Luke 8:54

"And he put them all out, and took her by the hand, and called, saying, Maid arise." Luke 8:54

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Biblical Womanhood

Spiritual Lessons/Practical Homemaking  

Biblical Womanhood

Being a daughter, a young woman, a single woman, a sister – entails a lot. What does a single young woman look like from a biblical perspective?

I believe a godly young woman holds her family and home in high regard. She is industrious. Confident. Virtuous. Respectful and honoring to her authorities. Chaste. Sober. Desirous of protection from her father, a productive beneficiary of the home, a keeper at home in training, an influence on those around her.

Recently I was challenged in why I believe these things. I would like to share with you (possibly in a small series) why I believe and stand firm in this description and to the best of my ability strive to be what I have described to you, and why I encourage others to do so.

The topics that were brought to my attention in a recent discussion with a young woman were these:

  • Why should women stay at home?
  • What is woman's purpose?
  • Is our father really our protector and head?
  • Do we women really have weak hearts?
  • What are guy and girl relationships supposed to look like?
  • What are the boundaries of physical touch?
  • Can women be feminine and brave and adventurous?

If I were to only share my opinion it could easily be questioned. Who am I? I'm just a young unmarried woman myself, how could I possibly know? Who am I to tell others?

Fortunately we have a guide – the Bible. I do not intend to push my ideas and standards on anyone. I would simply like to address these questions by looking to what God has to say. I would love to hear from you, either comments, challenges, or your trials and triumphs. Don't be bashful. I love feedback.

In this post I would like to only address a few of these questions.

#1. Are our fathers really our protectors and “head”?  

In my short life I have been asked this question numerous times. Of course it has been stated in various ways, but I've heard it a lot. Most likely it is because the principle of fatherly protection has become culturally unacceptable and in most modern family make-ups totally forgotten.

And yet, we women have an innate need of protection and love. Looking back to the very beginning we see that we were formed from man, for man. (Genesis 2:22) God created woman to be man's helpmeet. This is woman's main purpose.

When I shared this recently with someone they were surprised. Women were created to serve mankind? No. Women were created to be their man's helpmeet. There's a difference. In pagan cultures women are to be used by men. In a biblical founded culture women are precious and esteemed. The Bible shows the husband and wife relationship as a picture of the Christ and church relationship. (Ephesians 5:21-33)

Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is head of the church: and he is saviour of the body.” Ephesians 5:22-23

As daughters, our calling to respect and honor our authorities cannot be expected to be less than what is commanded of the wife. The Bible calls our father the head. We are to obey and honor him. (Ephesians 6:1-2).

Our culture has a twisted perception of what this looks like. The Bible's mandate is noble and functional. The world scrutinizes the biblical family structure and labels the Husband/Father figure as a tyrannical brute, while believing the wife is cornered into a small mundane unhappy sphere, with the children being sheltered victims.

The Biblical pattern is only painted this way because God's enemy happens to be the prince of the world and Satan has purposefully saturated the culture with this distasteful view.

Instead, the biblical family is a healthy beautiful creation. Men are protectors, leaders, loving their wives as Christ loves his bride. Women are their man's queen, guardians of their homes, nurturers of the next generation, warrior crafters, industrious homemakers. Children are an inheritance of the Lord, blessings that are cherished and trained in the admonition of the Lord.

Yes, fathers are our leaders and “head”.

#2. What is woman's purpose?

This has almost been answered in #1. It was not good for Adam to be alone, so God created woman. A helpmeet suited for him. This is more than a duty, it's why we were created. We have been designed to be helpers to men. Just as men were created to lead their homes, we were created to be man's helpmeet. This is not demeaning in any way. Our man needs us. We have a choice of whether to stand by his side and find fulfillment in being the helpmeet we were equipped to be, or run away from our role as helpmeet, ever seeking for that missing purpose.

Proverbs 31 describes a virtuous woman. I believe every woman, no matter their age or marital status should strive to apply these principles. Women are not men's slaves, but co-laborers. We fight the same fight, press toward the same goals, share the same gospel, reach the same souls, and raise the same warriors. We are essentially equal, but subordinate in function.

#3 Why should women stay at home?  

I was recently asked this question because the young woman who questioned me had read my blog and was under the impression I believed all women should stay at home. I shared with her that I considered a woman living at home an ideal situation. But, being a godly young woman does not mean we must stay at home.

Too often, people focus on the “thou shalt nots” they perceive in Christianity. Christians and anti-Christians alike. Instead we can look for what the Lord expects of us and we will be excited and inspired in what He has called us to be, compared to overwhelmed or disappointed in what we can't do. Honestly there are many more principles and promise than “shalt nots”.

If we look to the Bible for principles we see that women worked in and outside the home. In fact, the description of a virtuous woman shows her bringing food in from afar, buying real estate, selling merchandise and serving the poor and needy. Women are not constrained to only household duties. We are called to be keepers at home and helpmeets. This is our noble calling. But, the application of this calling may look different for each of us. Where we should be careful is when we decide to pursue our interests to the hindering of our calling.

For example: Education and Work.
The worlds way is, go to school then find a career. College and a career are not bad in and of themselves, but we have to question whether these paths will prepare and equip us for being the women God has called us to be. I believe that in most cases, 4+ years in college, debt and a career will most likely not prepare or equip us.

Yet work and education are good things. I personally have taken many college courses and have held part time jobs. As I explained to the young woman, God has obviously given us passions for a reason. Exploring them and educating ourselves is not only acceptable, but to be expected. It's a prudent choice, and obviously not outside biblical principles. We just have to seek His will in how we apply the biblical principles. With many different home-lives, family structures, interests and personalities it would be foolish to assume we all would lead the same identical lives. What we women do have in common is our calling to be virtuous women. We are not to structure our lives around our passions, but pursue our passions to equip ourselves to our calling as women.

But what about life-long singleness? Are these women gypped of a calling? Is it biblical to stay unmarried?

Paul was an unmarried apostle. He even preferred it, and would have liked all men to be as he, but conceded “...but every man hath his proper gift of God, one after this manner, and another after that.” (1 Corinthians 7:7).

Just as marriage is a gift, so is singleness. Both are callings, but from what I can see in the Bible and even in a practical perspective, life-long singleness is an uncommon calling, reserved for a few. But life-long singleness does not give these single women any more of an excuse to pursue their passions and dreams for their own interest, anymore than those who are called to marry. Single woman are obviously given a special opportunity to serve in a different way than married women. But still for the glory of God. The biblical principles of virtuous womanhood can and should still apply. They can still support and strengthen the men God has put as their authority. They can still be a good sister and build their siblings up. They can still influence the next generation. They can still encourage men in our society to be men by being biblical women. They still can be industrious and financially faithful women who open their mouth with wisdom and speak kindness and look well to their household.

#4 Are women weak?     

Again, I was asked this question because of certain former posts that advocated fatherly protection, guarding our hearts and femininity.

I can understand any disgust at this proposition if you believe I meant women are inferior, incapable, prissy, and emotionally unstable. But this isn't the case at all.

The Bible says we are weaker vessels. (1 Peter 3:7). Emotionally we are normally more sensitive, and thus more prone to emotional attack. This is not a condemnation but a fact, and really, we are all weak compared to God's strength and He loves to prove Himself through our weaknesses so He can show Himself strong. I only was warning young women to guard their heart because I know what a battlefront the heart can be. I'm not the only one that gives warning, but God does also – …..“Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.” Proverbs 4:23 This isn't my opinion, but a biblical admonishment as well.

Which easily leads us to ask –

#5 Can women be feminine but brave and adventurous?

The world has tried to remold femininity into a totally different definition altogether. Feminine does not mean pink and lace, nor does it mean a giddy flirt. It also does not mean we are incapable weaklings.

Because of our culture's misconception, many young women I know have embraced everything they consider to be “un-feminine”. They disdain girl stereotypes, and model anything that would be the opposite.

And yet femininity simply means to be womanly. And we look to the Bible to define how to be a godly woman. We have already discussed what women are called to be, and some examples of what that looks like, but the Bible also says women are to have chaste conversations, to look after the heart more than the outward, to be meek and quiet, obedient, compassionate, loving, sober and discreet. (1 Peter 3 and Titus 2).

Men are not to be copied, rivaled or envied. We too our strong in our own ways. In fact femininity is strong. Neither man's strength or woman's strength is superior than the other, they are just different.

What does a feminine woman look like?
She is not masculine. But she can be firm, she is gentle, but not inferior, able and confident, but submissive and respectful. She is an encourager, a support, loving, helpful, competent and intelligent. Her strength is found in His quietness and confidence (Is. 30:15) and in the satisfaction of fulfilling her God-given calling.

To be feminine in this day and age requires more strength than most people think! Femininity is constantly under attack by the culture's mindset, and by God's enemies. To embrace femininity means you will be rowing upstream. And yet it is worth it! Being a woman of God in the 21st century is not boring! In fact, my life is so full, so exciting, with endless opportunities I feel like I wish I could live several lives at once! There are so
many battles to be fought, so many people to encourage, so many books that could be written, so many venues, I am overwhelmed! And I can tell you that I have never been more satisfied as when I am complementing the men God has placed in my life and boldly standing for truth. There is nothing cookie-cutter about biblical womanhood.

Plus I have never felt more secure than when under my Heavenly Father and my earthly fathers protection. To be guarded brings such self-worth. I'm a treasure worth protecting. My father and brothers zeal in this only proves how I am cherished. I am not shielded from every fun entertainment, my sphere is not a small one, I am not chained to domestic drudgeries. It is a delight to be feminine. Biblical womanhood is a mission. I am proud to be a woman without the guilt or envy that I am not like a man. As a woman I have the power to influence the next generation. I am given a beautiful noble calling to support and encourage my father (and someday husband) on to greater heights.

In my next post I will address relationships and physical touch.  
Click here for Biblical Womanhood Part II