This is the second post in our Feminology series. At the start of each month in 2022 this blog will be focusing on something we’ve named “Feminology”, our word for the “study of being a woman”. We will be examining what God says about being a woman.
In January, we laid the foundation of our Feminology series by looking at God’s creation work: He made men and women in His image; they were of the same kind and of the same value. Yet, there were distinctions in how God made men and women, and this month will focus on the distinct roles He gave to women. In case you missed it, click here to read the post.
As we continue in our Feminology series this year, I hope you’ll learn along with me how God views women. We may not agree with God at times because of other beliefs we’ve held, influenced by the world around us. But, if my ideas are contrary to God’s, then I want my thinking to be corrected so I may live in a way that honors Him. I hope this is our desire as we study God’s word on this topic.
When I was in high school, I discovered the joys of acting on stage. During one particular play, a southern melodrama, my character stepped front and center stage to ask her teacher, “But, Miss Burgess, will the spotlight be on me?” I used my best southern drawl to emphasize the word “me”. Oh! Was my acting something else, believe me. Ha! Have you ever been in a performance before? There is an immense amount of coordination involved in pulling off a school play. Each character needs to memorize his or her lines, know when they enter or exit the stage, and understand how to act in response to the other characters’ lines. Could you imagine if one of the characters decided they didn’t like her role, and instead wanted to play another part? The whole play would become discombobulated. No one would know what to speak or when. Staying in our roles helped us all to work together to pull off a great performance.
My old “acting days” have helped me consider my role as a woman better. Just as my drama teacher coached us in learning our parts and moving correctly, the Bible coaches us in the roles we have been specifically given by God. As mentioned last month, God designed both men and women in His image. Because of this truth, we have an intrinsic value; both men and women are of equal value because it is God who has made us.
Not only has God created us distinctly male and female, but He has given us specific roles. When we refuse the role God gives us as women, and insist on the role He has given to men, we can bet our marriages, our families and churches, and even our lives will be as confusing as the school play where no one played their correct roles. Even more so.
How Can I Help You?
God created woman to be man’s helper. Before sin ever entered the world, this role was given to the woman to help the man. God saw this to be “very good” and Eve was exactly what Adam needed. How easy it is, though, to disdain this role that God has given us. When we reject our role and play another role, confusion is sure to follow.
But, why would we ever reject our God-given roles? What is the impetus behind even wanting to do something other than what God has designed for us? Here are a few possible reasons:
- Helping seems to be second-best.
- We believe the lie that being a leader is the only important role.
- Others are cheering us on very loudly to “break the glass ceiling”
When we believe these lies, we turn aside to the right or to the left and believe everyone, except God through His word. We lean on our own understanding as we reject what God has made us to do. In our natural state, of course helping seems to be second-best and we should outpace everyone, especially the men, to come out on top as #1. This natural state is self-absorbed and running away from God, though. Apart from Christ’s redemptive work in our hearts, this is who we are. So, if we have confessed Christ as Lord, then we need to renew our minds with His word so we may live transformed lives.
The truth is that God has welcomed women to share in His attribute, Helper.
“I [Jesus] tell you the truth. It is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I depart, I will send Him to you.”John 16:7
The Holy Spirit is called the Helper.
We know this to be true in our lives if we are His children. How many times has the Holy Spirit helped you with words to say in defense of your faith or when praying? Recall how He has helped you have strength to love on your children all day and train them in godliness. Thank God that His Spirit convicts me of sin and gives me the ability to repent! This Helper has a tremendously important job; without Him, we would literally be lost. At no point have I ever thought the Holy Spirit’s role as Helper is second-best. He is clearly fulfilling a necessary role as He helps us grow in faith and godliness. The Holy Spirit is part of the Trinity, God the Spirit, so I want women to see the honor of sharing this incredible attribute of Helper with God instead of belittling it and striving for other roles we perceive as more important.
Nature or Nurture?
Another role God has given specifically to women is that of a nurturer. Years ago when I took Psychology in school, the big question was whether people are who they are because of nature or because of nurture. In other words, do we just become what we become because it is wired in us, or because our parents shaped us? I’m not going to attempt to flesh out that answer in today’s blog post, but I do want to bring up the importance of nurturing, and that God has created women to do it.
Nurture definition: A nurturer helps someone to grow, develop, and succeed. They provide food, protection, a place to live, and also train and teach ethics and integrity. Nurturing is caring, fostering, tending, rearing, and raising.
Perhaps a more descriptive word for nurturer would be “life-giver”. Women are created to give life to others, from the way that God has created our bodies to the ways we intuitively care for those in need. This is the normal pattern to which there are exceptions, yet we must emphasize “normal pattern” here. Even if a woman never has children, her body is designed to do so. There are countless opportunities for women to give life to others, whether that be through the fields predominantly filled with women (teaching, nursing) or through caring for others’ children or aging parents. Nurturing can be evident as we feed our babies, teach children to obey authorities, and care for our homes. Certainly our actions, but also our words, give life to others as we build them up and prefer others above ourselves. This sort of others-centered living is a beautiful illustration of nurturing and life-giving. This is how God created women to live.
As I have studied the Bible and understood God’s roles for me as a woman, I have begun to embrace them more and more. It is a privilege to share in the attributes of God as a helper and nurturer to others. He rewards me with joy and other blessings as I prefer others to myself. I don’t have to fight to get “what’s mine”; I can trust that my Heavenly Father will care for my every need as He richly provides. Can you imagine the benefits if we women embraced this truth? It reminds me of the Scripture passage in James:
Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show by good conduct that his words are done in the meekness of wisdom. But if you have bitter envy and self-seeking in your hearts, do not boast and lie against the truth…for where envy and self-seeking exist, confusion and every evil thing are there. But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy.
Feminism is about self. This perpetuates a world of confusion and every evil thing (including divorce, abortion, greed…). Instead of being misled by feminism’s lies, let us trust the Lord and His good plan for the roles of women. Let us not lean on our own understanding. In this, we will elevate others and be filled with God’s wisdom and peace.