Tuesday, March 09, 2021

Be Not Conformed to This World: Let Us Be Women

I was baptized when I was 18 years old. For 17 years after that, I constantly questioned my salvation....to the point of answering any and every "altar call" presented. The problem wasn't the baptism, or the altar calls.

The problem was that I never did what was ACTUALLY required for salvation--I never BELIEVED that the price Jesus paid on the cross was ENOUGH.

Eight years ago, a situation occurred where guidance from someone in church leadership made me stop and question EVERYTHING that the church was teaching. We even stopped going there for a year. During that year, I took every moment of my time to read the Bible--and only the Bible. My thought was, "Lord, I NEED to know what You ACTUALLY said in Your Word to know if they are leading me astray or not."

During those months, I stayed up reading the Bible for HOURS each night. I was reading a book at a time, which, if you are talking about Jude and 1 John or even Philippians, is not any kind of feat. But I was reading all of Acts in one night. All of Hebrews in another. All of ROMANS, y'all.....in one night. And not just reading, but reading to UNDERSTAND it. I was LITERALLY staying up until 4 and 5am reading the Bible.

I don't say any of this to brag for that. I'm only sharing it because it was SO fruitful. I remember the moment that I read, "It is finished", and for the FIRST TIME, I knew I was saved. I finally knew it was not about my checking off a checklist, but of His work on the cross that saved me! It wasn't about what I had done or not done...it was only about what HE had done!

I remember the feelings I had when I finally BELIEVED. I remember the instant assurance. I remember the instant changes in my heart--the fruits of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control that were firmly planted, ready to grow into maturity.

Now, why am I sharing all this here? Because now I have spent almost 7 years knowing the gift of grace, and having the faith that gives me an assurance of salvation. Even when I mess up. Yes, even when I sin against God or another person. I don't continue to wonder, like I did for so long before, if I "unchecked" one of those boxes I "checked" to be saved.

Yet, there is still ONE thing that still holds onto me even after such a change of heart and mind. It is a remembrance that God's Word stands forever. It never changes.

So, while I had the wrong heart all those years ago, when I was worshiping at church (without faith), praying to God (without faith), and even leading small groups (without faith), the truths I shared or taught back then are still truths today. I see those truths through a lens of grace now, as opposed to seeing them through a lens of law, so *I* have changed, but God's Word hasn't changed.

Now--instead of a legalistic view of Titus 2--such as a "have to" be a homemaker.....I see the BEAUTIFUL creation order restored by the cross in women being homemakers and men leading and providing for their wives and children, like Jehovah Jireh provides for His church. I see the beautiful picture of women fulfilling the part of God's image which was taken out of Adam as a rib and which was her beginning when she was formed. I see the complementary design shown in the gospel between Christ and His church mysteriously replicated in the relationship between a man and his wife, and it is no longer a "have to", but boy does my heart shout, "I WANT TO, LORD!"

I remember the words of women, like Mary....when she was told she would carry God's child, she said, "May it be to me as You have said." In my own paraphrase, she was saying, "I accept whatever may come." See....she could have been stoned to death to have been found with child outside of wedlock, and she ACCEPTED that possible fate, because it was from the Lord.

In this day and age, we have so many not even willing to accept the form (gender) into which one was knitted while in his/her mother's womb. We do not accept the roles given to each gender by the Lord Himself, when He created things in His divine order and said "it was very good". We do not accept the number of children the Lord may bless us with--so we cut off that route of blessings (I am guilty of this myself, regrettably). We have gotten things out of order.

In essence, we "see that the tree is good for food, delight to the eyes, and is to be desired to make one wise" (Gen. 3:6)...and we EAT OF IT. And at that moment, we are no longer in the beautiful alignment which God instituted before the fall, now we are under the curse and in a constant wrestling with one another for the position of "head".

The feminist agenda was a weed planted in the garden, watered by many a generation, and has not been choked out by growing enough fruit ("be fruitful and multiply", He said). And that agenda has had its way with even the church.

Today, I can only issue a call of action, in hopes that I have spent enough time, like Esther, preparing myself and my heart for the confrontation. If I could write a letter to each and every pastor in all the churches of today's world, I would. If I had to beg, I'd be on my knees.

God said, "If My people, who are called by My name, will humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land." (2 Chronicles 7:14)

We need to get back to the creation order. We need men to be men, and women to be women, in every way that the Word of God defines. We have rebelled against that since the Garden of Eden, with us women leading the way, and now we are seeing the (bad) fruit of it. Our culture began a large shift back in the 40's, 50's, and 60's, and the church has been following the shift.

The church is being conformed to this world.

It is time to get back to "ancient paths" (see Jeremiah). It's time for pastors to teach ALL of Titus 2 in the pulpit, and all the rest of the Word, for that matter. (Please, pastors! We desperately need to hear it from you!) It is time for believing women to again accept the roles the Lord has given us at home and at church, which have been outlined in the Word--and not add to it with our explanations or newly revised definitions. Yes, it is time for us all to accept "our place" as God has gifted it to us. Do I mean in an oppressed fashion? No! But that is because I do not see being created as a female and sitting in 2nd chair at home and at church as oppressed, but as a fulfillment of who He made me to be!

Remember, He didn't say it was "very good" until He had made the helpmeet. Saying that did not make her a man. It didn't put her in charge. It didn't change her from helper to head. But it did make things which were only "good" up to that point now "VERY good". Five years ago, I wrote this same idea this way.

Church, we so need to humble ourselves, pray for Him to show us truth, seek His face on every matter, and turn from our wicked (worldly, cultural, lawless, feminist) ways. Let's walk in the way of the redeemed, not in the way of those still under the curse and hold of sin, wrestling against God and His design.

It took me eighteen years to hear the gospel. Seventeen more to believe it. And now, another seven years to get a full gospel view that how I live in every way as a woman has an effect on the spread of the gospel and the stability and eternal security of the church, as Titus 2:4-5 includes mandates that, if not taught (or not done), lead to the Word being reviled.

And we are there now. The Word has been and is being twisted, dismissed, explained away, disobeyed, and yes, reviled. And perhaps, ladies, if we would put on our gospel lenses to see it, we would see that it really is WE who have the power to influence the preservation of the church--to be the salt and light. If only we accept it and do it in the ways in which God Himself designed.

Then, it can be "very good" again.

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