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Rediscovering New Testament Christian Womenhood Series #1
The scriptures say in Proverbs 31:25, "strength and honour are her clothing; and she shall rejoice in the time to come." It also says in Proverbs 31:17, "She girdeth her loins with strength, and strengtheneth her arms."
Without a doubt, God gives Christian woman strength. As with everything God gives us, we then become the stewards of that gift. We also become responsible to use it right and accountable for how we use it.
So take inventory, dear lady, of the strength that God has given you. How have you used it? The Lord has clothed you with strength. Whether you feel it is little or great is not the point. The point is: you will use your strength on something. You will direct it in some direction, either the right direction or the wrong direction.
This article is my desire to help direct your strength in the right way. The Lord's way. With God's help, I believe you will find that this booklet reveals three great principles that will assure your walking in the perfect will of God for the rest of your life. My prayer is that you will incorporate these three principles in every decision you make in your womanhood. Now pray, and read on with an open heart to the Holy Spirit to teach you. God has a perfect will for your life ladies. Don't miss it for anything in the world!
I. A Christian Woman's Strength
The first general, but great principle to assure you walk in the perfect will of God for your life is: "A woman's strength should be spent on her God."
"... As thy days, so shall thy strength be." declares Deut. 33:25. The Lord will give us enough strength for today. He has promised, "Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is evil thereof." in Matthew 6:34. You are going to make it dear lady, if you'll utilize the daily supply of strength that God gives you.
Use your strength on God, not on self. "They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint." Isaiah 40:31. You will be rich with His joy; and "the joy of the Lord is your strength." Nehemiah 8:10. You will avoid burnout and be refreshed in your spirit daily.
Ladies, what is the greatest thing you can ever do? The Bible says in Mark 12:30-31, "And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with ALL THY STRENGTH: this is the first commandment. And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these." It is not a waste of a ladies life to spend her strength on God, it is the greatest thing she can do.
How can a woman use her strength on God then? The Bible is filled with some wonderful examples of ladies who blazed the trail before you.
Let's look at some:
Anna used her strength in prayer and fasting- Luke 2:37b.
Other women used their strength at prayer meetings- Acts 1:14
Hannah prayed fervently- 1 Samuel 1:10
Junia was a missionary- Romans16:7
The woman at the well helped win her city to Christ- John 4:39
Rahab the harlot gathered her family to safety- Joshua 6:23-25
Philip's daughters preached the gospel- Acts 21:8,9
Tabitha was a disciple (student) and had a ministry of helps making coats for widows- Acts 9:36-39
Phoebe was a helper in the Lord- Romans- 16:1,2
Women ministered unto Christ of their substance- Luke 8:3
Mary anoited Jesus with ointment very precious- John 12:3
The widow gave of her want- Luke 21:2
Another Mary gave support for the man of God for the Lord-Romans 16:6
Mary the anointer sat at the feet of Jesus and heard His word- Luke 10:39
Priscilla ministered for the Lord with her husband Aquila- Romans 16:3-4
Tryphena and Tryphosa laboured for the Lord- Romans 16:12
This is just a partial listing of women who used their strength for the Lord. The Lord took note of them. Whatever they did whether small or great. There is an old saying, "One life twill soon be past, only what's done for Christ will last." Dear women, a million years from now and throughout eternity, you'll be glad if you used your strength for your God.
II. A Wife's Strength
The second principle on strength regarding women is: "A wife's strength should be spent on her husband." In the glorious grand finale of God's written word- the book of Revelation, it says in 19:7-8a, "Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to Him: for the marriage of his Lamb is come, AND HIS WIFE HATH MADE HERSELF READY. And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white..."
From this portion of scripture we get the custom of a woman wearing white on her wedding day. Much preparation goes into those moments of her wedding day when she presents herself to her husband. Unfortunately, it has been this Pastor's experience, to see some women put more time into preparation for that one wedding day then they do for their married life together afterwards. We as Christians should constantly be preparing ourselves for our wedding day to Christ and our eternal life with Him after. "And so shall we ever be with the Lord..." 1 Thessalonians 4:17.
The point is: The wife should always be with her husband. In presence, or in heart. Genesis 3:16b says, "...thy DESIRE shall be unto thy husband, and he shall rule over thee."
She is called "an help meet for him." Notice Genesis 2:18, "And the Lord God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him." The word "meet" means "fit". It means "one called alongside to help". Thus, she is supposed to be with her husband to help him. She is to be his completer.
When he is off to work, she is still to maintain his presence in her heart. 1 Peter 3:1-6 says, "Likewise, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands; that, if any obey not the word, they also may without the word be won by the conversation of the wives; While they behold your chaste conversation coupled with fear. Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing gold, or of putting on of apparel; But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price. For after this manner in the old time the holy women also, who trusted in God, adorned themselves, being in subjection unto their 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."
You see the woman was made for the man and not vice-versa. That is the way God created it. 1 Corinthians 11:9 says, "Neither was the man created for the woman; but the woman for the man." Man needs woman, more than a woman needs a man. A woman can help a man find and do the perfect will of God for his life, or she can hinder him. Often the woman makes the man.
When I think of the perfect marriage, I think of the Biblical couple of Aquila and Pricilla. Pricilla was a help meet to Aquila and helped him do God's will: Acts 18:1,2 says, "After these things Paul departed from Athens, and came to Corinth: And found a certain Jew named Aquila, born in Pontus, lately come from Italy, with his wife Priscilla; (because that Claudius had commanded all Jews to depart from Rome:) and came unto them."
Pricilla's husband was a hard working tent maker. So was the Apostle Paul. She opened her home up to him and ministered to not only her husband, but also to Paul. Those were hard times, for as Jews they had recently been kicked out of Rome and had to settle in Corinth. With a new business and a new home, the Lord blessed Priscilla and Aquila. Acts 18:18 says, "And Paul after this tarried there yet a good while, and then took his leave of the brethren, and sailed thence to Syria, and with him Pricilla and Aquila; having shorn his head in Cenchrea for he had a vow." Priscilla accompanied her husband and Paul on Missionary work to Syria. It is good for a wife to help and accompany her husband on missionary work.
Acts 18:24-28 says, "And a certain Jew named Apollos, born at Alexandria, an eloquent man, and mighty in the scriptures, came to Ephesus. This man was instructed in the way of the Lord; and being fervent in the spirit, he spake and taught diligently the things of the Lord, knowing only the baptism of John. And he began to speak boldly in the synagogue: whom when Aquila and Pricilla had heard, they took him unto them, andexpounded unto him the way of God more perfectly. And when he was disposed to pass into Achaia, the brethren wrote, exhorting the disciples to receive him: who, when he was come, helped them much which had believed through grace: For he mightily convinced the Jews, and that publicly, Shewing by the scriptures that Jesus was Christ." Pricilla helped her husband lead Apollos to Christ and disciple him so that he became a powerful minister for the Lord. It is good for a wife to help her husband lead people to Christ and disciple the new converts.
1 Corinthians 16:19 says, "The churches of Asia salute you. Aquila and Pricilla salute you much in the Lord, with the church that is in their house." Priscilla and Aquila started a church in their house. Aquila probably Pastored the church and Priscilla helped him. I can't tell you enough how my wife has been a help to me the last twelve years of my life as a Pastor. Wives, help your husband do God's will.
Will the men just get the credit? No! When Paul remembered them, he put it, "Greet Priscilla and Aquila my helpers in Christ Jesus." Romans 16:3.
Help your husband do God's will. Complete him. Move along side him to help him.
But, you say, my husband isn't even saved. God's will is for him to be saved. (I Timothy 2:4) Help him to get saved. Make that your life work by living according to 1 Peter 3:1. 1 Corinthians 7:16 says, "For what knowest thou, 0 wife, whether thou shalt save thy husband?"
But, you say, my husband is saved, but not serving the Lord. Help him serve the Lord! That is God's will- Ephesians 2:10. Pray and fast and encourage him. Don't preach to him, but pray that whatever it takes, that God would bring him back to the Lord.
Find out what the will of God is for your husbands life and encourage him in it. Encourage him to: attend church, pray, study the scriptures, witness for Christ, pay his bills, tithe, fast, serve, love, forgive, love his children, etc., etc., etc..
It's not hard to figure it out wives: Use your strength on your husband to help him do the will of God for his life. Don't hinder him, don't discourage him, don't stop him, don't complain about him, don't harass him. God wants to do great things through you both. Let Him!
III. A Mother's Strength
The third principle regarding a woman's strength is: "A mother's strength should be spent on her children."
Proverbs 31:13-31 says "She seeketh wool, and flax, and worketh willingly with her hands. She is like the merchants' ships; she bringeth her food from afar. She riseth also while it is yet night, and giveth meat to her household, and a portion to her maidens. She considereth a field, and buyeth it: with the fruit of her hands she planteth a vineyard. She girdeth her loins with strength, and strengtheneth her arms. She perceiveth that her merchandise is good: her candle goeth not out by night. She layeth her hands to the spindle, and her hands hold the distaff. She stretcheth out her hand to the poor; yea, she reacheth forth her hands to the needy. She is not afraid of the snow for her household: for all her household are clothed with scarlet. She maketh herself coverings of tapestry; her clothing is silk and purple. Herr husband is known in the gates, when he sitteth among the elders of the land. She maketh fine linen, and selleth it: and delivereth girdles unto the merchant. Strength and honour are her clothing; and she shall rejoice in time to come. She openeth her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue is the law of kindness. She looketh well to the ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of idleness. Her children arise up and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praiseth her. Many daughters have done virtuously, but thou excellest them all. Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman that feareth the Lord, she shall be praised. Give her of the fruit of her hands; and let her own works praise her in the gates."
1 Timothy 5 : 14 says, "I will therefore that the younger women marry, bear children, guide the house, give none occasion to the adversary to speak reproachfully." Titus 2:4-5 says, "...teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, TO LOVE THEIR CHILDREN... keepers at home..."
As you consider these portions of scripture, undoubtedly it takes a lot of strength to be a mother. These verses are not God's suggestions to you, it is His word! Use the strength He has given you on your children. This will assure you of leaving a living legacy behind- "Her children arise up and call her blessed..." Proverbs. 31 :28a.
Think of the poor "career women" who gives up motherhood and child bearing. When they die they will take nothing they worked for with them. 1 Timothy 6:7, "For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out."
Their legacy will be a car, house, some money or whatever else, all left to the state or inheritors and who knows what they will do with it. Take a good look at Ecclesiastes 2:18-19, "Yea, I hated all my labour which I had taken under the sun: because I should leave it unto the man that shall be after me. And who knowest whether he shall be a wise man or a fool? yet shall he have rule over all my labour wherein I have laboured..."
Your life, however dear Christian mother, will live on for God and hopefully duplicate itself several times over and over through your sons and daughters, If you've brought them up to serve the Lord. Use your strength on God's way.
We've already seen that this means to love them. Of course, love is such a misunderstood word these days, we mean you must love them God's way. Study 1 Corinthians 13 for instance- the "Charity" chapter of the Bible. Also, by love, we mean that the children must have proper discipline and structure! If not, they will burn you out. Then your strength will be wasted.
Check out the Proverbs on this subject:
Proverbs 13:24, "He that spareth his rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes."
Proverbs 19:18, "Chasten thy son while there is hope, and let not thy soul spare for his crying."
Proverbs 22:15, "Foolishness is bound in the heart of a child; but the rod of correction shall drive it far from him."
Proverbs 23:13-14, "Withhold not correction from the child: for if thou beatest him with the rod, he shall not die. Thou shalt beat him with the rod, and shalt deliver his soul from hell."
Proverbs 29:15, "The rod and reproof give wisdom: but a child left to himself bringeth himself to shame."
Proverbs 29:17, "Correct thy son, and he shall give thee rest; yea, he shall give delight unto thy soul."
Strength also needs to be put into your children's spirituality. They will not become spiritual by accident. It must happen on purpose.
May I suggest some ideas to help bring about this most desired affect:
1. Homeschooling your children- With all the Christian curriculums that I have ever seen there is a Bible time daily.
2. Daily Devotions- This doesn't have to be long or boring, but consistent. From 5-15 minutes perhaps. As the children get older, encourage them to read through the New Testament or perhaps the whole Bible.
3. Prayer Time- Have a prayer meeting with the children right after Devotions. Maybe they have a prayer request. They could even pray for one of the requests to get them used to praying in their own words.
4. Church Time- Don't ever miss anything at the fellowship of your church. Attend all services, Revival meetings, DVBS, etc. Don't ever let it be an issue of discussion in your home. Christ loved the church and gave Himself for it, you do the same. (Ephesians 5:25b.)
5. Soulwinning / Visitation- Be a soulwinner. Be involved in evangelism. Try to involve your kids in it somehow.
A good example of a mother using her strength on her child is Lois. When the Apostle Paul addressed a letter to Timothy, he spoke of his grandmother and mother in a wonderful way: 2 Timothy 1:5 "When I call to remembrance the unfeigned faith that is in thee, which dwelt first in thy grandmother Lois, and thy mother Eunice; and I am persuaded that in thee also."
Now notice what these mothers did for Timothy in his childhood, 2 Timothy 3:14-15, "But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them; And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus."
It worked! They used their strength on the child Timothy and he became the great preacher and Pastor of the church at Ephesus.
IV. Misplaced Strength
As with everything else in our Christian walk, the devil has a plan for a women's strength. One of the devils devices (2 Corinthians 2:11), of which we should not be ignorant of is: He gets us to substitute that which is good for that which is best. Thus, the good often becomes the enemy of the best.
The best is God's perfect will for your life as revealed in the scriptures, KJV - 1611. This booklet has tried to reveal God's perfect will for your strength. What to spend it on. If Satan can get you to misplace your strength, he will. Satan would love to have you spend your strength on things which are not eternal. WATCH OUT! Here are some of his pitfalls:
1. Busyness In the scriptures we see the sad story of Martha who misplaced her strength in busyness. The very Blessed Son of God came to her house and she thought it more important to do the dishes than listen to Him!
Let's read it: Luke 10:38-42, "Now it came to pass, as they went, that he entered into a certain village: and a certain woman named Martha received him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, which also sat at Jesus' feet, and heard his word. But Martha was cumbered about much serving, and came to him, and said, Lord, dost thou not care that my sister hath left me to serve alone? bid her therefore that she help me. And Jesus answered and said unto her. Martha, Marta, thou art careful and troubled about many things: But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her."
Women, does Jesus dwell at your house? Is He the unseen guest there? Do you really believe it? Do you act like it, or are you rude and ignorant toward Him? You better think about it. Mary chose the needful part. Mary used her strength on the Lord, not on busyness.
2. Money Making Money is the cheapest of all God's blessings, yet it is what we get excited about the most. We have missed the mark. I Timothy 6:9,10 says, "But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition. For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows."
Money can't buy salvation, forgiveness, love, joy, peace, longsuffering, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance, knowledge, wisdom, compassion, charity, friendship, etc., yet this often gets the strength of our women today- money making. How sad.
Everything money makes will be left behind and melt in a fervent heat someday. (II Peter 3:10-13). We came into the world naked, we leave naked. (Job 1:21) We take nothing with us except what we did for God. "She is no fool, who gives up what she cannot keep, to gain that which she cannot lose."
3. Beauty The devil would like to have you fret over beauty and your personal looks the rest of your life. This is one of his greatest pitfalls. Yet the Bible says so clearly:
Proverbs 31:30 says, "Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman that feareth the Lord, she shall be praised."
1 Peter 3:3-4 says, "Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and wearing of Gold, or of putting on of apparel; But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God a great price."
1 Timothy 2:9-10 says, "In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with broided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array; But (which becometh women professing godliness) with good works"
The Devil would love to sap your spiritual strength by giving you as many "Bad - Hair Days" as possible. Rise above the flesh! Live on a higher plain. Work on your inner beauty in the sight of God more than the outward. God sees the heart. Rule your spirit. Don't let your emotions rule you. Don't let your looks rule your emotions.
4. Distractions TV, soaps, sitcoms, news broadcasts, radio programs, magazines, books, shopping, crafts, etc. The list goes on and on and on. The devil has a never ending list of distractions that will eat up your life one hour at a time till you die. Dear ladies, its time for you to discard everything that is in your life that is not eternally important and give your strength to God.
The churches are filled with women today who "don't have enough time" to study God's word, memorize scripture, pray, fast, witness, minister to others, attend church services, get involved in ministries and so on. What is their problem? MISPLACED STRENGTH.
One life `twill soon be passed, only what's done for Christ will last.
The Bible puts it this way: 1 Corinthians 3:10-15 says, "According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise masterbuilder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon. For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; Every man's work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man's work of what sort it is. If any man's work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. If any man's work be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire."
Your whole life as a saved person will be reviewed and tried by fire. Anything done for self will be burned up and cease to exist. Anything done for God will endure the fire and remain. We will only be rewarded in Heaven for what remains. Use your strength on what will remain forever.
Christian women, use your strength for God! Christian wives, use your strength on your husband! Christian mothers, use your strength on your children! Don't let your strength be misplaced!