Sunday, April 25, 2010
Just the other day my daughter and I went to a local department store to pick out a dress for her to wear in a fashion show at our church. We found quite a few dresses that looked so adorable on the hanger, but when she put them on the were not what I'd call modest. While most came all the way to the ground in length (not something I was especially concerned over) they evidently had used up all their material making the dress long and in turn left the top as quite revealing! She still didn't dare bend over - not because the dress was too short, but because it was cut so low!!! We finally found a cute cami to go underneath and she looked beautiful in the show.
Fast forward to my classroom and I see one of my beautiful young ladies come into the class wearing a similar dress, only the cami she had chosen to wear underneath was cut so low it really didn't help much! I wish this was the only time I'd had to talk to a student about wearing revealing clothes, but unfortunately I find I am having to do this more and more. Do they look cute? Absolutely - until you look closer (and believe me - boys do) and you are basically being given a peep show! One teacher told her student that it was difficult for her to concentrate while being 'flashed' and she couldn't imagine how much more difficult it must be for the boys in her class! Our pastor once said that boys assume if you are willing to show it, you are willing to share it. OUCH!
With all these things in mind, we enter today's random thought about the armor of God. We've already covered (pardon the pun) the belt of truth and today it's time to look at the breastplate of righteousness - in otherwords, keeping our chest covered.
Now I am in no way a fashionista (hope I spelled that correctly), still I like to look cute in my clothes. The armor of God is, however, about more than just looking cute. We need it to survive, yet I find that wherever I go, young women are 'letting it all hang out' and never realizing they have left their armor at home. Maybe they don't even know what it is!
First of all, we are to put on the WHOLE armor of God so that we may withstand in the evil day and having done all, stand. According to Strong's, withstand is the word anthistemi which means to stand against...and it can be compared to antihistamine. Now anyone who lives in south Mississippi is very aware at how important an antihistamine can be in order to survive! When allergy season strikes, if you aren't taking an antihistamine, very often you won't be standing long! You find you can barely function, much less live life to the fullest or fight any kind of fight, much less a good one! We are to anthistemi or block the evil forces!
Back to the breastplate of righteousness. It obviously is to protect the heart. Let that sink in. How many young women are running around showing off their chest because they have been told it makes them look attractive? They think it makes them look 'sexy' and they have been led to believe by the lies of the world that 'sex' equals love. Just like the men, they have bought the lies. Young women, whose bodies have matured at a rate far faster than their spirits, have been lied to. What they desperately want, even if they don't know it, is to be loved. What they get is the world's cheap imitation.
Maybe I'm an old fogey...I'm okay with that. Perhaps you think I have no fashion sense....I'd have to agree with that as well. Some might even hint that I might be jealous that I am not as "blessed" in the 'girls' department...who knows. What I do know is that we are in a battle and cannot afford to face the enemy without our armor. Since our flesh should mirror what is happening in our spirits, I can't help but wonder how many young women are blindly following the world and letting their armor fall to the side. I'm not saying you have to wear longjohns in the summer, I'm simply saying that it's time to examine our hearts. It's time to grow up. Stop acting on what feels good and starting acting on what is good.
Men and women...don't buy the lies. The devil has nothing good planned for you, but God has promised that He has a plan for you that includes a hope and a future! You can know that if God said it, it is true.
Next stop....our shoes.
Sunday, April 18, 2010
Unless you've been completely disconnected from television and internet for the past year, you're probably familiar with this tune. It was made famous by its creator, Gen. Larry Platt, the 62-year-old civil rights activist, when he sang it for the American Idol auditions this year.
As a teacher, I have used this song quite a bit to humorously remind young men to keep their pants pulled up. Most are gracious and simply pull them up. However, as I walk around town I am still bombarded by young men (and some who are obviously old enough to know better) who walk around literally "showing their rear"! That phrase used to mean you were acting a fool, guess it still pretty much means the same only now all those around are subjected to the view or your plaid underwear, or in the worst cases, your dingy bvd's! Just the other day I watched as a young man crossed a busy intersection in front of me and he had to hold up his pants with one hand while dodging traffic. I have seen students run for the bus only to have their pants fall to the ground and almost cause them injury when they stumbled over them in the gravel parking lot.
But it wasn't until today that I finally started to understand what was going on with "pants on the ground." Our youth pastor was sharing a message on the armor of God and he titled it, "The Belt of Truth - Truth holds up more than just your pants." It was then that the random though hit me....no wonder so many young men are walking around with their pants falling off - they have no belt - no TRUTH!
Over the years, I have watched truth become more and more relative in people's eyes. The whole, "if it feels right for you" nonsense explains why these young people are walking around with their pants falling off and then telling you it's "comfortable". It feels right to them...even if it's not.
Think about it. People think it's normal now to lie. They expect it! We expect if from our politicians, our news media, etc. We have learned the hard way that people lie...and we justify it. We say it's normal and everyone does it. I have students who will blame their misdeeds on everyone around them, even ME, but almost never admit to telling a lie or doing wrong. They have been taught - deny, deny, deny. It has become a way of life for them, and in the process, they have given up the belt of truth that would strengthen them and allow them to run without fear of their lies tripping them up.
Belts are sometimes uncomfortable - so is the truth. Belts show us when we're getting a bit lazy and out of shape - so does truth. Belts may be seen or not, but if you're not wearing one and haven't yet "grown into your britches", everyone around you will know about it....same with Truth. Telling the truth often lets the world know you're growing up. It is tough to tell the truth when you know it will mean you get in trouble. Telling the truth means you are becoming a person of character, depth, and responsibility. You can be trusted.
Perhaps the greatest reason for truth is that it sets you free. I have to wonder how many young people with their pants hanging off their rears think they are showing the world how "free" they are, when actually they are showing the world their bondage and slavery. They have become slaves to the lies they have come to believe. Lies like: if it feels good do it, women are for your pleasure, sex is love, all authority is out to get you, divorce is normal, infidelity is normal, violence is normal....don't believe me? Turn on the radio or watch a little tv. You'll find plenty of lies, but to an entire generation of young people it has become what they think is real. They've lost their belts! They bought the lies!
I don't think I'll ever look at a young man with his underwear showing quite the same again. Now I don't see rebellion, I see someone who has lost their belt of truth and it shows. We simply see on the outside something that has been slowly happening to our country on the inside for years. It's time to put back on the whole armor of God, beginning with our belts. It's time to examine my own life to see if perhaps my spiritual pants are 'sagging'. I want to know that every part of my life is held up by truth so that I can run, not from the battle, but into it. I don't want to be a person who is "looking like a fool with my pants on the ground." How about you?
Ephesians 6:10 - 18 "Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints."
John 8:32, "Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free."