I’m a little hesitant to be one of the hundreds (possibly thousands) of bloggers who have devoted time, anger, frustration, profanity, wisdom and foolishness to a topic that has literally taken over the Internet in the past 25 days: yoga pants.
For those of you who haven’t stumbled upon this virtual controversy, it all started when blogger Veronica Partridge wrote a blog post about how she personally (personally being the key word here) — after talking with her husband — decided not to wear yoga pants in public anymore.
Interestingly, she clarified that this is a personal decision at the very beginning of her post. She was not attempting to sway an entire culture of public yoga pant wearers. Nor did she verbally berate or judge those who continue to do so. She made a very short, public declaration that she personally feels wearing yoga pants could potentially be a stumbling block to the other men around her. She is especially sensitive to this because she is married. Because of her personal conviction, she decided to do something about it. Since her blog is public and society can be very antagonistic, the post immediately garnered reactions from every perspective and opinion imaginable. But maybe that’s to be expected. Maybe she shouldn’t have posted such a private decision so publicly.
But let’s be honest, the Internet is full of crazy, opinionated people who blog about much more offensive, crass, irrelevant, simply stupid and off-the-cuff topics than yoga pants.
Veronica’s blog post was neither offensive, unethical, immoral or even theologically inaccurate. Her post went viral and was the immediate target of mockery, cruelty, anger and hostility. The feminists came out to clamor that it is men who are responsible for lusting after women wearing tight yoga pants, and yet others pointed out that men are just as sexual but “you don’t hear us complaining about it, we just avert our eyes – why can’t you?” At the same time, many were in favor or her post, rose to her defense, and lamented the rise of an immodest and seductive culture.
Honestly, I can understand the liberal rabble rousers taking cheap shots. That’s what they do. And of course liberals (and especially non-Christians) do no grasp the importance of modesty in a world that’s becoming increasingly comfortable with all levels of immodesty (which goes far beyond wearing mere yoga pants). I’m also not surprised by the vocal feminists who want to assign all blame of lust to the men, and become more adamant than ever to continue wearing yoga pants “because it’s my right, by golly.” But sadly, I am surprised by the vociferous and even obnoxious opinions of Christian and conservative bloggers (mainly women) who have been so quick to discount this woman’s personal convictions because they themselves do not share them.
So I’m going to add my two cents (though Lord knows the universe doesn’t need yet another opinion about this).
The issue of modesty is a widely debated topic. I have my own personal opinions for sure. But I am not going to argue in favor for or against this particular form of athletic wear or any other piece of apparel for that matter. I think that would be an absurd waste of time and I don’t think that was ever the intention of Veronica when she broached the subject a few weeks ago.
As Christians, we are free from legalistic bondage in Christ. But despite that freedom, we are exhorted to be cautious as we are like sheep, easily swayed by popular opinion to the point of becoming hostile ourselves to the conviction of the Holy Spirit.
If Veronica is convicted, and her husband affirms, that her yoga pants are in fact a stumbling block then it would be a sin for her not to follow through on that conviction. We might not all share her conviction, but let us not become so caught up in our “rights as women,” our “rights to comfortable garb” and even “anger at lustful men” that we cannot appreciate, respect and support our sister in Christ for a conviction that is Biblically founded (a key point here).
Romans 14 says we ought to “be fully convinced in our own minds.”
And later in verse 10:
“ You, then, why do you judge your brother or sister? Or why do you treat them with contempt? For we will all stand before God’s judgment seat.”
Matthew Henry so wisely expounded on this verse and said, “The business of our lives is not to please ourselves, but to please God. That is true Christianity, which makes Christ all in all. Though Christians are of different strength, capacities, and practices in lesser things, yet they are all the Lord’s; all are looking and serving, and approving themselves to Christ. He is Lord of those that are living, to rule them; of those that are dead, to revive them, and raise them up. Christians should not judge or despise one another, because both the one and the other must shortly give an account.”
Why are Christians jumping on the bandwagon of ridicule and casting judgment towards a woman who has been convinced in her mind, according to scripture and with the support of her husband, that she ought to stop wearing yoga pants? It bears the question, are Christians mocking, ridiculing and reacting angrily to a woman who has given up yoga pants because they think her conviction is unfounded? Is she a heretic? Are her views dangerous and blasphemous? OR are they reacting antagonistically because they too are convicted about their own attire, habits and personal choices and are personally uncomfortable by Veronica’s unpopular stance?
If our Lord views sexual sin as drastically as He does (Matthew 5:28) and exhorts purity with such esteem (1 Corinthians 6:18, 1 Thessalonians 4:3-5, Colossians 3:5, Psalm 119: 1-10), should we not also be at least willing to examine our own selves and determine if we are walking, dressing, speaking and living in purity? Isn’t that our calling as women?
Elisabeth Elliot said, “The fact that I am a woman does not make me a different kind of Christian, but the fact that I am a Christian makes me a different kind of woman.”
Oh that we would look different.
Our culture is increasingly, with each passing day, becoming more publicly lascivious. In fact it’s so common that often we don’t recognize how bad it is. We know we live in a world dominated by sin and as a result, we’ll never be rid of it. But we can still make an impact in a sex-crazed culture. It’s not something that will change overnight. It’s quite possibly something we’ll never see diminish in our lifetime. But how can we expect the culture to take a dramatic shift towards the moral high ground if we as Christians are not willing to do that ourselves? Yes, it’s just yoga pants. But for some Christians it’s also skimpy bathing suits, poor language, drunkenness, sex outside of marriage, divorce, rebellion, unloving and judgmental hearts, the list goes on. If we look no different to a world teeming with lust and depravity, how can we ever hope to combat it?
As Christian women, our measurement is holiness, something we can never perfectly achieve but must continue to strive for.
Proverbs 4:23 says, “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.”
It’s sad that so many Christians do not see the depth of this woman’s conviction. Only God knows the heart, but judging by her words she appears to genuinely desire to live above reproach. It’s a little thing, but it’s an area of her life she is willing to surrender, and even feels obligated to give it up. Mock and scoff all you want, but we are solely responsible for our own hearts. God cares not for the clothes we’re desperately convinced we ought to wear but rather the motives behind our convictions. Do we desire purity above all else? Or do we just want to fit in?
This indeed is something we should all ponder…
“If your goal is purity of heart, be prepared to be thought very odd (Elisabeth Elliot).”