I went to a car show recently and boy, there were some beautiful rides. Perfect paint jobs were shining, chrome was clean and polished, and high-horsepower engines were on display. It was easy to walk around and gape at all those beautifully restored mid-century cruisers and 60’s and 70’s muscle cars. But the cars weren’t the only things on display.
While my wife and I were taking a picture of a car, a very scantily-clad young woman and her husband walked in front of us and our mouths dropped open for entirely the wrong reason. She was wearing cutoff jeans that exposed pretty much her entire backside and her breasts were completely spilling out of her top. The two of them strutted on by, and it was obvious that the woman was enjoying all the attention she was generating. Our first impression was that she was dressed like a prostitute, and while that may not have been true, there was no doubt that her choice of clothing was meant to garner sexual attention.
I guess what struck me the most was the fact that her husband couldn’t care less that people were staring at his wife in such a derogatory manner, most likely viewing her in some inappropriate, sexual way. Basically, this woman put her beauty on parade and was very openly revealing what only her husband had the right to see. And I had to ask myself, should a man who truly loves his wife encourage her to present herself in such a manner, to essentially encourage her to be objectified by what she wears?
I’m sure I may already be stoking the ire of some who view me as trying to step on your right to wear whatever you want. Some may be thinking that it’s my responsibility not to look, and in that sense you would be right. But believe it or not, it was my wife who noticed this situation first, and we found ourselves disheartened that this is not just some passing fad at a weekend car show. In fact, it’s not just a problem with the world anymore, but also amongst some Christian women as well. Women who are commanded by God to reserve their bodies for just their husbands to see are no longer seen as respectable, gentle spirits. Instead, they are being seen for their sexuality and what they are revealing.
A very similar situation such as this is recorded for us in the Bible and it’s an example of how a dedicated wife should carry herself in a public setting. King Xerxes had just finished a six month party displaying to his kingdom how awesome he was and he decided to hold a weeks long banquet, again in his own honor (Esther 1:4-5). It was at the end of this banquet that he called for his wife, Queen Vashti, to come and parade herself in front of him and his drunk friends because she was apparently quite a looker (Esther 1:10-12). It was the Queen’s response that showed the honor befitting of a respectable woman and the response that should be shown by any woman who claims to be a Christian.
The Queen knew full well that she was being paraded around for the sexual enjoyment of men who were not her husband. She had enough respect for herself and enough bravery to deny the request, even though it would most assuredly anger the king. This wasn’t some prudish act or a display of arrogance. It was knowing how to respectfully present ourselves to those who are not our spouse. For the Christian, it’s knowing that God calls us to a higher standard than the rest of the world wants to abide by.
Of course, in our society today, this problem is not only confined to women. It has become acceptable to flaunt our bodies to feel proud or gain attention. I live in Florida, so you can imagine I’ve seen my fair share of this out in public. But this isn’t what God wants us to do. First, we must remember who made us and who we belong to. God has undoubtedly made creation very beautiful, and that definitely includes the human form. But we Christians are the home of God, the Holy Spirit, and have been bought back from the slavery of sin at a very great price. We should, therefore, honor God with the way we carry ourselves physically (1 Corinthians 6:19-20).
Finally, when we marry, we hand over the rights to our body to our spouse. The two become one flesh (Genesis 2:24) and agree to fulfill their marital duties with only each other (1 Corinthians 7:3-4). Our bodies are not meant to be put on display for the sexual satisfaction of others. We are to present ourselves sexually to only our spouse lest we be led into temptation and possibly the sin of adultery.
To all the husbands and wives…by all means, be proud of who God made you to be. Enjoy one another sexually, for God made you compatible for that very reason. But keep those things sacred and private, within the confines of the marriage, so that one day you may not be judged harshly (Hebrews 13:4).