When you think of a godly woman what mental picture comes to mind? Meek and mild? Homemaker? Doting mother? Submissive? Humble? Peaceful? Gentle? A caring and generous helper?
All good qualities for sure. But are these the only traits required to grow into a godly female?
To answer this question, it makes sense to go to God’s word. God created both male and female in his image. (Genesis 1:26,27) Throughout the Bible, both male and female pronouns are used to describe God and his character. (see Deuteronomy 32:18; Isaiah 42:14; 49:15; 66:`13 for a few examples of God describing himself using feminine qualities)
Jesus perfectly represented the image of God. (Hebrews 1:3; Colossians 1:15-29) He shows us what God is like. He is not only meek but also bold. He is strong, decisive, and courageous. He shows compassion and gentleness but he is also fierce when needed. He displays amazing grace yet speaks bold truths, often a hostile audience.
Some might argue those “tougher” qualities are more suited to men while the “softer” ones are reserved for women. But think about it. Can you picture a godly man who is strong and powerful without any gentleness or humility? He would be described as a bully, incapable of a healthy relationship with anyone. To become a godly man, he would need both strength and gentleness, leadership with humility.
If it’s true that a godly man should develop both godly masculine and godly feminine qualities, does it not make sense that a mature woman would also possess both as well? Strength and gentleness? Courage and humility? Yes. Unfortunately, our Christian culture tends to sometimes label strong, courageous or outspoken women in a negative light.
But the truth is a woman who stays only submissive, trusting, meek, and mild is not a fully mature human being anymore than a man who only possesses courage, boldness, decisiveness and leadership. In order for Christ to be fully formed in us, all human beings should aim to exhibit the full character trails of their Creator.
That means there may be times when a woman is to speak boldly, to stand up against sin, injustice and evil. To be courageous and yes, even confrontational at times. Queen Esther is a good example of a woman who took initiative, who spoke up when necessary even when it went against the cultural norms of the day. Deborah the warrior is another. And Abigail another.
The Proverbs 31 woman is someone who is often cited as an example of godly womanhood. Sometimes we get distracted or exhausted reading about all she did, but let’s look at her character. The Bible tells us she is a woman who embodied strength and dignity as her clothing. She was a problem-solver. A business owner. Trustworthy. Generous (while earning and properly stewarding her finances). Innovative, a hard worker, resourceful and independent. She teaches with wisdom. And her own husband declares that her strengths and capabilities enrich him, not diminish him. He trusts her with full confidence (See Proverbs 31:11,12).
Friend, be challenged to become more like Christ. Don’t limit yourself fearing that you’re not supposed to have the more masculine godly traits. That’s not true.
God calls all of us, male and female to grow to be like him.