Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Take, Eat

Hunger. The first thing babies communicate to mom and dad: "I want food, and you." As the years grow, our hunger grows. Our wants multiply, our appetites become larger and more complex. We discover new kinds of hunger, deeper yearnings of the soul and mind.

We crave to be heard, to be validated, to be seen. We want to be perceived as strong, smart, and bold. We want to be the best -- at something, anything. Women love "how-to" lists. Give us twenty-five ways, in three steps, using one rule to make--something, anything--more delicious, more beautiful, more superior. And oh, and we want to be desirable, and gorgeous too, please.

As Eve was in the beginning, so are we. She was hungry for beauty, and she wanted to be wise. It wasn't enough to be like God, she wanted to be God. She wanted to make her own decisions, determine her own path.

So she took, and she ate.

When my sisters and I were little, a friend of my mother scolded her for the way she dressed her daughters. Why were her daughters not in ankle-length skirts? How could my mom allow her girls to wear pants? How dare her daughters keep their hair short? She tore my mother to shreds with her accusations. My mother was so forbearing, so gentle. Now that I have children of my own, I wonder what I would have done.

There was nothing modest about that friend's promotion of "modesty."

My Sunday school girls often ask me for the nitty-gritty when it comes to dressing modestly: What about a two-piece bathing suit? What if there are only girls around? What about a strapless wedding dress? What about certain brands of clothing?

I am encouraged that they are at least thinking about what they wear, but I resist to give them a yes-or-no answer. I give guidelines, yes, but I refuse to choose their wardrobe because true modesty is not just about clothes. Just as true frugality is not about money, and true fasting is not about food.

What I am most concern about is that we recognize the hunger and the desires that drive us. And we set our eyes on the Feast of Life, where we can find bread and water. Only there, can our hunger be satisfied.

Idolatry is our hunger for anything other than God. Sin is, as it was in the beginning, our sad attempt to stuff our hunger with deadly things.

We crave for people's praise, acceptance, and attention by the way we dress. We do this not only to attract the opposite gender, but also for the approval and envy of our peers. We want to claim a superlative of our own; to be the best -- at something, anything. To be the most daring, most in-shape, most fashion-forward, most expensive, most frugal, most weird. And yes, and even "most godly" and "most modest."

Some try to dodge this whole modesty question all together: "God looks at the heart, so what I wear is not important" or "I don't have a problem with modesty because I don't even care about what I wear."

But clothing is important to God.

Before Adam and Eve left the Garden, he knew his children were ashamed, and fig leafs were not enough. So, an animal was slaughtered and God covered Adam and Eve with its skin.

How Christians cloth ourselves brings glory to God because our clothing points to Christ, our perfect covering. The Lamb of God, who was slaughtered for the sins of the world. The way we dress is a simple act of love for our neighbors, our proclamation that we are Christ's disciples. And our obedience to Christ is a mark of our allegiance, our act of worship.

So, do not live on hungry souls. We fast with joy, knowing that our souls are filled and fed on the Word of God. We shop not on empty stomachs, but on hearts fully satisfied, knowing that our Treasure is great in heaven.

We are invited to the Feast of Life. Come, taste and see that the Lord is good. Be hungry no more.

The King of Glory extends his nail-pierced hands,
"Take, eat, this is my body, which is given for you.
Do this in remembrance of me."


Here are the links to the series:
Part 1: In the Garden
Part 2: Shame
Part 3: Sackcloth
Part 4: Bridal garment
Part 5: Christ
Applications: Take Two


E! said...

<3 feeaasting

thetoddlerwhisperer said...

Jesus is sweeter than the temporary pleasure of sin. Thank you for this beautiful post.

N. said...

Wow! I loved this post. This is something I think about a lot. You are definitely making me re-think "modesty."

ruth@gracelaced said...

Well said. I so admire and agree with your restraint in giving specific guidelines. May we never encourage conservative pharisees, but rather, surrendered souls.

Kristen said...

So very thought-provoking...thank you for sharing!

Jen said...

Lovely post! Thanks for sharing!