Parents & Kids of Faith

  • Friday, June 3, 2011

    Question: What is faith in Jesus Christ?
    Answer: Faith in Jesus Christ is saving grace, whereby we receive and rest upon him alone for salvation, trusting him to forgive our sins and guide us to eternal joy on the basis of his divine power and atoning death.
    Scripture: Heb 10:39; John 1:12, 6:35; Phil 3:9; Gal 2:15-16, 20; Matt 14:31

    MY SON-IN-LAW, The Literalist
    (Maybe this really happened)

    One day, shortly after the birth of one of their sons, my daughter, Brit, had to go out to do some errands. Bill, the proud father, stayed home to watch his wonderful new son. Soon after Brit left, the baby started to cry. Bill did everything he could think of, but the baby just wouldn't stop crying.

    Finally, he got so worried he decided to call my wife Deb. She ran over to their house and after listening to all that Bill had done to get the baby to stop crying, she began to examine the baby's ears, chest and then down to the diaper area. When she opened the diaper, it was very, very full.

    "Here's the problem," Deb said. "He just needs to be changed."

    Bill looked very perplexed, "But," he told Deb, "the diaper package specifically stated that it is good for up to 10 lbs!"

    This continues the subject of modesty. It is in Parents and Kids of Faith because the principle of modesty needs to be taught to our children and practiced by parents, especially as we are moving to the time of year when it seems to emerge. The trends in fashion are not making this any easier for parents. Though most of the issues fall to the side of the women, dads and young men need to pay attention. Dads need to be faithful fathers to their daughters and protectors of their wife and young men need to learn how to think biblically when they find their gaze moving their heart to lustful thoughts.

    Modesty: The Right Adornment
    by C.J. Mahaney

    Notice in 1 Timothy 2 that Paul goes beyond addressing a woman’s apparel. He says he desires “that women should adorn themselves … with what is proper for women who profess godliness—with good works” (2:9–10).

    He’s very clear about what makes a godly woman attractive. “Good works” are to be what’s most noticeable about a woman who professes godliness. Not her wardrobe, but her good works—an observable lifestyle of serving others. That’s the appropriate adornment for women who profess to be Christians. And it is an evidence of the transforming effect of the gospel.

    This may mean less time applying makeup, styling hair and choosing clothes. It may mean more time sacrificing on behalf of your family and your local church.

    Adorning yourself with good works means less time shopping and more time serving.

    So, which are you more preoccupied with — shopping or good works?

    Now, this is not a categorical criticism of shopping. The four women in my life think shopping is a gift from God. It’s probably no surprise that I don’t view shopping as favorably as they do. I would argue that shopping is actually a product of the fall. But that’s because I’m a man. And as a man, I don’t shop. If I go to the mall, it’s to enter one store and buy one specific item. I’m not really “going to the mall”; I’m not walking in and out of various stores depending on what catches my eye. No. I’m on a mission to get a single item and get out of there as quickly as I can.

    But for women, as I understand it, shopping can be a relaxing and enjoyable experience, a gift from God. But that gift, like any gift, can become an idol.

    John Piper writes about coming across a review of the book The Body Project by Joan Jacobs Brumberg. This book looks extensively at a century’s worth of changes in how girls view themselves. In the introduction, the author contrasts the diary of an adolescent in 1892 with that of a teenage girl in the 1990s. The girl in 1892 wrote this:

    “Resolved, not to talk about myself or feelings. To think before speaking. To work seriously. To be self restrained in conversation and actions. Not to let my thoughts wander. To be dignified. Interest myself more in others.”

    The 1990s teenager wrote this:

    “I will try to make myself better in any way I possibly can with the help of my budget and baby-sitting money. I will lose weight, get new lenses, already got new haircut, good makeup, new clothes and accessories.”

    The book’s back cover summarizes what was true a century ago:

    “The ideal of the day . . . was inner beauty: a focus on good deeds and a pure heart. In contrast, the environment for girls today is “a new world” of sexual freedom and consumerism—a world in which the body is their primary project.”*

    This cultural shift — from good works to good looks — parallels the departure from godliness to worldliness. Women who are professing Christians must be discerning enough to resist and reject that shift.

    So, what are you consumed with—your clothing or your character? What are you known for—your good looks or your good works? If you’re a mother, what is your daughter learning from you in this regard? She’s surely studying you; as she does so, what is she learning— the latest fashions or good deeds?

    Once again, let me remind you that the Bible doesn’t forbid a woman from enhancing her appearance. But here in 1 Timothy 2, Paul isn’t just advocating modesty in dress; he’s insisting that more time and energy be devoted to spiritual adornment in the form of good works. And he’s warning about excessive attention devoted to appearance to the neglect of good works.

    Taken from C.J. Mahaney’s chapter “God, My Heart, and Clothes,” in the book Worldliness: Resisting the Seduction of a Fallen World.

    * Joan Jacobs Brumberg, The Body Project (New York: Random House, 1997).


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