I’m in Dallas, Texas again. I’ll be speaking at Gatehouse on Thursday on Getting Rid of Negative Emotions. If you’re in the Dallas area, please come – it’s open to the public and I would love to meet you. Click here to get your tickets.
Friday afternoon I’ll be speaking to a large group of Christian counselors on Three Mistakes People Helpers Make when Working with Destructive Marriages. Please pray for me.
As a reminder, our early bird price for our CONQUER conference will be ending September 15 and the price will be going up $67 a ticket. Please don’t wait. Sign up now. Click here to get register.
In today’s blog I’m not going to answer a specific question but share some thoughts that have been brewing around for a while about how women are taught to be godly.
What is a Godly Woman?
Let’s start with God’s word:
So God created man in his own image,
in the image of God he created him;
male and female he created them. Genesis 1:27
Until Christ is formed in you. Galatians 4:19
I hope you have a passion for Christ and for him to be formed in you more fully. But let’s look more closely at what that looks like.
Jesus perfectly expresses the full image of God (Colossians 1:15; Hebrews 1:3). When we look at Jesus, we see a mixture of strength and meekness, courage and compassion, fierceness and gentleness, tough truth and amazing grace. While the Bible uses male nouns and pronouns for God, it also uses feminine metaphors for God’s attributes and character —so Biblically, God’s image is not strictly a masculine image.
When we look at qualities that are traditionally labeled masculine, such as strength and power, courage, resourcefulness, boldness, and initiative, we understand that no man would be a fully mature or godly man if he didn’t also embrace some qualities traditionally labeled more feminine such as humility, gentleness, meekness, and vulnerability. When a man embodies strength and power without gentleness or humility he is not capable of healthy loving relationships nor would his character be Christ-like.
Christian teachings (books, sermons, seminars, etc) have encouraged men to embrace these more traditionally labeled feminine qualities such as gentleness, humility, and compassion in order to be more like Christ. The problem I see is with Christian teachings being unbalanced with respect to how they teach females to become more like Christ. Most teaching I’ve encountered fails to embrace the corresponding idea that a Christian woman must also develop some culturally labeled “masculine” qualities for her to grow, be mature, and more Christ-like.
For example, when conservative Christians are asked to define the attributes of a godly woman, most describe her using traditionally feminine traits. They say a godly woman is humble, submissive, trusting, vulnerable, compassionate, generous, loving, a servant, and a good helpmate to her spouse. These are important and wonderful biblical qualities, but they don’t make a complete or mature person nor are these qualities reserved only for females. A woman who embodies primarily these traits may be lacking important Christian virtues for Christ to be fully formed in her.
Sadly, what often happens when a Christian woman displays more traditionally labeled masculine traits, especially in marriage or with other men, she may be labeled as anything but godly. If she is bold, assertive, persistent, direct, courageous or confrontational—she is often seen in a negative light, as if she doesn’t know her place as a good Christian woman.
That thinking is restrictive and unbiblical. It’s true that every person’s strength can also become a weakness if it is not balanced by other positive character qualities. Likewise, every person’s strength can be used in sinful ways, but that does not mean we should not encourage women to have those strengths. It means we need to shape and submit them to Christ’s agenda, not our own.
Therefore, for a woman to become spiritually mature and more Christ-like, we may need to grow in different ways than we have more commonly focused our attention on.
As women we need gentleness, but we also need initiative and resourcefulness like Queen Esther (Click to tweet).
We want to be servants and helpers but we also need to learn more problem-solving skills like the virtuous woman demonstrated in Proverbs 31. We want to be loving, but we also need to know how to take a stand and have the courage to resist injustice and wrong-doing like the Hebrew midwives did when they refused to follow the orders of the Pharaoh to kill Jewish infants.
We need humility but we also need to know how to be a leader and be assertive, bold and strong like Deborah, the Hebrew warrior, and judge. We like to please people but we also need to know how to be gutsy and say no like Queen Vashti did when her drunken husband wanted her to dance for him in front of his friends. Or if you are married to a foolish churlish husband whose conduct puts the entire household in danger, maybe you need to take some lessons from Abigail’s life when she refused to submit to her husband’s decision and initiated a bold move with David which saved her household from destruction.
Just like a godly man needs strength and humility, boldness and gentleness, initiative and submission, the ability to speak tough truth and demonstration of amazing grace, so does a godly woman.
I want to challenge and encourage you to become more like Christ, and not just like our traditionally held ideals of what defines a godly woman.
Friends, how have you developed strength, courage, resourcefulness, leadership, and a bit of gutsiness? What has been the response from other Christian’s as you’ve grown in these areas?