A Defined Role

My cousin loves to funnily say that God made man and then He said to Himself, “I’ve really mucked up so I better go back to the drawing board and make a kinder and more gentler sex- woman.” I love to laugh at that because my cousin is funny and any woman would find it funny. But, God didn't muck up. He made man the way He made man, with totally different characteristics than a woman. And then he made woman-Eve- which means life giver. And she came from his rib, at a time when Adam was lonely and felt the loneliness of being alone in the garden. She was Adam’s “Ezer Kenegdo” AKA his “help meet.” I'm sure she brought some fascinating characteristics to Adam’s manliness, a softer and gentler way to compliment his manliness, filled with the love that only a woman can give. There is a goodness in the man that the woman brings out. God has given women a defined role in the world.

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Chew on this:

“When God created Eve, He calls her an ezer kenegdo. ‘It’s not good for the man to be alone. I shall make him an‘ezer kenegdo’’ (Genesis 1:18). Ezer kenegdo means “helper companion”. It literally translates from Hebrew to ‘help meet.’ It can also be used as life-saver. The word ezer is used only 20 other places in the entire Old Testament. And in every other instance the person being described is God himself, when you need Him to come through for you desperately.” (1)

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When one thinks of Biblical womanhood, they may immediately think of Proverbs 31. That piece of Scripture is great to refer to! But, I also draw wisdom and knowledge about what God intends for my sex from Genesis 1.

When God made woman He made her unique to man, to be strong where he is weak and vice versa, and to love in a way that is different than a man’s love. Men are physically stronger than us women but we have stronger hearts, that’s where our strength is. In God we find our male and female identities. Men are hunters, providers, and warriors. You see that same characteristic in God. And women want to be wanted and desired. You see the same characteristic in God. Just immerse yourself in the Old Testament and you will see this.

 One thing God has spoken, two things have I heard: that you, O God, are strong, and that you, O Lord, are loving. (Ps. 62:11–12) -King David

In this day and age some women are living far differently than how God intended. We were not intended to be feminist, trying to take over the role of man or even hate them. We were not intended to chase men and give it up easily (we should only be giving it up in marriage. Period!)

 He who finds a wife finds what is good and receives favor from the LORD. (Proverbs 18:22).

…So ladies, it not “she who finds a husband.”

Christian author, Stasi Eldredge sums it up in a few pithy words:

“One of the deepest ways a woman bears the image of God is in her mystery. Mystery: something to be explored. God yearns to be known. But He wants to be sought after by those who would know Him. He says, ‘you will seek Me and find Me when you seek Me with all your heart’ (Jeremiah 29:13). There is dignity here; God does not throw Himself at any passerby. He is no harlot. If you would know Him you must love Him; you must seek Him with your whole heart. This is crucial to any woman’s soul, not to mention her sexuality. ‘You cannot simply have me. You must seek me, pursue me. I won’t let you in unless I know you love me.’” (2)

So what is Biblical womanhood and what role are women to play?

When Eve listened to the serpent, the role of men and women forever changed. God's original intent for the sexes was never meant for there to be a struggle between men and women. God gave Adam and Eve dominion over everything in creation, except each other. But then the fall came and there arose a battle between the sexes. After she ate and God started giving out consequences to their disobedience, God said to the woman I will make your pains in childbearing very severe; with painful labor you will give birth to children. Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you.” (Genesis 2:16) So now we have this struggle between men and women, and a struggling acceptance of the S word-> SUBMISSION (Ephesians 5: 22-24). As a result of Eve's sin, her daughters after her are dissatisfied about their role, desiring total equality with men. Feminists are quick to put down men for their plight of sexism-i.e. not being heard in the board room, not making as much money as a man for the same role, not being respected by men, beaten up by men, etc. But what women go through and have gone through in this struggle with men, since Eve's decision to eat of the tree is described in one word-> sin. Men aren't the problem, in that women were given the consequence of men ruling over us, because of sin. Hard to accept, I know. Men are the problem and are clearly sinning when they abuse their role and mistreat women. That is NOT ok with God!

I'd love to spend time delving into what SUBMISSION means in terms of Biblical womanhood. But this post is getting long. There's a lot of charge there for women and men, and men have a role too that extends to verse 33 of Ephesians 5. All I'm going to say is, while men have a leadership role in the home and women are to be submissive, God has given both sexes charge to be equal image bearers of Christ (Galatians 3:28). Submission is a mutual respect for each others strengths, to love and honor one another. I think that Elisabeth Elliott sums up what I'm trying to say quite nicely:

Paul knew that a man’s love was of a different sort. His virile drive for domination, God-given and necessary in filling his particular masculine responsibility to rule renders it more difficult for him to lay down his life. So Paul imposed the heaviest burden on the man when he commanded him to love his wife as Christ loved the church.

You wives must learn to adopt yourselves to your husbands, as you submit yourselves to the Lord, for your husband is the head of the wife in the same way Christ is the head of the Church and Savior of His body. The willing subjection of the church and Savior of His body. The willing subjection of the church to Christ should be reproduced in the submission of wives to their husbands. But, remember, this means that the husband must give his wife the same sort of love that Christ gave to the Church, when He sacrificed Himself for her. Christ gave Himself to make her holy, having cleansed her through the baptism of His word- to make her an altogether glorious church in His eyes. She is to be free from spots, wrinkles or any other disfigurement- a church holy and perfect. Men ought to give their wives the love they naturally have for their own bodies. The love a man gives his wife is the extending of his love for himself to enfold her. (4)

So in wrapping up, I'd encourage women to read their Bibles and understand the role that Almighty God has charged us with. Not every Christian woman AND man are reading their Bibles like they should, and therefore they aren’t allowing room for the Holy Spirit to reveal to them what God has designed their roles to be.

The power is in the Word of God; otherwise, it’s just my story. It’s just my thoughts. There’s no substitute for the Word of God. You can bring illustrations all day long out of modern day culture, out of modern day readings and writings and illustrations. But the Scripture cannot be an add-on. We need to be making the Word of God central.” -Nancy Leigh DeMoss (3)

For married women, you have a strong heart and to be the Ezer Kenegdo to your husbands, and they to you. Marriages are not intended to be a power struggle but a power union. A wise married woman builds up her husband and respects him, she speaks the Word of the Lord to him and speaks into his life- she doesn't tear him down with criticism, and he does the same to her. Your job is not to fight your husband for the leadership role that God has given him as a man. You also have a leadership role in your home, to co-lead with your husband, to raise up Godly children, and lead in your churches where God has called you to lead. And you both have the awesome responsibility to share Jesus with others.

And if you’re a single woman, you also have a role. You have a role to be Christ's ambassador and share Him with those that don't know about his saving power and grace. You have a role to love other women and not look at them competitively. You also have a role to lead and use your skills to uplift your community. And you also have a role to let the guy chase you when the opportunity for dating and marriage arises.

There are over 300 women listed in the Bible. There you have examples of wise women and not so wise women to learn from, as well as examples of how God wants our sex to live and lead.

Happy Friday!! Do something nice for someone else and for yourself ;)

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Sources:

  1. John Eldredge, "Wild At Heart: Discovering the Secret of a Man's Soul."
  2. Stasi Eldredge, "Captivating."
  3. Elisabeth Elliott, “Let Me be a Woman.”
  4. Nancy Leigh DeMoss, “Keeping God’s Word at the Center,” radio program Revive Our Hearts, April 8, 2009.