It is the glory of God to conceal a thing: but the honour of kings is to search out a matter. Proverbs 25:2

Archive for September, 2017

Womanhood: Who Am I as a Woman?

This is a guest writer. The information presented is so needed by the body of Christ I wanted to share it with everyone. Thank you CChioma7

God is so good! Thank you God for making us male and female in your image, for giving us purpose and identity that is sure regardless of time, place, or culture because you have redeemed us, you have bought us back from the grip of Satan and death, you have brought us back to original value. Thank you for answering the cry of my heart to know who I am as a woman. Thank for teaching me more and more about it every day. Thank you for being my Friend.

When I’d hear about biblical womanhood and manhood, I’d get frustrated because people would speak with such passion and excitement about manhood, and it did sound exciting. But the discourse on womanhood was woefully less-than-inspiring because much of it was wrapped up in “it’s all about your husband/family but you’re not guaranteed a husband/family”. *sigh* I heard a talk by Dan Mohler; he’s the first speaker that spoke about womanhood in a way that registered deep in my heart. And he suggested we go back and ask God to show us who we really are. And, in my frustration with books that turn worldly desires into “godly” principles and discourses that confuse womanhood with a set of roles informed by culture baptized in Christianese, I asked You Lord who I am. Low, and behold, You answered in Your Word and through Godly wisdom! God, why did I wait so long to ask You? Thank you for continually working with me.

We can be passionate about the principles of feminine identity. For one reason, every day women are living pale, frustrated lives – lost in lies about worth and value that have eternal implications. Our culture tells us that woman’s value is in attracting a man, or usurping a man, or dominating a man, or not needing a man; gratifying ourselves with a man, or gratifying ourselves without a man. We in the Church stand and point out that their ways are wrong; but, we, having Truth, do not offer it to them because we don’t understand it ourselves. We too are living less than our privilege. We offer to trade their lies for our own. There is a better way!

We in the Church have confused “roles” with “identity” in talking about womanhood. We emphasize responsibilities and tasks –things that can look different depending on context. But, true identity is steady and sure regardless of place, time, culture, or any other context. Identity is the foundational principle, it gets to the heart of the matter. The other things that people debate about sometimes come from people majoring in the secondary things, confusing application (which is informed by context) with the principle and not extending grace towards one another in humble personal application before God.
So, let’s get to it!
First, to find out who Woman is, we go to the source, the Word of our God. In Genesis God says it’s not good for man to be alone, that He would make a “helper comparable to him” (2:18-20). The word for help used in Hebrew is ezer and it’s used 20 other times. Each reference (Strong’s Concordance #5828), refers to the help that God is, the help God provides (3 times), or looking to someone else for help when we should be looking towards the Lord (2 times). It is deliverance in the time of trouble, life-sustaining, life-preserver help against enemies. So,
1) Woman is a life-saving, life-preserving, delivering presence and aid like God is but on Adam’s level

Adam didn’t need help because he was weak. He needed help because he was strong. Together in partnership, Adam and Eve were to subdue and steward the Earth. Though the garden was perfect, there was an enemy of their souls present – Satan. Now, “…though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him- a threefold cord is not quickly broken” (Ecclesiastes 4:12). God, Adam, and Eve made a very good threefold cord. But, Eve, who could have promoted Adam towards life, escorted him towards death. (Ladies, we have great power.) And Adam, who could have actively stood up for them both, passively stood by. Part of the curse that followed was that God would put “enmity between [Satan] and the woman, between [Satan’s] seed and her seed”(Gen 3:15). We only have to look at world history to notice how women are particular objects of oppression and violence and suffer greatly. (Side thought – could this be why women are known for being prayer warriors, because of prayer’s place in spiritual warfare and who we are?)
Our feminine essence and presence was distorted and thoroughly corrupted by the Fall. But God in His mercy bought it back! (Woo hoo!) Because of Christ we have redemption. And in Christ, we are life again instead of death. We can walk that way. As we receive the love God has for us we don’t have to try to be this way, we just are! As we shower in God’s love for us, life just flows from us. Just like waves ripple behind a hand that is sweeping through water, love and life ripple in our wake; it’s in our very essence!
Next, Apostle Paul mentions that man “is the image and glory of God, but woman is the glory of man” (1 Cor 11:7). What in the world does that mean? How can we be equal (“God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them” [Gen 1:27]) and yet woman be the glory of man? Well, God is love; God is a relational triune being – Father, Son, and Spirit. When God made Adam, it was good, and Adam was created as the first image-bearer of God. “Glory” means the honor and display of something. Love is arguably the most important aspect of God’s essence and character. Now, if God is love, then His glory is shown through love. Adam could not display that really important aspect of God’s image without an equal to direct his love towards. Yes, Adam could love God by worshipping Him as his Source and All in All. But the Godhead shares beautiful, unique intimacy within the communion of 3 distinct Persons who are equally God. God wants us to experience loving communion with people as an outpouring of our love relationship with Him. We can’t display God’s image fully without loving others fellow human beings. Therefore, God created Eve so that Adam could love her and thus the glory of God be even more displayed. So,
2) Woman was created to receive love— to be lavished upon with love, receive that love, and from that love produce life. She is a love-receiver and love-responder and a life-bearer.
If I, as a woman, am a love-responder because I’ve received God’s love, then I am someone who engages people with love regardless of how they initiate with or respond to me. That gives me guidance to how to live regardless of if I am married or single; if I am at work as an employee or supervisor; if I am wife, sister, mother, daughter, or friend. If woman is love-responder and man is love-initiator, together they reflect the image of God beautifully.

Next, Psalm 121 describes womanhood for us. Psalm 121? Yes, Psalm 121; I did not accidently mix it up with Proverbs 31. Proverbs 31 is wonderful, but Psalm 121 is a dissertation on the ezer that the Lord provides; verses 1-2 are the thesis, referring to the same word for help used in Genesis 2.
I will lift up my eyes to the hills—
From whence comes my help?
2 My help comes from the Lord,
Who made heaven and earth.
3 He will not allow your foot to be moved;
He who keeps you will not slumber.
4 Behold, He who keeps Israel
Shall neither slumber nor sleep.
5 The Lord is your keeper;
The Lord is your shade at your right hand.
6 The sun shall not strike you by day,
Nor the moon by night.
7 The Lord shall preserve you from all evil;
He shall preserve your soul.
8 The Lord shall preserve your going out and your coming in
From this time forth, and even forevermore.
3) Woman is a keeper: she is an under-girder and a safe-keeper, a shade and a preserver. She
keeps confidence (rather than gossips). She keeps the heart and reputation of her loved ones. She speaks over people in a way that undergirds their God-given value, potential, and identity. When a woman is in her right mind (i.e. her renewed and born-again mind), as an under-girder, she sees people the way God sees them and gladly throws the weight of her life behind them. And, it simply reflects the nature of God. She could be a teacher pouring her heart into helping her students develop along the path God has for them. She could be a scientist whose passion is discovering compounds that could improve the lives of others. She could be a counselor who holds out a life-line of wisdom and encouragement to someone standing on the brink of despair. She could be a stay-at-home wife and mother who watches over her children while they sleep and encourages her husband.
As a safe-place for the hearts of others, she is trust-worthy. She does not gossip. Rather, she keeps the confidence of friends, husband, kids, and co-workers. She is not a “mean girl” who uses information as verbal capital against others. People’s hearts are safe with her. A woman who is truly accepts herself and has come into her own secure sense of identity creates a space of emotional ease and safety for those around her. She is like a comfy couch with plenty of room – because she is at ease with herself, others can be at ease with themselves around her. People can breathe at peace around her. She is comforting shade when there is sun beating down all around. She is a preserver. She can preserve life – be it as a nurse who stands in the gap in the ICU, a mom who speaks life over her kids when they’ve been bullied, a business leader who advocates for healthy team dynamics, or a wife who upholds her husband’s name. Her husband can trust her with his household and the family’s mission; she will not bring him down in dishonor (like Deliliah) but will safe-keep and promote the welfare of their family’s name and their home.

Finally ladies…
A love-receiver, a love-responder, and a life-bearer. A life-saving, life-preserving, delivering presence and aid. A keeper, an under-girder, a safe-place, a shade, and a preserver. Ladies, this is who we are. We don’t have to try to be this; we ARE this. It’s in our inherent feminine nature. Let’s take off the shackles of guilt and performance expectations of specific tasks/roles, and let’s submit to Him as He works it out in us according to His delightful ways. We each uniquely reflect feminine aspects of God. To operate against our nature, we would have to go out of our way OR be impaired by hurts, deception, or perversion of this world (which is too often the case). God is glad about our diversity, both within our gender and between the genders. So, let’s bathe everyday in the love of God for us, let Him heal the wounds. Let’s not debate secondary things. And, let’s extend grace to one another as the family of God. We will become more of who we really are, and everyone will be blessed.

Love Increases Our Position of Faith

Knowing that we are the beloved of God grows our faith. When we know we are truly loved, we have absolute trust and faith in the one who loves us. With people love may falter, but God’s love for us will never fail. This is how faith works through love. The love we have for our Beloved God and receive from our Beloved God, gives us confidence to believe when there is no hope and when there is no reason to have any expectation of good. The position of faith is a mindset, an attitude or one’s outlook which is settled in our heart, soul and mind. The position of faith is where we stand confident in love, though the heavens may fall, we stand.

Galatians 5:6 For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision avails anything, but faith working through love.

This is the position that Job had when he trusted God in the loss of his wealth, his family and health. Job had lost all his worldly possessions, his children and even his health. But Job knew his Beloved, God, was faithful and with this love he could say in faith, ‘though God slay me, yet will I trust Him.’ That is a position of faith, the place where we stand firmly, even when we are staring at adversity, hardship and it appears all hope is gone. Job knew God and would rather stand before God and trust in Him for his salvation rather than defend himself before men. That is a love that surpasses natural reasoning and a trust that this world cannot comprehend.

Job 13: 15-16a Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him. Even so, I will defend my own ways before Him. He also shall be my salvation,

Love increases our faith as our love for God increases and as our knowledge of His love for us. Our confidence and love for God grows the more we know Him and our faith continues to increase from one level of faith to the next. Faith is demonstrated in two forms; the position of faith and the process of faith. Our position of faith is our stance, our viewpoint and the love we have in our heart, soul and mind, which, causes us to have faith and our faith increases as our love increases.

Faith is also a process that is used to call things that are not yet visible in the natural, but are spiritual. This is the process of manifesting in the natural world the things God has given us in the spirit realm or in the kingdom of God. The process of faith is a natural progression from the position of faith, which is love. When we know God loves us and those around us, we can pray for the sick and their healing. We can pray and expect them to be healed because we know God loves them and wants them healed. We can pray for those who are in lack and know God wants to meet all their needs in Christ Jesus. It is the love of God that activates faith, so that it may be manifested in the natural.

Many people pray out of desperation. Because they believe all hope is gone or out of fear for their loved one who is sick and may die. Neither of these are the bases of faith nor are they the keys in which the kingdom of God operates. Many people want to use the process of faith, to speak and confess the word of God to obtain the favour and blessings of God. But they are ashamed to pray for the sick and when their prayers fail to materialize, they want to say God does not hear or answer prayers but yet, they were amiss.

Some people want the blessing of God without having the love of God in their hearts. They want to be blessed without having the love of God in them so that they may be a blessing to the people God has put in their path. They want the blessings from God without actually being a blessing to others, who do not look like them, act like them or appear to be lost beyond hope.

Romans 1: 16-17 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek. 17 For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “The just shall live by faith.”

Love is not ashamed to be seen or heard. Love is the power of God that leads to salvation. This word salvation in the Greek means: rescue, deliver, health, safety. Salvation is not a process for us to go to heaven, but a practice, or a means which God has given to bring heaven to earth. The righteousness of God is His virtue, His justice, His uprightness, being displayed in our lives. The faith we have in the love God has for us and this lost world, gives us the power to love others well.

Those who live by faith trust the word of God, no matter their circumstances or situations. Those who love Him and believe in the love God has for them, will stand in adversity. Because we know the Lord God is our Redeemer, our Deliverer, our Shield and He will lift us up. Though it may appear in the natural that all hope is gone and though we may face doom, we too can say He loves me and He is my Help, my Glory and the One who will lift me up.

Just as Job stood in faith of the love God had for him, so too we must stand. Though the heavens may fall, we must stand in faith.

Psalms 3:3-4 But You, O LORD, are a shield for me, My glory and the One who lifts up my head. I cried to the LORD with my voice, And He heard me from His holy hill

Our Beloved God

It is through knowing a person we come to love them. The same is with knowing the True and Living God. When we know we are the beloved of God, our position of faith increases. We are to know that God, Elohim, Creator and sustainer of the entire world loves us with an everlasting love and His desire and plans are to prosper us, and this gives us hope for our future. To know His love for us, He is our Beloved, gives us strength to endure the challenges of life. When we are in intimate communion with God we will know His love and that He wants the best for us just as we know the love of a parent for their child or the child’s love for their parent.

Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, say the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.

Jeremiah 31:3 The Lord has appeared of old to me, saying: yes, I have loved you with an everlasting love; Therefore with loving kindness I have drawn you.

When we are in love, we have faith in the one we love. This is why some say love blinds, it is because we refuse to see the faults or lack of trust, as others may do. Love is faith and love is trust, this is why in the natural we see some people stay in situations long after all hope is gone. Though the love of people may change, God will never change. He is the same yesterday, today and forevermore. God tells us He will never forget us. A nursing mother’s love for her child is a strong love and as difficult as it may be, yet some may leave their child but, our Beloved God, His love is stronger than that and He will never leave or forsake us.

We have seen marks and tattoos people have received as memorials of a person, situation or time to remind them of their loved ones or the things they have been through. God has inscribed us on the palms of His hands, as the work of His hands and we are ever before Him. We are on His mind and His mind is full of thoughts of peace and love toward us. The walls and barriers that are surrounding us, that have us boxed in and are keeping us from our purpose, are continually before God and He sees them.

Isaiah 49: 15-16 “Can a woman forget her nursing child, and not have compassion of the son of her womb? Surely they may forget, Yet I will not forget you. See I have inscribed you on the palms of My hands; Your walls are continually before Me.

What an assurance to know the Elohim, Creator of all, is our Sovereign King, Friend, Comforter and Guide. God as The Creator can bring into existence anything we need; as our Sovereign King He has supreme power over all that concerns us; as our Comforter or Advocate He is our defender, helper and strengthens us; as our Guide He leads us in all things and directs our paths, our steps and though we may stumble we will not be destroyed.

Communing and Knowing the True and living God produces such a love for Him that is unexplainable but is visible in the confidence we have in Him and the love He has for us. We believe and have faith in those we love. This love is longsuffering, patient and kind. It is not easily provoked and some may say to the point of being blind.

Our faith and love is in the All Powerful, All Knowing and All Present God. We can rest in His love and know He is perfect in every situation. Not only for us but for those around us trusting that He is working all things together for our good. Even when the things we are going through are not very good, as the cross of Christ appeared in the natural to be the ultimate failure; it was God’s greatest victory for all mankind.

It is God Who brings beauty out of ashes and brings peace in adversity. While we walk in the grimy and uncertain path of this life journey, Our Beloved God saturates our lives with the presence of His glory both in the visible and the eternal unseen spirit realm.

Isaiah 61: 3 To console those who mourn in Zion, To give them beauty for ashes, The oil of joy for mourning, The garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; That they may be called trees of righteousness; The planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified.

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