In the beginning God created bikinis.
No, that’s not right . . . there were actually no bikinis, pants, shirts, shoes, underwear, boxers, or briefs.
God did not intend for us to be strutting around in bikinis. He intended for us to walk around as naked as a jay-bird.
God created Adam and Eve, and then He placed them in the garden. Here, Genesis 2:25 tells us, “the man and his wife were both naked and not ashamed.”
Everyone was naked, and everything was perfect.
BUT . . . (no pun intended) Adam and Eve disobeyed God and decided to eat out of the only tree from which God told them to stay away.
Lusting after a mere piece of fruit changed everything. When Eve saw that the tree was, “good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree wasdesired to make one wise (Gen. 3:6),” she took a bite and shared it with Adam.
At that moment, sin entered the world. At that moment, Adam and Eve (and the rest of us to follow) lost their free pass to let it all hang out. The nudist colony was officially shut down (at least in public places). Instead, the Bible tells us the couple tried to hide themselves with fig leaves because they were ashamed. It was like one of those nightmares where you go to class and you look down and realize you are naked. For the first time in human history, exposed genitalia caused faces to blush.
Why were they ashamed?
They knew that they had sinned. And guess what? We would have done the same thing (eaten the apple and ran).
God Covered Them In Love
God could have left them in their nakedness, plagued with shame and insecurity. Instead, in a gracious act of love, He covered them with, “garments of skins and clothed them.” As the Scripture says, love covers a multitude of offenses (and in this case, love covered a multitude of awkward body parts).
This is the message of the Christian faith; it is a loving God clothing us in love. A God that opens His arms to the spiritually naked and ashamed and says, “Come, let me take your shame and clothe you with righteousness.”
The Bible tells us a story in which God says, “See my son Jesus, yeah the one hanging out with all the prostitutes, drunkards, lepers, downtrodden, and outcasts? Yeah, Him. He has obeyed me perfectly, and He is going to be sacrificed on the cross for your sin of lust, greed, discontentment, self-righteousness, anger, and failure to obey. Then I am going to take His righteousness and cover all of your flaws and shortcomings. I am going to exploit my Son, so you don’t have to be exploited. I will hang Him naked and ashamed on a cross, so that your sins will be covered by His blood. I will forsake Him so that I can accept you.”
The Gospel reminds us that we no longer have to be ashamed, because we can be hidden in Christ.
Christian, our arms should be wide opened to the naked and ashamed because our Savior pursued the naked and ashamed with His entire life. Jesus loves the hoochie mama, and you better believe that includes all of us because sisters, we were all harlots and we were all whoring after the gods of pleasure, power, and praise.
An Explicit Summer
Summer. Oh the season when temperatures rise and clothes come off. A time when it is “okay” to be uncovered.
Our culture celebrates nakedness with songs like, “It’s getting hot in here, so take off all your clothes.”
There is nothing to be ashamed of, they tell us. After all, “it’s your body. Do what you want with it! Take it off! Get rid of those fig leaves. There is no need to hide. Don’t be ashamed of who you are!”
Let others do what they want with your body. Lady Gaga sings, “Do what you want with my body.”
Of course this makes sense for a culture that has itsy-bitsy-teeny-weeny thoughts of God.
Growing up, dressing modestly was something that my youth group strongly encouraged. I remember at camp we would have to make sure our shorts were longer than our finger-tips. I always hated the fact that my arms were so freakishly long (#TallGirlProblems). Our youth pastor always encouraged us to, “guard each others hearts.” I always thought to myself, “If those pimpled face youth boys can’t control what goes on in their pants when I am around, that is their own fault. They need to get it together. Show some self control! I am going to dress however I want. After all, God gave me this body – why should I hide it? Besides, Jesus came in the flesh so they can keep their eyes off my flesh. I am actually giving them an opportunity to show the power of Jesus over sin (such compassion).”
Regardless of all of the speeches that I had heard, I put on a bikini because I wanted to look good and have amazing tans lines.
Then I took it to an entirely new level when I decided to compete in pageants and wear a bikini in front of hundreds of people on a stage with a spotlight on my rear.
I LOVED THE ATTENTION. It wasn’t just the men who were staring. The women noticed the power of the bikini as well. To say that I was on a power trip would be an understatement. Winning “swimsuit” competitions did not help with my pride that was inflating by the second (held up by an underwire pushup bra all the while). Having all eyes on me was awesome. Women were jealous, and men wanted me (or at least that’s what I thought).
One night when Jamus and I were dating in college, I remember going coming down the stairs in a pair of shorts (with “Wildcats” across the rear-end) that were entirely too short. The look on his face told it all. I had his attention, and this is what I wanted – power. I knew that I was causing him to stumble, and yet in an incredibly sinful kind of way, I liked it.
At the end of the day, God created our body to glorify Him. Psalm 139 says, “I was fearfully and wonderfully made,” in that we bear the image of God Himself. Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians that Jesus purchased our body with His own blood; thus, we should “glorify God with our bodies.”
It makes sense that those outside of the world are naked (or at least close to it) and unashamed. But what about Christians? Is it okay for us (those who have been called from the darkness into light) to wear bikinis?
Here are some questions we should ask ourselves in making a decision on what to wear this summer.
First, does the Bible speak clearly to the issue? In particular, does the Bible prohibit bikinis?
2 Timothy 2:9 says, “Likewise also women should adorn themselves in respectable apparel, with modesty and self-control, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly attire.”
Let’s be clear. This verse does not say, “Thou shalt not wear a bikini.” However, what is implied is that women should dress in a humble way that does not draw attention to themselves.
A great question to ask ourselves is, “What is my purpose in wearing this outfit? What is my motivation? Does this article of clothing glorify God (or me)? Am I making much of God, or myself? Am I asking others to look at me, or Him? Does this make me feel powerful?”
The reason I will not be wearing a two-piece bathing suit this summer (besides my muffin top) is because I would be wearing it to grab people’s attention. My tendency would be for people to think, “Man, she has been to the gym! Wow; she looks hot!” I’m certainly not implying this is the case with every woman (maybe it’s not this way for you at all), but for me, that’s just how I would roll. My ears love to hear the applause of people.
Does it hurt us?
Although we may look powerful strutting our stuff across the stage of life revealing all of our amazingness, we are actually hurting ourselves. We live in a sex-saturated culture where men and women are simply looking for the next wave of stimulation. It is all about an image, isn’t it? When we look like the culture, we are asking to be a selected for their visual stimulation. “Can I be your next image? Will you desire me?” “Let me be your eye candy!”
Is this outfit causing me to be seen as a sex symbol? Am I blending in with my surroundings?
This is the first part of The Swimsuit Edition. Follow me here to find out when the next one is published.
Lets start a dialogue about this topic. Share this post and lets start chatting.
What are you thoughts concerning what Christians should be wearing this summer? Should we let it all hang out or cover up?