lives to submit to that authority.
“God does not give kingdom authority to rebels.
And a person who cannot obey God is not going to be used of God.
God cannot trust him with kingdom authority.”
– Adrian Rogers
Imagine this. On your way home from running errands, you encounter a young man or woman standing in the middle of the street with their right arm palm upward extended to you. This person is young and dressed in blue jeans and a tee-shirt. They are blowing a whistle and commanding you to stop.
This young person now turns toward another motorist and motions them to proceed. When the person prompts you to proceed, you continue on your way, slightly confused. You do not recognize this person as having any authority to direct traffic. What you see is a teenager or very young adult acting as if he had authority to command you to obey.
But if you encounter the same young-looking person in a police officer’s uniform, you instantly recognize the authority. You are aware of the authority by the uniform they are wearing. Disobedience to this authority can bring severe consequences to you.
Disobedience to God’s authority can also bring consequences. Women, who disobey God and the authority He has established in a home, whether in defiance or in ignorance, add sorrow to their lives.
“Every wise woman buildeth her house:
but the foolish plucketh it down with her hands.”
– Proverbs 14:1
The Audience of your Appearance
As in the example of the police officer directing traffic, our appearance plays a large part in how others perceive us. Just as the young-looking person commanding you to obey on a public road left you confused because their behavior and their attire did not agree, we often do the same.
Many women walk out their days totally unaware of the impact of their clothing, their attitude, and their behavior has on those they encounter. In order to pursuing purity, we need to recognize that we cannot walk in ignorance in the area of appearance. If there is one area of a woman’s life she needs to be mindful of, it is the area of appearance.
“The great and important duty which is incumbent on Christians,
is to guard against all appearance of evil; to watch against
the first risings in the heart to evil; and to have a guard upon our actions,
that they may not be sinful, or so much as seem to be so.”
– George Whitefield
Appearance is the outward or visible aspect of a person. It is the outward signs or indications by which a person or thing is assessed. In job interviews we know that first impressions are everything. We pay special attention to how we appear on our first date with someone, to career networking events, or when we meet people we admire or respect.
On ordinary days, what do we wear and how do we appear? Does our behavior impact another to drive their thoughts of us as Christians to honor God? Or, do we dress and behave in ways we find appealing or sexy. We cannot overlook this area in a pursuit of purity. Christians are representatives of the One we follow. Our appearance, our attitude, and our behavior should reflect and honor God. Otherwise, we convey confusing messages.
In Isaiah Chapter 3, God is purifying the people and gives a very descriptive reason why. As I read this chapter, what immediately came to mind was a fashion show runway. In verse 16, God addresses their behavior.
“Moreover the LORD saith, Because the daughters of Zion are haughty,
and walk with stretched forth necks and wanton eyes,
walking and mincing as they go, and making a tinkling with their feet..”
– Isaiah 3:16
Reading on in Chapter 3 of Isaiah, God addresses their seductive clothing and accessories and reveals the consequences of such appearance.
“Therefore the LORD will smite with a scab the crown of the head of the daughters of Zion, and the LORD will discover their secret parts. In that day the Lord will take away the bravery of their tinkling ornaments about their feet, and their cauls, and their round tires like the moon, The chains, and the bracelets, and the mufflers, The bonnets, and the ornaments of the legs, and the headbands, and the tablets, and the earrings, The rings, and nose jewels, The changeable suits of apparel, and the mantles, and the wimples, and the crisping pins, The glasses, and the fine linen, and the hoods, and the vails. And it shall come to pass, that instead of sweet smell there shall be stink; and instead of a girdle a rent; and instead of well set hair baldness; and instead of a stomacher a girding of sackcloth; and burning instead of beauty.” – Isaiah 3:17-24
These woman might have said they were oblivious or unaware of the impact of their behavior and appearance, but being unaware is no excuse. God knows the deepest part of our hearts.
“Don’t excuse yourself by saying, “Look, we didn’t know.”
For God understands all hearts, and He sees you.
He who guards your soul knows you knew.
He will repay all people as their actions deserve.”
– Proverbs 24:12
Probably the most troubling thing about dressing seductively is the sin it prompts in others. There are some men who will lust without provocation from a woman. That is between them and God. However, if we dress in a way that prompts sexual thoughts in a man, we are as responsible as the women identified in Isaiah 3.
Purifying our Appetite
You might think this section centers on food. It does in part, but, just like biblical purity is not limited to only sexual purity, our appetites are not limited to food and drink alone. While it is always wise to live a balanced healthy life, Jesus revealed what truly corrupts us. It is not what we take into our mouth, but what comes out.
“Then Jesus called to the crowd to come and hear.
“Listen,” He said, “and try to understand. It’s not what goes into your mouth
that defiles you; you are defiled by the words that come out of your mouth.” – Matthew 15:10-11
With all the books and programs available to us to help us lose our added inches, it never ceases to amaze me that the simple law of restricting intake works 100% of the time. It works for the health conscious and it works for the Christian.
As we look at purifying our appetites with new awareness that we are not defiled by the amount of food we take into our bodies but by the sin we exposure ourselves to, we now understand the source of our slander, our gossip, our envy, and pride. The source is too much of the world’s influence on us and not enough of healthy spiritual nourishment which only comes from reading God’s word.
According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), antidepressants are the most prescribed drug in the United States. Between 1995 and 2002, the most recent year for which statistics are available, the use of these drugs rose 48 percent.
Could it be that the exposure to all things ungodly in this world contributed to people losing hope? If we continue to expose ourselves to music, radio, television, books, and/or conversations that in no way glorify God, we are left with no hope. We begin to think on the things of this world, we become overwhelmed with the wickedness we see and without a healthy dose of God’s word to cleanse our thinking, we begin to despair.
“Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life.”
– Proverbs 4:23
As we wrap up this lesson, we learn that to be oblivious to authority, appearances, and appetites can result in a loss of close fellowship with God. We may not see these issues as important, but pursuing purity means to disregard what we think when we encounter God’s word on the matter.
Pursuing the Word:
God is a God of order. For order to be established there must be authority. Read the verses below a note the authority that is mentioned.
- I Corinthians 11:3
- I Corinthians 11:8-9
- Ephesians 5:22
- Hebrews 13:7
- Hebrews 13:17
- Matthew 18:17
In Work and Government
- Romans 13:1
- I Peter 2:13
- Ephesians 6:5
Our appearance (behavior and clothing) can have far reaching affects in prompting others to sin. The bible refers to an immoral woman as ‘strange.’ Read the verses below and discover the answers.
- James 1:15 – What is the end result of dressing sexy?
- Ecclesiastes 7:26 – What is more bitter than dying?
- Proverbs 23:27 – What is worse than falling into a pit?
- Proverbs 5:3-4 – What is worse than poison?
God gives us great joy when we discover for ourselves His word and His promises. Read the verses below and note the promises God offers when we focus our appetites on Him.
- Proverbs 2:1
- Isaiah 26:3
- Isaiah 65:24
Pursuing the Walk:
We’ve learned that the authority granted to men does not mean women are not as good or not as important. What are your thoughts regarding authority? Write them below.
If we dress or behave in such a way as to cause another to stumble, we are as guilty as the one who sinned. Do you need to do a wardrobe or attitude check-up? List your notes below.
Pursuing purity means must guard our hearts and our appetites. Ask God to show you the music, radio, television, and books that are influencing you in a negative way. List your thoughts below on meekness.
Write out how your concept of authority, appearance and appetites has changed while preparing and participating in this lesson.