Proverbs 31:29-30. “‘Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all.’ Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.”
A brief look at history shows us that women have often been mistreated, mistrusted and sometimes totally neglected. Different cultures and religions tell the same story. The reason for this has to be in the fact that both men and women have rejected God and His order for His creation, Genesis 3:16.
Jesus came and He treated women beautifully, to the amazement of His disciples, (John 4:24) and to the annoyance of the religious leaders, Luke 7:39. Some Church leaders have since misinterpreted the Bible, especially Paul’s writings concerning women. They have taught that women are inferior to men. Jesus did not teach that. He only spoke what the Father said, and the Word of God does not say that.
Why fight for equality when God has already given it to us? Galatians 3:26-29. The answer to liberation is found in Jesus. He came to set both men and women free. As women we have to learn to find our freedom in serving Christ, and a joy in obeying Him and fulfilling the role that He has chosen for us. The fulfilment of that role carries with it a responsibility, both to find our rightful position in the Body of Christ and to walk in it, by the power of the Holy Spirit.
God makes provision for satisfying relationships through the filling (control) of the Holy Spirit, Ephesians 5:18.
1. When we’re continually filled with the Spirit and genuinely worshipping God, we submit to one another, Ephesians 5:21. Conflicts arise when people want their own way and fight for the top. Spirit-filled believers fight for the bottom! James 4:1; 1 Corinthians 16:16; Philippians 2:4-8; 1 Peter 2:13-17; 5:5; Hebrews 13:17.
2. Submission militarily speaking means to “rank beneath or under.” It is the attitude of wanting to please another, avoiding disputes, contentions, and divisions, Ephesians 5:21-6:9. Paul’s emphasis is mutual submission and he uses the family to begin illustrating the whole God-idea of submission.
A wife is to submit to her husband (Ephesians 5:22, 1 Corinthians 7:3-4); AND a husband is to submit to his wife (Ephesians 5:25), not by giving up his responsibility of leadership, but by undergirding her in bearing her burdens, sacrificing his own desires to fulfil her needs, 1 Corinthians 7:3. And love her as Christ loves the Church, Ephesians 5:25. Children are to submit in obedience to parents (Ephesians 6:1-3); and parents are to submit by never doing wrong to children by not provoking them to anger, and “bringing them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord”, Ephesians 6:4.
Servants (employees) submit to masters (bosses), Ephesians 6:5-9; but masters submit to servants by never doing wrong to them, Ephesians 6:9.
Comparisons between authority and mutual submission
1. All believers are equal in the sight of God, Galatians 3:28. This does not exclude the idea of authority.
2. In the Godhead, Jesus is in essence, equal with the Father, John 1:1;10:30;14:9:. In function, the Father is head of Christ, 1 Corinthians 11:3; John 4:34.
3. Before God, husbands and wives are equal in spiritual quality and in essence they are equal. In function the man has the responsibility of leadership in marriage, taking the brunt of difficult circumstances. The wife’s tenderness and gentleness are to support and balance the husband’s strength.
Like true love, real submission is impossible in our own strength, Matthew 19:26. God enables us to do it. As we have seen, knowing Who He is, and in responding to His love, we should all submit to God (James 4:6-10) and become servants.
– a basic Biblical Principle, not just for wives! Ephesians 5:24.
– part of God’s order, so it is a place of honour! 1 Timothy 2:11.
– surrendering our will to the Lord, Ephesians 5:22-24.
Submission to a husband, boss or friend, does not mean being treated like a doormat, or being bossed about with no notice being taken of our opinion. NO! Quite the opposite! As women we have to give everything, including our opinions, gifts, talents, intellect and strengths, then we are submitting according to God’s standard, and taking an active role in all relationships.
Many women do noble things but, ‘The Joyful Woman’ is described as ‘surpassing them all’ in Proverbs 31:29. We have to see ourselves in this position as God sees us. This can put us in competition mode, often wondering which woman is the best. We have to develop the attitudes and characteristics that God wants us to establish, so we can be the women God has planned for us to be, with all our different gifts and talents. We are unique, not like anyone else. We do not have to excel in anyone else’s eyes not parents, but God’s. When we honour God we will not be caught up in jealousy, competition, and bitterness. All through Proverbs 31, God tells us how we can be different from other women, so we do not need to compete any longer. It is very frustrating going around trying to be someone else!
This is caused by being weak; or dominated by our feelings; or just not thinking about ourselves in the way God does.
As we begin to see ourselves as powerful women, and begin to excel in our vision of who we are in Christ and we walk in the gifts and talents God has given us. We will then feel fulfilled in our lives (John 10:10) and it shows in our attitude to people and circumstances. Warning beware of Jezebel, 1 Kings 16:30-33; 18:4; 19:2; 1 Kings 21:4-16; 1 Kings 21:25; 2 Kings 9:30-37, who became powerful because of her man’s weakness. We cannot manipulate or control a man’s insecurities for our own ends. Our responsibility is to pray not to pout!
“Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting..” Proverbs 31:30.
“Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold, jewellery and fine clothes. Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight” 1 Peter 3:3-4.
“I also want women to dress modestly, with decency and propriety, not with braided hair or gold or pearls or expensive clothes; but with good deeds, appropriate for women who profess to worship God.” 1 Timothy 2:9-10.
The popular idea in the world is that Christian women are frumpy! But God has promised to provide all our needs, so we should be able to look our best on a very small budget. We have the power of the Holy Spirit giving us wisdom, so we can be good shoppers and managers of money.
We must understand who we are dressing to please! First place must be for the Lord.
We do not dress to seduce the opposite sex or to compete against other women.
We need to examine our hearts and see who we dress to please and test our motives against the Bible verses.
This is what the Sovereign Lord says, “Woe to the women who sew magic charms on all their wrists and make veils of various lengths for their heads in order to ensnare people. Will you ensnare the lives of My people but preserve your own?” Ezekiel 13:18,23.
Good dress sense
‘The Joyful Woman’, who uses her resources intelligently will stretch here and stretch there, and make it all work together. If you personally do not know how to dress in the most effective way for your body and colouring, find someone who does, and ask them to help you put your clothes and make-up together. Wise women will get assistance to use what they have, and just by adding a few bits we can change the whole look of what we have. We should buy things that match what we already have.
We are meant to look our best, but this is not to be the focus of our lives. Dressing, make-up, and doing our hair do not have to take a lot of time. If they take more than the time we are spending in prayer and worship we are giving them too high a priority. Think of ways to shorten your ‘getting-ready’ time, then take that extra time and worship God.
God tells us not to fear anything, even old age
* “Do not forget My teachings but keep My commands in your heart, for they will prolong your life many years and bring you prosperity” Proverbs 3:1-2.
* “With long life will I satisfy you and show you My salvation” Psalm 91:16.
* “Even to your old age and grey hair I am He. I am He who will sustain you, I have made you and I will carry you, I will sustain you and I will rescue you” Isaiah 46:4
* “You will come to the grave in full vigour, like sheaves gathered in season” Job 5:26
* “Whoever would love life and see good days must keep his tongue from evil and his lips from deceitful speech” 1 Peter 3:10.
“….teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good. Then they can train the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the Word of God.” Titus 2:3-5.
Home Challenges for Joyful Woman No:16
Read all the notes and verses in ‘Woman – Get in your place!’
1. Do you find it easy to submit? If not, can you think what it is that prevents you experiencing this freedom?
2. Do you really know that God loves you and you are accepted by Him just the way you are? How does God see you?
3. In what specific ways have you demonstrated your love to your partner/ children/ friends/ this week? In what other ways can you do this?
4. Do you respect your partner/friends? Are there any areas in their life that you have difficulty in respecting? What are you doing about it? Do you find it hard to confront friends when you know their behaviour is not of God?
5. Read Ephesians 4:29-32. Describe what should and should not be happening in your home. Be prepared to stop and repent now praying for wisdom to sort it out.
6. Do you feel an important involvement in helping others fulfil their destiny for their life? Philippians 3:12. What are you doing to help them?
7. 1 Timothy 5:10 says “…well known for her good deeds, such as bringing up children, showing hospitality, washing the feet of the saints, helping those in trouble, and devoting herself to all kinds of good deeds.” In what ways can you demonstrate these good deeds in your home?
8. Do you know what your ministry is and what are you doing towards this?
9. Do you find it hard to be interested in other people’s interests? If so why?
10. Ask yourself these questions:-
Am I fun to be with?
Do I give people close to me freedom?
Or do I want to control?
Am I a good friend?
Check these verses for a picture of a true friend. Proverbs 16:28; 17:9; 17:17; 18:24; 27:6.
11. Looking back over the whole of ‘The Joyful Woman’ studies, choose one lesson that you have learnt well and applied to your life. How has it changed you? List any challenges you may still have.
Memory Verse:- “How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God.” 1 John 3:1.
12. Answer True or False to the following questions. If you can give verses from the Bible to back up your answer that will help you.