“The summer winds came blowing in across the sea,” sang Sinatra. School has ended and summer is here. Of course, summer does not officially begin until near the end of June when we experience the solstice, which is the day that the sun peaks along the northern tropic line (it is the day of the year with the most sunlight). With the summer season comes both the opportunity to enjoy the outdoors and all of the activities associated with that, including the temptation to remove clothing to the point that we are no longer dressed appropriately, the temptation to visit water parks, public swimming pools and other places where scantily-clad individuals present a spiritually unhealthy environment.
First, we need to remember what Jesus said in Matthew 5:28, “But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.” Now certainly a person can lust after someone who is dressed modestly. So why would one need encouragement from someone who is dressed immodestly? The fact is that one who is dressed immodestly only provides additional incentive for someone to lust.
Second, going to places where others are dressed immodestly subjects us to this temptation as well. Consider what Jesus taught us to pray in Matthew 6:13: “And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.” If the Christian prays such a prayer, ought he not to behave in a way consistent with such a prayer? Going to places and doing things where individuals are scantily dressed is not consistent with praying, “Lead us not into temptation.” One might as well walk into a strip club as to go to some of the public swimming areas where the difference in clothing is measured in mere centimeters. Those centimeters really do not make that much of a difference.
Third, dressing immodestly also sets a stumbling block before our brother or sister to sin. Consider John’s words in First John 2:10: “He that loveth his brother abideth in the light, and there is none occasion of stumbling in him.” If we love one another as God has taught us to love, then we will not dress immodestly in front of others and put before them an occasion of stumbling. In Matthew 18:7, Jesus said, “Woe unto the world because of offenses! For it must needs be that offenses come; but woe to that man by whom the offense cometh!”
Fourth, consider the influence that others may have upon us in this regard. Perhaps we will go to a place out of pure motives, simply desiring to do what is right in spite of those around us. Perhaps we will make every effort to control our minds and not to lust. There is still the matter of the influence that those around us will have on our lives. Do we not think that we will be influenced a little at a time, like leaven? We will! Paul writes, “Be not deceived: evil companionships corrupt good morals” (1 Cor. 15:33). Do not be deceived into thinking that we are not going to be influenced. We will be. Let us rather choose not to engage in such activities.
There are plenty of fun summer things to do without having to attend such public swimming and recreation areas where individuals of the world exhibit their flesh in such flagrant ways, and neither do we need to be exhibiting our flesh in such ways. Let us resolve this summer (and throughout the year for that matter) to dress and act modestly and to keep temptation far away from our lives.