This is an appeal for all Christian sisters to consider the wearing of modern bathing suits, such as are found in clothing stores everywhere. This extremely immodest custom of the world has subtlety crept into our ranks until it is common place, even at church sponsored events, summer camps, and Christian schools. Mixed swimming in a state of near nudity is widely accepted among us. This ought not to be! We have been lured into this worldly practice by the enemy of our souls, and many of us have not even stopped to give it a second thought.
Well, let's take this opportunity to stop and think about it. Swimming suits, as they are commonly worn, reveal the body except for the area normally covered by underwear. Most of us realize that walking around in public in our underwear would be quite immodest. But if we add some color and design to the fabric, suddenly, it's OK? Will this attire allow us to reflect the purity and modesty that God wants His daughters to portray?
Because our enemy has been successful in getting the vast majority of Christian sisters to wear worldly swimwear, he has torn down our womanly dignity and modest reserve in all areas of our lives. It is impossible to be a modest and pure-hearted woman in a worldly swim suit. When a woman publicly bares her body all except for the most private areas, she makes a bold statement about her lack of morality. This may come as a shocking revelation to some, but it is true. We may be blindly following this worldly fashion, and be in complete ignorance of the moral significance, but none-the-less, the message is being given loud and clear to all who observe.
By “fitting in with the world” in this way, we are displeasing God. If most Christians agree that mini-skirts or halter tops are not modest attire, then how could a swim suit, even those so-called “modest” ones with the tiny little skirts that barely cover the crotch be considered modest? If they aren't modest, why are professed Christians wearing them in public?
Please consider these three basic facts:
Fact # 1: Sitting or walking next to a waterfront doesn't change what people see when they look at your body!
If a swimsuit would be considered immodest at the grocery story, what makes it modest at the pool or lake? Everyone can see the uncovered skin, and it is no less tantalizing to the men at the beach than elsewhere.
Fact #2. The most immodest garment that a woman chooses to wear in public (i.e. swimwear) sets the tone for the rest of her wardrobe.
You see, the skimpiest attire we are willing to wear publicly, (or what we would be willing to wear if our bodies were trim and in shape) molds our view of modesty. When our reserve is broken by wearing immodest swimming attire, it alters our sense of decency. It opens up other avenues for the devil to work in our lives. Since the majority of Christian women's swimwear is virtually like the world's, we shouldn't be surprised that the divorce rate among Christians is just like the world's! Sexual purity and modesty are closely linked.
If we have no shame at showing our bare backs and shoulders, and our bare legs all the way to our crotch in swimwear, and perhaps even our midriff, we won't sense much shame when we wear immodest clothes elsewhere, even to church. Why should we? We've already shown it at the pool, so why should we be so diligent to hide it elsewhere? This is one of the reasons we see shamefully immodest clothing showing up at church.
Are we training our daughters to be immodest when they grow up? If a Christian mother is willing to publicly wear a modern bathing suit, she must realize the total loss of her influence over her daughter in matters of modesty. How can she bare her thighs all the way up in her swim suit, and then tell her daughter she can't wear a clingy tank top or short shorts downtown. Her daughter will see right through the hypocrisy, and though she may outwardly comply with her mother's wishes, her heart will rebel against the double standard. This is one of the reasons we have lost many of our youth to the world. They are weary of our rationalizing away God's standards in the area of Christian modesty, and other areas as well.
Hot weather provides an opportunity for women to reveal the state of their hearts. Our clothes, or lack thereof, speak loudly. Comfort isn't really the issue. A modestly dressed, fully clothed woman can be comfortable in hot weather. There is NO reason for a godly woman ever to expose her bare thighs and back publicly, no matter the weather or circumstance. The principles of Christian modesty should also be applied to the clothing worn in gyms and other sporting activities. But that is another subject for another time.
Fact #3. Godly men who are striving to maintain pure minds will not purposely choose to go where worldly women are exposing their bodies in worldly swimming suits.
This brings up the subject of mixed swimming. A godly husband is to keep his eyes only for his wife, and not to lust after other women. A godly father is responsible for protecting his daughter from the eyes of lustful men. If a man, young or old, places himself in a setting where women are immodestly revealing their bodies, he is inviting temptation. If we are not of the world, we need to be willing to be separate from the world whenever the influence tends to lead downward. Godly church leaders will not condone mixed swimming at church sponsored events, unless all the women are required to cover their bodies modestly.
For centuries women have covered themselves in public, even when swimming. Not that long ago, swimwear included stockings that covered the legs, long sleeves that covered the arms and ample, loose covering on the torso. And even the ungodly, worldly women wore this modest attire at public swimming areas. Our society has become so degenerate that we have become blind to the rampant depravity.
In these last days, the degradation of society is at its lowest. The fashion trend is heading toward nudity. A leading fashion designer predicts that in five years the bare-bosom look will be totally accepted. If we are following the trends of fashion, where will we end up?
This article is not written to condemn anyone, but it is designed to help open up our understanding to God's ways. Much to my personal shame and embarrassment, I wore worldly swimming suits most of my life, until just recently. I never thought a thing about it. I was raised that way, and my friends and fellow church members wore them. I raised my daughters to wear them. I didn't even realize it should be a concern to Christian women. I am amazed at my former blindness! The Lord is opening up my eyes, and this is being shared with my Christian sisters in the hope that your eyes will be opened as well.
Fortunately, there are acceptable options for Christians. Private pools can be reserved for groups of the same sex. There are modest bathing suits available on web sites designed to meet this need. But you won't find them in a regular store.
When the sun is shining brightly in the summer, are you shining brightly for Jesus? Or have you joined with the world in a parade of near nakedness as you enjoy the sunny days at the pool, lake or beach? This summer, make sure that the shame of your nakedness does not appear, identifying you as a worldling! This is one area that we must be willing to stand apart from the world if we are genuine Christians.
(These are suggestions for modest swimwear for non-mixed swimming or a private, family swimming event. Please seek the Links page for information on where to purchases these swimsuits.)
For more on the subject, please see:
How Naked is Naked by Rick and Gwen Shorter
Double Standard Exposed by Joe Crews
The Public Undressing of America