“Then the LORD God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature…Then the LORD God said, ‘It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.’” – Genesis 2:7&18
As created in the image of God, men and women are equal. In other aspects however, men and women are not equal. We were not created the same physically or emotionally and we were not created with the same particular purpose. As Genesis 2:18 says, God created the woman with the purpose of helping the man. Each gender has a specific role and these roles have been created to complement one another and ultimately to glorify our God and Creator.
There are many things in society that destroy our God given roles as women. Perhaps the most prominent of these is feminism. Feminism lies to us. In an article that can be found at bible.org, Sue Bohlin writes about these lies. She says that feminism tells us we can have it all; we can have a career, a family and a great social life all at the same time. It tells us that men and women are fundamentally the same when the Bible clearly states otherwise. Feminism tells us we can and must be great in the world’s eyes. In order to do this we need to put off childbearing and even marriage to pursue our personal (and most likely sinful) ambitions. Feminism tell us that we are self-sufficient as women; we don’t need men. It also tells us that being feminine is being weak. Feminism blurs the line not only between gender roles but also between genders.
Yet God does not call us to “have it all.” He calls us to humility and hard work. We are not to “be conformed to this world” (Romans 12:2 ESV) in seeking after greatness. At creation God told Adam and Eve to “be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth” (Genesis 1:28 ESV). God gave the covenant of marriage to us within which we are to be fruitful and multiply; bear children. To put this off until you feel like in order to chase your dreams is to deny the very thing you were created for as a woman. But we can’t just have children of our own free will; we need men. However, we don’t just need them in order to reproduce. Men and women were created to complement one another and to do so specifically within the marriage covenant. Being feminine is not being weak. “A gentle and quiet spirit…in God’s sight is very precious” (I Peter 3:4 ESV). Proverbs 31 tells us that an excellent wife “dresses herself with strength and makes her arms strong,” that “strength and dignity are her clothing” and she “does not eat the bread of idleness.” “Her children rise up and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her.” This is beautiful yet this is hard work.
Reading through this passage of Proverbs 31 is challenging to me. I think of all the times I have preferred sleeping or just doing nothing over simple things like helping my mom make supper or folding the laundry. Then my sinful heart says “well what about all those times I did the dishes without being asked or told? And what about all my responsibilities as a working student? I need some rest. And this is talking about the excellent wife, not the excellent daughter. I’m not a bad daughter.” Even though I’m not anyone’s wife yet, I should still strive for these things which a wife should be. My purpose is to be a help to my future husband and in order to be a help to him, I need to start practising now. Saying my wedding vows is not going to magically give me the ability or discipline to “work with willing hands” or “rise while it is yet night and provide food for [my] household.” Getting married won’t make me “love [my] husband and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to [my] own husband” as Titus 2:4&5 call us to.
“Older women likewise are to be reverent in behaviour, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good, and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled.” – Titus 2:3-5
Carolyn Mahaney has written an excellent book on femininity called Feminine Appeal. In this book she unpacks “seven virtues of a Godly wife and mother” taken from Titus 2:3-5. But these virtues are applicable to all females, no matter their age or relationship status. Women were created as helpers for men. This was the plan from the beginning and it has been stated since the beginning. Titus 2:3-5 give us specifics on how we are to fulfil this God-given role.
As young women, we need to listen to those older and wiser than us. The first “older woman” God has placed in our lives are our mothers. I have been blessed with a Godly mother who has taught me what is good, sometimes without realizing it. Simply by her actions, my mom has taught me a lot about how to work out these seven virtues. I know that not every girl has been blessed with such a mother as I have, but that does not mean you have been abandoned to figure things out on your own. When we are saved, we are adopted into the family of God. We commune and fellowship with this family by means of the church. This is the second source of “older women” God has provided us with.
Now we shouldn’t just sit back and wait for an older woman to come to us and start teaching us stuff. A mutual relationship needs to be built and this isn’t going to happen on its own. We need to be involved in various ministries within our church and this will give us exposure to build such relationships. We need to actively search for this good teaching. This is something I struggle with. I tend to be a loner and that’s not always good because I tend to rely on myself for my own teaching and learning both in and out of the Word. But God has given us the community of the church so that we may learn from one another spiritually and practically.
So what about him? What about our husbands or our future husbands? Well, if we obey God’s Word and marry within the faith, we have nothing to worry about. We don’t need to tick stuff off of a list to see if he is doing or will do his job properly as a husband. If I work on fulfilling my God given responsibilities and purpose as a godly wife and he works on fulfilling his as a godly husband, we should have no worries. And honestly, I’m glad I’m not self-sufficient. Being feminine is hard enough even with the support of a husband (in my case it’s still my parents). I’m relieved that I don’t have to try to be great or self-sufficient and that I won’t “have it all.” I’m relieved that I’ll be dependent on my future husband and that I’ll be in the supporting rather than leading role.
Finally, we do this “that the word of God may not be reviled.” We are to live in such a way, the way that the Bible calls us to as women, so that the Word of our Lord will not be spoken of with contempt. That our lives may reflect the life of Christ our Saviour who suffered and died for our sins. By living in such a way, we demonstrate the gospel which “is the power of God for salvation” (Romans 1:16 ESV) and give no basis for criticism of God’s Word.
By Rebecca Gage