What IS God’s Will?

For most of us one of the main aspects of our Christian life is trying to discern and find out God’s will. Oftentimes we hesitate when it comes to different aspects of living out our faith because we “don’t know what God’s will is for our lives.” In Hebrews 11:1 God tells us “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” If we could see forward and know each step in “God’s will” for our lives, where then would be our faith?

This Moment

Living by faith most often comes when we do NOT see the path ahead. One common strand in all walks of life in Christ is that it is filled with times of uncertainty, trials, waiting and times of what we view as “dead ends.” If this is one of the most common factors of a walk with Christ, does it not bring to light that this is one of the most common ways God leads His children?

Looking through scripture starting in Genesis, we see in literally EVERY story some person or persons at a point in time of their lives where they have no clue as to the path that lies ahead. Each had a day in time where they had a choice to make as God showed them one step or asked obedience in one area. Moses had no idea that when he headed back to Egypt that he would be leading around a complaintive and faithless people for forty years. Gideon had not the slightest inkling when he surrendered to leading the army of Israel that he would be tested even further by cutting that army to a mere 300 men, and then that they would defeat an army of thousands before they drew a sword! Time won’t suffice to tell of Abraham, David, Jonah, Ruth, Joseph, Paul, Timothy, Peter, Mary and SO many more, but it’s safe to say that none of these could “see God’s will” for their future lives. They had the promises of God, and His commandments in addition to the common sense He gave them, but outside of that they had no idea of the path before them.

“Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.” Psalm 119:105 Sometimes God shows us the path, and this is what we generally think of when it comes to discovering God’s will for our lives. However, many times God’s will for us is simply the lamp at our feet. We see where we are standing, and as we step forward we see the next step, but the path ahead remains in obscure darkness. God’s will is not what will happen someday in the future, but rather where He has us today and at this very moment.

God's WillWith this in mind, how would that change the way we live out our moments of today? If this very moment in our life IS God’s will for us, would we change how we are living it? The best way to know if we are walking in God’s will is to examine our own hearts and minds and see where our focus is. Matthew 6:33 says, “But seek ye first the kingdom of God; and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you.” Oftentimes walking in God’s will is not about knowing what is ahead and how we will walk through it, but spending today examining ourselves, surrendering our body, mind, will and emotions fully and completely to the Lord and opening ourselves to His cleansing and sanctifying power.

As God opens up the doors of opportunity to serve and work in any capacity, we are responsible to be diligent in “whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might.” (Ecclesiastes 9:10) Even during the seasons of waiting, uncertainty and trials in our lives, we are not to be idle. As an example, a good waiter in any restaurant will be faithful in the little tasks that come simply by existing in the place where they have been placed, and they will be especially attentive to seek the desires and fulfill the wishes of the patrons. Waiting effectively is to be attentive to the ways we can remain faithful and diligent in our walk with the Lord, and as we are consistent in this we will discover that we are indeed living out God’s will for our lives.

If God’s will for us were something other than what we are living right now that means one of two things. Either we are in the wrong place, or God put us in the wrong place… and as God makes no mistakes, we know the latter is not true. “For we walk by faith, not by sight.” (2 Corinthians 5:7) Again, God’s will for our lives is not somewhere in the future or how we will spend the rest of our lives, but rather the very moment we are living right now.

May we each open our hearts to the Lord and ask these questions:

-Am I depending on faith or sight to walk in God’s will for my life?

-Am I living God’s will for my life this very moment?

-Is there anything hindering from this moment being God’s will for my life?

-Am I willing to change what God shows me so that this very moment I am living in IS His will for my life?

-Am I willing to accept God’s will for today as His will for my life and leave His will for tomorrow in His hands?

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But What if I DON’T Want to Get Married?

Or even if I did… this still applies!

Only One

Growing up in the Conservative Christian  Church (CCC) I have listened to all of the teachings about being a daughter at home, waiting for my husband and then becoming a keeper at home in my own home. I have been around countless girls that talk about that magical day sometime after they graduate when they get to experience the bliss of marriage and become a keeper at home, a wife and a mother. I listened to young women talk about their struggles of desiring marriage and being content at home while the Lord had them there. I’ve listened to women tell of their quest of contentment and satisfaction in singleness and finding the Lord as their fulfillment even though their heart’s deepest desire was to have a husband and children…

Yes, I’ve been there in those circles, done that whole sympathetic listening routine. But for me… it was different…

Don’t get me wrong, there were times I thought about, “Yeah, it’d be nice to get married someday.” Or “When I get married I want/hope/would like…” But for the most part, no. I didn’t truly DESIRE marriage. To be completely honest, there were times I almost was vehemently against the idea! There were multiple reasons for this, but I’ll just list a few of the main ones:

I didn’t like change. I would be fine and dandy for things to stay as they were. Change is difficult and challenging and stressful! Every time I’ve experienced change in my life it wound up being worth it, but it was also hard beyond belief and a lot of work physically, emotionally and spiritually.

I was scared of sex. Yes… it not only scared the stuffing out of me, I thought it was gross and just… COMPLETELY undesirable! Sex and physical intimacy is being greatly abused in our churches today by their continual pounding out that it is WRONG and a SIN and WICKED and UNHEALTHY… then in tiny print… “outside the bonds of marriage.” I was one of the victims of becoming so terrified of all the BADNESS of sex that I completely skipped over the part that it is GOOD and BEAUTIFUL and ENJOYABLE and something that God intended SHOULD BE DESIRED after marriage!!

I didn’t want to be chained down. Let’s face it, there is SO much a single Christian young woman can do! So many ministries, job opportunities (even if I limit it to home businesses), friends and family to visit and help out, education experiences… SO much to do and so many exciting things to experience! Why on EARTH would I want to give all of that up to be stuck at home? And just sayin’… it’s not against Scripture to go to college or work outside the home if God leads in that direction… Seriously! Try to find it in the Bible! I’m willing to bet it can’t be found!

I wasn’t interested in the job description. The whole, “stay at home” wife and mother outlook didn’t appeal to me. In the LEAST. I didn’t like housework, I didn’t like children (with the exception of my younger siblings and the children of close friends and family) and I didn’t like the whole “meek and mousey housewife” picture CCC portrayed. (And before I get jumped over about that statement, please finish hearing me out!)

I couldn’t fathom being bound to ONE person for the rest of my ENTIRE life! Marriage is such a PERMANENT thing… not only was I VERY apprehensive about living with one man for the rest of my life, I also doubted ANY man’s ability to deal with me for the rest of his!

And the list goes on! I felt like I was the only girl on the planet that felt this way, and I was constantly living with a nagging guilt in the back of my mind that I wasn’t what I was supposed to be. There were points in time where I honestly tried to step out and become what I thought I should be (or what the CCC thought I should be) as a woman, but it generally ended in frustration. I just didn’t like it and didn’t want it! So there was something majorly wrong with me, but guess what? I got to the point where I just decided God would give me the grace to approach each step as it came.

Now, there is nothing wrong with that mindset, but after the past few months I realized my life and walk with Christ isn’t to just walk in the grace Christ gives me for the things I have a hard time with. That’s a big part of it, but God is a GOOD God! He DESIRES to give GOOD gifts to His children! He WANTS me to enjoy, desire and look forward to what He has for me in my life, and His plan for me as a woman is truly beautiful!

My problem is that I didn’t know what God’s plan for me truly was! I want to share my reason why, and Lord willing one of these days I’ll write a series of articles to cover each of the topics I listed above as the Lord leads.

I didn’t understand God’s TRUE biblical plan for womanhood.Not the only Biblical Role

Being raised in an ultra-conservative setting, I as a girl was instructed and taught from an early age that the pure purpose and goal of biblical womanhood was that of a wife and mother. The role of keeper at home was the “holy grail” of conservative Christian women world-wide! Now, this IS one of the biblical roles for womanhood, and a beautiful one! But it’s not the only one!

The problem is this… we as a Conservative Christian Church took ONE biblical concept that was pure and good and made it the primary focus of women. We created a list of rules, regulations and expectations to help us achieve this pinnacle of womanhood, and called them doctrine! I am being blown away over and over by discovering things I was raised with as being “scriptural teaching” are NOT SCRIPTURE!! In truth, they are nothing more than concepts and commandments of men taken from or based on Scriptural principals. This isn’t anything new, as even Jesus rebuked the Pharisees for it. Keep in mind, the majority of the Pharisees were TRULY pursuing a godly life, but they became trapped in the methods of men, just as we all do!

“Well hath Esaias prophesied of you hypocrites, as it is written, This people honoureth me with their lips, but their heart is far from me.

“Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.

“For laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition of men, as the washing of pots and cups: and many other such like things ye do.” – Mark 7:6-8

While it is true, there are portions of Scripture that teach about women and what they are to do and be, it’s not only a wife and a mother! I won’t go into great detail, but honestly go read through Proverbs 31:10-31 and just see ALL THAT WOMAN DOES!! She’s an entrepreneur, creative, vibrant, known for her good work, not just the keeper at home! She is also the backbone of her home and because of her strength, wisdom and diligence she is known among the merchants in the city and her husband is known in the gates. (Think about it, that verse isn’t thrown in there randomly! Her husband would be known because of his success physically, spiritually and emotionally, which is greatly due to having THAT woman in his life!) This didn’t happen suddenly after she got married y’all! This has been a work in progress God has been establishing in her life for YEARS! Also, in Titus 2 it talks about how women are also to be teachers and multiple times in the New Testament women are noted for following Christ and ministering with Him, for Him and to Him.

Side note: a recent thought that boggled my mind was this… Did I ever learn that every man’s main goal and purpose in life was to be a husband and father? No I didn’t! Yes, it was a goal, but it wasn’t the pinnacle of manhood! Because of Paul and other men in Scripture that did great things while being single, men have a few more “options” in God’s will for them! But back to my main thought…

I as a human being LOVE lists! I like being able to know exactly what’s going on and exactly what I need to do. However, God doesn’t work that way. If He did, I wouldn’t have the blessings of FAITH and TRUST in my relationship with Him! The whole concept of faith is walking forward, following God’s leading and being a wise steward in where I am WHILE trusting Him to bring me where I need to be. I spent most of my life worrying about what God’s will was for my life, and I totally missed out on the truth that God’s will for my life is RIGHT HERE where I am and RIGHT NOW in my life. If I am honestly pursuing my relationship with God and drawing nigh to Him then I AM in His will for my life! The main reason I am missing out on God’s will for my life is because I can’t even see that I am IN IT!!

“But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” Matthew 6:33

Who I am as a Woman

God’s plan for me as a woman is the same as any other child of His… to seek Him first in every area of my life and to be sensitive to His leading. There is no cookie-cutter role for women, because He created each one to be an individual and to serve Him in a specific way and specific areas. There may be similarities because He created women with several main similarities, but He did NOT create every woman the same!

 

What it all boils down to is the HEART. It may be a wife and mother, it may be a daughter at home, it may be a teacher to children every week, it may be a writer, it may be a laborer, it may be any number of things! But the one thing I do know is that as long as I am seeking Him, where I am and where God leads me IS what His will is for me as a woman of God.

 

When He Calls Me to Walk on Water

This morning I was reading in Matthew 14 about when Jesus walked on the water out to His disciples in the boat in the storm, and how Peter walked out to Him. I’ve read this story one hundred times and yet it has never hit me with the impact it struck me with this morning. I saw how this very story happens in my own life.

In the midst of all the craziness and “storminess” of fears, temptations and uncertainties around me, Jesus approaches me, giving me the desire to go to him, in spite of how crazy and impossible it may seem to myself and those around me. But that desire is there. I Want to walkWANT to walk into the storm because I know that is where He is. Yes, it is scary and there are so many things, the wind, the waves, the pelting rain, SO many things that can distract me from drawing nigh to the Lord. But at the same time I can see how if ever I become distracted with the wind and begin to sink, the Lord is RIGHT HERE to reach out a grab me and pull me back to my feet. And it is all simply because he loves me. He WANTS me to come to Him, He WANTS me to be willing to walk onto the stormy sea because many times that is the only way He can continue to grow me in my faith and trust in Him and bring me to the place in my life that He wants me to be. He never leaves me alone in those stormy seas and is always just ahead, encouraging me to draw nigh, but at the same time is right beside me when I fall.

Also the Lord has been showing me how even in the thickest of storms, He gives me peace and confidence, because I know it is His will for me to walk on the waters to go to where He is leading me. The story of promisesAbraham has been on my mind a lot lately, and I can’t help but think about how many times he had to walk forward “into the stormy seas” by faith to follow where the Lord was leading him. Think about how many times the Lord called Abraham to step forward into the impossible! Going places and doing things that seemed impossible to not only Abraham, but also those around him. Yet, at the same time, Abraham stepped forward in faith, and the Lord led him through all of the unknown into His fulfilled promises to Abraham, precious and beautiful promises that only He could have fulfilled.

And kind of as a side note: I’ve been talking to a good friend recently about how it seems every time God is doing something amazing in my life the fears and temptations seem to increase. I truly believe this is because whenever the devil sees a person or situation with a lot of potential for glorifying and honoring the Lord, he tries to throw them off with doubts, fears and temptations… all of the “wind,” “waves” and “rain” that can distract them from focusing on and drawing nigh to Jesus. The harder the wind and rain, the more I know it is vital for me to keep pushing on and going where the Lord is leading me, because He has something precious and beautiful prepared for me, either in my walk with the Lord, in my physical life, or both!

I am so thankful for the “stormy seas” the Lord brings into my life, because I know that without them I would not grow as much in my faith and trust in the Lord, and also because they cause me walking on water of uncertaintyto draw even closer to the Lord and His will for my life. Yes, I struggle with doubts and fears about what lies ahead and around me. I also know that the Lord is faithful to His promises, and that all things work together for good to those who love the Lord and who are called according to His purpose. I know that He has blessing exceedingly abundant in store for me as I follow His will for my life. I know as I draw nigh to the Lord, He will draw nigh to me as well and even in the darkest, scariest storms of fears and doubts He is still using those times to teach me to walk by faith on the waters of uncertainty. The beauty of drawing nigh to Him and seeing what precious plans He has for my life is always worth the storm He brings me through, and because of this I can walk confidently through the wind, waves and rain without worry or fear as long as I keep my eyes on Him, resting in His love and strength, and ever mindful that what He promises He will do.

What an amazing and precious Lord I have!!

 

 

Is Biblical Womanhood a Step Down for Today’s Woman?

Many conservative Christians today are stressing the return of women to God’s intended role as designated in the Scriptures. However, when one looks at how these women are representing that role, there seems to be a serious lack of vibrancy and strength. Women who are following God’s plan as defined in God’s Word are seen as little cheerleaders on the sidelines of their husband’s ministries and meek keepers at home. When the term “role” is used, it is defined as the plan God had for women when He designed them. In terms of “value” it is understood as value or worth in God’s eyes. The Biblical role and value of womanhood is sometimes inadvertently misrepresented by Christians and misunderstood by feminists due to the failure of some Christians to read and study God’s Word as a whole to thereby be able to accurately portray Biblical womanhood according to the whole context of the Scriptures. By consulting with God’s Word in its entirety, one can see that many of the disagreements between conservative Christian women and feminists can be nullified, or at least bring them to a place of understanding.

In reality, feminists and conservative Christian women have similar problems. Both are to some extent misunderstood by the other, and both display a certain degree of discomfort or hostility towards the other. Feminists feel conservative Christian women restrict natural vision and passion as well as reduce them to a demeaning place of servitude beneath men through their commitment to follow the Lord by becoming a keeper at home and living in submission to their husbands. Understandingly this portrayal of constant servitude and humbling before men many times causes feminists to shun Christianity and God’s Word altogether. In turn, conservative Christian women feel that feminists are desecrating their natural role through the feminist’s constant quest for equal rights with men and opportunities to grow in knowledge and influence. Because of a few of the more prominent immoderate feminists, conservative Christian women tend to feel that all feminists have an agenda to trample God’s specific design for women and to try to be more masculine in everything they do. The original goals of feminists were to bring them up from the purely domesticated and unprotected place they had fallen to in the mid-19th century. In the Old Testament, there were laws in place that helped protect women, and throughout the New Testament many commands were given to men that would demonstrate respect, honor and protection for the women in their lives. As history progressed, the emphasis began to be placed more on the domestic role of women versus the practical role of women, and more about the role than the value of women resulting in the general feeling of segregation between men and women.

According to God’s Word everyone is equal in God’s eyes, male and female alike, and nothing demonstrates this better than God sending His Son Jesus Christ to earth to die for the sins of the whole world. There are countless passages in Scripture that address the issue of salvation for “all,” “the world,” “whosoever,” and many others. “For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus…There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus” (Bible, Galatians 3:26-28, personal emphasis). Even in judgment God never discriminates between male and female “But he that doeth wrong shall receive for the wrong which he hath done: and there is no respect of persons” (Bible, Colossians 3:25, personal emphasis).

From the very beginning of Scripture God clearly defined the roles of both man and woman. Adam was first formed, then Eve. An interesting aspect to note is that God created woman from the side of man, not the hand or the foot (Bible, Genesis 2:21-22). This in itself symbolizes that a woman’s place is to be at the side of man, not above or beneath. While God created man and woman as equal in value, He designed them to have very different roles. Throughout Scripture the role of women is often interpreted as a purely domestic role, while the men are seemingly made more important by their authoritative position. Men and women were created as two very different beings, though both human. Women are naturally physically weaker and more emotional, and this is not a bad thing. They also tend to be more visionary and better planners than men. Men on the other hand are for the most part physically stronger, and are more systematic and cautious. This can cause them to be hesitant and slow at times, but again, this is not a bad thing. God created men and women physically and emotionally different to better perform the duties He planned for them.

For example, one of the most beautiful aspects of a biblical woman is motherhood. The grave importance of being a mother is often looked on as a low position, when in reality, there is often more done to change the world by being a good mother. “The hand that rocks the cradle is the hand that rules the world” (Wallace). Even throughout the records of the kings in the Old Testament, when there was a good king, his mother was almost always mentioned. Being a mother is one of the most challenging and difficult tasks given to mankind, and no one is more capable and qualified for this than a woman.

biblical-womanhood1           There are times when Christian women, particularly conservative Christian women,
tend to go past the Biblical role of womanhood by over-emphasizing the aspects of meekness and staying at home to the point of having no other purpose in life than to keep house and have babies. While these are a vital part of God’s design for women, true Biblical womanhood is so much more broad and valuable than that. When looking at the whole context of God’s Word one can see His design for women being one of great strength and passion, a role so great and precious He esteems their worth higher than rubies – the most precious of all gems and metals found in the whole of God’s Word (Bible, Proverbs 31:10) . Just one portion of God’s Word represents a truly virtuous woman as one who prompts trust from others, takes responsibility for the food and clothing of the household, is a strong and diligent worker, a business woman, attentive to the needy, is very wise, industrious, and is known in prominent places of the city for her virtue and assiduity (Bible, Proverbs 31:10-31).
Many times convictions and conclusions are based from small portions of Scripture and, whether unintentional or not, the rest of the passages are overlooked or not viewed in relation to the passage chosen.

For example, one scripture that is most often viewed with disagreement by feminists are portions from 1 Peter 3:1 and 6. “Likewise, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands…Even as Sara obeyed Abraham, calling him lord: whose daughters ye are, as long as ye do well, and are not afraid with any amazement” (Bible, King James Version). Looking only at these verses, the Bible seems to portray the role of womanhood as a demeaning place of servitude. However, if one were to look at the entire context of this passage, a slightly different story would emerge. Not only does this passage give instruction to the women, but in verse 7 it also states an equivalent responsibility for the men. “Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered” (Bible, King James Version). Just as the wife is to submit to her husband, the husband is to honor his wife. Each is given a challenge that is equally difficult for them to accomplish. The end of the verse also very clearly states their equality in God’s eyes by reminding the husband that they are “heirs together of the grace of life” (Bible, King James Version). Continuing further on in the passage, God continues to give instruction to both the husband and wife combined, “Finally, be ye all of one mind” (Bible, 1 Peter 3:8) and later goes even so far as to include the young and old alike, “Likewise, ye younger, submit yourself unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility…”(Bible, 1 Peter 5:5). Another important aspect of this passage that is overlooked comes right after the command to “be in subjection to your own husbands”, and that is “that, if any (husbands) obey not the word, they also may without the word be won by the conversation (righteous living) of the wives” (Bible, 1 Peter 3:1). This verse clearly states the power of influence a good woman has on a man. Simply by living in godly submission she can cause her husband to recognize his own shortcomings and repent of his wrong. When anyone is constantly living with someone who is doing what is right, what will be seen in themselves but the wrong they are doing?

In order to relieve some of the tension between conservative Christians and feminists, it would be wise to awaken both sides to the realization that obeying God’s Word in His plan for women will in no way demean or make them of lesser value. If anything, it will give them even greater worth and purpose. If conservative Christians are made aware of how feminists may be reading their words and actions in relation to Biblical womanhood, they would become more open to becoming more fully informed and to discussing differences in order to clear up misunderstandings with the feminists around them. Likewise, giving feminists an accurate portrayal of Biblical womanhood could not only assist them in their understanding and cooperation with conservative Christians, but perhaps assist in opening their minds more to the truths of God’s Word and Christianity as a whole.