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Wednesday, March 6, 2013
Because of the Angels
thinking of some beloved particular young women today...
“Because of the Angels”
At the time of our conversion, the heart of stone has been removed from our flesh and the heart of flesh has been placed within us. Our false affections for everything that comes from the world, namely, the boastful pride of life and the lust of the eyes and flesh, are removed from us, and the persisting gift of faith and love for Christ is implanted in our new heart and spirit. Yes, such a gift of true affection for Christ results in obedience. As Christ tells us, “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments”.
Here, I want to discuss a particular unregenerate desire that ought to have been removed from us at the time of regeneration. This desire may still come to the forefront of our consciousness when we fail to keep in step with the Spirit, and thus we are in a journey of putting to death this desire by the power of the Spirit, yes, even the resurrection power that is ours in Christ Jesus. This desire which I speak of here is that of the woman to be worshiped, in essence, for what she is physically. This desire is her longing to be cherished, worshiped, adored, sought after, desired, and relished because of what she is physically. I do not mean to say that such a longing for love is inherently an unregenerate desire. For surely the daughter of the King, a virgin in heart, will deeply desire affection from her heavenly Father, and Christ her elder Brother through the Spirit who pours such love into her heart. But this desire is on the basis of Christ alone and nothing about her physical self or even moral self apart from Christ. But the unregenerate desire to be worshiped is a desire in a woman to be worshiped for a temporal reason by, often times, though not in all cases, an inordinate source. The primary example I refer to is the woman who seeks to be worshiped by a man, whom she is not pledged to marry, because of her physical beauty. Does the very mention of this example appall you? Does it sound so far removed from you, dear sister, that you feel that you have scarce harbored such a desire inside of you prior to this day? May the Spirit reveal to you the infinite subtleties within you that are forms of this unregenerate desire. For if you would but look at the world around you, the women around you, the media, the culture, the music, the style, the dress, yes, even within your own consciousness, it may surprise you to realize that this very desire has infiltrated the vast majority of the hearts of all women. Most women unknowingly or knowingly seek to be worshiped by men who are not their own.
But dear sister, there is an example that the Lord has shown me that applies very directly to this sinful desire which results in a sinful condition of the soul that evades much of our behavior. When Paul healed a man at Lystra, the crowds saw what he had done and said, “The gods have become like men and have come down to us”. They began to worship Paul and Barnabas as though they themselves were gods. What was their response when they heard these remarks from the people? They tore their robes and rushed out into the crowd, crying out and saying, “Men, why are you doing these things? We are also men of the same nature as you, and preach the Gospel to you that you should turn from these vain things to a living God, WHO MADE THE HEAVEN AND THE EARTH AND THE SEA AND ALL THAT IS IN THEM. In the generations gone by He permitted all the nations to go their own ways; and yet He did not leave Himself without witness, in that He did good and gave you rains from heaven and fruitful seasons, satisfying your hearts with food and gladness” (Acts 14).
This response of Paul and Barnabas ought to be our attitude and response to worship that we receive from men. Our hearts and mouths should cry, “Far be it from me that I should be worshipped by you, dear brother. Worship the Lord alone for He is worthy of glory and honor and thanks”. Or would be steal His glory and relish the worship of our selves by other men? Think of all of the time, money, energy, and heart that you use to make yourself physically desirable for the worship by random men who are not your husband!
The core heart condition is that you seek to be worshipped. You are trying to steal the glory that belongs to the Lord of the universe and, interestingly, to your husband or your husband to be, if you are not yet married. For a man ought not to have his head covered, since he is the image and glory of God; but the woman is the glory of man. For man does not originate from woman, but woman from man; for indeed man was not created for the woman’s sake, but woman for the man’s sake. THEREFORE THE WOMAN OUGHT TO HAVE A SYMBOL OF AUTHORITY ON HER HEAD, BECAUSE OF THE ANGELS. (1 Cor 11:7-11). I have described in a prior chapter that we can learn from the concept of head coverings that, at the very least, we are to dress in such a way that shows we are in subjection to Christ and our familial authorities, that we are not looking for any degree of an affair with a man, and in a way that shows us as being distinct from the sensuality of the day.
Dear sister, fallen angels, demons, can watch what you do in private and in the secret place. And they can try to tempt you accordingly. They can tempt you through other men. They can tantalize you with worship through the form of other men’s looks and actions towards you. The entire culture’s worship of the female body is demonic! You need a sign of authority in the way you act and dress both in private and in public. Read below what a Puritan brother spoke of the symbol of authority:
“In the assembly you meet with angels and devils; angels observe your garb and carriage and devils tempt you. Therefore, be covered because of the angels. The practice of women (who come hither with a shameless impudence into the presence of God, men and angels) neither suits with modesty nor conveniency…(Such boldness) feeds your own pride, and provokes …others of your rank to imitate your vanity. Now we should rather please God than men; better never please men than offend God” Sermons on Titus 2:11-14, Complete Works, vol. 16, p. 138 of Thomas Manton.
May our hearts long for all to worship the King alone and not us. Far be it from us that men should worship us, and worser yet, sin, and stumble because of us. Remember Christ’s Words, “Woe to the world because of its stumbling blocks! For it is inevitable that stumbling blocks come; but woe to that man through whom the stumbling block comes!” (Matt 18:7) I think back to an example of my immaturity as a teenager in my freshman year at college. I was taking a Calculus class taught by a graduate student (TA). I knew he had his eye on me and he seemed to be following me wherever I went. I began to hate his presence and to despise everything about him. About a week into the course I went to the TA of the other section of the same course and pleaded with him to let me join his class and he agreed. But the first TA still kept wandering after me wherever I was, so blatantly so, that I was almost tormented by it. I was discussing with mom recently what I would do differently now, after 7 years of progressive sanctification. I realize that I would have soon told him the Gospel and he would have left me alone. I would not have allowed the mysterious aura of my silence to continue as he followed me. I would have broken the silence with testimonies of our great salvation.
The demonic and satanic forces of seduction and lust influence the state of affairs around us and the way ungodly men treat us. We must constantly break the aura of the “glorious mystery” of our physical beauty by pointing to Christ, the One whose beauty and glory is resplendent and infinite. We must remain broken and contrite, filled with tears of joy and Godly sorrow. I must tell you: it is much less likely that a man will sinfully worship a woman who wholeheartedly worships Christ and points to Christ in all that she says, does, and thinks. When you carry the aroma of Christ, when your demeanor carries the righteousness of Christ, when you are blameless in the inner room of your house and heart, and His glory covers you, there is little that evil forces will see and utilize to cause you or another to stumble.