We live in odd times. The other day while walking to work I passed a young man who was working on his car on the street. Though nothing odd about that, I noted that his pants were hanging so low over his rear end that he was walking on the pant legs which completely covered his shoes. What? I guess this is a teen hip hop thing, though the man was not a teen. Yet on another occasion, while helping a friend build a deck, a neighbor the age of my dad stopped by to say hi. He too wore some low riders in the effort to be hip. So while we showed him our carpentry, he showed us... yikes!
Even more accepted in our culture is the open display of feminine sexuality. Recently while evangelizing at the university we saw more skin, silk, and layers over lingerie in the street, than 100 married men see in their bedroom in a year. Though we might chuckle at the indiscreet men above, funny is not the word for indiscretion in women. Though many may not see it or admit it, there is a brutal competition among women. One wonders where the contest will end.
Why even note these things? Things like this have been going on since the beginning of time. Each generation of Christians faces the same sin in their culture as the prior generation, though manifest differently. We note this because Christians are commanded to purify ourselves and our own house, the church. So when the sins of the present culture encroach on the sacred ground of Christian fellowship, when Christians bring these displays into the church family, we must take action. But how?
We might attempt to control these suggestive styles with a policy, campaign, or measuring ruler. We could attempt to craft a church ordinance that lists what pants are acceptable, how high to wear them, and how to stand in them. We could also mandate that silk and lace is for bed room use only, and women can only display a certain percentage of skin in public with no sass in their stance or coy in their countenance. But, would these man-made regulations accomplish the goal?
Colossians 2:20-23 (WEB) says 'no' to more ordinances.
20) If you died with Christ from the elements of the world, why, as though living in the world, do you subject yourselves to ordinances, 21) "Don't handle, nor taste, nor touch" 22) (all of which perish with use), according to the precepts and doctrines of men? 23) These things indeed appear like wisdom in self-imposed worship, humility, and severity to the body; but aren't of any value against the indulgence of the flesh.
Hmmm, so do we live and let live?
No to that also. Rather we preach Colossians 3:5-7 (WEB).
5) Put to death therefore your members which are on the earth: sexual immorality, uncleanness, depraved passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. 6) For these things' sake the wrath of God comes on the children of disobedience. 7) You also once walked in those, when you lived in them;
Rather than attempt to restrain our wayward hearts with more rules, we break our hearts calling the spade a spade with gospel truth.
Genius is not needed to interpret the styles of men and women who strut their sexuality in the street… and in church. Sexual sins are the top three on Paul’s list so we should not be surprised to find it abundant in our culture… and among Christians. Our present generation thinks they have found sexual liberation, but instead they have been enslaved and have locked themselves away from God’s blessing intended for the marital bedroom. So will we attempt to curb indulgence with an impotent policy? Or will we interpret our culture’s style, preach the truth in love, put lust to death at the heart level, and sanctify style in Christ’s household?