Fitness: A Modesty Loophole

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Like a gold ring in a pig’s snout is a beautiful woman who shows no discretion. – Proverbs 11:22

(post edited: censored images removed due to readers’ unanimous support of post content)

I am a former marathoner and currently maintain a healthy activity schedule. I follow fitness boards. I prepare real food for my family. I exercise along with instruction videos. I value wellness and applaud those who desire to be fit and truly healthy. I’m finding it increasingly difficult to condone the allowances made for the sake of “fitness.”

There seems to be an emerging trend of “selfies” taken mostly of body parts that commonly remain clothed in public. What is disheartening is the sheer number of women who voluntarily  stand in front of the mirror to disrobe, contort and expose themselves for the viewing of complete strangers. These images do not need to be sought out or specifically searched for. They saturate all of social media. It is impossible to escape these essentially pornographic images on Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, etc. It has become normal, even encouraged, for fitness-focused women to offer up their body as a vessel of self-obsession and idolatry. In this category, many Christian women seem to have conformed to the patterns of this world.

I have come across many women in person and online who visibly advocate the sexualization of the body for general consumption. I find out down the road some of these women are “Christians.” My spirit cannot reconcile the two. Christian women are called to honor God with our bodies (1 Cor. 6:19), to be sanctified and blameless (1 Thes. 5:23), to be upright and Godly (2 Titus 2). We are instructed to dress modestly, with decency and propriety, in clothing appropriate for women who profess to worship God (1 Tim. 2). We are taught that charm is deceptive and beauty if fleeting, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised (Prov. 31). We know that our true and proper worship is to be holy and pleasing to God (Romans 12).

We have perverted an essential part of being a Godly woman, having “strength and dignity,”  by replacing virtue with vanity, discretion with  depravity. We have found a loophole in modesty for Christian women. We’ve provided a seemingly innocent avenue for women to act provocatively and for men to lust (I came across a man’s Pinterest fitness board titled “Screw Playboy”). We promote impurity for girls, infidelity for wives, indecency for mothers. We have forgotten that God’s grace teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions and to be eager to do what is good (2 Titus 2).

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How do we encourage women to promote modesty and discretion? How do we embolden women to advocate vitality through purity and holiness? How do we bring the church back to a people “holy in all our behavior” (1 Peter 1:15), perfecting holiness out of reverence for God (2 Cor. 7)? Have you felt the same convictions?

If Christians are to be known by our fruits (Matt. 7:16) we must remember always that  “the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.  Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other” Galatians 5.

If anyone cleanses himself from what is dishonorable, he will be a vessel for honorable use, set apart as holy, useful to the master of the house, ready for every good work.

2 Timothy 2:21

 And put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.

Ephesians 4:24

What do you think?

(Photos courtesy of ZooKeeperMinistries)

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23 thoughts on “Fitness: A Modesty Loophole

  1. This is true… I grieve the lack of modesty in our world… and especially as it infiltrates the church… there is a lack of discretion. This is true in exercise videos, exercise clothing, street clothes… church clothes… doesn’t seem to matter anymore and it should. Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I have to tell you that I completely agree with your post, which is why I was so shocked and disappointed by the photos your post shows! You could have covered the poor women up in some way. Those of us with boys (or husbands) whose eyes need to remain pure can’t take those images out of their heads once they have seen them. I’m asking you as a sister in Christ to please do something different with the photos, please.
    God bless you.

    Liked by 2 people

      • I’m almost laughing because a family member of mine was recently involved in a competition (where the main photo was sourced) and I was appalled, quite frankly. Our family made it into an “it’s important to her… she’s worked hard for it…” no big deal thing. I am completely ENCOURAGED by your response. The photos I initially used seemed more “appropriate” than the photos of the family member I could easily obtain.
        It is refreshing to find that I’m no prude and many women feel the same way. Thank you for your honest responses!

        Liked by 2 people

  3. While I agree with your written content concerning modesty, it would be so much more powerful had you used images of modesty rather than going for shock value to draw others in. I’m sad to say that I honestly think it was distasteful for you to use images with scantily clad women on them. Even if “censored”, the sexual intrigue still blares from the photos & I’ve had to turn my computer away at least twice from my son’s view as I’m trying to just read your content. There seems to be a disconnect with the message you want to get out (from your words) with the images you are choosing to do so with. Praying for wisdom as you process council regarding this mixed message.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Thank you for your written content toward modesty and bringing the issue of fitness into it as well. Good words! And thank you also for taking the questionable images down. I’m so happy to support your post and the truth you are speaking in it, urging people to think about why they wear what they wear and how it reflects the Lord’s glory or not.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Thank you, Alli, for taking down the images that were not appropriate. Your post on modesty in the world of fitness has so much truth to it. There is such a major disconnect between what is modest and what the world believes is acceptable…AND the gap is growing wider. Posts like yours are an important part of the conversation, and I’m grateful for your words. I speak on the issue of modesty, and it is always one of the most popular messages among women and girls. I even included a portion on modesty in my Legacy Bible study that I published in 2010. It is an important issue!!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Alli, Thank you so much for joining us at Grace & Truth this week! I’m so glad to be getting to know more Christian writers! I saw your note that you’d edited the post to take out the other photos – thank you. When I first went looking through posts that had linked up, one of my sons was sitting next to me and I had opened your post but had to immediately close it because I was not willing for him to see the pictures. I must say – I’m all for health, and I know that competitions are right up some people’s alleys, but as I try to raise a couple soon-to-be men, I have to be so careful of what I put in front of them. I am so thankful for your words and your content here, and I thank you for changing the images to be something I would be very willing for the boys to see. We’re looking forward to getting to know you better, and to seeing you in the linkup! Have a wonderful weekend!!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I’m stopping by from Grace and Truth linkup, and completely agree! I also appreciate the replaced images as now I can share this post easier without having to worry about offense. Thanks for taking such a strong and biblical stance even though it’s the opposite of what is “popular” currently!
    Jen 🙂

    Like

  8. I’m your neighbor at Barbie’s this week. I think you have a valid point. While some may do this blatantly and deliberately, some have not been parented or discipled to know any better than to go with the flow of how culture behaves.

    Like

  9. lol. I love that pig picture. Personally, I don’t post half-naked pics on social media, but I have no problem running around my neighborhood in shorts and a tank top. Anyone who sees me sweating isn’t going to be lusting! lol

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I’m glad I was able to find a picture that works! Trial and error is a highly used process in my repertoire! 😉 I don’t see an issue with that at all either! I’m in the same boat…though I’d also be panting like a bulldog. Thank you for reading, Brittany! 🙂

    Like

  11. Excellent article. I agree 100%! it’s so sad how prevalent this is these days. I too, have unfollowed/unfriended people on social media because of this very thing. Thank you for the excellent post and God Bless!

    Like

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