by Bonnie White, Women’s Minister
Our culture seems to be more confused than ever about what a woman is. Some say a woman is simply anyone who feels like or believes they are a woman. Others believe a woman is independent, sexually liberated, and not only can but should do everything a man does. And of course, we must remember stereotypes that portray a woman as a girly girl who loves shopping, makeup, and accessorizing or as a wife and mom barefoot in the kitchen.
Some of these beliefs involve a woman’s interests, personality, or the roles she fills. Others focus on her internal feelings and beliefs about herself. With all these ideas and beliefs out there, it is more important than ever that we understand what God says about womanhood. Only when we understand God’s design and definition of a woman can we rightly live out His purposes as godly women, bringing freedom and joy into our lives.
In Genesis, from the beginning of creation, we see that a woman is created in God’s image with the physical body and biology of a woman as the counterpart (helper) for a man (Gen. 2:18). God formed Eve from Adam’s side and breathed life into her female body with its XX chromosomes (Gen. 2:21-22). This tells us that her body, made by God, reveals she is a woman.
Throughout God’s word, we see women living out their womanhood in various ways. Some women bring forth life (Gen. 4:1-2; Luke 2:7) and protect that life at great cost, women who hammered tent pegs into the heads of the enemy leaders (Judges 4:21), those who judged all Israel (Judges 4:4-5), women who were prophetesses (Ex. 15:20) and queens (Esther 2:17, 7:2; 2 Chron. 9:1), women who supported the early church (Acts 16:14; Luke 8:1-3), and those who were wives, mothers, widows, and single women.
Though each of these women lived out their womanhood through their specific circumstances, personalities, giftings, losses, or sin struggles, one characteristic sets these godly women apart, as summarized in Proverbs 31.
30 Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting;
but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.
If fearing the Lord is what signifies and sets apart a godly woman, what does this mean? I believe a woman who fears the Lord at her core understands who God is as her Creator, Lord, and Savior.
God is Her Creator
God has a plan, purpose, and design for woman, including her physical body, her complementarity to man, and her specific giftings and abilities. She is neither a mistake nor created by her own inner sense of self or her feelings. She discovers who she truly is by seeking who God, as her Creator, has designed her to be.
God is Her Lord
God is her authority. When she has feelings, questions, or objections to whom He says she is or how she is to live, these are brought to the Lord and surrendered to Him. She trusts that He knows what is best and is worthy of her sacrifice. She acknowledges that His ways are better than her own and His knowledge beyond her ability to understand.
God is Her Savior
She looks to Christ for salvation, acknowledging both her own and the world’s need for redemption. She trusts God can heal whatever forms of broken femininity (and broken masculinity) she experiences personally or sees in the world around her. She does not attempt to save herself nor attempt to restore what has been lost or broken by her efforts, worldly theories, or eliminating parts of femininity that are uncomfortable to her. She serves the Lord with gladness and surrender to His tender will and way in her life.
What kind of woman will you aspire to and encourage others to be? Being a godly woman who fears the Lord is remarkable and leaves a legacy to be praised.