Using Feminine Power for Good
Growing up, commitment to my future spouse had always been to simply save my physical purity for him – a commitment I didn’t always live out very successfully. I viewed purity as “the edge of a cliff” and told myself that as long as I didn’t fall off the cliff, I could inch my way as close to the line as possible, and still be right with God and honoring to my future husband. But when I was sixteen, God completely renovated my understanding of true purity. One day I stumbled upon a verse in Proverbs 31, the chapter in the Bible that describes a wife of godly character. “She does [her husband] good and not evil,” it said, “all the days of her life” (Prov. 31:12). The words tugged at my heart. All the days of her life? That meant even before I met my future husband or knew his name! As I allowed God’s Spirit to search my heart, I realized I hadn’t been doing my future husband good all the days of my life. I’d been deceiving myself into believing I was living in purity; but in reality I was skilled at the art of seductive femininity – pursuing guys and drawing their attention to myself through flirting, flaunting my body, and subtle manipulation.
In this era of sex-obsessed masculinity, all too many young women have fallen into the trap of seductive femininity. We are taught by the culture from a very young age that the only way a woman can be considered beautiful is if she becomes sensuous and sexually aggressive. Most of us grow up believing the lie that the only way to be approved by guys is to become as much like a Victoria’s Secret vixen as we possibly can. Instead of using our feminine power to motivate guys toward purity, we fuel the problem of lust and sexual perversion by catering to men’s debased sexual desires. Proverbs 7 describes the ways of a seductive woman:
And behold, a woman comes to meet him, Dressed as a harlot and cunning of heart. She is boisterous and rebellious, her feet do not remain at home; she is now in the streets, now in the squares, and lurks by every corner. So she seizes him and kisses him and with a brazen face she (speaks) to him (Prov. 7:10-13 NASB).
This woman is physically aggressive toward guys, sensually dressed, always “on the prowl” for men, and uses strategic flirting and manipulation to lure guys into her seductive power. She is careless of her purity and her heart, and she looks to male approval to bring her pleasure. Sound like anyone you know? I’m guessing the answer is yes, because her description fits the majority of young women in our modern culture, even most Christ-professing ones. It is considered normal for a young woman to be aggressive, flirtatious, and sensual toward guys and use her feminine allure to manipulate the opposite sex. But what does God say about this kind of woman?
“Do not let your heart turn aside to her ways, do not stray into her paths; for she has cast down many wounded, and all who were slain by her were strong men. Her house is the way to hell, descending to the chambers of death” (Prov. 7:25-27).
Wow. I’d say it’s time we start taking our interaction with the opposite sex a bit more seriously. As set-apart women, we are called to reflect His lily-white, radiant beauty, and not a hollow sex-appeal of our own making. Countless Christian young women are dressing and acting far more like the seductive woman in Proverbs 7 than the radiant, dignified, beautiful woman of God in Proverbs 31. And in so doing, we are only causing guys to sink deeper into the pit of twisted sexuality and animalistic manhood. Just take a look at what a few Christ-built young men had to say about today’s women and their seductive power:
I often hear young women saying that they want a noble, heroic man who won’t treat them like a sex object. These girls are making those statements in a tight mini skirt with a see-through tank top that is, well let’s just say, a little bit more than revealing. A woman is supposed to be mysterious, and that is one of the reasons that a man is drawn to her. When a woman exposes her curves to a man, it leaves little room for him to think about anything other than, well…sex. A Christian male will be more attracted to a woman’s heart and soul, than the curves of her body. Women cannot just complain about the lack of wholesome men in the world. We need wholesome women as well. When we see an uncompromising conviction in the standards that women have, we will start to see the standards that men have begin to change as well.
– Rich, 22
Even this week in the youth group that I lead, I found several young females who were wearing clothing (in weather that usually requires coats, hats, and maybe scarves) that was beyond inappropriate. Low-cut tops, short shorts, tight shirts are all simple clothing items that can be changed, not only to help guys but also protect and honor the women themselves. Further, things like teasing (with sexual innuendo), provocative looks, suggestive conversations are not honoring and quite destructive.
– Nathan, 24
The typical modern girl has lost all sense of propriety. Whether it’s the way she dresses or the way she acts with guys, most boundaries have been removed. Girls wear clothes that draw the eye to their body in some way (too tight, too short, lines/designs that accentuate body parts). Girls are very comfortable with flirting and teasing. Girls talk about once-taboo “girl” topics candidly with their boyfriends or guy friends. And all of these things open up new avenues for lust and impure thoughts.
– Tim, 23
Women, craving attention and affection, have bought the lie we fed them that if they want us to notice them, then they’d better flaunt what they’ve got and be willing to satisfy our sexual appetites. Therefore, attire shifted, as did behavior. We told them to flaunt, so they flaunt. We told them to satisfy, so they satisfy. It has gotten to the point that we as men now expect such behavior. Even a man seeking to pursue purity is now hammered with images constantly assailing that desire for purity. A guy can’t even walk down a mall corridor anymore without having to constantly avert his eyes.
– Jeremy, 20
Most of us continually justify our seductive behavior, thinking that as long as we are a cut above Paris Hilton, we are being modest and dignified. Our culture’s standards for feminine purity have sunk to non-existent. We all too often compare ourselves to the perversion all around us and assume we are doing pretty well if we walk the beach in anything more than barely-there string bikini. And as long as our teasing and flirting is a bit tamer than a Christina Aguilera video, we think we are living wholesome lives. But what is God’s standard?
“…The unmarried woman cares about the things of the Lord, that she may be holy both in body and in spirit…” (1 Cor. 7:34).
“But she who lives in pleasure is dead while she lives” (1 Tim. 5:6).
“…that the women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with propriety and moderation, not with braided hair or gold or pearls or costly clothing, but, which is proper for women professing godliness, with good works” (1 Tim. 2:9).
To be holy in both body and spirit is to be the entire focus of our lives; not to be a step or two above the world’s twisted ways, but to be completely separate from the world (in dress, actions, and attitude) and completely set-apart for Christ. This is not just a decision to wear a one-piece swimsuit instead of a bikini or to wear a slightly longer mini-skirt than what is currently fashionable. Rather, it is an entire shift of lifestyle and focus – it’s allowing the very Spirit of Christ to enter into our being and transform us into pictures of purity from the inside out: “Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s” (1 Cor. 6:19-20).
When God awakened me to understand true purity, He taught me how to use my feminine power for good and not evil; to bless my future husband instead of rob from him. I no longer pursued temporary relationships that chipped away at my heart, mind, emotions, and physical purity. I no longer flirted with guys or used sensuality to draw their attention. Even in friendships with guys, I became extremely careful. I determined that the next time I would give any part of myself away would not be until I knew he was the one God had chosen for me to spend the rest of my life with. Even then, it would only be with the gentle, step-by-step guidance of my King. Honoring my future husband meant keeping my heart, emotions, body, and even my thought life in check – living a lifestyle of lily-whiteness for him in every possible way. And finally, I understood what it meant to be a virtuous, rather than seductive, young woman!
We cannot glorify God through flirting, flaunting our body, or using our seductive power to win the approval of guys. We don’t draw attention to Christ through manipulation and sex-appeal – we only draw attention to ourselves and use selfish manipulation to bring guys down. If we want to see a positive change in the animalistic attitude of today’s men, it’s time we stop catering to the problem. It’s time we begin to live as if we actually are the holy temple of the Most High God. Next time you are tempted to flirt, flaunt, or seduce, remember that you are called to live for more than just yourself; you have the amazing privilege of honoring God and your future husband, starting today, all the days of your life.*