beyonce-pregnant-today-tease-170201_62e7def61cc4056e8f5c430b12bc3114.jpgMy eight year old daughter recently stood in the grocery line staring at a magazine vaunting the barely clothed and pregnant Beyonce. The tagline on the magazine touted Beyonce’s impending motherhood and nude extravagance as an assimilation of her “goddess” roots and “inspirational” womanhood. I gravely sensed my daughter correlating the tabloid imagery with what mommy and daddy have long taught her about being a woman of God…

The most common questions that Breanne (my wife) and I respond to are based around the attitudes and responsibilities of Godly womanhood. Beyonce’s belly, and other gaudy courtiers of the paparazzi, prompt the American media waves to entertain lively opinion on the marks of a mother. But, amidst all the mom “clatter” there’s an ever-deepening dearth of biblical clarity regarding the true beauty, dignity, and humility of a Godly woman…

Clearly, the entirety of biblical womanhood can’t be entertained in brief because women live in diverse cultures, in different eras, with varying socioeconomic conditions and numbers of children. But, while the applications of a Godly woman may be unique to context, there are certainly foundational biblical principles which every Godly woman should know:

THE GODLY ROLE

The starting point for every Christian is the ability to follow. A new Christian will choose to follow Christ. Next, he or she will follow their church leaders. And, in marriage a husband will follow the Bible, a wife will follow her husband, and the children will follow the parents.

Ephesians 5:21 tells us, “Be subject to one another in the fear of the Lord.” This mutual commitment to following – what the ancient Greeks termed “submission” is part of every Christian’s life, and allows for true and lasting relationships. Without mutual submission (elevating one another above self) all relationships are destined to fail.

In marriage, the Bible demands each husband to set aside his own desires and prioritize his wife, and consequently that his wife commit to “following” his goals and objectives for the home. Ephesians 5:22 says, “Wives, be subject to your own husbands, as to the Lord.” This concept of submission for the wife comes from an old Greek term, hupotasso which means literally to line up under.

Thus, the first foundational identifier of a Godly woman is her ability to trust and follow her husband. She must not berate his failures, mock him in public, or impugn his decision making, but instead offer her opinions in a constructive format. Further, she will not attempt to show him up nor make public spectacle of her body which has been privately given to him, and him alone, in the covenant of marriage (1 Cor 7:4).

From the very beginning God intended a woman to respond this way and even warned that the sinful nature inside each woman would make it difficult. In Genesis 3:16 the Lord told Eve, “Yet your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you.” The term “desire” refers to the woman’s desire to usurp leadership from her husband, a carnal craving to break the God-given order and dominate her man’s attentions. Yet, God says that the man will oversee her. This pits her carnal desire against God’s design. And, this is what we see played out on the grand American stage – Men who neglect their God-given responsibility to provide and protect and subsequently, women who fight desperately to fill the voided leadership shoes!

Yes, God’s design is not popular today. But it was not the Renaissance, French Revolution, Suffrage movement, Feminism, an Emma Watson speech, or Beauty and the Beast movie, that awakened women to lust for leadership. As mentioned above, God’s design has been unpopular since the beginning, and the serpent of sin has long been luring men and women away from God’s best.

Sadly, Hollywood satirists are more aware of the humor surrounding husband-wife role confusion than most church Christians! Reflect for a moment on the following television shows of the past century: Dick Van Dyke, Get Smart, Bewitched, Honeymooners, I Love Lucy, Munsters, Leave it to Beaver, Mary Tyler Moore, Murphy Brown, King of Queens, Will & Grace, Everybody Loves Raymond, Home Improvement, Married with Children, Roseanne…

The humor of these shows is based entirely on a man who cannot lead, protect, and provide for his home, and conversely, a woman who will and can! Billions of dollars were made on this subconscious disposition that it’s humorous for a wife to dominate a husband.

Many women’s Bible studies discuss how to become a Proverbs 31 woman, “An excellent wife, who can find!” And, great encouragement that is… Yet, these studies would also do well to caution women against becoming a “Proverbs 21 woman, “It is better to live in a corner of the housetop than in a house shared with a quarrelsome wife.” (Proverbs 21:9Instead of clamoring for the spotlight and overpowering her husband’s dreams, a Godly woman will choose the path of prudence and constructive speech so that the “heart of her husband may trust in her.”

THE GODLY SOUL

It is important for every Godly wife to examine her speech and conduct towards her husband, ultimately discerning the motives from which those actions stem. The second identifier of a Godly woman is her commitment to doing right even when she doesn’t feel like it. 1 Peter 3:1 says, “You wives, be submissive to your own husbands so that even if any of them are disobedient to the word…” In this verse, Peter is urging wives to love their husbands in the good times and in the bad.

When a husband isn’t in church or reading the bible or spending time with the kids or helping around the house, a wife may be tempted to get upset and go out with the girls or place a note on the TV that says, “Repent you reject!” but Peter says that she should stay humble and supportive with a clear purpose, “(that he) may be won without a word by the behavior of their wives, as they observe your chaste and respectful behavior.” Remarkably, Peter says that the wife’s commitment to love a disobedient husband, because she loves the Lord, could very well in the end be the transformation of the husband’s soul!

I’ve seen this happen. A man who goes to church one Sunday is suddenly convicted of his sin. Crumbling to his knees, penitent and changed, seemingly instantaneously by the Word of God, but we must not forget the years of Christ-like example exuded by His patient and loving wife.

1 Peter 3:3 continues, “And let not your adornment be merely external – braiding the hair, and wearing gold jewelry, or putting on dresses…” Not only does she possess a commitment to endure hardship but also models her appearance in a way that glorifies God. The word “merely” admits that women will look beautiful, but Peter commands that her focus not be on the external, but on the internal. Verse 4 continues, “but let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is precious in the sight of God.” Paul’s point is that internal beauty; the elements of listening, not gossiping, being patient, and staying still, are the most admirable and beautiful traits of God’s woman.

Paul uses the example of Sarah and other matriarchal heroes of the faith stating that they literally met “face-to-face” with God. His point is that every time a woman looks in the mirror to start her day, God isn’t concerned with her external beauty, He’s looking at her heart. The Bible commands Christian women to look in the mirror and ask, “Do I call attention to myself or to the Lord today?” a far cry from Beyonce’s voyeurism.

There has been much made in recent years about how women should dress at church. In youth ministries girls are told to wear shirts over bathing suits and many other behavioral items get discussed. This is helpful for the immature and youthful. But, if a woman simply assesses her heart; questing to walk, talk, and dress for God’s glory, the outfit of choice will virtually select itself off the shelf.

THE GODLY GOAL

Finally, both the role and the soul of a Godly woman motivate a final characteristic of biblical womanhood, specifically that she pursue a Christian legacy which will continue after she’s gone. One popular criticism of Christian women is that they are supposedly “silenced” or have no impact on society, but the Bible states exactly the opposite!

In a letter to Titus, Paul wrote, “Older women likewise are to be reverent in their behavior, not malicious gossips, nor enslaved to much wine, teaching what is good, that they may encourage the young women…” (Titus 2:3 NASB) Paul urges these older women to not sit around wasting away with gossip or alcohol and instead to focus their time teaching younger women. The obvious question is, “Teach them what?” He continues in verse 5, “…To love their husbands, to love their children, to be sensible, pure, workers at home, kind, being subject to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be dishonored.”

Mature women were to teach younger women to be husband-lovers and child raisers focusing extra attention on the management and care of the home (oikourgos). Stunningly, Paul says that the culture in which these women lived would notice the behavior (radically different from it’s own) and not be able to dishonor the Bible! Isn’t that marvelous? Older women teaching the younger women how to build a legacy of Christ-likeness at home and people in the city admitting, “Yea, that Bible thing really works!”

As Peter Marshall wrote;

“The world has enough women who know how to be smart. It needs women who are willing to be simple. The world has enough women who know how to be brilliant. It needs some who will be brave. The world has enough women who are popular. It needs more who are pure…”

Husband loving and child raising didn’t mean that a mother would never work outside the home… Certainly there were times a family needed ancillary income or dealt with crisis. Further, there have been many wonderful women who never got married, by choice or God’s design, but chose instead to serve Christ in greater capacity as a single (1 Cor 7:29-31). But, the principle remains that the overarching goal of biblical womanhood is to build a home that honors the Lord and leaves a legacy unto His glory.

CONCLUSION

So, what must we say to our daughter in the grocery line? Answer: “The role, soul, and goal of biblical womanhood is directly opposite that singer exposing her bared baby-bod for fame!” 

Beyonce and the world which applauds her with cheapened notoriety (until the wrinkles set in) should be shunned by young stalwart women of the faith as they glowingly represent the eternal standards of humility, purity, dignity, and grace.

Biblical womanhood goes far beyond the youthful years of external beauty, melding the magnificence of internal beauty, with the wisdom of lifetime maturity, all culminating in an eternal legacy!

Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain, But a woman who fears the LORD, she shall be praised. – Proverbs 31:30

 

Posted by Anthony Wood

Anthony is Pastor of Mission Bible Church in Tustin, CA, and has authored the books Defining Church & Defining Family. He’s married to Bre, and they have three children. More @AnthonyGeneWood

One Comment

  1. Certainly, I agree, there are little in the way of positive role models for our Christian values, let alone our children who we want to protect in a very dark world. However, I do not see eye to eye with you on the word “demand”. The Gospel is profitable for all, but not all of the Gospel pertains to Christians, just as God’s plan for Israel is not meant for Christians and the plan of God for the believer is also not for Israel – these are clearly two different paths but both are spoken of in the Gospel – it is profitable for you but not for you. Therefore, if the bible (Gospel) is profitable for you, then there is no demand placed upon you. This is most evident in the transition form old to new covenant where Jesus is sacrificed for the world. If there was a demand that we (man) could live up to – then there would be no need for sacrifice. From the beginning God produced fruit in man and this is carried over in the new covenant through Faith in Jesus. Where Jesus is the vine and the believer is the branch – in righteousness by faith – your faith – not your works makes you righteous – therefore – there is no demand from God that you be righteous – rather this is where God has allowed man the free will to chose – chose life or death. If there was a demand – then there can be no free will. Discipleship was ended in Acts – God is not seeking followership – God seeks sonship and sonship not followership speaks of relation. The believer, the body of Christ, the Church will become the bride of the Bridegroom, Jesus Christ. Now we must understand that Jesus will be our perfect Husband – who will and who has loved us unconditionally before the foundation of the world. If we use the word unconditional (such as Agape love) then we cannot use the word demand – because it doe not fit. As the bride – the fruit which unconditional love produces are things like, trust, obedience, submission, love, honesty and peace. Demand, especially demand that we cannot meet produces none of the aforementioned fruits – unfulfilled demand on produces guilt, shame, condemnation and frustration.
    Woman was given to man as a helper – a co-worker of equal importance but not of equal position – however, position does not always indicate superiority. Although man is at the head of the family under God and the woman is asked to submit to man – this is not a demand – it is a fruit. Woman is not inferior to man, nor superior. This is why the bone selected was the rib – from the middle – equal to. The bone was not from the head so that woman would have dominion over man – nor was the bone taken from the foot so that man would trample over woman. We are co-sojourners on earth and when we marry – we become as one – not two individuals but one body in Christ Jesus – which is a representation of the marriage the bride will have with the Bridegroom where we become one. Once we have faith in Jesus, he is one with us and we are one with Him as the Holy Spirit enters our body and we are placed in the Body of Christ – the church. Jesus told man – Love your wife as I love the church. As Jesus loves us unconditionally we find ourselves bound to Him, trusting Him, loving Him, and at peace with Him and we submit (not as a demand – but as a fruit of the relationship). So too do our wives submit to us as husbands. Not because we demand it or the Gospel demands it (because it does not) but because we first have the love of Jesus Christ in us and it fills our cup to overflowing and that overflow can now be shared with others – like our wives. And if you love your wife as Jesus loves the church, your wife submits out of the fruit you produce with her – as one – because you both are connected to the Vine and that connection produces only good fruits. There is never a give and take for God – not under the new covenant – it’s all give with love. There is no demand by God that a woman submit to an ungodly husband – or an abusive husband – or a cold husband – The order of the teaching is for Husbands to love their wife first – as Christ loves the church – then, wives submit to your husband because he is a man under God and under the new covenant he is a man in God. This husband will have a wife who wants to submit because her husband loves her deeply and will do all things in God for her. The wife finds peace, honor, trust, love, happiness, and security with her husband as one and the fruit of his love for her is her submission to him and he submits the love of Christ to her – as one. Marriage is not two individuals – it is one – in relationship with the Father through faith in Jesus.
    What Paul wrote to Titus is true – but again it is not demand. Who better to teach young women than the Godly older women how to be Godly. How to share in the love and relationship of God through the Son. This teaching or revelation brings the young women into relationship with God through faith in Christ and teaches them the values that Christ spoke of when He was on earth teaching. And if the husband loves his wife, then the wife should enjoy the fruit of the relationship and be subject to (obey) her husband under God so as not to blaspheme the word of God which is good, true, and profitable for all.

    Kind regards,
    J Arnn
    Jewish Studies for Christians

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s