August, for many, heralds the preparation for the beginning of the new school year. The academic calendar clearly affects all of society’s activities regardless of whether or not you are attending school. This “new beginning” provides an opportunity to pose the question, “what is the purpose of my life for the months ahead?” The word purpose suggests defining the reason for why something is done. As a Christian woman, I am concerned about a two-fold purpose to my life—what is my heavenly Father’s purpose for me as His daughter and for what purpose did He create me?
A brief review of Scripture gleans four key purposes for which I was created:
- I am to be conformed to the image of Christ (Ro. 8:29).
- I am to have fellowship with Christ (1 Cor. 11:1-10).
- I am to become a mature woman in the knowledge of the Son of God (Eph. 4:13).
- I was created for the pleasure of the Lord (Rev. 4:11).
Reflecting on these verses, are you fulfilling your heavenly Father’s primary purpose for you? Are there steps you might take to consistently make progress toward your Father’s purpose? What additional Scriptures can you add to this list to expand your understanding?
Kelsey’s Korner provides insight on our heavenly Father’s special purposes for women. Before reading her insightful research, I am excited to introduce you to women who walk through the pages of Scripture with the prayer that you will see their unique contributions to our faith as a challenging catalyst for you to seek to identify and fulfill His purpose for your life.
Exploring Biblical Women Who Were Used for the Fulfillment of God’s Purposes
- Sarah became the mother of all nations. She was submissive to Abraham even when his decisions created challenging situations for her (Gen. 12:1-2; 17:15-16).
- Rahab hid the messengers whom Joshua sent out to spy out Jericho. She was the mother of Boaz and is a significant example of how God uses anyone who repents of their sin (Jos. 6:23-25; Matt. 1:5; Heb. 11:31).
- Ruth left all that was familiar to her to care for her mother-in-law. She is the only woman in Scripture identified as “a worthy woman or virtuous woman.” Her heavenly Father provided her with a godly husband, Boaz, and she was blessed to be the mother of Obed (Ruth 1:16, 3:11, 4:13-17; Matt. 1:5).
- Esther risked her life to go before the king in defense of her people (Esther 4:14).
- Mary, the mother of Jesus, was the willing “servant of the Lord.” Her servanthood allow her to be the Mother of Jesus, the Savior of the world (Matt 1:21; Luke 1:28-56).
- Anna used her widowhood to serve God with prayers and fastings day and night (Luke 2:36-38).
- Elisabeth walked in all the commandments of the Lord. She was chosen to be the mother of John the Baptist (Luke 1:5-17).
- Eunice planted a deep and unfeigned faith in her son, Timothy (2 Tim 1:5).
Our culture defines “woman” as: it’s complicated. Half of our secular culture believes womanhood is simply biological—that there is nothing intrinsically different about the personhood of a woman as opposed to a man. They believe culture is what creates distinctions in gender, not nature. Because of this, women can do anything and everything that a man can do.
The other half upholds that men and women are different not only biologically, but in their very being—so much so that they believe it’s possible for a man to be born into a woman’s body, or vice versa! Although most churches have a more traditional view of genders, our interpretation of what the Bible says about womanhood has likely been warped by our cultural lens. Scripture, however, paints an image of “woman” that is uniquely different from “man,” a difference that is not marked by inferiority, inequality, or preference. Genesis 1 and 2 show the creation of the world, including the pinnacle of creation—man and woman. “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him, male and female He created them” (Gen. 1:27). From this we see that both male and female, distinct genders, were created, and yet both genders were made in the image of God, showing their intrinsic equality. Scripture continues in the second chapter of Genesis to assign roles. Man was created to work and keep the earth (Gen. 2:15) and the woman was created as his helper (Gen. 2:20). Together they were called by God to fill the earth, subdue it, and have dominion over it (Gen. 1:28).
This all sounds nice and dandy, but we do need to address the “elephant in the room.” Wasn’t it a bit demeaning for God to restrict Eve to the role of “helper”? And just because she was created as a helper, does that mean we have to be as well? Scripture holds the answers to our questions.
- First, let’s discuss “helper”. The word comes from the Hebrew azar (רזע), meaning “to help”, a word used many times in the Hebrew Old Testament. Aside from Eve being called a helper, God also attributes the title to Himself in Deut. 33:26, 29; Ps. 33:20, 70:5, 121:2; Hosea 13:9, and many other passages. In the New Testament, the Holy Spirit is likewise called our helper (John 14:16, 26, 15:26, and 16:7). It is clear from Scripture that the role of helper is not considered demeaning, since God Himself encompasses the role for His people.
- So is “helper” a role we are to assume in our lives as well? Although woman is not called “helper” in the remainder of Scripture, the concept is paralleled in the New Testament by the submission and headship commanded of women and men (Eph. 5:22-24; Titus 2:5; Col. 3:18; 1 Peter 3:1). This reflects the permanence of the roles assigned at creation. These were not cultural, patriarchal customs, as some suggest, but rather God created the submission of wives to the headship of their husbands as living picture throughout the generations to come of the relationship both within the Trinity (1 Cor. 11:3) and of Christ’s relationship with His bride, the church (Eph. 5:22-33)—a mystery indeed!
Although much more can be said on the subject, there are the three critical ideas to glean:
- God made you intentionally and thoughtfully as either a male or female (Ps. 139:13-14a).
- Men and women, although completely equal in worth and standing before the Lord, were created with different, yet equally noble, roles.
- These roles are proven permanent by New Testament application and by the everlasting pictures they represent.
These unchanging truths are foolishness to the changing morality within our culture (1 Cor. 2:14). Because of this, it is easy to feel pressured to tweak our interpretation of Scripture to align more with the view of the culture. May I suggest that instead of conforming to the world, strive to test everything through a biblical lens, hold fast to what is good, and be determined to abstain from what is evil (1 Thess. 5:21-2)?
THE EVERYDAY HOMEMAKER’S MONTHLY MEDITATION THOUGHT
God has said, “And the word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth” (John 1:14).
Therefore, I may boldly say, “Jesus’ humanity enabled Him to relate to my challenges, while His divinity gave Him the power to help me overcome them.”
The “Building a Culture of Biblical Femininity Conference in the Home, Church, and Community” October 5-7 on the campus of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary will allow you to deepen your understanding of Biblical Femininity. If you would like to know more about the Conference contact me through the “Send Pat a Message” feature at the bottom of the Home Page. I am excited to introduce you to the Key Speakers. We pray that you will choose to join us in our March for Biblical Femininity in October!
MARY LEE BAYLY
Mary Lee Bayly is the director of Women’s Ministries at Clearnote Church in Bloomington, Indiana. She and her husband Tim, who pastors the church, have been married for 41 years. They have 5 children and 21 grandchildren. Having fallen prey to the lies of feminism herself in younger years, she works earnestly to help women embrace their God-given calling as set forth in Scripture. When she is not taking care of grandchildren she is counseling women, reading, sewing, or attending births as a doula.
Barbara Hughes is first and foremost a lover of Christ, wife, mother and grandmother. She has served the Lord alongside her husband in ministry for over fifty years. Her energies in this regard were devoted to the work of women's ministries, Bible study and hospitality.
Barbara is co-author and author of several books most notably, Disciplines of a Godly Woman. She has a passion for personal evangelism, gardening and oil painting.
Rachel Jankovic is a wife to Luke, mother to seven busy children, and an occasional writer. She is the author of two books, Loving the Little Years, and Fit to Burst. She can usually be found up to her elbows in the work of feeding all the people she loves.
Rebekah Merkle has dabbled in a number of occupations ranging from running her own clothing label to designing fabrics to becoming a full-time high school humanities teacher. Author of Eve in Exile and the Restoration of Femininity, her proudest accomplishment is her crew of five high-speed teenagers. Her favorite role is that of wife to her similarly high-speed husband Ben. Click on this link to read a recent article: http://www.desiringgod.org/articles/throw-like-a-girl
Blessings on your day as you focus on making your house a home!