Should a Christian woman wear a bikini? This complex and confusing issue is one that a lot of people have an opinion about. Here’s the answer I gave one of my readers when she asked this question (and she gave me permission to share it! No matter where you stand on the topic, I hope you’ll take a second to check it out! I just did a podcast on the topic of modesty that may help too –but you may be SURPRISED by my answer!
Your writings have been a huge encouragement to me, thank you for your service! This summer the issue of modesty has come up for me. I was the only one in a two piece at the 4th of July while the other ladies were wearing tshirts and shorts. My husband wants me to wear something like they were wearing. I feel that not all bikinis are created equally and feel that mine is as covering as they come. I struggle because less fabric on a bathing suit is much more practical. I am really only exploring this because my husband asked me to. I love Jesus, this one is tough for me! Your thoughts, sister?
In Him –A
Bikinis. Sigh. Where to begin on this pandora’s box of an issue? You wouldn’t have caught me dead in one before age 23. I battled my weight through my late teens and twenties and didn’t feel like I had a “bikini body” so I never had to worry about whether or not it was “right.” I never had to wonder, Should a Christian woman wear a bikini?
I would have told you I was being modest. But that would have been a lie. I wore the one piece to hide a body of which I was ashamed. Secretly, I longed to rock a skimpy string variety.
Sometime before I turned 25 I discovered fitness and began to work out with gusto. My shape changed a lot. Suddenly, I wanted to show off my body, even though I still didn’t like it. Bikinis (I felt) brought more balance to my pear shape. Drowning deep in my body image issues, I associated my value with how I looked in that swimsuit. If someone thought I looked good in it, then perhaps I would feel better about myself. (I see now how warped that was, but that was the level of my depravity.)
Fast forward a few years til age 30. I was headed to the pool with my fiancé. After 30 minutes together, poolside, I decided he wanted to call off our wedding because he didn’t comment on how I looked in my little Victoria’s Secret two piece. I internalized his lack of affirmation as rejection. He must think I’m fat. He wants me to be thinner. He doesn’t want to marry me anymore . . .These thoughts barraged my brain like cereal pouring into the bowl.
Meanwhile, he had no idea the internal war that was waging and when I finally exploded with something like, “We can’t possibly get married because you don’t think I look good in a swimsuit!” He was caught off guard . . . to say the least. Later, after we married, he confided that he was trying not to look . . . to keep his thoughts pure.
While I used that little two-piece suit to affirm that I was physically good enough, I wasn’t at all concerned about any complications it may have been causing his quest for purity. The question of, “Should a Christian woman wear a bikini?” had not even crossed my mind.
But the simple truth is I wanted my bikini to bring attention and glory, not to God, but to me. My body image was my idol and my bikini helped me worship.
I wanted others to worship too. No, not literally bow down. That’d be silly. But, I hoped people would think I was hot. I wanted to capture the interest of men and the envy of women. (I’m definitely not proud of this, but it’s true.) This is what drives my answer to the age-old question: Should a Christian woman wear a bikini?
Then I had a baby. My body changed. So, I just bought bigger bikinis with better lifting and tucking power. I wasn’t ready to give up, yet. I needed the physical affirmation wearing one brought me. I had a master’s degree. Had held senior management positions. But, having a bikini body was the accomplishment that I ‘needed’ to affirm my value.
Then I had a daughter.
She received the sweetest little bikini as a baby gift and, within five minutes, my perspective on the issue shifted. I didn’t want my baby to wear that miniaturized adult woman swimsuit! She didn’t need to be sexy at six months old. Soon I realized that I didn’t need to be sexy (at least not in public) at 33 years old either.
The Holy Spirit started to convict me on my swimwear choices and motivation. This is when I really began to tackle the question: Should a Christian woman wear a bikini? How could I allow my daughter to wear bikinis as a pre-pubescent and then, when her body developed, tell her that she’d need to switch to something more modest? And, what kind of authority would I have to enforce a “no bikini” rule if all she ever knew was a mom who wore little bitty swimsuits?
I flashed back to a conversation I had with a friend in high school. She told me that she didn’t mind hanging out in her bra and underwear around another friend’s brother because it was “just like a bikini.” Even at fifteen, something inside me bristled at the appropriateness of this. Now, I had the responsibility to make sure my daughter wouldn’t follow that same logic. Ever.
Bikinis and I were finished.
At that point, I decided to stop. I got rid of them. (Well, all except one that I wore in our fenced-in backyard, all by myself, to keep my stomach from turning snowball white. Eventually, I gave it up too.)
Does the Bible tell us that showing your navel is sinful? I don’t believe I’ve seen that specific verse. I can’t make a hard and fast rule that says wearing a bikini is wrong for every woman. A very pregnant friend recently sported a bikini on a 100-degree Texas day because she was uncomfortable in anything else. Having worn my fair share of maternity one pieces that have no less than seven layers of thick lycra over your already hot belly, I could ‘amen’ her decision.
If you have a private pool in your backyard and want a tan abdomen — is that sinful? That’s hard to judge, too . . .
It’s also difficult to say, empirically, “only one piece bathing suits are good.” When, in truth, there are a lot of one piece suits that are a whole lot skimpier than some bikinis.
What does modesty really mean?
If we want to talk modesty–we must focus more on our hearts than our exposed navels.
Now, don’t hear me wrong, what we are doing in our hearts usually comes out in what clothing choices we make. The two are related. But, the latter rarely dictates the former. But if you’re wondering: Should a Christian woman wear a bikini? Start here.
Why are you choosing to wear that swimsuit?
That’s the question you need to ask and honestly answer in your heart.
Is it to prove something about your value? Is it to draw attention to yourself? Or, is it to find affirmation that you look good enough? Did you make your profile picture you in a bikini because you want affirmation of your physical beauty? If you have even a hint of a “yes” answer to any of these questions, then perhaps you need to make a change.
There’s also some interesting data out there about bikinis and what happens in the minds of those who observe them. If you’ve never watched Jessica Rey’s Q talk called “The Evolution of the Swimsuit” you should really check it out. This blog post caught my attention and offers another beautiful perspective.
As believers, we are called to make informed and thoughtful decisions. This is wisdom, no matter what the issue.
Should a Christian woman wear a bikini? This boils down to three decision points.
Decision Point One: Your Motivation
What is your motivation behind your swimwear choice?
Where is your heart as you consider it?
Are you looking to bring glory to yourself or just be comfortable at the pool?
If you’re trying to win the hottest woman out there contest, then that’s a modesty issue. It sounds to me like you are just trying to be comfortable and, in that case, if you don’t feel personal conviction in that arena you aren’t, necessarily, doing anything “wrong.”
(I feel like many women I meet have never really thought through their swimsuit choice and aren’t necessarily trying to be a hot-body-show-off, they’ve just never stopped to think about their selection. Wisdom and maturity often chase, and then change, these women over time. And, they need grace through the process.)
Decision Point Two: Your Other Half
As a married woman, you have a responsibility to respect your husband. If he feels like he’d rather you wear something more modest, then maybe explore with him why. Does he feel like other men will find you “hot” in your swimsuit and he doesn’t like that? Or, is he feeling pressure from the groups you are in to meet some–not necessarily biblical–but imposed standard of dress? Have a heart-to-heart conversation and ask him why? As your husband, he does have a right to speak into your decision. Pray before the conversation and ask the Holy Spirit to soften both of your hearts so you can really hear each other and understand each other’s points of view on this topic of: Should a Christian woman wear a bikini?
Decision Point Three: The Other Women
Then there’s the issue of the other women. . . Ahhh, women can be so complicated!
You don’t specify as to whether or not this group of friends is from church, neighbors, or coworkers, but it’d be interesting to know why all the women chose to wear t-shirts and shorts to the pool instead of swimwear. Is it that they don’t want to wear a swimsuit in public because they obsess over their body image? If so, perhaps they need someone to show some courage in this arena and be comfortable at the pool. Or, is it because they genuinely want to be modest (defined as “covered”) and don’t feel comfortable wearing less than that in mixed company? Covering your body out of embarrassment and out of modesty are truly two different heart issues. One is driven by shame (that Christ set us free from), the other by obedience.
As Christian women, we are free in Christ Jesus to dress according to our own convictions. That word–convictions–assumes that we are actually listening for the Holy Spirit’s voice. To say that we “aren’t convicted” we must first sincerely pray and seek God on an issue and then know we have clearance. When asked: Should a Christian woman wear a bikini, a lot of people would say, YES! They don’t see a problem with it because they haven’t asked God. Not praying about it, not asking Him, does not equate to “not being convicted.”
Along with liberty always comes responsibility. Sometimes that responsibility requires us to give up some of that freedom. If I know I would make my friends (or husband) uncomfortable by showing up in a two piece bathing suit, I should, likely, lay down my own desires and wear something different. “Just please yourself” And, “Do what you want!”–these are not the mantras of the Christ-follower who has surrendered her life to a higher calling. Your body is a part of that calling. It’s not an ornament for your glory, it’s an offering to His.
Thanks again for your question, A. I pray that God will give you wisdom and clarity as you seek His direction in this age-old topic: Should a Christian woman wear a bikini? You’ll never go wrong seeking Him first.
Your Sister in Christ,
Since 68% percent of church-going men and 50% of pastors struggle with porn….do we really want to be looked at that way? Should we really want to contribute to their sin?
“Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in the way of a brother or sister.” Romans 14:13
I was just talking with a woman who recently became a Christian, and she said there were so many things she felt pressured to do before coming to Christ. She didn’t want to do them but felt like she had to do them because it was the expectation of secular society and she felt isolated if she didn’t. Most women feel terribly uncomfortable in a bathing suit, and dread the season. And we blame that on body image, which is also a huge factor because we listen to the voices of our society. But it’s because we were never meant to walk around all but naked in public. That should cause a sense of shame!
Some people may discredit you because you made your choice after having a child, but I have never felt the least bit comfortable wearing a bikini in public, and I never struggled with hating my body. We don’t have to be slaves to general society. If we are Goes, we listen to His voice above all…He will reveal to us our motives. Your courage is refreshing!
Thanks, Debra. 🙂
Actually, we WERE meant to walk around naked. We made a mess of that original plan.
Funny and quite accurate point! But, sin did come in and change EVERYTHING… Thanks for chiming in!
I hate bikinis. I hate that they exist. I have always been modest – but not for modesty’s sake – because I hate my body. It’s gotten even worse since I’ve gotten old and had children. I know some people consider insecurity as sinful as immodesty, and maybe it is. But I’ve never had the bikini struggle because I could never pull one off. Even when I was a lifeguard and a diver I did NOT have a bikini body. Not even close.
I don’t even go to the pool or beach much anymore. There are always better women there who are far more attractive and much more confident and I actually feel like I don’t belong. Like I have no right to even be in such a place. Which is a shame because I used to enjoy the beach and swimming pools so very much. But I just can’t enjoy myself when every woman there is taunting me with how awesome she is and how disgusting I am. I know she may not be doing that intentionally – and I get that the problem could very well lie with me – but I feel SO BADLY that it’s not even worth going. And reading in the post that there are indeed women who are desiring to gain the attention of men and the envy of women kinda confirms what I was thinking. And I don’t believe that behavior is a lack of confidence – I think you have to be the most confident woman on earth to prance around in a teeny tiny bathing suit – baring it all for anyone to see (and admire or envy).
I also cannot stand knowing that at least some of the women there – who are beautiful – are strutting around on purpose trying to attract the attention of other people’s husbands. It kills me to know that my husband cannot help but notice them, and I cannot help but imagine that he would trade me in for one of those hot mamas in a split second if he weren’t such a nice guy. I will never look like them. I will never share their beauty.
No man has ever lusted after me, ever. So it really doesn’t matter what I wear. But I’m nowhere near confident enough to wear clothes or swimsuits that would be considered inappropriate. I actually consider myself somewhat lucky not to have to worry about the inciting lust thing. However, I don’t shop much because I don’t feel I really deserve stylish clothes, because I am not built good enough to wear them.
I’m not sure it’s a religious thing, though. I don’t think women should prance around wearing so little, but it’s not really up to me.
Hey Bec, let me just encourage you to keep pursuing freedom from comparison . . .it’s a trap that seems to be stealing your job. We are much, much more than our bodies. I pray that you can confidently believe that your value is not tied to your appearance and that God can free you to believe that He loves you and others love you, just as you look right now. Hugs.
What a great article! Even though I don’t even wear a swimsuit much anymore, it does get me to thinking about what I wore when I was younger and why I wore it. It doesn’t even have to be about a bikini. It could just be about the style of clothes I wore too. Thanks for getting to the deeper side of this question.
Thanks, Shell! Appreciate you chiming in! You’re right . . .it’s bigger than just one (little) garment! 😉
Isn’t it funny how we struggle with whether to show our bellies but most suits show our legs in their entirety. Why is it ok to show leg but not belly? Thing is, it depends to some degree on when and where we live. In some eras a low cut dress was no big deal, but showing a bit of shapely ankle was scandalous. Something to consider.
Heather! Amen! I was just on your other blog article about swimsuits or similar topic and left a question about bikinis specifically. You will see it at one point LOL. Then I happily saw this after I posted it. Anyway, I knew it would be a hard topic as it can be confusing to so many. I think you have done an excellent and gracious way of explaining your various points of view, reasons etc. I also LOVE the comments, the sister in Christ exchange of humility and grace. What a wonderful exchange going on here.
I always felt uncomfortable with bikinis even as a teen, like I was walking around in underwear that was just waterproof LOL. Part of me I think quite honestly resented being put in a position (my perspective at the time as a 15 year old) where I felt I had to wear a bikini or I was looked at as having low self esteem or not cool etc. At the same time I hated the attention from guys and was pretty shy. As I got older, I got more comfortable in my own skin and learned to not be so affected yet still felt this internal battle, on the one hand we of course want to be pretty on the other hand, why are you looking at me like that perv LOL.
Then when I got saved it became about heart condition like you write here. However, the Lord has to actually teach me not to be ashamed of my body first or feel like I have to over cover in general from religious teaching and from my own experiences of getting too much unwanted attention due to how I was built when I was younger.
I remember The Lord in prayer saying to me, it’s okay daughter, I will tell you if you need to put more on (cover). My issue has been hiding more then revealing. So I think one commented on how would I feel in front of Jesus, not religiously, just honestly? That is what i go by and trust the Holy Spirit to let me know if my choices are off.
I know part of my healing process was that it was important for me to get rooted in Christ and understand His finished work on the cross for Me, that Jesus died for me,. That god loves me because He is good and He chose too. That it’s not based on me but it’s based on Him and it’s all about Him and His work. He obviously is not basing His love for me on my bathing suit choice. I found the more I got to know the Lord, His Word, Who He is, and who He says I am in Him, the more I fell in love with the Lord and the more I began to be led by the Holy Spirit without a lot of effort anymore. It became more about the Lord and others. For example, I wanted to be respectful of other men and other women. Meaning…guys have trouble with seeing us in our underwear which is a bikini lol, so I don’t want to play into that, I also want to be respectful of other wives and not be walking in front of their husbands wearing stuff that may cause an issue for her either and make her feel insecure. Now praise God for those that don’t have an issue, BUT I try now to be prayerful and sensitive about that as well as honest. I think that maybe couples may appreciate when we don’t walk around barely dressed in front of their significant others. Does that at times bug me that we have to even think about that? Honestly, every once in great while since I’m human, but not really anymore now that I am rooted in Christ. Now I have more of an attitude about preserving myself for my future husband, keeping some things wrapped up LOL. It may sound silly to some but I am grateful and I know that God did that work.
Ultimately, I believe it is between the person and God and that the Lord will bring a person to where they need to be if they are willing and have a heart for Him (like with anything else). I also think it is a honest challenge and it’s safe to say this topic is a great one to openly talk about and that we need to learn to have gracious dialogue like you are having here and check our reason behind why we are wearing something for good or worse, then not condemn but grow. Prayer is also a key.
Wow, that was long post. you inspired me!
Thanks Sybella! We are all on a journey of learning how to be free and grace-filled and obedient to the Lord, all at once. Our hearts are in the process of sanctification -so that’s the lens I look through too. 🙂 Thanks for ALL of your comments today Sybella!! 🙂 God bless you on your journey!
I really love and appreciate this post and am going to re-read it before speaking with my daughter again. She’s only 9, but she already wishes she could wear the kinds of (skimpy) suits her friends and cousins wear. I feel I’m setting a good example for her myself, but we haven’t had specific talks about the heart issues involved. Thank you!
Thanks, KatieV. My daughter is about the same age…it’s so important for us to instill in them the truth. 🙂 Thanks for chiming in.
I think you nailed the heart issues! What we wear doesn’t always reflect our heart, but it might and we need to examine why we might wear something less than modest. I have only had a bikini-ish body once (about 25 years ago), so that isn’t my issue, but modesty is definitely something all women face. Finding a swimsuit that is modest is hard, but finding a heart that chases after God is even harder. I shared this on my blog’s Facebook page because I love how you handled a difficult topic!
Thanks so much Jennifer! I appreciate that!
I am disturbed ,that such a topic is discussed.all of you just be yourself .even if you are covered head to toe men who are perverts will be perverts only.wear your bikinis and be happy .dont go by other religious or other people’standards
You are right about some men lusting over anything they can get. The thing that disturbs me is that most women wish to be more covered but feel enormous pressure to wear the skimpy stuff.
I am a Christian woman with four children I have been married for eleven years I wear a bikini and I wear it for MYSELF. I think most of the people commenting on this dumb subject are Mormon so if your husband tells you no you better not do it. Lol I’ve been happily married for eleven years and my husband doesn’t care what I wear as long as I’m happy and confident so be it. This is ridiculous either go on a diet or grow some ball ladies.
This thought provoking article was excellent. I learned a lot glad I followed it threw pintrest. So glad you wrote this one.
Lets keep it scriptural ladies
Thanks, Charlayne. 🙂
Love this article, and completely agree! I think those that dress modestly in a haughtily manner are just as guilty as those who were bikinis for prideful reasons. Like you said, the Pharisees often did all the “right” things – yet did so with their hearts swelled with pride. 🙂
Thanks, Samantha for chiming in! 🙂
If a women is simply wearing a bikini because it is the most “comfortable” or “practical” option, does that then make it “appropriate?” If your daughter chooses to wear short shorts and a belly top to an outside event because it is “hot” outside and she simply says it is the most “comfortable” option, is that still deemed appropriate? When I find myself facing these kind is moral dilemmas and there isn’t a black and white scripture to provide me with an answer, I ask myself “if God were standing in front of me at this very moment, would I be ashamed?” I understand this is where personal conviction comes in, but let me just share a few scriptures based on the topic of modesty.
1 Corthians 6:19-20
19: What? Know ye not that your body is the body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?
20: For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.
These scriptures tell us that not only are our bodies God’s temple, but that our bodies are to glorify Him. Another words, you, inside and OUT, are supposed to represent God. If you are in a bikini, along with everyone else in the world, how would you stand out as a Christian? Well…you wouldn’t.
1 Timothy 2:9 says for “women” to “adorn themselves in modest apparel,” is a bikini modest?
Mathew 5:28 says “whosever looketh on a women to lust after her hath committed adultrey with her already in his heart.” I understand this is on men if they choose to commit this act, and that men will lust over women fully clothed as well, but I personally do not want to contribute to anyone’s sin, and a man is more likely to lust over a woman who is half naked rather than modestly covered. It was Eve that convinced Adam to disobey God, let’s be better than Eve.
Instead of just justifying your choice by saying it is only because of comfort or convenience, study God’s word and seek his guidance on the matter, and let Him give you the answer.
If you knew God was going to be at the beach or pool you were attending, would you wear a bikini? Or anything immodest for that matter? Remember, Hebrews 4:13 says that there is nothing or no one hidden from God’s sight. “The eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth…” 2 Chronicles 16:9.
God sees us whether he’s in standing in front of us, or just looking down upon us from Heaven.
Thanks for your comments, Meshea. I sure hope you read the whole post and visited the links to get a full picture of my point of view on this issue. I don’t wear bikinis anymore, but do I feel like God would be really mad at my 9 months pregnant friend who wore one on a 100 degree plus, summer day in Texas? I’m not so sure. I believe that modesty is a heart issue. The Pharisees dressed the part and followed the religious rules, yet Jesus rejected them. I see that clearly in scriptures. We can dress modestly and still have a heart that’s filled with pride, which I’m pretty sure God hates more than bikinis. A woman who has a heart after Jesus will want to honor him in the way she dresses and will have a heart that will want to draw attention to Him and not to herself. But, ultimately, I believe this is a heart issue versus a wardrobe issue. Perhaps we can agree do disagree. 🙂
Yes, your Texas summer friend can find better options. We are to die to self. Not live for anything but Christ. You don’t die for Christ by dressing like a prostitute. There is no ‘fine line’. It’s defined simply by not exposing our sexual parts. Clear cut, nothing blurry. Mature saints can see it as easy as the gospel. As soon as you include your selfish needs, desires or wants you are not living intentionally as a SERVANT of Christ, you are serving yourself. I would warm this up with syrupy language but the glaringly obvious is the ‘ear tickling’ that is going on in this article.
Appeal to ‘self esteem’? For Christians??! Esteem Christ above all else and you are being steered by the right Captian.
May the Lord bless you and keep you, may you open your bible for yourselves and may you grow greatly in love, respect and servitude to our Master, Creator and Saviour.
Thanks for your comments, Sister in Christ. I love how you said “mature saints can see it.” I completely agree. But, there are a lot of women, reading this blog even, who do not fall in the mature category. I think a more grace-filled approach–one where I’m asking them to explore modesty with thoughtfulness–is what God has called me to do. Not to “tickle anyone’s ears,” but to point them to the truth with gentleness, not judgement. I think most readers conclude that I’m against wearing bikinis by the end of the article, so it’s funny to me that your approach is so antagonistic towards what I’ve written. I think we land on the same answer, though perhaps we take different paths to get there. 🙂 I preach against self-esteem, so I’m not certain where that came from. But, thanks anyway for your comments.
I took time to think about where my reply was coming from because it was troubling me. Thank you for your sweetly worded rebuke.- Sincerely, thanks, for your approach. – I recognize now, that fear led some of what I’d written.
I have a tender spot toward women putting themselves in sexually precarious positions. Opening a door (or leaving a door open) in areas of their lives and unknowingly welcoming darkness with it. I overreact to seeing a scandalously dressed woman walking alone at night also. Fear and dread overwhelm my heart for her. Believe it or not, often times I’m in silent tears for them and them begin begging God to protect them from themselves.
I came back in to explain the source of my strong words. I recognize that the Internet made it easy for me, and I wanted you to know I’m sorry to you and your readers for it.
To be clear; I apologize for my antagonistic approach. Asking believers to explore thoughtfulness in the area of modesty is commendable. Many believers today fear making it clear and thereby blur lines. I truly care about my Sisters learning to be set apart and coming love that about the faith. Those two things came together and made my contribution a bit of a car crash into yours. I hope you can forgive me.
Pray for me? I dearly want to have warmth like yours when it comes to these issues but instead have a passionate protective response that takes over my good intentions. I fool myself into believing it’s only about righteousness but it’s fear, fear that harm will come to these unsuspecting women. I am too often operating from fear (of man).
Wow! Thank you for your gracious reply. I often avoid replying to comments like yours because I’m afraid it doesn’t make any difference. I am humbled that it did. Thank you for your humility too. I think you are right, we are to be set apart. But, I think what sets us apart–in a way that is easier for the unbeliever to see and respond to– is our love. You’ve exhibited that in your response above. Prayers- yes. We all need them! Fear of man (or Wo-man), yes, that’s one most of us struggle with too! And, ironically, I think that’s one of the underlying issues working against women on the modesty issue, in general. We fear that we won’t be accepted unless we dress like everyone else. Or, we won’t be loved if we don’t look “hot.” (I know I used to feel that way!) I wonder if exploring that common root would increase your ability to gently love women through this struggle? 🙂 Thanks again for your grace. 🙂
Heather, just found your post on Pinterest. So glad I read through these comments. Wow, indeed! So impressed by your heart attitude on this issue. Obviously I’m not alone. Keep writing for His glory!
Thank you so much, Melanie! 🙂 I really appreciate that encouragement!
I enjoyed the article. I grew up in a strict religious home. I hated it at times but I realized later in life that it kept me from a lot of things. When I would go to youth camp during the summer, the girls were expected to wear shirts over their swimsuits when we went swimming. There were some that were not allowed to go at all because modesty was a big issue.
I am so glad that I am not bound by religion but by relationship with God. We should embrace our bodies, but not as the world does by showing them off. We are called to be different (not strange). We in the world but not of the world. We are held to a different standard. For example, The world says that if you sleep with someone that is not your husband or wife, you have committed adultery. The Bible says that if you look on a woman and lust you’ve committed adultery in your heart.
Thanks for sharing that Kellie. Yes, I’ve been on a similar journey. The older I get the more I’ve realized how important that whole heart component is. As a younger person, I was just worried about appearances. Now, I know it’s what’s going on our heart that matters sometimes even more! Thanks for your comment!
This is a great article, and I agree with your perspective here – it’s all about your heart condition!! I think Jesus time and again got really frustrated with people who were asking about the magic line between the ‘dos’ and ‘don’ts’ and he kept sighing and saying (effectively) ‘You’re missing the point!’. My experience with bikinis is very similar to yours – I have spent my life striving for that ‘bikini body’ because I wanted to look ‘hot’, and yet knowing that my motivation was completely wrong. I don’t agree that we should be motivated by whether we are ‘causing others to lust’ because I don’t actually think that’s in our jurisdiction – some people lust over naked ankles and necks and it would be an impossible game to try to adapt ourselves to account for someone else’s sin – I believe that is their job. Not to say we shouldn’t be respectful – but in general, I don’t think our motivation should be about someone else’s sin. That’s my opinion – I know not everyone would agree. Where my circumstance differs from the person who wrote this letter is that my husband wants me to wear two piece suits. They are completely socially acceptable around here – only a few of the more conservative people in our church would even think twice about it, and quite a number of women in our church wear bikinis as well. Some because they are tall, and some because it’s so common and such a frugal option that I think most people don’t even consider the ‘whys’ or ‘why nots’ and the more people get used to seeing them, the less the ‘lust’ issue even comes up. Anyway, my husband thinks I should feel confident enough in my body (saggy stretch marks and all) to show it off, because he thinks it’s beautiful and I shouldn’t hide it. I’m still on the fence about this one – get over it and wear one, or not because my motivation is still driven by my insecurity… not sure.
Thanks so much for your comment Samantha! Yes, it’s certainly not cut and dry!
Reading this post was like a breath of fresh air. Your honesty is so liberating!
I thought when I clicked onto this post that I was simply going to see a big, fat ‘no’ in bold. But the way you explored the issue is so refreshing. You are so right, there are so many things entangled with the issue of wearing two pieces, and the issue of modesty isn’t always the key player, I think Christian women don’t like to admit it.
This is a post I will definitely be redirecting friends to when they bring this question up to me!
Love, Sara x
Thanks so much, Sara! 🙂 Life’s too short and Jesus is too amazing to live trapped in legalism, right? Appreciate your comment!
I want to comment but can only reply due to maybe my browser needs updating. To the “Is it to prove something about your value? Is it to draw attention to yourself? Is it to find affirmation that you look good enough? Is your profile picture you in your bikini because you want affirmation of your physical beauty? If you have even a hint of a “yes” answer to any of these questions, than perhaps you need to make a change.”
Who isn’t going to say yes? Those questions are entrapment. Remember that No one can get to heaven by works and God will be rejecting the best among us because of our hearts.
I now that my whole response is very arguable-and if we can just agree to disagree on this topic. But for me its mostly practicality. Skirt suits flop in the water, one pieces look bad because I have curve but a smaller waist so my thighs are sticking out looking grossly bad. Howver a bikini fits my hour glass figure and the fabric is not awkward which I am and anything more awkward is just no. Any boy short swimsuit is just as tight and revealing as skin and who isn’t obsessed or perverty about most anything (talking about men) Men can lust over a fully covered women and a fully covered women can have a heart full of deceit more so than that of the woman next t her in a bikini. This post reminds me of what my husband brought to my attention that the porn stars were more covered and modest at their show than the celebs which looked very skimpy…I said being covered physically doesn’t change your character. Who cares if the porn stars were actually more modest than celebs. But thats exactly my point too. I think it is ultimately between the person and the father. I can’t swim in a dress or shorts unless its more family settings like church event then yeah i wouldn’t prance around in a bikini but if I was a woman of God and there was only 1 women in a bikini I definitely wouldn’t be gossiping and joing the mirage of “holy women” to make her feel bad. I was a sinner and God loves us all and I think we need to get over these barriers. I sure there were people like this around in the time of our Lord and it would have never prevented Him talking to those people. I have my reasons and you have yours-let the rest be mine between me and my Father and you yours and your Father. Shouldn’t worry about this stuff. Scripture in Mark 7 God says that all is vain and called the pharisees hypocrites for washing the outer cup for worship but their heart not being their and called them out on it. What comes out of the heart and is spoken is corruptible. Anything that a man hears cannot defile him and this came out the very mouth of Jesus in the new testament. What we say is more defiling than what we hear or see. We must be careful on how we approach this and keep ourselves in check because we could be more damaging than ever before. The world doesn’t need conformity and accountability-but love and acceptance. So reading the article I do agree that it has to be right in your heart. I am married and i HAVE MY REASONS AND MY HUSBAND IS LOVING ( SORRY FOR ALL CAPS) AND encouraging and if I am most happy wearing a two piece that fancies me than I won’t go to hell any quicker than the guy who has murdered people in his heart/ or for real and later confessed. My God knows me and people judge me and a chrisitan to judge wrongly against another they do not know is very in danger of damnation (I wish I had that verse) we are responsible for how we judge because God may be more favorable than it seems to others.
If she wants to, yes. If she doesn’t want to, no. It’s pretty simple. Freedom in Christ.
The word of God teaches modesty. As I grew in my walk with Christ…my wardrobe began to change. I wore clothings that were too tight and skimpy…And of course it was a self esteem issue. I wanted to draw attention to myself. And now…the only attention I desire is of God. I still struggle with it sometimes…because I am now divorced from my husband…but not from God.
Great post! I love your points on this subject.
As I get older, my bathing suit choices have been based on being comfortable at the pool and beach, and being able to play and actually swim! Also, I like to be modest because some things are just meant for my husband.
Visiting from the Mom2Mom link-up.
Thanks for writing such a grace-based piece. For me the question is, Am I following 1 Peter 3:3-4? “Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.” Is my dress causing someone else to stumble? Am I causing someone to look at me lustfully? These are the questions we should be asking whenever we dress.
Honestly, I think it’s strange that the other women were all wearing t-shirts and shorts. Maybe it was out of modesty, but I imagine it was probably a self-esteem issue, which is every bit as bad (for the person, not for the people around). But that’s a whole different topic!
Personally, I’m wearing a bikini this summer. But that’s also because I’m super pregnant and it was way cheaper, easier and more comfortable to buy a basic black Walmart bikini than to go buy a special maternity suit I’d wear once or twice. Trust me, no one is lusting 😉
LOL-Brittany! 🙂 That last line . . . Yes, I thought that was odd too. I sometimes wonder if we hide from the root of our body image issues and don’t face them under the guise of “modesty.” Modesty is important but it’s a heart issue, not a social status. 🙂 Thanks for commenting!
I highly doubt you’ll see this Brittany but trust me SOMEONE IS lusting. My husband has creepy issues with lust over pregnant bodies and I’m sure more disgusting men than him struggle. There are billions of pervs everywhere so, you go ahead and think that, but believe you me, they are perving on every inch of revealed skin. And men, all men, struggle with women dressed provocatively if they say they don’t than they are most certainly lying. Statistics prove that men think about sex about every seven seconds or some crazy thing like that. Keep it in mind the next time you decide to go around in your underpants and bra (by whatever name society calls them it doesn’t change what they are).
Concerned informed Sister
But it’s not every guy whose gonna be at the pool with you is gonna be a perv. Besides that’s thier heart issue not your problem. If you want to wear a bikini as a woman of God and it’s not for one of the reasons that she talked about up above (which are great btw) then go ahead. Pervy guys need to be taught not to have so much lust. It’s not our problem it’s thiers.
I made a cameo appearance in this one! Woot! 🙂