We might ask, "Is it then fair to curtail women's freedom so that men can live a "holy life"? This question leads me to this fundamental principle that every faithful follower of Christ knows by heart…
Should a Christian woman wear a bikini? For decades, a Christian woman donning a swimsuit continues to be a divisive issue and a subject of contention for many. Modern-day thinking dictates that a woman, irrespective of whether she's a Christian or not, must not be stripped of her right to choose, including her freedom to wear clothes that suit her fancy.
However, if we examine this issue from a biblical perspective, the answer to this longstanding question can be a resounding no.
Here are the reasons why:
1. We Are Commanded Not to Cause Others to Stumble
Leading others to sin carries a greater punishment, as stated in Luke 17:1-3: "And he said to his disciples, “Temptations to sin are sure to come, but woe to the one through whom they come! It would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck and he were cast into the sea than that he should cause one of these little ones to sin."
Though men aren't considered "little ones," the core message is clear: we shouldn't cause others to fall prey to temptation. We may not deliberately aim to entice men with our outfits, but there is no denying that we are fully cognizant of the stark reality that most men are predisposed to gaze with lust at scantily-clad women.
It is written in Matthew 5:28, “But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.”
Men are visual creatures by nature. So much so that women garbed in revealing outfits can arouse their sexual desires in a snap. Even servants of God are not exempt from such temptation.
Thus, considering this, are we deliberately choosing certain clothes to set ourselves up as objects of desire for men?
We might also ask, "Is it then fair to curtail women's freedom so that men can live a "holy life"? This question leads me to this fundamental principle that every faithful follower of Christ knows by heart…
2. God Above All Else
Ultimately, obedience to God overrides personal freedom.
When we make ourselves followers of Christ, we no longer live for ourselves but for God.
As it is written in 2 Corinthians 5:15, "And He died for all, that those who live should live no longer for themselves, but for Him who died for them and rose again."
God's commands must take precedence over our wants and desires. The Christian life is not easy primarily because everything we do must go against what our flesh dictates. For this reason, Paul equates the Christian journey to a race toward the finish line. A relentless struggle against our ego, against our inherent tendencies to yield to the conceited whims of our flesh.
3. To Be a Light, Believers Must Obey God's Commands.
God calls on us to engrave His truths into our hearts and minds for a reason. He knows that we are fallible human beings, predisposed to making flawed judgments. A sobering reality that is especially true for someone easily swayed by liberal views concerning personal freedom taking precedence over accountability and limits.
As God's faithful followers, we bear the moral responsibility to spur each other on towards the path of holiness, exhorting one another to live a blameless life.
What is our motivation for wearing a bikini?
Maybe we should ask ourselves why we want to wear a bikini.
Why do we wear them? Is it to flaunt our well-toned bodies, or is it for practical reasons? Some wear bikinis for vanity, while others wear them for convenience.
I once overheard a well-admired actress say, "There is nothing wrong with wearing a swimsuit on the beach. It's the appropriate attire if you want to go for a swim."
Does swimwear need to be a bikini?
Although I tip my hat to women who choose to swim in long skirts [I have seen some], I don't advocate for it as it's a bit too extreme.
Alternatively, we may opt for modest swimwear that is both comfortable and stylish. There are fashionable yet discreet swimwear options tailored to women who don't want to wear a bikini.
Is it too much to ask?
Throughout history, many of God's servants laid down their lives for righteousness' sake.
Compare that to forgoing immodest swimwear; it doesn't entail a great deal of sacrifice. Besides, there is a myriad of viable, modest alternative swimwear that won't make us look tacky on the beach.
Being accused of harboring a self-righteous attitude
“You will be hated by everyone because of Me, but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved.” Matthew 10:22
Christians who deviate from the norm of liberal society are ostracized and shunned. We are deemed self-righteous if we advocate or adhere to biblical teachings and principles.
But it is the scorn from fellow Christians that grieves me the most. Do we become self-righteous by obeying God? Should we be accused of having a "holier-than-thou attitude" for defending God's words?
As Christians, we know our salvation is solely by faith alone, not by our good works since we are all sinners. We have all fallen from God’s grace.
How can one then justify the accusation of self-righteousness leveled against fellow Christians for merely defending the teachings contained in the Scripture?
4. Servants of God Must Not Follow the Ways of the World
John 2:15-16 says, "Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in them. For everything in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—comes not from the Father but from the world."
Christians are called to set themselves apart from the world. It is God's command, and we must abide by it. In doing so, we aren't being self-righteous because we are not blind to our faults and frailties. We don't consider ourselves more morally upright than others as we are all sinners saved by grace, not by good works.
5. Our Body is the Temple of the Holy Spirit
In receiving Christ as our Messiah, our bodies have become temples of the Holy Spirit. As such, we are bound to use our bodies to glorify God and not to provoke others to sin against God.
1 Corinthians 6:19-20: “Know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.”
6. According to Scripture, Women Should Dress Modestly
1 Timothy 2:9: “In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with broided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array; But (which becometh women professing godliness) with good works.”
It is impossible to cherry-pick Bible verses to suit our whims. For God’s commandments are set in stone. We cannot change or alter them to conform to an errant lifestyle. They are meant to offend us as they run counter to the natural inclinations of our flesh.
Holding tight to God's words is critical. His words will serve as our moral compass, steering us back on course whenever we veer away from the path. A believer's privilege that can only be accessed if we allow His truths to saturate our hearts and minds and dominate every facet of our lives.
God Himself said that we cannot serve two masters simultaneously. It’s either God or the ways of this world.
Revelation 3:16: “So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth.”
John 14:15: "If you love Me, keep My commandments.”
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