“That shirt really is too large for you,” my fellow work colleague told me, looking at me through her long false lashes and blond hair extensions. “You really should have this smaller size.”
“But, I think I should get the larger size…” I said, with less conviction than I ought to have had.
“Why? It is not too tight!” she exclaimed.
“Um, okay… I suppose I’ll wear it,” I agreed.
I went to change, taking the tiny tee and stretching it over my head. “It’s not so bad,” I thought to myself, “I really fit in with all the other girls dressing this way. Why should I want to hide myself? Besides, no one will see me, right?”
I went out to the shop front and proceeded to greet customers and fill shelves.
It did not take long for me to realise that this tiny tee presented a number of problems:
- It rode up when I lifted my arms to reveal my belly.
- It rode up when I bent over to reveal my back.
- It stretched over my bust—so much so that the logo was distorted.
It was just too tight and too tiny.
I must confess (now with shame) that at the time I had much less shame over my self-inflicted awkwardness than I ought to have had… until one of the sisters from church waved at me from outside the shop window—and came in to say hello.
I could have died.
Upon reflection, I doubt that she noticed anything wrong in regards to my attire—but I knew I was not holding myself to a high enough standard—and that was making me feel uncomfortable. I conversed with her awkwardly, my heart racing slightly. I wanted the conversation to be over quickly so I could remedy my situation.
If I could do it over again I would definitely do it differently and make a stand. I certainly regretted my decision.
It was when I stumbled upon this verse, I was impressed upon with the importance of listening to that inner voice:
“Behold, I come as a thief. Blessed is he that watches, and keeps his garments, lest he walk naked, and they see his shame” (Revelation 16:15).
Okay, so I did not actually lose all my clothes—so what does this verse mean?
While when I first saw this I laughed over what seemed like an absurd statement (all I could think of was “Blessed is he that keeps his shirt on!”), the beauty of it soon became clear to me: God wants me to live in such a way so as that I will never be ashamed of what I have done. I never have to be ashamed of what I do. If I keep myself pure in looking forward to the Coming of the Lord, I can stand before the Lord in judgment with confidence.
When I chose to wear the tiny tee, I was not keeping my garments. I was not on guard. Heaven and purity were not in my focus. I had reason to be ashamed when my sister noticed me.
It did not have to be that way. If I had simply refused to compromise and decided to make a stand in every situation, I would have had no reason to be ashamed.
God does not want us to be ashamed of ourselves, and has given us a way to live our lives so that we never have to be ashamed. My life has been blessed in many ways because I have chosen to live by godly principles! Fortunately I have no life-changing regrets.
I have a wonderful Christian husband because I looked for a man who was also walking by God’s guidelines. I stayed pure before marriage because I put boundaries in place to stay that way.
In the areas that I know I have done His will, I have no regrets. I have no reason to be ashamed.
God wants the best kind of life for you. A life with no regrets. An abundant life (cf. John 10:10). He does not enjoy seeing you suffer unnecessarily! He has given you everything you need to live a good and godly life (cf. 2 Peter 1:3). Examine yourself in the light of His word, and choose the excellent things in life according to His standard:
“And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment, so that you may approve what is excellent, and so be pure and blameless for the day of Christ” (Philippians 1:9, 10, ESV).
When you put the wisdom of God’s word into practice in your life, you will have no reason ever to be ashamed. You will have no regrets. You will be able to face God—and those you meet along the way—with boldness and confidence. You will be victorious. You will keep your garments—and they will be white. You will not be ashamed—and God will not be ashamed of you:
“[Those] who have not soiled their garments, […] they will walk with me in white, for they are worthy. The one who conquers will be clothed thus in white garments, and I will never blot his name out of the book of life. I will confess his name before my Father and before his angels” (Revelation 3:4, 5)
My prayer for you is Paul’s prayer—that your love and knowledge will grow, so that you can discern what things are excellent and never have reason to be ashamed (cf. Philippians 1:9, 10).
(Related articles I have enjoyed reading: Motive to Modesty)