25 Jun How should Christians approach summer attire?

Halima Aden made history this year.

She was the first model to wear a hijab and burkini in the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue. (A burkini covers the whole body except for the face, hands, and feet, designed as a modest swimsuit used by some Muslim women today.) Aden told CNN that she never saw herself represented in the swimwear popular today; rather than fall to the culture, she wanted to raise it to herself. She challenges women to live without fear and even stand alone if necessary. In a recent interview, MJ Day, SI Swimsuit editor, described this year’s swimsuit issue as “a wide range of age and race and levels of modesty that really is a first for us.”

The commitment I see in certain non-Christians sobers me at times. By her resolve, Aden elevated the dialogue surrounding modesty and the objectifying of women in our culture. I applaud that. It is so needed. Public nudity is increasingly accepted, and much modern swimwear only mocks clothing. Cultural norms, once influenced by Christian values, have been replaced by indifference, where most things are accepted. In this darkness, Christians shine as lights—and this includes making a commitment on dress.

As a father of three daughters and one son, I know the challenges summer brings. And into this challenge I often find myself repeating certain facts to my children, certain common sense realities that guide our faith and walk in the areas of clothing and modesty.

Consider these:

  • Sexual temptation is one of the greatest challenges facing many of us.
  • David, the “man after God’s heart” (Acts 13:21-23), went into horrible sin in his lust over Bathsheba (2 Samuel 11).
  • Jesus taught us to avoid sexual fantasies. He knows this is a challenge (Matthew 5:27).
  • Sitting next to a pool does not redefine nakedness.
  • Adam and Eve had a kind of covering but were still naked (Genesis 3:7).
  • “Uncover[ing] nakedness” is a phrase the Bible uses to reference sex (Leviticus 18).
  • Worldly marketers use women in various states of undress to sell items ranging from foods and fragrances to music and vehicles.
  • Job had to train his eyes to not look lustfully at women (Job 31:1).
  • Even the most ungodly men obeyed God’s command to be fruitful and multiply. (Genesis 1:28).

Our daughters and sons are constantly bombarded with sexual themes and images, whether on the internet, movies, song lyrics or simply the provocative dress common in the world today. Pornography is readily available and sold as a way to meet this struggle. Yet Jesus offers a better way, and his followers help point to it. When purchasing swimsuits or other summer outfits, I believe these principles serve as a helpful guide:

  1. Take the initiative to help the opposite sex remain pure in thought by the way you dress (Philippians 2:4-8).
  2. Cover up your body to where there is no doubt that you are bringing glory to Jesus (Colossians 3:17).
  3. Be the light; do not listen or look to the world for what is modest (1 Corinthians 6:2).
  4. Commit to being different, because if you are covered you will be (1 Peter 2:9).

As you purchase your summer attire, pray and bring Jesus with you. This is a faith decision I place in the hands of my children. They have worn things that I did not like at all. I get it. I’m dad. But they have grown in modesty and in their faith and now influence me to be a better man.

These sisters have had a big impact on my girls. I pray they might help you as well.

God be with you always.

Brian Gochenour is a guest blogger for Legacy Christian Church.

My wife and I celebrated our 25th year of marriage in December. God has blessed us with three daughters and one son who all love Jesus. We spent 20 years in ministry, and I am now a Software Engineer with ScriptPro and my wife runs a home daycare.