Monday, April 22, 2013
It would be a fair statement to say that women care deeply about what is important to them. As believers, our affections have been renewed, so we are learning to love God with all of our heart, mind, and strength. From this flows a love for our families, the church, and our neighbor. But in addition, there's another subject that moves and motivates us - what it means to be a Christian woman.
All you need to do is visit the web site of a Christian bookseller and you will find books, books, and more books on this subject. Biblical womanhood is a popular blog topic and the focus of numerous ministries. It's also the subject of heated debate. If you ask one women, it means this and, if you ask another woman, it means something else. What is a Christian woman supposed to look like?
If I took a cross section of the women in my church, there are ladies from their twenties to nineties. Widowed, married, divorced, and single. No kids to many. Everything from empty-nesters and great-grandmas to first-time moms. Women who work outside and in the home. Some raised in Christian homes and some not. New believers and saints who have been on this pilgrimage for decades. Introverts and extroverts. Girly and nerdy. Different ethnicities. Different views on eschatology. Different trials. Different struggles. Different strengths. All this variety in one small church.
Now zoom out and consider the Christian women in your community/state/country. Widen the scope even further and imagine your sisters on the other side of the globe, fellow members of the invisible church. If I could interview each one, there are probably a host of differences just by virtue of our cultural and ethnic backgrounds. There may be a host of similarities as well. But even if I could tally up all the areas where we are alike, I would argue that the greatest common denominator isn't the uniformity of our female experience, it's the uniting power of Gospel.
So to go out on a limb, here's my definition of what it means to be a Christian woman:
A women chosen by the Father, redeemed by the Son, and regenerated by the Holy Spirit. (Eph. 1:3-10, Titus 3:4-7)
A woman who has been saved by grace through faith and is growing in holiness by training grace. (Eph. 2:1-10, Titus 2:11-14)
A woman who has the promise of God that He will complete the work He has started in her. (Phil 1:6)
You may read this and think - "But she didn't mention anything that was unique to women at all!" And you're right because I believe what God has declared me to be in Christ has the greatest impact on who I am as a woman. I've been saved by the work of the Triune God, and that same Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are actively at work transforming me into the image of Christ. How this looks for me may look different for you, because our lives are different, but the final result isn't up for grabs because it's not dependent on you or me to get it right. I love the perseverance of the saints because I have hope that my faith will not fail in the end. But this perseverance isn't only in my theology. It carries over to who I am as a woman because it will be fleshed out in every area of my life. Whether it's a homeschooling pastor's wife in Kalamazoo, the new convert in Kampala, the single missionary in an unnamed country in the 10-40 window, or the elderly sister in an underground church in Beijing, if you are in Christ, sister, God will complete what He has started.
So when I consider my sisters around the world, I see an intricate mosaic. Its beauty lies not in its uniformity but the wide variety of colors, shapes, textures. Each woman has been appointed in her ordained time and place by God. She has been redeemed and made righteous by the work of Christ. She has been sealed by the Holy Spirit as the guarantee of her future inheritance in heaven. And this finished work of art will be to the praise of His glorious grace.