Welcome to the #AskIfyPodcast, spiritual insight and wisdom on life, love and ministry. Here’s your host, Ify Alexis Lee…
Hey, everyone, it’s such a privilege to be recording for you all. Honestly, I feel like I’m so spontaneous and so sporadic with these recordings, but I would like to have a bit more integrity and consistency with how I record for you all. So, please, if you’ve seen that I haven’t put out a podcast episode in a month, feel free to gently nudge me on Instagram or on Twitter and say, “hey, girl, when’s the next episode coming out?” That would mean a lot to me as accountability is key.
Now if you live in London, you’ll be aware that our weather has just been so up and down recently, I just saw a meme on Instagram that said, “God knew our summer bodies wouldn’t be ready, so He’s given us winter all over again”. And for me the change in the weather has made my throat a little bit rusty. If I’m honest, and I’m not too happy about that, because some of you guys know I do a lot of public speaking. But anyways, someone said I should chew garlic, someone else said I should chew ginger. I’ve been doing a mixture of those things, mostly day nurse and night nurse. And I’m hoping to be a lot better very soon.
So, on to today’s topic. A couple of weeks ago, I recorded an IG Live, which is the Instagram video streaming service, honestly, that whole week, the Holy Spirit had been dealing with my heart, about the idols of self, the idols of people’s perception, the idol of the world, the idol of greed, but I’d really been dealing with my heart about women and men who had traded in their first love for things that this world provides. God was dealing with my heart and still is dealing with my heart about the need to fear Him and have a holy reverence for Him, the need to get back to our first love and esteem Him above all else. Honestly, that Live tackled a few issues from modesty and women’s dressing, from bikini pictures to the desire to be sexy, the desire to flaunt what you got, that Christian women sometimes have. I’ve been there, and I understand some of the temptations that we deal with, particularly when it comes to dressing. But the Live is really centered around making God our treasure, making Him our prize and ultimately pursuing holiness, without which, none can actually see God.
Now, after this Instagram Live, I receive so much feedback, I didn’t expect the video to go as far as it did. But I’m so thankful that it did. I got some negative feedback, a few unfollows, but I received so much positive feedback and it just really showed me that the hearts of the UK in particular, are really softened to hearing the voice of God on this issue. So, I received a lot of positive feedback, I received feedback particularly from women, who perhaps found themselves in a position where the message was convicting to them. As they heard it, they felt like wow, I need to do so much better, I need to step up, I need to pursue God more, I need to pursue God with my whole heart. I also received a myriad of questions, some I had already answered in my DMs, but I’m going to answer them here as well just so everyone can benefit from the wisdom shared.
So, the first question I received was:
1.“The scripture you referred to on not loving iniquity, and the example of loving YouTubers who are living in sin, are you suggesting that we ought not to as believers, watch things from those who are not saved? If so, could you explain a bit deeper?”
So I mentioned in the video how First Corinthians 13 says that love does not delight in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth. So, my response to this was that it’s more so the way in which we approach celebrity culture as believers, we cannot afford to be polarized by voices that are not propagating the truth of God’s words. Oftentimes we idolize these influencers, these YouTubers, these celebrities, and we don’t give a second thought to the kind of lifestyle that they’re living. If their lifestyle does not match up to the truth of God’s word, we cannot afford to idolize them, we can’t even afford to idolize anyone, period. But we certainly can’t put them on a pedestal above that which is necessary for someone that doesn’t know God. Now, that doesn’t mean that you can’t learn something from them, that doesn’t mean that there isn’t something that you can appreciate in what someone has to offer just because they’re not saved. Someone can teach you different things from different aspects of life. You might be following someone who teaches you a little bit about money management, or on how to cook, for example, but everything has its proper place. Do not be polarized by the voices that you’re hearing.
This person then went on to ask:
2.“How can we not idolize these influences?”
And I gave five points:
- The first thing I said was, pinpoint what you appreciate, is it her personality? Is it her dress sense? Is it her eloquence? Pinpoint it and appreciate it. “I love the fact that when I come on YouTube and watch this woman, she has meat in hysterics, she’s funny and I appreciate that”.
- Secondly, also keeping your heart the reality that if this person does not know God, then they’re going to hell. Now isn’t that a recipe to sober you up? If this person is not walking with God, then this person ultimately is not going to spend eternity with God, that sobers you up from allowing you to over esteemed them and think that they are next to God when they’re not. And that’s not so you can judge them, honestly, I’m not an advocate for judging people. I’m sister just like you that is striving to be more like God. But when I realized that someone doesn’t know God and that they base the chances of spending eternity away from God, that breaks my heart, and that should break your heart as well. And that should sober you up not to esteem them more highly than you ought to.
- The third thing, pay attention to what agenda they are pushing in their messages, be able to separate the meat from the bones. This comes with filling yourself up with the Word of God, what agenda are they pushing? Honestly, I love YouTube, I think YouTube is one of the biggest gifts we’ve received as millennials. But we have to be so careful of the subtle advances of the devil, the places where he’s trying to gain a foothold, because you could have an influence that you love how she does have makeup, for example. And then all of a sudden, she’s talking about how she sleeps with her boyfriend or her boyfriend lives with her and they’re posting pictures when you know, she’s pretty much in the mood. All of these things start to desensitize you to the holy standard of God, be very careful of the message you are receiving. Even if they proclaim to be a Christian, really be careful of what it is you’re receiving, be willing to take the meat and leave the bones.
- My fourth thing, be more loyal to Christ than your favorite YouTuber. If they say something that is wrong, don’t ignore it, be aware of it and don’t defend them. I think some of the biggest issues that I have is that when we notice that so someone has said something wrong, we’re so quick to jump on their defence like, oh, you know, this is why they said it. And we act as if we know the person. I think the thing about celebrity culture and social media as a whole is that a lot of us think we know people that we don’t know, they don’t know us, we don’t know how they spend their life, we just know what they portray. So if you notice that someone has done something wrong, or has said something wrong, don’t be afraid to pull it out, even if it’s just to yourself, don’t defend it internally be able to say, yeah, I love this person but she was wrong when she said this to any other and what that does is that it keeps you sober-minded. It keeps you level minded as you think about that person, you’re able to be aware of their flaws, and the things you appreciate about them and be aware of their eternal stance. These things help you not to idolize influencers.
- And my fifth and final point as it pertains to this one, maybe not final, I’m sure there’s more I could say, is pray for them. Pray for them, pray for your favorite influencer that doesn’t know God, pray for your influencers that do know God.
But these things allow you to be sober-minded.
3.“I feel like there’s so much out there for women in terms of aspiring towards holiness and purity, which is good, but when it comes to the edification of men, it’s more, rare and this creates an unhealthy balance of sisters striving for godliness, and brothers who are unequally yoked, do you think that women can also target their messages to men or do you think it should be left to the men who in my opinion, don’t have enough forums addressing holiness?”
I absolutely love this question. I’m someone that believes that men should address men, I think that women should address women, I think that men should address men, but there can also be some cross-pollination because we need that in the kingdom of God. My life was open to men and women, and I try to draw on as many instances that will pertain to both men and women. But the truth is my experience, my lived experience is as a woman. And so, my view, my perspective on men is quite limited. And I know we talk a lot about the shortage of men ministries, but the ones that we do know, the ones that we know, and we trust, I think it’s our job as women to push them, to promote them, to shout about them, to tell people about them. For example, I know a group called KC Man, and they meet every single month in Stratford, Westfield, and they discuss the word of God and they break bread and I think that that’s remarkable. So, feel free to check them out @kccommunity on Instagram, and kccommunity.com. So, if we do know, a group of men that are doing something, let’s push them. Let’s also encourage our brothers to, you know, mobilize the men in their lives to propagate these kinds of messages, because yes, from my side, it does seem as though, there’s a disparity between the men and women who are receiving these kinds of messages.
4.“The question now is, what’s your standard of modesty and sexy, who blows the whistle on when you cross the line and your dressing becomes too sexy?”
Such a great question. It’s not my desire to be the standard on how to dress because that’s not my work, I’m not the Holy Spirit, I’m not your Jesus, I’m not your God, that’s His job. And one thing that I found in my work and in my progression with God is that certain things that I thought were acceptable five years ago, some of them I don’t think are acceptable today. Has God’s standard changed? I wouldn’t say so, but my ability to comprehend His standard, my ability to desire His standard has certainly changed. I desire more of Him today than I did five years ago. So, it’s not up to me to blow the whistle on what is sexy, and what’s immodest or what’s modest, but it really is up to God. And I think that God shows us His wisdom, in the place of counsel. The Bible says, “within a multitude of counselors, you can be safe”. So, if you are a bit unsure, brother or sister, about the outfit that you have on, how about you submit it to people of God, who you know, and you trust their walk with God, their walk with God is inspiring. Don’t go and ask your lukewarm friend if your outfit is okay, go and ask your Godly friend if your outfit is okay, and see what she has to say.
Another thing I’ll say on this topic, is to really assess your heart. What am I motives for wearing what I am wearing? Am I trying to garner the attention of the men around me or even the women around me? And modesty, yes, has a lot to do with how much cleavage, boobs, legs, midriff, arms, whatever is on display, but it also has to do with your heart’s motive, why are you wearing what you’re wearing? And sometimes, you know, I know we talked about modesty in terms of how much flesh you’re revealing. But modesty also comes into play when you look at the kind of designer labels that you want to be showing, the kind of lifestyles people want to portray, these things also pertain to modesty. What is your desire in doing the things you’re doing? What is your desire in portraying yourself in the way in which you’re portraying yourself?
I mentioned at the very start, I do not believe that it’s the Christian woman’s pursuit to be sexy. And if you are to be sexy, honestly be sexy for your husband. I think that that is the place where sexy was created. Sexy comes from the word sex appeal, you are showing something or giving something to initiate sex, and that is perfect for the marital relationship. But if you’re not that, then should your desire in your dressing be to entice and to alert towards sex? I don’t think that should be the case. Can you dress beautifully, cute, can be fly, can look good? Yes, you can. But sexy doesn’t have to be one of them. And I think that, as I mentioned, it’s not up to me to determine where those boundaries lie. But honestly, as you pursue God or the more and as you immerse yourself in a culture, or community of people where holiness is the culture and holiness is celebrated, you yourself will not have the desire to show as much skin or to live in such a way that is immodest.
Okay, so this person then went on to say:
5.“Another one on the accounts you follow, it’s true that the things you see and hear affect your lifestyle, and Jesus says our eyes are the lights of our soul, well how do you want to follow an account that teaches you other things like, life lessons, e.g., business lessons, cooking lessons, who calls the shots and tells us the type of accounts we should follow on social media? At the end of the day, you must be careful not to stray too far away from the basics of love. Otherwise, you receive the judge and the one who calls the shots.”
Okay, so just with this, of course, there’s going to be accounts that teach you other stuff but I have to react from my own heart. If I’m coming on your account to learn cooking lessons, but I’m leaving learning things that are anti-Christ and anti-God. I need to then decipher, is it worth it? Same with business, if I’m coming to learn about business, because there’s a lot of new age ideologies, unfortunately, that’s interwoven with entrepreneurship and business. And I believe in entrepreneurship, I believe in business. But we have to be able to decipher, am I learning enough about entrepreneurship from this account? Did it fully outweigh the occasional anti-Christ messages or is it purely anti-Christ that’s mixed with a little bit of business? If that’s the case, then I personally would unfollow. But honestly, I can’t find the standard for you, you have to seek God, you have to pursue God, you have to have a holy reverence for God and allow him to lead you in a way that he sees best, through His word.
Also, I agree with the idea that we shouldn’t stray away from love. But unfortunately, so many of us think that love is this airy, fairy ideal. The things that I mentioned are love. Love is patient, love is kind, love doesn’t brag, modesty, love doesn’t boast, modesty, love does not delight in iniquity, holiness, love rejoices in the truth, purity. These are things that we need to keep at the forefront of our minds. And I think that the world has hijacked this term love, but don’t fully understand what love is, God is love, in Him, there is no iniquity, there is no impurity, there is no sin and that’s the standard that God calls us to. And He doesn’t just call us to it, He has provided the way for us to become it through Jesus Christ. So this is something that we must all strive to become more like. Philippians says, “God has granted us, through the Holy Spirit, the power to will and to do good for his good pleasure”.
Another thing that I’ll touch on is this grace message. I think I had a few people in my inbox asking me about, you know, where does grace come into play? Grace is incredibly important. Some of us think about grace and we think about God just saying, “oh, you know, she can do whatever she likes, my grace will cover it”. But let’s not forget that it’s in Romans 5:20, Paul speaking to the church at Rome, he says:
“Now the Lord came to increase the trespass, but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more”, the next verse, “so that where sin reigned in death, grace may also reign through righteousness, leading to eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord. What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? By no means, how can we who died to sin still live in it? Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized in Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? We were buried therefore with Him by baptism into death so that just as Christ was raised from the dead, by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life”.
It’s such a pertinent verse because so many of us hold on to grace and think that, oh, where sin abounds, grace abounds. Yes, it does but God is not mocked. We cannot continue sinning, believing that grace will abound, God sees our hearts, he sees our motives and one of my favorite verses on grace is Titus 2:11. He says that “the grace of God has appeared to me, teaching me to say no, to reject ungodliness”. That’s what grace does, is something that teaches, it’s enablement, it helps us to fulfill His righteous requirement, his righteous standard, that’s what his grace does. That’s what’s given on to us, that we are saved by grace through faith in Christ Jesus. So, grace isn’t just about coming as you are but it’s also about God’s desire to prune and perfect us to become more like He is.
So I hope this Q&A has blessed you, I hope you’ve been able to learn something more from it. For me, ultimately, my heart in all of this is that we become people that love God, and that serve him with our whole heart, that we do not look to the right or to the left, that we are people that honor Him and cherish Him as our first love, because that’s the place that he desires to occupy in our lives. And I think so many times within modern day Christianity, we become so obsessed with living for likes, but just doing the most in order to garner attention from people that we ought not to even be seeking attention from. God loves us, He paid the price for us, He desires more from us. And ultimately, this message is just to convict and push us further on holiness. I’m not condemning anybody, because I’ve been on both sides, and I understand the difficulties in this walk.
But I want to remind you with what Titus 2:11 says, which I want to be your meditation, “the grace of God has appeared to us, teaching us to reject ungodliness”, teaching us to hold steadfast in faith and to continue to run towards Him In Christ, you can do it, we can do it.
And lastly, Second Peter 1:3, it says, “His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us to his own glory and excellence“. God bless you.
We hope you enjoyed this episode. To send in questions, please visit ifyalexis.com/podcast and for more content, find our connect, to social media, simply says, Ify Alexis Lee on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter, thank you for listening. We hope to see you next time for more spiritual insight and wisdom.