By: Beth Doohan
“Since God chose you to be the holy people He loves, you must clothe yourselves with tender-hearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony… And whatever you do or say, do it as a representative of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father.” (Colossians 3:12, 14, 17)
“In order to learn what it means to be a woman, we must start with the One who made her.” (Elisabeth Elliot)
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When I was in high school, my large, nondenominational church decided to create a close-knit community throughout its youth and children’s ministries by incorporating small groups, or what we called “242” groups. One of the leaders, Mel, was a young, married woman in her twenties with a passion for helping teenage girls understand God’s love for them and how to walk with the Lord in their daily lives. I was one of ten girls fortunate enough to be in her group and to receive of her love and care for us as young women of God. Mel was a friend to me, a mentor and a role model. She allowed each of us to share our hearts, growth and struggles, and offered godly counsel and biblical wisdom in response. Her love and passion for the Lord was tangible, and I still look back to her with gratitude in my heart that she ministered to us teenage girls.
Imagine with me for a minute someone who you think of as a role model for godly womanhood. It could be a character in a story who impacted you deeply. An author who taught you spiritual truth through her writings. It could be a figure in a painting, like the woman with the pearl earring whose captured expression reveals both sorrow and strength. Or perhaps it is someone you know. A grandmother, whose hands are worn, yet gentle from a lifetime of work and giving to others. A friend, who has suffered the loss of a loved one yet finds her hope in the Lord. A mentor, who has reached out to you time and again with God’s faithful love.
These women inspire us, keep us accountable and make us strong. We all need models of godly womanhood, and even more importantly, we need to know from God’s Word who we are as women. He has a deep purpose and design for His daughters and delights in how we were created.
Let’s look at the familiar Proverbs 31 chapter. As you read the following excerpts from that chapter, see if you can pick out the godly characteristics that this woman possesses:
“She is clothed with strength and dignity, and she laughs without fear of the future. When she speaks, her words are wise, and she gives instructions with kindness. She carefully watches everything in her household and suffers nothing from laziness… Charm is deceptive, and beauty does not last; but a woman who fears the Lord will be greatly praised.”
This passage reflects God’s purpose and design for women. Strong, full of dignity, kindhearted, confident, wise, watches over others, beautiful and worthy of praise. The Lord gives us this godly model in Proverbs 31 as an example of how He wants us to live. He wants us to find our purpose, calling and healing in Him in order to live a full and blessed life. But how do we walk in this identity as daughters of the King?
1) We learn what pleases God to become like Him.
When I was in fifth grade, I transitioned from homeschooling to attending a private, Christian school with about 20 other classmates. While I made friends and enjoyed my school, I also encountered some children who were used to teasing, bullying or ignoring others when they were upset. My parents had taught me to love everyone, so their behavior baffled me and hurt my little heart. When I spoke with my mom about it, her immediate response was, “let’s see what the Bible has to say about this.” I remember sitting in my bedroom with her, flipping through passage after passage about how “God is love” and how God calls us to “love our neighbor as ourselves.” Then we prayed together for the children who were hurting me, according to His Word “pray for those who persecute you.” This holy wisdom from my mom sparked a new routine for me to study the Word of God and to pray intentionally. It was the first time I really started owning my faith and studying the Bible for myself. And while we did not see changes overnight, but I did see God at work in answer to our prayers. Most importantly, I learned through studying the Bible what pleases God and how to be like Him.
Ephesians 5:1-2 says, “Imitate God, therefore, in everything you do, because you are His dear children. Live a life filled with love, following the example of Christ. He loved us and offered himself as a sacrifice for us, a pleasing aroma to God.” When we study God’s Word, we learn about what pleases Him and how to follow Him. His commands are for our benefit, to bring Him glory and so that our lives may be blessed.
John 15:9-11 says, “Remain in My love. When you obey My commandments, you remain in My love, just as I obey my Father’s commandments and remain in His love.” When we remain in God’s love, we keep ourselves under His covenant blessing and can stay close to Him through all of our lives.
Deuteronomy 30:19-20 says “Today I have given you the choice between life and death, between blessings and curses… Oh, that you would choose life, so that you and your descendants might live! You can make this choice by loving the Lord your God, obeying Him, and committing yourself firmly to Him.”
If bringing God glory and receiving His blessings were not enough reason to know and follow Him, think of the sorrow He experiences when we turn from Him. God loves us unconditionally, but His heart is grieved when we go our own way, because then He can’t bless us and sin literally becomes a barrier between us and God. Of course, there is grace and He forgives us when we repent, but knowing His great love for us should motivate us to love Him back by the way we live.
Ephesians 4:29b-30 reminds us, “Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them. And do not bring sorrow to God’s Holy Spirit by the way you live. Remember, He has identified you as His own, guaranteeing that you will be saved on the day of redemption.”
In summation, since we are created in God’s image for His purposes, let us learn to be like Him more by knowing Him and remaining in His love.
2) We live out God’s calling for us as women by learning to give of ourselves and be others-centered.
My mom and sister are truly gifted in the area of hospitality. When others are invited into their homes, their attention is devoted to serving and connecting with their guests, attending to their needs, and uplifting them in the Lord. Jenni and my mom are a good combo of Mary and Martha in the Bible, both industriously working to serve delicious food and beverages in a clean environment like Martha, yet taking time to sit and enjoy the company of their guests, just like Mary. Through hospitality, they give of themselves and are others-centered.
Colossians 3:12, 14 and 17 says “Since God chose you to be the holy people He loves, you must clothe yourselves with tender-hearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony… And whatever you do or say, do it as a representative of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through him to God the Father.” Remember that we are made in God’s image, therefore, we represent Him as His daughters by how we love others.
John 15: 16-17 says “You didn’t choose me. I chose you. I appointed you to go and produce lasting fruit, so that the Father will give you whatever you ask for, using My name. This is My command: Love each other.”
God has given women a special gift for serving others. In Genesis 2:18, God said, “I will make man a helper who is just right for him.” Woman was designed as a help-mate, and her nurturing, compassionate heart is especially good at it. Of course women have unique personalities created by God, but at the heart of each woman God put a desire to serve and help others. Like the Proverbs 31 woman, we have purpose in serving others as God has gifted us to do, and this makes us admirable and worthy of praise.
3) We walk in God’s calling for us as women by loving and respecting our femininity.
How many of us know women who dress in such a way that either flaunts or hides their feminine beauty? The coworker at the office with low-cut necklines and skin-tight skirts showing every curve. The woman at the grocery store wearing baggy jeans and a black t-shirt. Now, obviously physical beauty and dress are not the only attributes of femininity, but they can signal what’s going on in a woman’s heart. Remember the Proverbs 31 woman? Verse 25 says “She is clothed with strength and dignity,” not with pomp or with shame. We are called as women of God to not only be like Him and serve others, but to love and care for ourselves.
When a woman follows the Lord, she comes to know her self-worth and value as a daughter of the King. Like the Proverbs 31 woman, she knows she is seen as beautiful, strong, accepted and loved by the Lord. She no longer is fixed on comparison with others, or looks to others to give her fulfillment, rather she finds her hope in the Lord and rests in Him. She enjoys being who she is and sees herself as beautiful. This self-confidence in the Lord equips her to become beautiful, strong, accepted and loved by others, which gives her opportunity to love and serve.
Jenni and I have several Meghan Trainor songs that we love! One of them is “I feel better when I’m dancing,” which is a fun, playful song about enjoying life and loving who you are. Another favorite says, “If I was you, I’d wanna be me too.” The reason we like this song is not because we have ego issues and think everyone should be like us, but because we know God delights in us and who He created us to be. We can draw a spiritual parallel from this song: that we are called by our Heavenly Father to enjoy His design for us and to live confidently in His purpose and calling. Because of this, we are free to enjoy who we are as women and as women of God. That’s why we say, “I’d wanna be me too,” because there is no one else we want to be as daughters of the King!
Remember the woman who dresses skimpily? Whether she knows it or not, what message is she conveying? Perhaps that she is seeking attention, longing to be accepted and finds her worth in what others think about her, not in what God or she thinks. And what is the message conveyed by the woman in unflattering clothing? Perhaps, that she is placing very little value on herself, feels the need to hide what she considers “unattractive” and does not consider herself as worthy of meaningful attention or praise.
1 Peter 3:3-5a says, “Don’t be concerned about the outward beauty of fancy hairstyles, expensive jewelry, or beautiful clothes. You should clothe yourselves instead with the beauty that comes from within, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is so precious to God. This is how the holy women of old made themselves beautiful.” When we view ourselves rightly, according to God’s design for us, it changes how we view ourselves and others. Let us strive to bring honor to God by learning to view our hearts and bodies as created and loved by Him.
Imagine again the models of godly womanhood we discussed in the beginning. I encourage you to take time now to think about what makes them beautiful, strong, godly, feminine and inspirational. Then take this to heart, that you, too, are all these things as a daughter of the King. You were created on purpose as a woman to glorify God, to bless others and to enjoy His design for your femininity!
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