It’s Not All About Bikinis, but It’s A Good Place to Start…

It’s camisole, cleavage & bikini season, and I have to approach the topic from several different angles–one with my teenage son, another with my newly teenage daughter, another with the 3rd child soaking it all in. Then there’s another angle…one of mom-to-mom, because as Christians, we’re called to sharpen one another in the faith (Prov. 27:17) and exhort each other to faith-filled living (1 Tim. 4:13 & 2 Tim. 4:2).

So I’m gonna say it:

Christian Moms, we need to prayerfully lead and teach our kids to live a set-apart life. It isn’t all about modesty, there’s so much more to it. And because of God’s grace, we can approach each behavior and scenario with faith-filled, freedom-loving good news instead of condemning, self-righteous, rule-driven legalism. One of the best ways to teach it is to live it ourselves. Then we prayerfully correct and direct as the Lord leads us, no matter if they like us or not.

Vicki Courtney is someone I’ve long admired who does a good job of this, and she is one who has sharpened me in my parenting, because she gleans her wisdom and advice from the Word of God.

With her permission, I’m sharing this powerful article she wrote awhile back. Last year, I used each paragraph as a daily conversation with all 3 of my kids at their different levels…finding out where they were, what made this hard or doable for them…then prayed with them on it. And while I was at it, I thought through the application for myself as an “older woman” in the faith.

I plan to do it again with them as soon as school is out, because oh, how a year can change things.

Maybe you can do the same with your family. At the very least, pray how the Lord might want to use His Truth to turn away from “Crowd” living and toward “Cross” (meaning, Jesus’ way) living.

Crowd or Cross?

By: Vicki Courtney

When it comes to making money, the crowd says: “Money makes the world go ’round!”
The cross says: It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the Kingdom of God! (Matt. 19:24)

When it comes to possessions, the crowd says: “He who has the most toys wins.”
The cross says: “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal.” (Matt. 6:19)

When it comes to illegally downloading music, the crowd says: “Who cares?! The record artists make enough money as it is.”
The cross says: Thou shalt not steal. (Lev. 19:11; Rom. 13:9)

When it comes to dressing immodestly, the crowd says: “If you’ve got it, flaunt it!”
The cross says: I also want women to dress modestly, with decency and propriety… (1 Tim. 2:9)

When it comes to viewing porn, the crowd says: “Hey, pretty much everybody does it.”
The cross says: But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality. (Eph. 5:3)

When it comes to inappropriate talk, the crowd says: “We’re just joking around!”
The cross says: Obscene stories, foolish talk, and coarse jokes—these are not for you. Instead, let there be thankfulness to God. (Eph. 5:4)

When it comes to sex outside of marriage, the crowd says: “Just do it!”
The cross says: Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral. (Heb. 13:4)

When it comes to casual hook-ups, the crowd says: “What’s the big deal?
The cross says: Who can find a virtuous woman? For her price is far above rubies. (Prov. 31:10)

When it comes to drinking, the crowd says: “everyone does it!”
The cross says: Don’t be drunk with wine, because that will ruin your life. Instead, let the Holy Spirit fill and control you. (Eph. 5:18)

When it comes to homosexuality, the crowd says: “It’s a genetic thing! They can’t help it!”
The cross says: And the men, instead of having normal sexual relationships with women, burned with lust for each other. Men did shameful things with other men…(Rom. 1:27)

When it comes to unplanned pregnancies, the crowd says: “Terminate it! It’s just a blob of tissue.”
The cross says: For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb….your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be. (Psalm 139:13, 16)

When comes to sharing your faith, the crowd says: “Don’t! You might offend someone!”
The cross says: Go and make disciples of all nations. (Matt. 28:19)

When it comes to heaven, the crowd says: “No worries! As long as you’re a good person, you’re in!”
The cross says: The highway to hell is broad, and its gate is wide for the many who choose the easy way. But the gateway to life is small, and the road is narrow, and only a few ever find it. (Matt. 7:13)

When it comes to other faiths, the crowd says: “Many paths lead to the same God.”
The cross says: I am the Way and the Truth and the Life and no one comes to the Father except through Me. (John 14:6)

******************

If you had to add something from your corner of the world, what would it be? Something that has been on my heart and mind lately is the crud that many professing Christians watch and listen to…so maybe something like this:

The CROWD says that the sexual music we listen to isn’t a big deal. It’s just fun to dance to. Oh, and the movies we watch with God’s name cursed and misused, along with all kinds of other perverse behaviors really aren’t a big deal. After all, it’s just a movie…doesn’t mean I’ll do the same thing.

The Word of God says “Watch over your heart with all diligence, for from it flow the springs of life. Put away from you a deceitful mouth and put devious speech far from you…Watch the path of your feet and all your ways will be established. Do not turn to the right nor to the left;Turn your foot from evil.” Prov. 4:23-27 (also see 1 Cor. 6:11-13, Eph. 5:2-4, Gal. 5:18-25, Rev. 2:19-21)

Longer winded and less eloquent, but it’s a Truth I’m putting before myself and my kids. What about you?

***********

Vicki Courtney is an author and speaker with a ministry that reaches over 150,000 girls and mothers a year through events, books, and online resources. A mother herself of three children, she seeks to provide tweens, teens, and their parents with the tools necessary to navigate today’s promiscuous culture. She’s written 5 Conversations You Must Have With Your Daughter, which is a top 50 CBA best-seller. Vicki is currently working on 5 Conversations You Must Have With Your Son, which will release in late Spring, 2011.

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12 Responses to It’s Not All About Bikinis, but It’s A Good Place to Start…

  1. Janis Fletcher says:

    Thanks for sharing this! I wish I would have had this when our daughter was a teenager. It was hard, and yes I would even say a daily battle. Preteen and teen girls want to be what I call “cookie cutters”. They think they just MUST be all alike to be considered pretty, cool, accepted or whatever the term they are striving for at the time. I stressed over and over to Ashley…you are unique, you are God’s special creation… be yourself, let God’s special image he created just for you shine! I started at about age 8 with her and now at age 28 she understands. It was a long road but so well worth every minute of talking and praying over her. GOD’s rewards for being faithful just never end and they continue to get better and better! Or is it that as I grow older my eyes are more fully open to see all the blessings that he gives me. Keep posting…I’ll be reading.
    Love ya~

  2. For some reason, probably because my emotions are a little raw these days, this post brought tears to my eyes. I worked hard to make sure my three now grown up daughters dressed modestly. Nothing prepared me for the battle my son (age 17) would face. It is everywhere and there’s no escape for him, not even at our church.

    I always told my girls to not advertise what wasn’t for sale. But with my son, what other girls wear is out of my control.

    Thank you for this post. I hope a lot of moms read it.
    Cindy (Letters From Midlife) recently posted..National Letter Writing Month Giveaway

  3. LauraLeeShaw says:

    Janis, what a perfect example of leading by grace, speaking words of truth over your daughter. That is a tremendous encouragement for me as I walk through the thick of things with mine. Thank you for leaving these comments!

  4. LauraLeeShaw says:

    Oh Cindy, it breaks my heart to hear that your son has to face the fight even at church. As I’ve worked with youth over the years, I’ve come to realize that so many girls just don’t know what they are doing. Yes, there are the ones out there doing it on purpose to attract, but many do it because it’s what they see in movies, from their favorite artists or even the “popular” group at school. Unfortunately sometimes, it can come from an older sister, a brother’s girlfriend or even a mother or step-mother.

    I am in the Yuk of it with my son too, but I encourage him that Christ has not left him powerless, that He has a great big God living inside of Him who is way more powerful than any temptation that begs him to let his guard down. I remind him of his responsibility to treat a lady like a lady whether they are acting like it or not. When I see him stumbling into foolish behavior, I correct him and remind him of his huge responsibility as a male, Whose he is… Each time he rejects his lusts and flesh appetites, the Lord makes him stronger for the next battle.

    This war can continue to be fought on our knees as we trust the Lord to reign in our sons’ and daughters’ hearts. This is what I pray for them (and myself daily):

    Ephesians 3:14-21

    Prayer for Spiritual Strength
    For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, that according to the riches of His glory He may grant you to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.

    Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.

    Oh man, Cindy. So glad you shared your story. I hope we can continue to pray for and encourage one another on this journey called motherhood. 😉

  5. Hi LauraLee 🙂
    What a powerful post! Thank you for sharing! As a mom with 2 boys (one in high school) and 2 girls ~ I’m constantly praying for wisdom about how to address the modesty (or lack thereof!) topic. And I’d not heard Vicki’s powerful, Truth-filled words before ~ awesome!
    Grateful for you and your amazing blog!
    Sweet blessings ~
    Cindy 🙂
    P.S. See you at She Speaks again this year???
    Cindy Bultema recently posted..Things I Love Thursday- Mandisa &amp Giveaway

  6. Yvonne says:

    That’s a great article….and I liked your addition to it. It’s such a common thing that most girls don’t even realize what they are doing. You are doing the right thing in teaching your girls and boy to keep themselves pure. It’s not easy, but it’s right.

  7. The over-sexualization of our children from a very young age–it breaks the heart. When it comes to what they wear, I totally agree with your comment, Laura, about it not being a matter of legalism, but instead providing alternatives that have plenty of beauty and “coolness.” Hopefully, they develop a love for what is beautiful–and understand the appropriate time/place for their amazing sexuality–which is also a gift from God.
    Lisa Mikitarian recently posted..Dying Embers-Dead Self-Esteem

  8. LauraLeeShaw says:

    Your encouragement means a ton. Thanks, sis.

  9. LauraLeeShaw says:

    I love what you said, Lisa…praying they “develop a love for what is beautiful-and understand the appropriate time/place for their amazing sexuality-which is also a gift from God.” Perfect. Thanks for your wisdom added on to this post.

  10. So true… so much wisdom here. In regards to media choices, we were convicted after using Psalm 101:3 in teaching True Love Waits. It says “I will set no vile thing before my eyes.” There. Now try to watch tv. 😉 My son, bless his heart, won’t even walk past the movies or magazines at Wal-Mart. I love his tender heart. It’s a tough battle requiring tremendous diligence, but it is definitely worth it. Love the encouragement here. 🙂

  11. Laury says:

    Our Jr’s in a lower English class were given a practice ACT writing prompt. It was about school uniforms. To our surprise, many of the boys were for it. They wrote how what many of the girls wore were a distraction to them. To have these guys admit that was a major thing.

    I don’t know how these girls get out of their houses with what we see them wear to school. There is nothing left to the imagination anymore. I didn’t even know what a thong was until a couple years ago when I saw a girl sitting a couple seats in front of me, her low-cut jeans were certainly low. We are always having to correct the students attire when it should be the parents job.

    Thanks for sharing this, Laura. It is certainly a new day since my first two were in school. Now my son who is a senior is either immune or takes it all in. I asked my oldest son one day when we were at the gas station and a young woman was hanging out all over the place and he says he just ignores it (he’s 26.)
    Laury recently posted..Spring Training

  12. Vicki is awesome, as are you! You’re right, we can’t “live” faith enough for our kids. We must walk that line. With my one and only daughter as my fourth child, I haven’t had to face purity from that angle. However, at eight years of age, she’s being exposed to some things I’d rather her avoid (i.e. certain shows like icarly, etc.); not that it’s overly horrible, it’s just that I don’t want her dealing with some of the issues they’re talking about. It’s just one thing in the midst of many things. Thankfully, she’s not all pumped up on the girlie, girl stuff… she had 3 older brothers. Now as far as they are concerned, well, two are in college (22, 19). I’ve done what I can, but I never stop asking the hard questions. Jadon is 10, and I can see his puberty coming on full throttle.

    It’s a hard thing raising kids with a sense of godly purity, but it’s well worth the investment. I will admit, though, that having to cycle through this all over again with my two youngest is a tiresome effort!

    Love you so much, sister. You’re doing a great job.

    peace~elaine
    elane @ peace for the journey recently posted..nighttime desperations

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