What Should I Wear?

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We started Set 8 of the Bright Lights curriculum, titled “Daughters of the King,” on February 26.  If you belong to Christ, then you have been born into the family of God, and the King of the universe calls you His daughter!  With this amazing calling comes a serious responsibility: we are representatives of our heavenly Father everywhere we go.  In this set, we will discuss how to be an example of our King to everyone we meet.

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We’re going to start with a topic that can sometimes be difficult—what should our outward appearance be like?  After all, we’re representing our great and glorious God.  Shouldn’t this calling affect every area of our life, including our appearance?  Since we do not represent ourselves, but the Lord, the question we should ask is not, “What do I like?” but rather “What pleases the Lord?”  Remember, we do not own ourselves—God does! (1 Cor. 6:19-20)

It is important to stress that that the way we dress is not by any means the most important area of our lives.  It is certainly not the most important thing to God, and therefore it should not be the most important thing to us either.

1 Samuel 16:7—“But the Lord said to Samuel, ‘Do not look at his appearance or at his physical stature, because I have refused him. For the Lord does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.’”

The Bible makes it clear that it is much more important for us to focus on the “inward” than the “outward,” but this does not mean that the outward appearance is is irrelevant or unimportant.  God does care about what we wear.  It does make a difference. While it does matter what we wear, it matters much more that our heart is right before the Lord.  When our heart is right, this will naturally affect every other area of our lives—including our outward appearance.

 

There is an enemy who is seeking to pervert anything he can.  Satan doesn’t overlook the issue of clothing or consider it to be insignificant.  Instead, he seeks to use it in many ways for his purposes.  All around us, we see how Satan has attacked and prevailed in the area of clothing.  Some of the strategies of the enemy are:

  • To expose—creating immodesty, temptation, and lust
  • To distort the roles of men and women—urging men to be like women, and women to be like men
  • To distract—directing our focus to unimportant, outward things rather than the inner qualities which truly matter
  • To ensnare—making people slaves to fashions and fads
  • To breed discontentment—causing people to believe they need to have the right outward appearance in order to be happy

How many times have we stared into our overflowing closet and complained that we had nothing to wear?  Or maybe we tried on six different outfits before deciding on something that we liked?  It is not wrong to look nice or dress up.  God created women to be beautiful.  However, our beauty should not bring glory to us, but to our Creator!  The Bible tells us that the beauty we have in this earthly life is temporary (Prov. 31:30).  The inner beauty is what truly matters.

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What Influences Our Decisions Regarding Clothing?

  • Pride—One of the main things to watch out for is pride.  It’s amazing how pride can creep in and influence so many different areas of our lives without us even realizing it.  Are we trying to draw attention to ourselves hoping that people will notice us because we are pretty, slender, stylish, or important?  Are we trying to imitate the latest styles (even if they are sloppy and unattractive) hoping that we’ll be popular if we wear what is “in” or “cool”?  Pride is seeking glory for ourselves rather than acknowledging that all of the glory belongs to the Lord.  Pride causes us to conform to the world’s standards of modesty (Rom. 12:1-2).
  • Fear—Though some wear worldly clothing to attract attention, others wear worldly clothing for the opposite reason: to not attract attention.  This is also a wrong motivation.  These people are terrified of being conspicuous of standing out in a crowd.  Sometimes they are so self-conscious that they will wear anything—even something immodest—so that they won’t be different from other people.  Have you ever acted or dressed in a certain way for one group of friends, and then acted like a totally different person around another group of people?  This is a good indicator that we are trying to please people.  Remember, the Lord never changes! So if we are trying to please Him, we will allow His Word to determine what is right, and our actions won’t be influenced by our surroundings.
  • Insecurity—As girls, we naturally want others to accept and to like us.  We tend to look for approval from other people, thinking that if other people like us, then we’ll be happy and content. But if we have this attitude, we will always be insecure. Fulfillment and security can only be found in the Lord (Psalm 16:8-9, 11).  He is all we truly need.  When we remember who we are in Christ, and trust in Him to take care of us—that’s when we’ll experience true security. When we are secure in the Lord, then we are able to focus on exalting His reputation and ministering to others, without worrying about ourselves or what others might be thinking about us.

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Have you ever been with a particular friend whom you really wanted to impress?  We tend to choose the people whom we want to please. But the truth is, we can’t please everyone.  Who do you want to please or impress?  Your friends?  Or the God who made you, gave His life for you, and has given you the privilege of being His representative here on this earth?  We should carefully evaluate what influences our clothing decisions and make sure that our motives are pleasing to the Lord.  It is so important that we bring our desires under God’s authority and have a heart that desires to to seek and please Him.

During small groups, we discussed the three wrong motives that we can have for our clothing choices, and what it means to be an ambassador of Christ.  Then for our our activity time, we did skits… everyone’s favorite! :)

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How to Receive a Rebuke

On November 22 we studied a difficult topic, but one that is important to growing in wisdom.  We learned about receiving rebuke. Everyone will receive rebukes at some point in life. They will come from all directions: parents, teachers, friends, enemies, and God. Proverbs tells us that a wise person will learn from a rebuke, but a foolish person will get angry when corrected. If you are able to receive a rebuke in a godly way, this is a true sign of wisdom and maturity (Prov. 9:8, Prov. 12:1, Prov. 15:10, Prov. 15:31-32.

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We asked the question, is rebuke good or bad?  In Heb. 12:5-11 we read that God brings correction and rebukes into our lives in order to teach and train us. This is a demonstration of His love . Since God Himself rebukes, we know that rebukes can be used for good.  2 Tim. 3:16—God’s Word is a tool for correction and training (2 Tim. 3:16). We should take seriously the rebukes and instructions that God has written in the Bible.  Sometimes God uses other people to do the rebuking for Him (like Nathan and David)–usually our parents at this stage in life. If we handle the rebuke properly, we learn the lesson God is trying to teach us.

When rebuked by someone, our normal responses are to defend ourselves (“I did not”), blame others (like Adam blamed Eve), blame the rebuker (“You did it too”), get angry, argue back, or ignore them.  It is natural human nature to respond in these ways. You don’t have to practice it! Why is it so difficult to receive rebukes? Pride is what keeps us from admitting that we are wrong—especially if someone else tells us.  Pride is perhaps one of the biggest enemies that we face in life – it often keeps us from making choices that honor the Lord. Humility is the key to applying this lesson in our lives. Remember: God gives grace to the humble! (1 Peter 5:5).

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If we want to respond properly we must make a conscious decision of how we are going to act when God brings a rebuke into our lives. We should make that decision now.  Those who are wise actually desire rebukes because they want to learn, grow, and remove sin and folly from their lives. A wise person knows that there are weaknesses in his or her life that may be plain to others but they themselves might not see. Others have a different perspective and are able to see things that are hidden to us.

No one likes being rebuked, but it is an important part of the process of being conformed into the image of Christ. The challenge is to stop thinking of the rebukes as something negative, and begin seeing how God uses them for our good.  The key to applying this lesson is humility. If we have a humble spirit, we will be able to admit that we have faults and need to grow—and even thank those who rebuke us!

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For our activity we did small group skits (everyone cheers!).  The girls love doing skits and by coming up with skits relating to the lesson, they get think about how the topic applies in everyday situations.  Here’s some pictures of the skits:

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Mom scolding you when you didn’t clean your room like she told you to
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Receiving rebuke from your teacher when you disobey the rules
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Your sisters correcting you while you are doing your chores
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Being rebuked by a police officer because you were speeding

See you all on December 4th!

Disputing and Arguing

January 16 was our first meeting for the new year, but the weather kept many at home that night.  Our topic was on Disputing and Arguing (we skipped ahead of the lesson on Disrespect) and it was a challenging lesson for all of us “expert” complainers.

“Do all things without murmurings and disputings: that ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world.”  – Philippians 2:14

Everyone faces irritations and the temptation to respond in a harsh, unkind, prideful, and annoyed ways.  So how are we supposed to “do all things without murmuring and disputing”?  Is it possible? After all, doesn’t everyone have arguments?

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On our own, it is impossible to go through life without disputing and arguing.  However, God will help us and give us the strength to resist the temptation to argue and overcome this tendency in our lives.  With God’s help, we must learn to overcome our natural human reactions and learn to replace them with Christ-like responses – such as meekness, humility, self-control, and overcoming evil with good.

Arguing can have very damaging consequences, especially in the area of relationships.  For example, arguing can cause siblings to hate each other, parents and children to resent each other, friends to separate, and marriages to end in divorce.

Pride is the root cause of many arguments.  The argument keeps going when someone is unwilling to humble themselves and let the other person with the argument.  When it comes to winning or losing an argument, we need to understand that the “loser” is actually the “winner”.  The one who is willing to give in and humbly “esteem others better than themselves” (Philippians 2:3-4) is the true winner in God’s eyes.  As is often the case, God’s thinking is exactly opposite to our own natural inclinations.

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It is hard to let the other person win the argument, especially when we think that we are right.  We need help, because we can’t do it on our own.  God has promised that He will give some help to those who humble themselves (1 Peter 5:5).  If we look for ways to humble ourselves every day, we can expect God to work on our behalf in a mighty way.  It takes two prideful people to argue.  If one person chooses to be humble, the argument stops.

It usually only takes one person to clear up a conflict.  If one person is willing to obey the Lord, amazing things can happen.  It’s not your responsibility to force others to work things out, but rather to make sure that you are obedient to the Lord and leave the results to Him.  We finished our lesson by reading Colossians 3:12-14:

“Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering;  Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye.  And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness.”

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For our activity (which we forgot to take pictures of), we had “Detective Deborah” visit us and ask us to help her solve some cases that she had on her hands.  She heard about a group of “bright girls” and knew that we were just the ones to help her out. :)  She had four mysteries for us to solve: the Puzzling Pencil Problem, the Hockey Fight Conundrum, the Case of the Chore War, and the Mysterious Skirt Skirmish.  In each of these cases, it started with a peaceful afternoon and erupted into a full scale conflict, shattering the serenity with harsh words and raised voices.

It was our job to investigate each of the cases, working though a list of questions to help us identify what caused each argument.  Each mystery was solved when we found out what the root problem was and found a Scripture verse to correct the conflict.  We had a lot of fun being detectives for the evening. :)  Click here for instructions and scenarios.

As usual, we ended our time together sharing snacks and fellowship.  See you all on January 30!

Humility

On November 29, all twenty girls and leaders gathered for a Bright Lights meeting on humility.

We learned that the word humility comes from the word Latin “humus” which means “of the ground” or “dirt”.  Humility is putting ourselves below or underneath, or giving someone else the upper position; it is an attitude of service and submission toward others.  We also talked about pride and its terrible consequences, and how it keeps us from being strong for the Lord in our youth.

During our lesson time, we were interrupted by a breaking newsflash from BLN (Bright Lights Network) News.  Reporter Alicia Sparks filled us in on an incidence that happened at a mission center donation processing hall.

Elizabeth and Jennifer (a.k.a. Sara and Havala)

From watching the security cameras at the center, it seems that two wealthy sisters – Miss Anna and Miss Sophia Proudhart – sold a very valuable gold ring and gave all of the proceeds as a donation. Yet, both of them fell dead after saying that they had given all the money.

Anna Proudhart – having just given a donation of 4 – ahem – $2,000

An interview with Elizabeth and Jennifer from the mission center indicated that they believed that pride – wanting to make themselves look as good as possible – was the reason for the fall and destruction of the Proudhart sisters… similar to the story of Ananias and Sapphira from the book of Acts.

Special thanks to Hannah, Havala, Deborah, and Abby for helping with the skit!

Anna, Sophia, and Alicia (a.k.a. Hannah, Deborah, and Abby)

We wrapped up with an object lesson using balloons.  We talked about how a balloon with no air is soft and pliable – in the same way God is able to use a humble person to bring Him much glory.  I then had a volunteer come up and blow up a balloon as much as she could and we talked about how a balloon with air is puffed up and can only be one shape – in the same way pride makes us consumed with ourselves and useless for God’s work.  Then we popped the balloon to remind us that pride is dangerous and leads to destruction.  As young ladies seeking to be bright lights for Jesus, we want to be humble – like the soft and pliable balloon – so that God can use us for His glory.

For our activity we divided into small groups to complete a humility test containing questions that required answers from the Bible.  However, the girls weren’t able to use a Bible, but rather had to use a set of note cards that had the Bible verses that they needed.  The only problem was that there was only one set of cards and so the teams had to trade to get the cards they needed.  To complicate things even more, there were 4 different penalty cards to slow the teams down.  Whenever a team started doing jumping jacks, singing “Joy to the World” really loud, lining up to get a drink at the water fountain, or running upstairs and back down again – everyone knew that they had gotten a penalty card.  It was a fun activity.  Unfortunately, we were having too much fun to take pictures.

As always we enjoyed our tea and fellowship time.  Autumn brought chocolate cupcakes, and Louisa & Olivia brought pumpkin bars (thanks girls!).  We have a lot of talented cooks in our group!

Enjoying tea, snacks, and fellowship

Remember, we will be going caroling for our next meeting… don’t forget to bring some goodies for the cookie plates we’d like to make.