Tag Archives: Christian women

The Women of God — Tassie Smith

We are as young as the newly baptized middle-schooler and as old as the great-grandmother breathing her last breath.  We are single, married, divorced, and widowed. We work tirelessly both at home and as waitresses, doctors, engineers, and day care workers.  We are the women who have submitted ourselves to God’s service. We are the women of the church.

Much ink and bile have been spilled trying to understand our role as women of God.  Is our primary task to keep a clean house? This is a common misunderstanding. In a 2012 Barna poll, women who identified themselves as Christians believed their greatest struggles were disorganization and a lack of productivity. Most striking is not what they did not mention struggling with: sin.  Perhaps our role is to get married and tend babies? I love babies. I adore my husband.  However, neither my marriage nor my children are my primary service to my King. I could be an equally pleasing servant if I were single (and certainly more single-minded, as Paul points out in 1 Corinthians 7). We can define our role as women in God’s kingdom best by examining how God’s women served Him in the days of Jesus and the apostles.

Mary and Martha serve as a great example of women who loved and served Jesus (Luke 10:38-42).   As a girl I learned that the moral of the story is that housework must not take priority over Bible reading or prayer.  That takeaway is true, but it tends to pull the teeth of this as a revolutionary tale. The story begins with Martha in the kitchen working, and Mary sitting at Jesus’ feet.  To the first-century readers, Martha had an honorable place, a woman’s place: working in the kitchen to serve her guest. They would have been surprised to hear that Mary sat at Jesus’ feet.  She was in the wrong place, a woman sitting in a disciple’s spot. For this Jesus praises her.  He didn’t praise her for defying gender roles; that’s a modern conceit. He praises her for following Him, the only proper pursuit for every person — male or female, young or old, Jew or Gentile.

By the world’s standards, a woman should be beautiful, thin, healthy, poised, confident, successfully married, a mother of well-behaved children, not to mention fashionable. By God’s standards a disciple should be fully dedicated to Jesus as his or her Rabbi, humble, obedient and ready to serve.  There is little overlap between the world’s vision and God’s. The women of God still follow in Jesus’ footsteps and sit at His feet. First and foremost they are disciples. Jesus valued discipleship over every other pursuit. He put being a disciple over happiness, family, riches, having a home, over and above the cost of our very lives (Matthew 8:18-22, Luke 14:26-33). In this story Jesus makes it clear.  Mary has chosen the greater part.

What did female disciples do in the New Testament?  They were teachers, and not just a few of them. Priscilla worked with her husband Aquilla in both professional and spiritual matters. Together they privately taught Apollo the way of God more clearly (Acts 18:24-28).  Anna, who had dedicated her life to God after her husband’s death, was privileged to see the baby Jesus. She then spent the rest of her years telling everyone she saw that the Messiah had come (Luke 1:36-38). Lest we think that we have to be single or with lots of free time like Anna or already well educated in the Word like Priscilla, we have the story of the Samaritan woman (John 4).  She is not educated in the Word. She’s not a Jew. She’s not even a good girl. Yet she encounters Jesus. This single meeting is enough to send her scurrying back to her village, letting everyone know she may have met the Messiah. None of these women of God took the place God had assigned men.  Rather, beginning where they were, they shared Jesus with everyone they encountered.

Not only were the women of the New Testament disciples and teachers, they were hard workers.  Dorcas gave so generously of her time and talent that not only the church but the community’s widows gathered around to mourn her death and celebrate her resurrection (Acts 9:36-42).  Lydia, a businesswoman, turned her home into the headquarters of Paul’s ministry in Philippi, first hosting him and his companions then housing the growing church (Acts 16:14-15, 40). These extraordinary women didn’t seem extraordinary to the New Testament church. Paul lists these and other good works as being a mark of a “worthy widow.”  In other words, the standard for being a women in God’s kingdom is to work the works of the one who called us!

Today’s women of God run alongside these sisters from long ago.  We are disciples sitting with Mary at Jesus’ feet.  We are mighty in poetry, prayer, and obedience like Elizabeth, Mary the mother of Jesus, and Anna.  We are evangelists of the first order: both learned women who teach others God’s way more accurately like Priscilla and enthusiastic sharers who simply tell the story of their encounter with Jesus like the Samaritan woman.  We are those who are created for God’s good work like Dorcas, Lydia, and the worthy widows.  We are vessels of honor — unashamed workmen, able to teach, patient when wronged, gentle and sanctified.  As we take up their mantle to be disciples, teachers, and workers, we too fulfill our role as the women of God.

Tassie and her husband were missionaries in China for almost nine years.

“What Shall A Man Give In Exchange For His Soul?” — Debbie Kea

In the 1950’s and 60’s when I was a child it seemed that sin was a man’s business. Men abused their wives (and sometimes their children), men committed adultery, and men abandoned their families. They had the freedom and the power—and they used it. At least that’s how it seemed—and it was true in many cases.

Women were faithful. They took care of their children, and they made ends meet with what little they were given. You rarely heard women curse, they usually dressed appropriately, and they were considered godly—at least in most cases. At least that’s how things appeared to me as a child.

To say times have changed in America is an understatement. Women now commonly leave their husbands and often abandon their children as well. Every sexual sin is shared by both genders today. Women have given in to the worldly ways of drinking, drugs, little clothing and less respect. Their freedom has led them to self-satisfaction, even to the point of aborting their own children.

Yes, we’ve come a long way. We have greater freedom and power—and look at what we’ve “profited!” Or rather, what we have given in exchange for our souls! Women have “profited” by gaining careers. I remember hearing women say they could have it all—a husband, family, and a career. And in the quest for it all, they gave up being “keepers at home” (Tit. 2:5). Many times their career even meant giving up their husband and/or children. Some women have had to work outside the home, I know that. My mother did when my dad left us. I became a teacher when my children went to school, but my home remained my number one focus and responsibility. My marriage and my family were not cast aside for the sake of my career.

Women have “profited” by gaining new roles. Women are running businesses, so why can’t they run the church? They can be president. Why can’t they be the head of their homes? The pendulum has swung, and unfortunately women have ignored God’s Word for the sake of so-called equality. “Modern thought” and “culture” are considered more important than the apostle Paul’s decree from the Holy Spirit: “..the head of every man is Christ, and the head of the woman is the man, and he head of Christ is God” (1 Cor 11:3; note especially Eph. 5:23-24 and 1 Tim. 2:12-15 as well).

Sadly, many women have been fooled into living the “Perfect American Mother” role. They are more concerned about their children winning the scholarship, or becoming captain of the soccer team or cheerleader squad, or being popular or getting into a certain school than they are about their soul—about their Bible class homework or their treatment of others or their lives of service or worshipping properly. The world has re-defined what being a good mother is—but God’s definition remains! That definition always begins with proper priorities—seeking God and His righteousness first (Matt 6:33). That should be our main concern with our kids.

Women have “profited” by gaining the freedom in many more areas to make bad choices. God has always given mankind the freedom to choose. Yet now our freewill has been challenged by Satan. If you really are free (like men), why don’t you (fill in the blank)? Women have made every bad choice out there. Yes, we are free to choose any bad man who comes along (foolishly not considering how a mate who’s not a Christian can lead us away from the Lord). We are free to wear anything we want (never considering how we can cause a man to sin through lust). We are free to do whatever we want in our families (never considering how our behavior can ruin our relationship with our husband, teach our children self-serving ways, and cause our homes to crumble). We are free to seek popularity instead of godliness and seek personal happiness instead of holiness and money instead of God Himself (Matt 6:24; 1 Pet 1:15; Matt 6:2).

Women have “profited” by gaining selfishness. Yes, we can now have our way in so many areas. Like a child, women are yelling, “You’re not the boss of me!” and therefore becoming enraptured with self. “Deny thyself, take up thy cross, and follow me daily” (Lk. 9:23; Matt 16:24). Selfishness cannot be a part of the Christian heart—man or woman.

Women have “profited” by gaining equal access to worldliness. Yes, many are gaining the whole world but losing their own souls! The whole world — status, worldly goods, applause, approval, employment, and pleasure in every form — everything that seems to satisfy. Women can enjoy it all, but the irony is the world does not bring true happiness or joy. Now that women have equal access, they also enjoy the cost of worldly living. Their health is ruined and their beauty fades. They spend their lives seeking approval and love, not realizing they are really seeking God. Any satisfaction they find is only temporary (Matt. 5:6). Acquiring things only makes them want more. Love is short-lived because it is actually lust. Family relationships and true friendships are destroyed because the worldly woman isn’t willing to give of themselves for long. Making self happy is the priority.

God’s woman today truly profits her soul when she is selfless, willing to deny SELF and enthroning Jesus instead (Matt. 4:10). She truly profits when she is sacrificial, willing to lose her life for Christ’s sake (Matt. 16:25). She truly profits when she is serving, willing to serve in love, knowing she will be rewarded (Gal. 5:13). She truly profits when she is submissive, willing to submit to God, her husband, and others out of humility (Jas. 4:7; Eph. 5:25; 1 Pet. 5:5). She truly profits when she is sincere, willing to obey out of a true heart with gratitude and sincerity (Matt. 5:8; Eph. 6:24; Josh. 24:14).

In spite of cultural changes, God’s words remain the same (Is. 40:8). They will judge us in the last day (Jn. 12:48). God does not change (Mal. 3:6). We as women must stand strong, “steadfast and immovable” (1 Cor. 15:58), not allowing those about us to mold us but endeavoring to be transformed into the image of God’s dear Son. What are you giving in exchange for your soul?

Debbie is the author of Forty Years on the Second Pew, Am I Brave Enough?, and Staying Close to the Shepherd (yeomenpress.com).

Psalm 73: Drawing Near To God – Samantha Harvey

Psalm 73 is unique in that it tells a story about the psalmist’s struggles with envy, doubts, and his faith in God. However, through his struggles the psalmist Asaph learned to trust in God.

Asaph describes what the pleasures of life could offer him based on the fortunes and prosperity of those around him (vs. 3-5). They had everything their hearts wanted and more and did not lack for anything. They had the confidence of one who could do anything he wished because he had no fear of the consequences. The psalmist describes his temptation to be envious of those earthly possessions because of how much easier they made living.

Asaph also observed the wickedness of his neighbors. They clothed themselves with violence to protect the pride they wore as jewelry (v. 6). The wicked mocked the Almighty God. Their attitude expressed an atheistic view by showing their doubt to His existence. One could say their attitude also expressed a deistic view in that if He did exist He was disengaged from the people (v. 11). Because they had no fear of or respect for God, the wicked felt and accordingly behaved as though there was no reason to give thought to their actions, to care for others, or to filter what comes out of their mouth (vs. 6-12). After all, if one does not believe in God, then he does not have to fear any consequences of committing sin not punishable by human law.

Asaph began to doubt himself for being good because he was plagued and chastened every morning (vs. 13-14). What was the point of all his suffering if this is what being good cost? It was too painful for Asaph to comprehend… until he went into the sanctuary of God (vs. 16-17). Only then did he come to understand the ultimate destiny of the wicked: destruction (vs. 18-20, 27).

Ladies, the world seems like it has a lot to offer us. Wealth, pride, and pleasures of all kinds are at the top of the list. However, in reality the world is a sinking ship. Asaph observed how the wicked spoke loftily, and the unfaithful of today share the same attitude (v. 8). The Hebrew word used for loftily means “‘haughtily,’ as if from on high.’” If we don’t serve the Most High God, we become self-serving and lead a sinful life. How would we be different than those evil people described in the psalm?

When we seek to serve ourselves, we don’t always make the right choices. Just look at the way people dress immodestly, speak hatefully to one another, use foul language, treat others disrespectfully, lie, steal, cheat and use the name of our God and Savior in vain. In addition, we see how people are affected negatively by greed and power every day. The news and cable programs on television reflect society’s unscriptural view of marriage and its promotion of irresponsible parenthood. The media also promotes premarital lust and fornication. Furthermore, people turn to drugs and alcohol to escape their troubled hearts, minds, and souls instead of turning to God for relief and comfort. I’m sure Asaph witnessed many of these same sins.

Feminism in some ways has been detrimental to the mindset of Christian women. God instructs women to be submissive to their husbands in everything “for the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church” (Eph. 5:22-24). Ladies, do not think because you can gain power and money in your place of employment that you are entitled to rule your household. It is good for a woman to be able to provide for herself and her family within the guidelines set by God. Paul writes to Titus beseeching the older women to admonish the younger women to be home-makers and obedient to their own husbands (Titus 2:3-5). When choosing to work outside the home, ask yourself “Am I doing this because I want to or because I need to?”

Ladies, you don’t have to go down with the ship. Satan made his choice. He took the pathway that leads to destruction and awaits eternal damnation. He wants you to come with him. That is why he fuels your selfish desires. Abandon ship! Ladies, remember that you have a life preserver in Jesus Christ. He has planned to rescue you before the foundation of the world (Matt. 25:34). Yes, you are that important to Him! Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life and no one comes to God except through Him (John 14:6).

Sadly, choosing to serve Jesus is a choice that few make “because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life” (Matt. 7:13-14). It is easier to serve ourselves and obtain our own satisfaction than it is to serve God. In order to serve God, we must make sacrifices of what we have, such as money and personal time, as well as what we allow ourselves to do. Asaph realized how the wicked are on the brink of disaster and how their wealth and pride are valueless in the place of eternity (vs. 18-19). Although we can empathize with Asaph for wanting to make things easy for himself, we can rejoice in his decision to renew his trust in God and his commitment to Him. Ladies, are we making the same decision?

When life gets hard and you start to doubt yourself or your faith weakens, do what Asaph did. Go to God and He will straighten things out for you. It was after doing this that Asaph realized his foolishness and was penitently thankful for God’s protection, counsel and reward (vs. 21-24). As a result, his trust in God was renewed as we can see in verses 25-26: “Whom have I in heaven but You? And there is none upon earth that I desire besides You. My flesh and my heart fail; But God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.”

Although being righteous as God asks will cost you things you could have while you are here on earth, it is something worth dying for because the reward is far greater than any pleasure this world could give. Going to God is no further than a prayer away and the effort of studying God’s Word is well worth it. It is the most important investment you could ever make and it has the most rewarding return! As Asaph said in verses 27-28, “For indeed, those who are far from You shall perish; You have destroyed all those who desert You for harlotry. But it is good for me to draw near to God; I have put my trust in the Lord GOD, That I may declare all Your works.”

James instructs us to “submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you” (Jas. 4:7-8). Ladies, we are drawing near to God when we study our Bibles, pray, thank Him for all our many blessings, sing hymns and spiritual songs, and keep His commandments. I have found that I have to consciously make these decisions. Sometimes I struggle to study and pray as I should because I would rather read a novel, watch a movie, take a nap with my son, or run errands. However, when I choose to do God’s will for me, I benefit tremendously. The more I study and meditate upon God’s Word, the closer His teachings are at the front of my mind. Consequently I become more proactive with initial godly choices instead of reactive with self-serving choices. I can tell when I have not studied God’s Word enough because I end up looking back at a situation with remorse and repentance on what I should have done because the biblical teachings were at the back of my mind at the time. If only I had remembered God’s counsel when I needed to remember it! Ladies, only with continual study and meditation will we store up God’s words in our hearts so that we don’t sin against Him (Ps. 119:11).

It is best to approach situations with God in mind in foresight rather than hindsight. Asaph and James would agree that one can only do this if he or she is drawing near to God. When I draw near to God in the ways described above, my relationship with my husband is better because I remember to be submissive and exhort the qualities found in Titus 2:3-5 and Proverbs 31:10-31. I feel like I am a better mother, a better friend, and a better teacher when I put to practice what I study in 1 Corinthians 13 where love is described. In these ways God has drawn near to me because I have drawn near to Him by studying His Word. Furthermore, studying has improved my prayer life because I learn the areas in my life that need improvement and can therefore petition the Almighty for assistance. Since there is always room for improvement, this will be a life- long process that takes a life-long commitment. However, we can accomplish it with God’s help (Phil. 4:13)!

In conclusion, we must regard the warning of Psalm 73 to not be envious of the prosperity of the wicked for they will receive their judgment in due time. Let us renew our trust and confidence in God by drawing near to Him through studying the Bible and prayer. I am thankful that God has given us in written form the tools to help us be successful in keeping His commandments. When we choose to use them, we will be better Christian women overall.

sharvey08@att.net