Monday, June 24, 2019

Why The Lord Jesus Disapprove Worldly Dressing

This is a follow-up on the Women in Pants and External Adornments article. Therefore, we will only mention what The Lord Jesus Christ considers as worldly dressing for both men and women. The Lord is very serious on this matter and His Word is final on this. However, it is not the intention of this ministry to dictate how you should dress. Our work is to convey the Lord’s message to you, and the truly God-fearing and discerning will follow the conviction of the Holy Spirit; that conviction is always Christ-like in attitude and conduct (John 16:14). In reality, the Christian’s life and conduct should reflect the Bible.

Brethren, we should stop dishonoring the Lord and the counsel of His Holy Word. We cannot seek the world’s approval of us; if we do so, then our message to the world has failed and we have failed as well. The worldly Christian is only concerned about the affairs of this world and what they can get out of the world, but they have no desire to win souls and care for the things of God (Philippians 3:18-21).

Christ or the World

This topic is very serious in the eyes of God and that is why He commanded us to add onto this subject. In a short vision to Charis recently, the Lord showed her a woman, who is a mother and who professes to be a Christian, wearing very tight shorts with a tight top almost exposing her breast. On this the Lord said, “That woman is very worldly, and she loves the attention of others”.

After Adam and Eve sinned against God at the garden, there was a necessity to cover nakedness, and clothes were meant to cover the body (Genesis 3:6-7, 21).  However, the enemy has been using the spirit of fashion, resulting in clothes being used to show off the body in a bid to boost some people's bruised egos or mask identity/insecurity issues. Remember, in our dressing it is not about how we feel as some have made us believe; what we should ask ourselves is this: is our outward appearance drawing attention to us or does it glorify God? The Lord says that the reason why many Christians are conforming to the standards of the world is because of their fear of man more than God (John 12:43).

Yes, many Christians fear offensive comments from the world, but don’t fear God; they rather value the flattering opinions of man more than the fear of God. The Bible clearly warns us "not be afraid of those who kill the body and after that can do no more... Fear him who, after your body has been killed, has authority to throw you into hell" (Luke 12:4-5). Christians need to realize that in the Christian walk, we are destined to suffer ridicule and mockery from the world (Psalm 123:4; 2 Timothy 3:12). We must make up our minds if we are going to follow the leading of the world because the way we conduct ourselves sets the standards accepted by the world. Therefore, if we meet the world’s standards, then we are not in sync with God’s standards and His Judgement will apply to us. Remember, friendliness with the world is enmity with God (James 4:4; Romans 8:7).

Also, the women are to dress themselves in modest clothing, with decency and good sense, not with elaborate hairstyles, gold, pearls, or expensive apparel, but with good works, as is proper for women who affirm that they worship God(1 Timothy 2:9-10 HCSB). See also 1 Peter 3:3-4.

What is Modest Dressing?

I have borrowed words below from an online Christian resource, which accurately sum up modest dressing for Christians from a Biblical perspective:
“To understand what constitutes modest dressing is to look at the attitudes and intents of a person’s heart. Those whose hearts are inclined toward God will make every effort to dress modestly, decently, and appropriately. Those whose hearts are inclined toward self will dress in a manner designed to draw attention to themselves with little or no regard for the consequences to themselves or others. 
A godly woman endeavors to do everything with a “God-ward” perspective. She knows that God wants His people to be concerned for His glory and the spiritual state of their brothers and sisters in Christ. If a woman professes to be a Christian yet she dresses in a way that will unduly draw attention to her body, she is a poor witness of the One who bought her soul by dying for her on the cross. She is forgetting that her body has been redeemed by Christ and is now the temple of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 6:19–20). She is telling the world that she determines her own worth on a purely physical basis and that her attractiveness depends on how much of her body she reveals to them. Further, by dressing in an immodest fashion, displaying her body for men to lust after, she causes her brothers in Christ to sin, something condemned by God (Matthew 5:27–29). Proverbs 7:10 mentions a woman “dressed like a prostitute and with crafty intent”—here, the woman’s heart condition is displayed by her manner of dress. 
The Scripture says that we are to dress modestly, but what exactly does that mean in modern society? Does a woman have to be covered from head to toe? There are cults and religions in the world that demand this of women. But is that the biblical meaning of modesty? Again, we have to go back to the matter of the attitudes of the heart. If a woman’s heart is inclined toward godliness, she will wear clothing that is neither provocative nor revealing in public, clothing that does not reflect negatively upon her personal testimony as a child of God. Everyone else in her circle may be dressing immodestly, but she resists the temptation to go along with the crowd. She avoids clothing designed to draw attention to her body and cause men to lust, for she is wise enough to know that type of attention only cheapens her. The idea of causing men to sin against God because of her dress is abhorrent to her because she seeks to love and honor God and wants others to do the same. 
Modesty in dress reveals a modesty and godliness of the heart, attitudes that should be the desire of all women (and men) who live to please and honor God”. ("What happens after death?" Got Questions Ministries, n.d. Web. 06 Jul. 2014).
In Conclusion, this message and Scriptures are also very much relevant to men who are also causing women to sin by their worldly dressing (Luke 17:1-2). There are men in the church who wear “muscle” shirts, unbuttoned shirts, and other attire to draw attention to themselves while causing women to sin. There are also pastors’ wives who dress worldly, including wearing very high-heeled shoes and exposing “cleavage”, and often when you go to these churches, the women are emulating and copying the pastor’s wife. Dear Children of God, let us honor the Lord with our dressing! He is worthy and will help us be the godly models the world needs to see.

Finally for parents, the enemy is working hard to dress our children in worldly things including very short or tight shorts, miniskirts, and demonic figures or messages on dresses for young girls and on shirts, shoes, and other attire for boys. Other types of worldly dressing or fashion styles that appeal to the flesh, are sexually provocative, or promote lust, such as sagging by young men (wearing pants which sag so that the top is significantly below the waist) or women's wearing of low-rise jeans, are displeasing to the Lord because the body is the temple of the Holy Spirit and we should be glorifying God in our bodies (1 Corinthians 6:19-20). Even though there may not be many choices of decent, modest clothes, please teach the children to honor the Lord in their dressing while they are young, so that when they grow up they are well grounded to resist the world's ways (Proverbs 22:6). Although there is peer pressure to conform to worldly trends, let us choose to fear The Lord and not to conform to the patterns of the world (Romans 12:2) because ultimately, "God will bring every deed into judgment, including every hidden thing, whether it is good or evil" (Ecclesiastes 12:14).

May we overcome in Jesus name and be among those to whom the Lord says, “You have persevered and have endured hardships for my name, and have not grown weary” (Revelation 2:3) and "Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!" (Matthew 25:21).

If you have not made a decision to accept Jesus Christ as your personal Savior, or if you desire to renew your relationship with Him, simply pray this Prayer of Sincere Repentance to get you started in a new life and mean it in your heart. For any questions or comments on this article or our ministry, please contact us.

Blessed love in Christ’ service,

Brother Glenn.

Monday, June 17, 2019

Humility, The Key That Opens God's Heart Towards Us

The Folly Of Being Conceited

“Be of the same mind one toward another. Mind not high things, but condescend to men of low estate. Be not wise in your own conceits” (Romans 12:16 KJV).

Brethren, I am re-sharing this message and by God's Grace I will be sharing a new article during next week (24/06/2019). Please do logon to hear what the Lord revealed. Naturally, we all have a high thinking of ourselves, and due to our competitive nature as humans, we consider that others are simply not better than us (Genesis 4:2-5). Often, and in a show of superiority, our actions and attitude become vile to subdue the humble brother or sister so that we may stand out as better in the eyes of man, but God will not overlook our display of superiority for “… God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble” (James 4:6). Equally, uneven relationships exists in our human society today because of our exercise of power and authority. While this might not be entirely evil (Romans 13:1-7), our manner of exercising such authority must be respectful with a sense of brotherly kindness considering that we too are under the Lord's authority (Ephesians 6:9). By this preceding verse, the Bible have literally done away with forceful and demanding conduct, which existed in the old nature (Ephesians 4:22-24). Being conceited is part of human nature, the old nature, this is evident even in children although they might not appreciate the effect it has on others. As it is, we witness daily how some children want to have better things than others, or even bullying others to enjoy the status of superiority.

Therefore, this spirit of ‘betterness’ or conceit gets transferred well into our adulthood. This is a natural fact, ‘betterness’ is a hidden evil in all of us and we don’t want others to be better than us (Genesis 4:8). It is a very sad indictment that among Christians these power games continues to play out without regard for the dignity and respect of the humble brother or sister. In our association with brethren across all walks of life, we have witnessed how some brethren acted in a brutal display of superiority in bringing their points across. O' how unpleasant and peace less is an environment in the presence of such a loveless person! Humility is not an option for such a person(s) his or her status must be considered. When you hear or see others being treated with no respect, the spirit of conceit and controlling is behind it. In Christ, however, as we learn about the Lord and His unselfish nature (1 John 3:16; Romans 3:25), we grow conscious of our mistaken perceptions and mannerism, but not all of us mature in obedience. It is good that we recognise the spirit of conceit and the effect it creates in our relationships with others, the bible encourages us to associate with people of low position, not to be controlling and be demanding but to promote love and brotherly kindness.

Shameful Christian Behaviour of Conceit

Some time ago, we painfully had to listen to a friend in the Lord who recalled to us how he and his family had to endure every kind of abuse from a couple who joined their ministry and because this couple supported the family’s ministry, they were ruthless in their treatment of the lowly family.

After we had counseled the family prayerfully and an enquired of the Lord, He revealed to us that the couple was not humble servants and their worldly status and possessions blinded them that is why they disrespect and treat others shamefully. The Lord is warning Christians not to be demanding when dealing with their fellow brethren, but being patient and kind (1 Corinthians 13:4). As I am trying to explain below, this blindness or concealed conceit is a mannerism that bonded as a personality trait since childhood stages. I can tell you; some people use their status and achievement as a defense mechanism to elevate their status and to humiliate others.

Again, and with permission, sometime ago a friend Andre (not real name) shared with me how he resigned from the company he worked for. He described how embarrassing it was for him to face his colleagues after he was involved in a heated exchange of words with someone on the telephone. Andre, being a Christian, could not face the humiliation as a result of ‘losing it’ so he resigned. He recalled that the guilt of his actions bothered him for weeks as he pleaded with the Lord to take away his guilt (1 Chronicles 21:8). Being familiar with his sincerity in Christ, Andre suffered in silence the consequences of his actions, and unashamedly he said that he regretted talking down to the man he had an exchanged with. Often our words expose our hearts condition (Matthew 12:34), and if we are wise to recognize and admit our folly, there is hope to reflect and reform our ways (Proverbs 28:13).

Subsequently, while Andre lost his confidence and Christian testimony as a result of that incident, he did not give up on his faith. Being unashamed of his experience he encouraged me to share it with the hope that it might minister into the life of someone.

From experience, I have noticed that conceitedness is one hidden hindrance in many Christian’s life. Whether knowingly or unknowingly we habitually often measures the educational or social status of others against ours to determine how we may relate to them. As a result, this may lead us to subconsciously treat others less favorable, but granting better treatment and manners towards those who displays a social class higher or equal to ours (James 2:2-4).

Furthermore, the Apostle James says, not only have we ‘become judges with evil thoughts’ (James 2:4) our actions explicitly testify that we think we are better than the less favorable brother or sister. This is the unfortunate attitude of many Christians who’s abundance blinded them to the basic treatment of others (Romans 12:16), and they think this is pleasing to the Lord (Luke 18:12). There are not many Christians who can discern this hidden sin in their lives and some, when they are corrected, without humbly engaging in retrospection, they verbally attack the mindful brother or sister to ward off the correction.

Consequences of Being Conceited

Brethren, this is serious! From the experience of my brother Andre (above) and having witnessed the things he had to suffer as a result of his conceitedness and shameful treatment of others, he learned humility. Let us not think that we will get away without punishment from God when we hurt and humiliate others because we think we are better than others (Exodus 22:21-23).

Let us consider a few examples of conceited people from the Bible. The Lord Jesus related a parable of a conceited man, a Pharisee who boasted about the things he had and did in his prayer but this resulted in his prayer being rejected by God (Luke 18: 10-14). When conceited, wealthy, powerful and arrogant Haman thought he could unjustly oppress humble Mordecai without consequences; God turned the evil he intended to harm Mordecai with against himself (Esther 3:3; 6:6; 7:9-10). Furthermore, King Nebuchadnezzar was warned by the Prophet Daniel to show kindness to the oppressed and renounce his wickedness and conceitedness and be spared consequences; he stubbornly persisted he was humiliated (Daniel 4:27-33). Also, when King Jehoram, King of Judah grew powerful, he became conceited, and this led him to sin, and this led to his downfall (2 Chronicles 21:1-20).

Finally, please take the time to answer these few questions to reflect if you have a conceited spirit. If you are honest, this could result in your deliverance and keep hindrances from your prayers. You will also experience a greater peace from God upon your life. Are you in the habit of controlling others because of what you give to them? Are you doing things for others only to tell them what you did for them? Are you in the habit of talking down to others? Do you have a demanding spirit? Do you talk about things you do for others? And are you reactive and defensive? Do you always expect credit for things you do for others? (Luke 17:10). By honestly reflecting on these few questions and looking into our souls, we will see our mistakes, and at the same time, we will guard against the deceitfulness of this hidden demon, conceitedness.

As always, we would like to extend an invitation to anyone who does not know the Lord Jesus Christ yet, or of you are not born again, to pray our suggested prayer on this link Prayer of Sincere Repentance by faith and follow the Lord (Matthew 4:19). You may also contact us for any questions or comments about this article or our ministry.

Blessed Love

Brother Glenn