I Can’t Change!

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As Christians, we are called to a life of love. Of serving. Of kindness. Of truth. Of giving of ourselves, of our gifts and time, and thinking of others before ourselves.

If you’re anything like me, this can feel like a heavy burden on your shoulders.

How on earth am I supposed to live this all out in the mundane, trial-riddled, day-to-day life? How can I possibly love like Jesus Christ loves?

We may have all these grand, godly ideas and nice-sounding words to share, but when it actually comes down to loving sacrificially or serving when it gets in the way of our own plans, we feel selfishness and resistance creeping in.

Maybe you worry that you’re not a good enough Christian.

You don’t read God’s Word very often.

You seldom pray.

You don’t feel a relationship with God like some of your family and Christian friends do.

You don’t feel like loving and serving other.

Or forgiving imperfect people.

How do we come nearer to God? How do we grow in godliness? How do we love like Jesus did?

I believe the answer is profoundly simple.

Surrender.

I don’t mean surrender like give up.

I mean surrender like give your life to God.

Surrender your heart, your life, your control, your everything to Christ.

Galatians 2:20-21

20 I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.

Matthew 11:28-30

28 Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”

James 4:7

Therefore submit to God.

And let Him change you.

Let Him work in you.

Let Him love through you.

Let Him grow a genuine delight for Him in you.

You see, we are human. We are imperfect. And no amount of striving is going to help us hit the mark. Reach the goal.

That’s why we need Jesus Christ. To forgive our sins – and to radically change our lives for His glory and our good. And all people’s good.

John 15:3-8

You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you. Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me.

“I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned. If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you. By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples.

Still, on earth we will never hit perfection.

Philippians 3:12-14

12 Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me13 Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, 14 I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

But if we surrender our lives to Christ and wholeheartedly follow His lead, He will do His work in and through us. He will bring what no one else can.

Change.

You will find yourself growing. And being sanctified. And hungering for God’s Word. And sincerely seeing – and loving – other people.

2 Timothy 1:7

For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.

When you surrender, sometimes you will feel God prompting you to spend some time in His Word instead of watching that movie.

(This is not to say that we can’t watch movies. But oftentimes we’re consuming massive amounts of entertainment at the expense of quiet time spent with the Lord.)

You may be reluctant, but you obey because you’ve surrendered, and you know you are loved by God. He knows what’s best for you. You want to love Him back. You want a more intimate relationship with Him.

But, you know, as you surrender and spend more and more time in God’s presence – in His Word and prayer – it becomes a delight.

Psalm 16:11

11 You will show me the path of life;
In Your presence is fullness of joy;
At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.

Don’t take my word for it. See for yourselves. Experience it for yourselves, my friend.

Are you tired of not feeling good enough? Not measuring up to your own standards? Or other’s standards? Are you sick of living selfishly? Never feeling satisfied?

Surrender. And seek.

You know when I started seeing a change in my own character and behavior?

When I surrendered.

Jeremiah 10:23

23 Lord, I know the way of man is not in himself;
It is not in man who walks to direct his own steps.

When I said: Lord, I’m not good enough! I’m not reading my Bible enough or getting up early to pray. I’m trying to control everything. But I don’t have a job, I don’t have my life together, I’m not loving people well; I’m failing at everything! I’m insecure, I’m angry, I’m holding onto pain, I’m anxious, I’m afraid, I’m hopeless. But … but you love me anyway. You call me “daughter”. You want me.

I found peace in His presence. I felt whole and secure and desired. Desired by God! I started hungering after and delighting in His Word for perhaps the first time ever. I found the strength and motivation to start serving people more. I found my heart softening toward people I was struggling with. I became passionate in my prayers.

1 John 4:16-19

16 And we have known and believed the love that God has for us. God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God in him.

17 Love has been perfected among us in this: that we may have boldness in the day of judgment; because as He is, so are we in this world. 18 There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love. 19 We love Him because He first loved us.

I’m still a work-in-progress. I still have much to learn and much growing to do. And I battle shame and hopelessness still, at times. But I fight it. Because my identity is found in Christ Jesus, and it is His strength which justifies and sanctifies me.

I see Christ changing me. And that is precious and awe-inspiring.

He will never fail me.

Riley Clemmons – You First

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Was I Created For Marriage??

I was thinking the other day … (ha! Like I’m ever not overwhelmed by thoughts) … considering that one of my recent posts, Am I Rightly Living Out My Womanhood, focuses a lot on marriage and being a wife, yet in another post I wrote, I Was Created For … (take a moment to read this post if you haven’t!) I said: I was not created for marriage.

So which is it? If we’re not created for marriage, why do we talk so much about it when we delve into the topic of womanhood?

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Well, let me explain my thoughts a little deeper.

See, if we look at my emotional, mental, and physical makeup, it would seem that I am created for marriage. On a physical and emotional level, we long for marriage and all that it entails. God did create us as sexual beings. As we grow into adulthood, we have longings. We desire closeness, intimacy. We want to be near to another human being – known body and soul – and loved despite any flaws or weaknesses we might have.

It would make sense to say that I was created for marriage because I have very natural and basic longings for marriage and intimacy. I long for a close friend and a forever partner – a man who compliments my womanhood, and with whom I can live life side by side. I long to be a mother, to carry babies, to give life, and nurture. My body is designed for procreation. I long for the purpose of a homemaker; it feels like this is what I would do best and thrive in.

Titus 2:4-5

that they admonish the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be discreet, chaste, homemakers, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be blasphemed.

It makes sense … because the first woman, Eve, was created for Adam.

Yet.

First Eve belonged to God. God knew Eve better than Adam did. God knew her before Adam did. God loved her vastly more. God saved her, whereas Adam couldn’t be her savior because he was only human, just as she was. And in eternity, Christ will be Eve’s Bridegroom, not Adam.

So, for a season and for a purpose on this earth, Eve was designed – physically and emotionally – for Adam.

Genesis 2:18 & 21-24

18 And the Lord God said, “It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper comparable to him.”

21 And the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall on Adam, and he slept; and He took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh in its place. 22 Then the rib which the Lord God had taken from man He made into a woman, and He brought her to the man.

23 And Adam said:

“This is now bone of my bones
And flesh of my flesh;
She shall be called Woman,
Because she was taken out of Man.”

24 Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.

 

But her eternal husband is the Lord.

(May this encourage Christian women who are in unloving or difficult marriages! The Lord is your husband, and He will care for you as an earthly husband never could.)

As a female, I am designed beautifully in all ways to be a wife. And I desire to be a wife – probably because that was the specific and perfect design from the beginning for woman!

But if I never get to live out my design as a wife and mother, I will be okay.

Because, you see, there is a deeper truth than me being designed for marriage.

And that is that I was created for God.

Ultimately, it comes down to this truth, because I will go to God in the end and I will spend my eternity with Him. And with the rest of Christ’s family. But the Lord will be my Bridegroom. Our Bridegroom.

Revelation 19:7-8

Let us be glad and rejoice and give Him glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife has made herself ready.” And to her it was granted to be arrayed in fine linen, clean and bright, for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints.

God created earthly marriage as a picture of the ultimate marriage with Him. Marriage is the design – and a very GOOD design – but it is not what we were created for, in the end.

I would dearly love to live out my design and my heart’s longing and be a wife and mother. I would count it a great honor to grow into a godly wife, and reflect Christ and the Church together with a godly husband. What an honor! What a calling! What a light and example Christian marriages have the potential to be!

Ephesians 5:23, 25-27, & 31-33

23 For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body.

25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, 26 that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, 27 that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish.

31 “For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” 32 This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the church33 Nevertheless let each one of you in particular so love his own wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.

But right now, I am very much an unmarried woman. And I can’t get caught up in the rhetoric of: I was created for marriage; why can’t I be a wife already??

I have to remind myself that my earthly life is temporary. Marriage would be a blessing and an esteemed calling for me here on earth, but my relationship with Jesus Christ is now and forever. That is what I was created for and that is what I must press into always.

Jesus.

My Jesus. How beautiful He is! Savior. Redeemer. Father. Friend. Lord and Master. Guide. Protector. Provider. God. Lover of my soul.

I do not reject my desire for marriage. I do not pretend that I am not a sexual being.

I am passionate about God’s design for marriage and look forward to living it out if He so leads me on that path. I study it. I pray about it. I pray for it.

But first and foremost, I must embrace the forever truth that I was created for God.

And in my weakness, He shows His strength and goodness. Through my weakness, He sanctifies me if I press into Him. I try not to be ashamed of my weakness, but revel in His power and wisdom in that moment.

2 Corinthians 12:9-10

And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me10 Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

My weak flesh cries out: I just want what I was designed for in this temporary life. I want a husband and children. I will settle. I will settle for the temporary, the less-than-holy, the purposelessness, and the here-and-now. Because I just want marriage.

But as Christ works in me, I say with even louder tones: No. Marriage is beautiful, but it has deeper purpose than simply giving me freedom to live out my design. I only want marriage if it will honor You. Meaning, I only want to marry a man who fears You, with whom I can radiantly glorify You, Lord! I don’t want the beauty of marriage to distract me from You. So I will wait for a godly man who is wholeheartedly Yours, that we may seek and serve You together.

2 Corinthians 11:2

For I am jealous for you with godly jealousy. For I have betrothed you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ.

May we all fall ever more in love with the Lover of our souls.

Marriage is an amazing design for our earthly lives. It is of God! He designed male and female and marriage in the beginning, and it was good. It is good.

So desire it! So study it! So pray for it!

It is not a bad thing to desire marriage – this I have been told (indirectly, at times) by so many godly brothers and sisters in Christ. Marriage is a good desire.

And, if I ponder it …

I was designed for marriage.

But again, I was created for God. I am Christ’s – I am for Him and my life for His glory.

So desire marriage.

But desire God more.

Always more.

Deuteronomy 4:29

29 But from there you will seek the Lord your God, and you will find Him if you seek Him with all your heart and with all your soul.

Good Thoughts on Modesty

Hi, dear readers! After the previous two rather heavy posts, I wanted to share some of the many Youtube videos I’ve watched on the topic of modesty (& purity). I hope these videos are interesting, encouraging, challenging, and thought-provoking for you as they were for me! 🙂

Please share in the comments below any videos/sermons/blog posts you’ve come across on Biblical modesty that impacted you!

let’s talk about … MODESTY

Why Modesty Isn’t For Me // Modern Woman

A Christian Guy’s Plea

Untold Truths About Dressing Modesty

Modesty For Christians // Set Apart Style

Ultimate Marriage #12: How Mature Christian Couples View Modesty

Christian Guys on Modesty – Bikinis?

Modesty EVEN in Marriage – Bethany and Kristen from GirlDefined

silhouette: in love with the shape of you? (spoken word) // @whatisjoedoing

Jessica Rey – The Evolution of the Swimsuit

Why You Should Dress Modestly

Am I Rightly Living Out My Womanhood?

Womanhood.

Do you ever ponder what the Word of God has to say about womanhood? In this modern world of ours, is there no longer a need for gender roles, chivalry, leaders, submission, femininity, homemakers, and stay-at-home mothers?

What is the uniqueness of woman? Does she have any? Or is she destined for a life of struggle? Always comparing and competing with man for worth, identity, dignity, and purpose?

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(Most women get married at some point – and are desiring marriage while they’re single – so I’m going to be talking a fair amount to wives/about godly wives; marriage; children; etc.)

I think when we consider that we have an all-knowing Creator who lovingly knit us together in our mother’s womb, we can feel confident in going back to His Word to define womanhood.

Psalm 139:1-10 & 13-16

Lord, You have searched me and known me.

You know my sitting down and my rising up;
You understand my thought afar off.

You comprehend my path and my lying down,
And are acquainted with all my ways.

For there is not a word on my tongue,
But behold, O Lord, You know it altogether.

You have hedged me behind and before,
And laid Your hand upon me.

Such knowledge is too wonderful for me;
It is high, I cannot attain it.

Where can I go from Your Spirit?
Or where can I flee from Your presence?

If I ascend into heaven, You are there;
If I make my bed in hell, behold, You are there.

If I take the wings of the morning,
And dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,

10 Even there Your hand shall lead me,
And Your right hand shall hold me.

13 For You formed my inward parts;
You covered me in my mother’s womb.

14 I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
Marvelous are Your works,
And that my soul knows very well.

15 My frame was not hidden from You,
When I was made in secret,
And skillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth.

16 Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed.
And in Your book they all were written,
The days fashioned for me,
When as yet there were none of them.

Think about it … He knows you inside and out. He knew you before anyone else did. He crafted you inside your mother’s body. Your conception was not an accident. He wrote out your DNA. He purposefully gave you the personality, talents, and interests you have. The skin tone, eye color, and hair you have. He created you knowing you’d be the height you are and have the body shape you do. He intentionally made you the gender that you are.

He knows you. He has a plan for you. He knows you better than you know yourself. He loves you. And as your Creator – the Creator – He definitely knows what’s best for you.

Women, I know that some of what’s in the Bible talking about womanhood and gender roles is hard to swallow. But take a moment and search your heart. Do you believe God created you? Do you believe Jesus Christ died to cleanse you from your sin and give eternity with Him? Do you believe He loved you enough to give His life?

Psalm 139:23-24

23 Search me, O God, and know my heart;
Try me, and know my anxieties;
24 And see if there is any wicked way in me,
And lead me in the way everlasting.

Can you not believe that His ways are best, even if they’re hard?

Perhaps, if we went to the Bible before the culture for knowledge and advice – and we lived out what it says – our lives would be vastly easier. Perhaps we would find more purpose in our womanhood. Perhaps we’d have better relationships with the men in our life (particularly, one’s husband).

Perhaps we’d find FREEDOM instead of the chains we expected.

So what does Biblical womanhood look like? Let’s take a look at some verses from the Bible on women.

Genesis 1:26-28

26 Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” 27 So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them28 Then God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”

Genesis 2:15-25

15 Then the Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to tend and keep it. 16 And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, “Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; 17 but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.”

18 And the Lord God said, “It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper comparable to him.” 19 Out of the ground the Lord God formed every beast of the field and every bird of the air, and brought them to Adam to see what he would call them. And whatever Adam called each living creature, that was its name. 20 So Adam gave names to all cattle, to the birds of the air, and to every beast of the field. But for Adam there was not found a helper comparable to him.

21 And the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall on Adam, and he slept; and He took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh in its place. 22 Then the rib which the Lord God had taken from man He made into a woman, and He brought her to the man.

23 And Adam said:

“This is now bone of my bones
And flesh of my flesh;
She shall be called Woman,
Because she was taken out of Man.”

 

24 Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.

25 And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed.

First, we know we are made in God’s image, as the first woman, Eve, was. We read that in the beginning, woman came from man. God created Adam first. And then, knowing it wasn’t good for man to be alone, He fashioned the first woman from Adam’s rib.

This is such a beautiful piece of Scripture, is it not? My heart flutters when I read it. God created a man and gave him work and a purpose. But He doesn’t want man to be alone. It wasn’t good for man to be without woman. God wants to create a partner and helper for Adam. So He causes Adam to fall asleep. And instead of creating another human from the dust, He takes directly from Adam to create Eve.

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And Adam says: she is of me! Therefore, when a boy grows into a man and finds the woman for him, they shall be joined together and become one flesh.

Maybe that’s where the deep desire for marriage comes from. Because woman was created for man. To be together. This is just romantic speculation on my part, but maybe this is why a woman feels so safe and at home held close to the chest of a man. Because Eve was literally fashioned from Adam’s rib.

(I know that not every woman desires marriage. Some people are called to singleness. But I’m speaking from personal experience and feelings, and from what I’ve heard a lot of other women say.)

So, first off, don’t be believing that singleness is the most holy state. When I’m saying this, I’m believing that you have the solid foundation of a Christian, knowing that you’re made first for Him and His glory. His will is that you be in intimate relationship with Him (whether you’re single or married), and your purpose is to shine Christ’s love and make much of His Name.

But as you’re walking with Him and delighting in Jesus Christ, maybe He has a glorious plan to use you in the role of wife and mother on this earth. See this as a good, holy, valuable, and beautiful occupation!

Take some time to carefully read over these Scripture passages:

Psalm 127:1-5

Unless the Lord builds the house,
They labor in vain who build it;
Unless the Lord guards the city,
The watchman stays awake in vain.

It is vain for you to rise up early,
To sit up late,
To eat the bread of sorrows;
For so He gives His beloved sleep.

Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord,
The fruit of the womb is a reward.

Like arrows in the hand of a warrior,
So are the children of one’s youth.

Happy is the man who has his quiver full of them;
They shall not be ashamed,
But shall speak with their enemies in the gate.

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Psalm 128:1-6

Blessed is every one who fears the Lord,
Who walks in His ways.

When you eat the labor of your hands,
You shall be happy, and it shall be well with you.

Your wife shall be like a fruitful vine
In the very heart of your house,
Your children like olive plants
All around your table.

Behold, thus shall the man be blessed
Who fears the Lord.

The Lord bless you out of Zion,
And may you see the good of Jerusalem
All the days of your life.

Yes, may you see your children’s children.

Peace be upon Israel!

****

Proverbs 31:10-31

10 Who can find a virtuous wife?
For her worth is far above rubies.

11 The heart of her husband safely trusts her;
So he will have no lack of gain.

12 She does him good and not evil
All the days of her life.

13 She seeks wool and flax,
And willingly works with her hands.

14 She is like the merchant ships,
She brings her food from afar.

15 She also rises while it is yet night,
And provides food for her household,
And a portion for her maidservants.

16 She considers a field and buys it;
From her profits she plants a vineyard.

17 She girds herself with strength,
And strengthens her arms.

18 She perceives that her merchandise is good,
And her lamp does not go out by night.

19 She stretches out her hands to the distaff,
And her hand holds the spindle.

20 She extends her hand to the poor,
Yes, she reaches out her hands to the needy.

21 She is not afraid of snow for her household,
For all her household is clothed with scarlet.

22 She makes tapestry for herself;
Her clothing is fine linen and purple.

23 Her husband is known in the gates,
When he sits among the elders of the land.

24 She makes linen garments and sells them,
And supplies sashes for the merchants.

25 Strength and honor are her clothing;
She shall rejoice in time to come.

26 She opens her mouth with wisdom,
And on her tongue is the law of kindness.

27 She watches over the ways of her household,
And does not eat the bread of idleness.

28 Her children rise up and call her blessed;
Her husband also, and he praises her:

29 “Many daughters have done well,
But you excel them all.”

30 Charm is deceitful and beauty is passing,
But a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised.

31 Give her of the fruit of her hands,
And let her own works praise her in the gates.

****

Proverbs 12:4

An excellent wife is the crown of her husband,
But she who causes shame is like rottenness in his bones.

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Proverbs 18:22

22 He who finds a wife finds a good thing,
And obtains favor from the Lord.

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When I read verses like these, it seems that God puts great honor on the roles of wife and mother. They weren’t seen as unwanted occupations or less worthy callings. A godly wife was seen as priceless. Beyond valuable. Children as a blessing from the Lord. A sign of His favor. The wife’s role and her work in the home is shown in detail and importance.

In this modern world, how far we have strayed from this mindset. And perhaps we have lost something precious? Finding joy and purpose in wifehood and motherhood. In embracing being different and complimentary as a woman. In being feminine. In making a home. In raising up the next generation.

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Most of us women desire marriage, and so we should study the Bible on what God would have us do to grow into godly wives. If so many of us are to married at some point, we should find beautiful and Biblical purpose in it instead of just seeking marriage for the pleasure of love. Marriage is about more than happiness. There is purpose in it, and we should take it seriously.

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Ephesians 5:22-33

22 Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. 23 For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body24 Therefore, just as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything.

25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her26 that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, 27 that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish. 28 So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself. 29 For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as the Lord does the church30 For we are members of His body, of His flesh and of His bones. 31 “For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” 32 This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the church33 Nevertheless let each one of you in particular so love his own wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.

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Titus 2:3-5

the older women likewise, that they be reverent in behavior, not slanderers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things— that they admonish the young women to love their husbands, to love their childrento be discreet, chaste, homemakers, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be blasphemed.

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1 Peter 3:1-7

Wives, likewise, be submissive to your own husbands, that even if some do not obey the word, they, without a word, may be won by the conduct of their wives, when they observe your chaste conduct accompanied by fear. Do not let your adornment be merely outward—arranging the hair, wearing gold, or putting on fine apparel— rather let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of GodFor in this manner, in former times, the holy women who trusted in God also adorned themselves, being submissive to their own husbands, as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord, whose daughters you are if you do good and are not afraid with any terror.

Husbands, likewise, dwell with them with understanding, giving honor to the wife, as to the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life, that your prayers may not be hindered.

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Colossians 3:18-19

18 Wives, submit to your own husbands, as is fitting in the Lord.

19 Husbands, love your wives and do not be bitter toward them.

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1 Timothy 5:8

But if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.

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Women, the Bible says man was created first, and woman from him. The Bible calls wives to submit to their husbands. The Bible calls husbands to lead and provide. The Bible calls women the “weaker vessel”. In Titus, women are called the love their husbands, their children, and be homemakers. The Bible names the man as the head of the woman, as marriage is a picture of Christ and the Church.

As Christ pursued us, gave up His life for us, and leads us, so a man pursues a woman and marries her – giving his life to her and sacrificing himself daily to love, lead, and provide for her. Spiritually and physically.

Wives are called to willingly submit to their husband. To willingly give him the leadership and responsibility in the relationship. In the family. Household.

And he is to love his wife sacrificially. To pursue her always. To dwell with her with tenderness and gentleness, as she is the weaker vessel.

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1 Timothy 2:9-13

in like manner also, that the women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with propriety and moderation, not with braided hair or gold or pearls or costly clothing, 10 but, which is proper for women professing godliness, with good works. 11 Let a woman learn in silence with all submission. 12 And I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man, but to be in silence. 13 For Adam was formed first, then Eve.

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1 Corinthians 11:3 & 11-12

But I want you to know that the head of every man is Christ, the head of woman is man, and the head of Christ is God.

11 Nevertheless, neither is man independent of woman, nor woman independent of man, in the Lord. 12 For as woman came from man, even so man also comes through woman; but all things are from God.

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When reading some of these verses (especially 1 Timothy 2:11-13), we women may be tempted to think this is saying we are less than or don’t have the potential for wisdom like men. But I think we need to remember that male and female are both made in the image of God. Just because we have different roles doesn’t make one gender of more value than the other. I have heard some profound and thought-provoking messages on gender, and I believe that both man and woman – masculinity and femininity – represent different aspects of God. God does refer to Himself with male pronouns, but He made male and female in His image. And in different parts of His Word, He uses feminine allegories to describe Himself – such a mother hen gathering her young close (Luke 13:34). So we should never feel demeaned, unworthy, or less than in our womanhood. Our womanhood can be a special reflection of God’s character – if we live it out Biblically.

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Galatians 3:28

26 For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. 27 For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.

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Proverbs 11:16

16 A gracious woman retains honor,
But ruthless men retain riches.

Proverbs 11:22

22 As a ring of gold in a swine’s snout,
So is a lovely woman who lacks discretion.

Proverbs 14:1

The wise woman builds her house,
But the foolish pulls it down with her hands.

Proverbs 22:14

14 The mouth of an immoral woman is a deep pit;
He who is abhorred by the Lord will fall there.

Proverbs 27:15

15 A continual dripping on a very rainy day
And a contentious woman are alike;

Women, instead of nagging and competing, let’s try to compliment and build up. To love, encourage, serve, and spur our brothers (including husband) on to good deeds.

Proverbs 27:17

17 As iron sharpens iron,
So a man sharpens the countenance of his friend.

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Acts 18:25-26

25 This man had been instructed in the way of the Lord; and being fervent in spirit, he spoke and taught accurately the things of the Lord, though he knew only the baptism of John. 26 So he began to speak boldly in the synagogue. When Aquila and Priscilla heard him, they took him aside and explained to him the way of God more accurately.

It appears that husband and wife, Aquila and Priscilla, together took aside this man and taught him the Truth. I love this picture of godly marriage … that the couple is a team. They minister together. They spread God’s Word together. They work together. They teach, encourage, and admonish together. I’m sure Aquila was still the leader and head of the household, as God lays out in the Scripture, but it does not in any way undermine Priscilla’s value and wisdom, and the importance in her playing out her part in the marriage.

So, dear ladies, don’t undermine the beauty and purpose of a Biblical marriage. Of a woman’s place in the home. Of letting your husband lead – coming alongside him in ministry. Of helping fulfill the great commission by raising up children in the Lord. Of Biblical femininity that compliments Biblical masculinity and points to our beautiful and all-wise God.

Do you know what a light embracing these things can be to a lost world?

Do you know how being, wholeheartedly, a woman, a wife, a mother, a homemaker can encourage, bless, even change the lives of your brothers and sisters in Christ? Whether it be your husband, your children, your neighbors, or your church family?

This is not to say that women should never work outside the home or have a different ministry and calling than wife & mother. Forgive me if I try to put everyone in the same mold and try to make everything black and white. I know there are unique situations and people.

But if you are desiring marriage and motherhood, I would be serious about studying Biblical truths on these matters. Because I truly believe the family is crumbling in America (and probably the whole world) … And it is probably largely because people do not know what Biblical manhood and womanhood look like. What does it look like to be a Biblical wife? A Biblical husband? A Biblical mother? A Biblical father?

There is a reason that God made a design for these things. Will you study His design? And will you attempt to follow it? Because don’t you think the Creator’s design will work best?

When I read these verses from God’s Word on womanhood, I have no problem accepting them because it’s what I want, personally. I want to be home. I dream and pray to become a wife and homemaker someday. I want my home to be the heart of my ministry. I want to support and love one of God’s adopted sons (my future husband). I want to counsel women. Mentor girls. Raise children to know the love of God. I want to open up my home to people who need fellowship and heart talks. I want to serve my brothers and sisters in Christ with homemade meals and loving hospitality. I want to shine for Jesus Christ by the way I adorn my home with His love and truths. His peace and joy.

But, obviously, that’s not exactly how my life looks right now – even as I strive to be a godly woman. I don’t have my own home. I live with my parents and siblings. And while I’m welcome there, the house does not belong to me and I have eight other people to consider before trying to make plans for this home. My dad is a great provider and I have never lacked food, shelter, or clothing. But as an adult, I feel the need to go beyond just helping at home and seek a job outside and learn to provide for myself.

So, at this point, I have to work outside the home, at least to some extent. But I also am trying to cultivate homemaking skills, and I find lots of joy and satisfaction in cooking for my family, cleaning and organizing the house, nurturing children, and encouraging other women.

And I pray for a godly man who is able to provide for me and will count it his purpose and responsibility to lead me (and any children God blesses us with) spiritually and in all things. Because as I grow in the Lord, I feel in my heart a calling to the home. To be the helper (Do you know that God and the Holy Spirit are called our helper? This is no term to be taken lightly or demeaned.) to the man who God would choose for me. To counsel other women. To teach and encourage through this blog (and perhaps Youtube videos one day.) To open my home to those who need it. To be a mother.

Maybe you’re a woman who doesn’t feel called to be married. Or you’re in a season of singleness right now, in any case. Maybe you feel God has given you gifts and talents that call you out into the world and a career.

Acts 16:13-15

13 And on the Sabbath day we went out of the city to the riverside, where prayer was customarily made; and we sat down and spoke to the women who met there. 14 Now a certain woman named Lydia heard us. She was a seller of purple from the city of Thyatira, who worshiped God. The Lord opened her heart to heed the things spoken by Paul. 15 And when she and her household were baptized, she begged us, saying, “If you have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come to my house and stay.” So she persuaded us.

Just remember that you still need your brothers and sisters in Christ. I would go so far as to say that it is important for you to have a spiritual leader in your father. And if he is not available for that role, I would pray for a spiritual leader in another trusted, godly older man such as your pastor. Older brother. Uncle. Etc.

Having an older, godly woman to mentor you is important too! I’m currently praying for such things in my own life!

As a single or married woman, we are not meant to be wholly independent. We are to be dependent on God, and also receive help from our brothers and sisters in Christ. And be intricately a part of the Body of Christ. Have a church family. Women usually naturally have nurturing skills, so don’t be afraid to help with other people’s small children. Find a younger girl to mentor. Married or single, you can be the Titus 2 woman who counsels younger women and trains them in godliness.

Romans 16:1-2

I commend to you Phoebe our sister, who is a servant of the church in Cenchrea, that you may receive her in the Lord in a manner worthy of the saints, and assist her in whatever business she has need of you; for indeed she has been a helper of many and of myself also.

1 Timothy 5:1-8

Do not rebuke an older man, but exhort him as a father, younger men as brothers, older women as mothers, younger women as sisters, with all purity.

Honor widows who are really widows. But if any widow has children or grandchildren, let them first learn to show piety at home and to repay their parents; for this is good and acceptable before God. Now she who is really a widow, and left alone, trusts in God and continues in supplications and prayers night and day. But she who lives in pleasure is dead while she lives. And these things command, that they may be blameless. But if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.

(As for married mothers with careers, I don’t, in any way, mean to condemn you. As I said, I like to see things in black and white. But I am not all-knowing or all-wise. But if thoughts of the home bring feelings of distaste – or you haven’t thought about it much at all – I would simply like to remind you that the home is not a lesser calling, but a truly worthy and esteemed one, it would seem, in God’s sight. And your children are precious souls He has entrusted to you. God has put you and your husband in their lives to raise them to know His love – to love and serve Him – and this is of utmost importance. Careers are temporary; your children’s souls are eternal.)

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Proverbs 31:30

30 Charm is deceitful and beauty is passing,
But a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised.

Another Biblical truth on womanhood I want to remind you of is found in the above verse. Our beauty is not what defines us. We do not find our identity in our looks. Yes, God made women beautiful and attractive. But our feminine beauty is earthly and it will pass away.

Spending an overwhelming amount of money on cosmetics, clothing, and various other products to enhance your beauty and “fix” your “flaws” will not fulfill you and will not make you happy. It is an endless quest, my dear fellow women.

Beauty. Charm. A fit body. Beautiful clothes. Sensuality. Wittiness. A flawless face. Scores of suitors. Many friends. A career. A boyfriend/husband. Popularity. Countless “likes” on social media. Praise. Success.

Listen. It will not fulfill you.

Womanhood is about embracing God’s design and fearing Him. The woman who fears God, she shall be praised. That is worthy womanhood. That is an identity to get behind.

A woman going all out for God.

A woman living for her Lord’s glory.

A woman enamored with her Savior’s Word.

A woman living to shine her Redeemer’s love in everything.

A woman passionate about God’s design.

A woman secure in her Creator’s workmanship.

A woman confident in her role as a God-fearing female.

2 Corinthians 11:1-3

Oh, that you would bear with me in a little folly—and indeed you do bear with me. For I am jealous for you with godly jealousy. For I have betrothed you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to ChristBut I fear, lest somehow, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, so your minds may be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.

Continuing the Modesty Conversation

Good morning, readers! I’m bringing up modesty again, whether you’re ready for it or not. 😉

Colossians 3:1-3

If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.

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If you’ve not read my previous two posts on this topic, Beautifully Modest and Look at My Heart, I would love for you to check them out and give me your thoughts.

So, thoughts on modesty have been invading my head lately. I’ve come across heartfelt Youtube videos on it, and it’s just been on my heart and mind. Not in a heavy, scary way. But, perhaps, in an “I-want-to-do-better” way.

I want to be more intentional about walking by the Spirit in this area. I usually try to be very intentional about what movies I watch, books I read, songs I listen to … especially if people are looking to my example … like, is this honoring to God? Is it edifying to others who see me? To my own walk? Am I representing my God well?

Romans 8:12-14

12 Therefore, brethren, we are debtors—not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. 13 For if you live according to the flesh you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. 14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.

I have always been naturally more modest. And I had to come to a place of realizing my freedom in Christ and that I am not personally responsible for men’s sin. They make their choices. I don’t have to walk around always fearful that I might make someone sin because I wore the “wrong” thing.

However, it occurred to me that I could be more intentional in this area, just as I am striving to be in every other area of my life.

Not in a fearful way. Not in a legalistic way. How about in an intentionally loving my brothers and sisters in Christ way? Intentionally serving them? Intentionally sacrificing my own wants and selfish desires for them? Intentionally striving to represent my holy King well?

1 Timothy 5:1-2

Do not rebuke an older man, but exhort him as a father, younger men as brothers, older women as mothers, younger women as sisters, with all purity.

Isn’t this what Jesus Christ did? Made Himself a servant for us?

John 13:3-5

Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into His hands, and that He had come from God and was going to God, rose from supper and laid aside His garments, took a towel and girded Himself. After that, He poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet, and to wipe them with the towel with which He was girded.

Yes, girls.  Yes, do this for your brothers. Do it for Christ first, but also dress modestly for men. There is nothing weak about humbling yourself and sacrificing your wants for the sake of another.

Why do I think that I haven’t been intentional? Well, there are times that I put on an outfit and feel a slight hesitation in my spirit. But I brush it off because:

I’m not wearing a bikini. Check.

I’m not wearing leggings as pants. Check.

I’m not revealing any cleavage. Check.

I’m not showing my midriff. Check.

Right? I’m good. So I ignore the check in my spirit and go on with my day. But maybe it was the Holy Spirit? Maybe I should have gone to a trusted man and asked his opinion. Is this something that you believe, as a man who understands men’s brains, would cause my brothers in Christ to stumble?

Galatians 5:16-18

16 I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh17 For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.

I have worn things that I later looked back and thought: Would I have worn that if a bunch of young men who I cared about were coming to my house? Would I feel upset if a woman wore a similar outfit in front of my brothers or future husband?

I don’t want to be the woman who’s causing boys to stumble and men to struggle.

I don’t want to pass by my future husband on the street one day and him have to bounce his eyes.

But the thing is, I’m not a man and I truly can’t fully understand the male brain.

What amount of tightness is the “too tight” that causes that initial reaction which could lead to sin if not fought against?

What amount of skin?

What parts of the body? Are sleeveless shirts and shorts a couple of inches above the knee no problem? If a girl wears a somewhat low-cut shirt but shows no cleavage, is that just fine?

I think Christian men and women need to come together and seek God on this matter.

Colossians 3:12-17

12 Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering13 bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do. 14 But above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection15 And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful. 16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. 17 And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.

Because perhaps not too many years ago, all the blame for a man’s lust was put on women. Her body was oversexualized. She was seen as more an object and temptation than human and soul.

This scarred women deeply.

And it was not right. Boys need to be taught that they are fully responsible for their thoughts and actions. Their lust and their sin. They need to be taught how to view a woman and how to value, honor, and protect her. They should learn practical tips like bouncing their eyes, taking every thought captive, and meditating on Scripture when unable to avoid scantily-clad women.

But, to the same measure, girls need to be taught their responsibility. That their body is a temple of God and their sexuality is sacred and private. That dressing in a “sexy” way – in a way that is showing some nakedness – will  automatically cause a struggle for boys and men. Because God (did you catch that? God.) created men to desire a woman’s body. This He created for the beautiful, sacred, private sexual relationship between a husband and wife.

Thus, women should dress in a way that does not trigger those desires made for within the bonds of marriage alone.

We can dress beautifully. Cute. Fashionably. Trendy. We can have our own, individual style.

But not sensual. Not sexy. Not in a way that draws overwhelming attention to our curves. That shows off private parts or leads the eyes toward private parts.

Wear colors that make your eyes pop and your face glow; that compliment your hair color. Wear styles that show you’re a beautiful, feminine woman, but don’t cling to your body to show every curve and line.

1 Peter 3:1-4

Wives, likewise, be submissive to your own husbands, that even if some do not obey the word, they, without a word, may be won by the conduct of their wives, when they observe your chaste conduct accompanied by fear. Do not let your adornment be merely outward—arranging the hair, wearing gold, or putting on fine apparel— rather let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God.

So, these are some helpful tips. But I still deeply wish I could study this topic with other Christian women. But I can’t hardly.

Hebrews 10:24

24 And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works,

Do you know why?

Because women refuse to talk about it or acknowledge there’s a problem.

It seems, after being hurt, scarred, and stripped of their innate worth to be made merely an object of temptation or to be played with, women hardened their hearts.

I say this with all seriousness.

The Bible talks about modesty, and purity, and humility, and your body not being your own, and not being a stumbling block for your family in Christ.

But the Church doesn’t want to talk about it. Christian women don’t want to talk about it. They ignore it. They get massively defensive. They get angry. They say things like: “I can wear whatever I want.” “It’s the man’s problem, not mine.” “Don’t tell me what to wear; it’s my body!” “Get your mind out of the gutter.”

Women viciously attack any man or woman who would dare tell them what to do.

She flies in the face of her husband when he brings up modesty and concerns about her manner of dress, and then gets upset when he admits how hard it is to be out and about when women are dressed immodestly.

Why do you have to be like that?

Because God made me this way.

Women, do you hear the plea in these unspoken words from the men in your life?

No, God did not create man to sin. To objectify you in his mind. To lust after you. To use your body for his gain.

But He did create him to be attracted to and desire a woman’s body. For within the confines of marriage.

Yet when we women are dressing in a way that shows off our bodies and nakedness that should only be seen within a marriage covenant, temptations naturally arise for men.

Think about your temptations. How would you feel if your brothers in Christ shoved them in your face? Or brushed off your concerns and asking for help?

1 Thessalonians 5:11

11 Therefore comfort each other and edify one another,

In this culture, the truth is:

Women have made themselves their own god.

You can’t tell me what to wear.

You’re the sinner. It’s your issue.

I don’t care about your struggle.

It’s my body.

I can wear whatever I want.

No man is going to tell me what to do.

Those phrases should grieve your heart, Christian women. Look at them. Hear them spoken in your head. Line them up against the Word of God.

Does that sound like a woman of God?

No.

Galatians 5:22-26

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. 24 And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires25 If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. 26 Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.

1 John 4:20-21

20 If someone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen? 21 And this commandment we have from Him: that he who loves God must love his brother also.

Proverbs 15:5

A fool despises his father’s instruction,
But he who receives correction is prudent.

Woman, you were never meant to be trampled on. Beat down. Objectified. Oversexualized. Abused. Hurt. Treated less than men.

But this that you have turned to, it is no solution.

Dressing half-naked. Being sensual. Flaunting your body to every boy and man you walk by. Enjoying this power it gives you over men. Baring yourself in public while nursing a baby because it’s your body and it’s natural. Celebrating other women who flaunt their nakedness in public. Blaming all the sin, putting all the fault on men.

Don’t you see? This is worship of yourself and your body.

You’re putting yourself and your wants and your freedom before everything else. You plow over everyone else and disregard their struggles and hurts because it’s your body and it’s natural and you’re a woman!

Like women are gods who can do whatever they want.

Philippians 2:3-4

Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.

1 Corinthians 10:23-24

23 All things are lawful for me, but not all things are helpful; all things are lawful for me, but not all things edify24 Let no one seek his own, but each one the other’s well-being.

You’re getting angry at brothers in Christ (and sisters) who try to rebuke in love or bring up sensitive topics. You’re trying to be independent of men. You’re not respecting or honoring any men – because you’re a woman and they can’t tell you what to do. You’re refusing to submit to men – to your husband.

Do you know what God created marriage to be a picture of? Christ and the Church.

Ephesians 5:22-33

22 Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. 23 For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body24 Therefore, just as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything.

25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her26 that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, 27 that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish. 28 So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself. 29 For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as the Lord does the church. 30 For we are members of His body, of His flesh and of His bones. 31 For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” 32 This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the church33 Nevertheless let each one of you in particular so love his own wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.

When you have this pride, this angry independence, this bitterness, this self-focus, this arrogance, this refusal to submit – do you know who you’re really refusing to submit to?

God.

Feel the heaviness of that.

Women, we have been blinded.

When we go sauntering around like: I don’t have to submit to no man and no one can tell me what to do or wear. It’s my life and my body!

Then we are not following Christ. We have made ourselves independent of God. We are not submitting to Him and we are not loving Him.

Ephesians 4:1-3

I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were calledwith all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love, endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. 

This is grievous.

Truly heart-wrenching.

It’s time to repent, women.

Ephesians 4:30-32

30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31 Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. 32 And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.

Matthew 25:40

40 And the King will answer and say to them, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.’

I’m not saying that you haven’t been hurt. I’m not saying it’s easy to sacrifice your wants for others. I’m not saying that your husband is easy to submit to. But you chose him.

And you can’t pick and choose what to believe and what to follow from the Bible. That’s not a true follower of Christ.

God says: women, submit. (As the Church is supposed to willingly submit to Christ because He is her head and has saved her and given up His life for her.)

God says: Be pure. Be holy. Dress decently. Don’t cause your brother to stumble.

Does the way you dress make you feel pure and holy? Does it cause anyone to stumble?

Romans 14:12-13 & 21

12 So then each of us shall give account of himself to God. 13 Therefore let us not judge one another anymore, but rather resolve this, not to put a stumbling block or a cause to fall in our brother’s way.

21 It is good neither to eat meat nor drink wine nor do anything by which your brother stumbles or is offended or is made weak.

God says: love.

1 John 3:16

16 By this we know love, because He laid down His life for us. And we also ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.

Romans 12:9-11

Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil. Cling to what is good. 10 Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another; 11 not lagging in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord;

When did we decide it’s alright to ignore, deride, and trample on men (and people in general) to elevate ourselves?

When did we decide that no matter the harm it may cause someone else, we can wear and do what we want because it’s our body?

Well, I have news. It is not your body. Your body belongs to God. He bought it with His blood. Have you ever bought something with your blood?

1 Corinthians 6:19-20

19 Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? 20 For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.

And, if you are married, your body belongs to your husband.

1 Corinthians 7:4

The wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does. And likewise the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does.

Just as his belongs to you. So if he comes to you with concerns about what you’re wearing or how you’re presenting yourself, LISTEN TO WHAT HE HAS TO SAY. Just give him the respect, honor, and love he should have as God’s adopted son. Or, even if he’s not a Christian, he’s still a human created in God’s image and you should respect him.

1 Peter 2:17

17 Honor all people. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the king.

Women, if a man comes to you with a concern, like: Hey, what you were wearing the other day was really a stumbling block for me. I had to keep looking away and it made it difficult to be normal and comfortable talking and hanging out with you because I was constantly fighting in my mind to keep myself from sin – to honor you and to honor God.

Listen to him. Don’t get all defensive and angry. Here’s a man who is striving to serve and glorify God. To fight his sin nature. To honor and respect you.

Listen to him and pray earnestly about it.

1 John 2:9-11

He who says he is in the light, and hates his brother, is in darkness until now. 10 He who loves his brother abides in the light, and there is no cause for stumbling in him11 But he who hates his brother is in darkness and walks in darkness, and does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded his eyes.

And men, I would insert here, be very careful about having these conversations. If you’re going up to one specific girl, be sure you consider what your relationship is with her, and where her own walk with the Lord is. Pray a lot about it.

But don’t be afraid to be real and honest with women in general. We want to know what men have to say about this topic. I’ve watched some Youtube videos from men that weren’t condemning, but really helped me to understand more how it is for men and what I can do to pursue purity with them.

To love them.

Because, we are called to love our brethren. To think of them before ourselves. To humble ourselves. To sacrifice our own liberties if it causes a brother to stumble.

Romans 13:10

10 Love does no harm to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.

We are not our own. But the life we live, we live for Christ.

Colossians 1:17

All things were created through Him and for Him.

So we need to stop living for ourselves and our pleasure, and start living for our God and our beloved sisters and brothers in Christ.

Colossians 1:9-10

For this reason we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; 10 that you may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him, being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God;

Why Did God … ?

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Why?

If God always knew that Lucifer would rebel, and mankind would choose sin, and darkness would rage over the earth … then why? Why even create Lucifer? Why create the world? Why designate His Son, Jesus Christ, to be the price that had to be paid because of sin?

Why even bother? How does this make sense? Why set this plan into motion in the first place and work it out like it does?

This discussion was brought up in my Sunday school class. I’ve asked myself the same questions many times before.

I can’t wrap my mind around it, God. Why would a loving, merciful Creator create all the while knowing His angels and His people were destined for darkness? His own Son for pain and suffering?

It occurred to me that maybe it was because of us.

If God hadn’t set this all into motion, then I wouldn’t exist.

Or, maybe I would exist but I would have no free will.

No knowledge of good and evil.

No choice to choose Jesus Christ.

No realization that I was chosen despite the high cost.

If God destroyed Satan as soon as he rebelled, if He created mankind so that they would only choose Him, then we wouldn’t have the kind of indescribable love relationship that is available to us now.

1 John 3:1

Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God!

John 15:9-10

“As the Father loved Me, I also have loved you; abide in My love. 10 If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love.

John 13:34-35

34 A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. 35 By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”

We wouldn’t know what sin and darkness, pain and suffering are, and so we perhaps wouldn’t know the richness of His grace, goodness, light, and love.

I ask: God, why did You create us when you knew we were going to sin?

Then I ask: Shantelle, would you rather not exist at all? Would you rather not have had the chance to live, to experience joy, to love? To know a Savior who loves you more than anyone else possible could and will never let you down?

I think I would rather feel everything than nothing at all.

If you never felt pain and loss, then perhaps you would never feel real, rich, abiding, abundant LOVE.

1 Corinthians 13:13

13 And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.

If you never had free will, then you wouldn’t know the awesome reality of FREEDOM when you are released from your chains.

Without darkness, we would not know LIGHT.

Without sin, without Jesus Christ going to the cross, I would not have been able to choose the relationship that God offers exclusively to mankind.

1 Peter 1:10-12 & 22

10 Of this salvation the prophets have inquired and searched carefully, who prophesied of the grace that would come to you, 11 searching what, or what manner of time, the Spirit of Christ who was in them was indicating when He testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ and the glories that would follow. 12 To them it was revealed that, not to themselves, but to us they were ministering the things which now have been reported to you through those who have preached the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven—things which angels desire to look into.

22 Since you have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit in sincere love of the brethren, love one another fervently with a pure heart, 23 having been born again, not of corruptible seed but incorruptible, through the word of God which lives and abides forever,

Maybe God has this plan, set this all into motion, allowed sin and darkness, because He wanted us. For His glory and our good. And He wanted us to be able to CHOOSE HIM, and know this incredibly sweet love and communion that perhaps we could not have felt otherwise.

Isaiah 40:11

11 He will feed His flock like a shepherd;
He will gather the lambs with His arm,
And carry them in His bosom,
And gently lead those who are with young.

Psalm 63:1, 3-5 

O God, You are my God;
Early will I seek You;
My soul thirsts for You;
My flesh longs for You

Because Your lovingkindness is better than life,
My lips shall praise You.
Thus I will bless You while I live;
I will lift up my hands in Your name.
My soul shall be satisfied as with marrow and fatness,
And my mouth shall praise You with joyful lips.

When I remember You on my bed,
I meditate on You in the night watches.
Because You have been my help,
Therefore in the shadow of Your wings I will rejoice.
My soul follows close behind You;
Your right hand upholds me.

Zephaniah 3:17

17 The Lord your God in your midst,
The Mighty One, will save;
He will rejoice over you with gladness,
He will quiet you with His love,
He will rejoice over you with singing.”

1 John 4:7-11

Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. He who does not love does not know God, for God is loveIn this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him. 10 In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. 11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.

Despite the war that would start between good and evil; despite the darkness and wickedness that would prowl over the earth; despite the pain His own beloved people would suffer; despite the people who would reject Him even though He offered them everything … Jesus Christ willingly endured it all and became the sacrifice because He wanted us who He knew would say “yes” when He opened His arms.

I mean, Jesus Christ died! God’s own Son. If someone gives up their one, beloved Son for you when you don’t care anything for them, you know they love you.

Romans 5:6-10

For when we were still without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die; yet perhaps for a good man someone would even dare to die. But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for usMuch more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him. 10 For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.

Without all this, I wouldn’t know I am deeply loved by Someone who would never fail me.

People fail me. Leave me. Hurt me. They say they love me, but I can never lean on them fully.

But I can lean on God fully. I can run, unreservedly, to His arms and know He will welcome me there.

John 8:7-12

So when they continued asking Him, He raised Himself up and said to them, “He who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first.” And again He stooped down and wrote on the ground. Then those who heard it, being convicted by their conscience, went out one by one, beginning with the oldest even to the last. And Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst. 10 When Jesus had raised Himself up and saw no one but the woman, He said to her, “Woman, where are those accusers of yours? Has no one condemned you?”

11 She said, “No one, Lord.”

And Jesus said to her, “Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more.”

12 Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.”

Matthew 9:20-22

20 And suddenly, a woman who had a flow of blood for twelve years came from behind and touched the hem of His garment. 21 For she said to herself, “If only I may touch His garment, I shall be made well.” 22 But Jesus turned around, and when He saw her He said, “Be of good cheer, daughter; your faith has made you well.” And the woman was made well from that hour.

Because He chose to create me knowing I, like all of the human race, WOULD CHOSE DARKNESS.

And He went willingly to His death knowing eventually I WOULD ACCEPT HIS GIFT.

And He wanted me. He pursued me. He had a plan for me to be His before the creation of the world.

Luke 15:4-7

“What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he loses one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness, and go after the one which is lost until he finds it? And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and neighbors, saying to them, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost!’ I say to you that likewise there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents

He gave me a chance to experience a radical, incomparable, unconditional, eternal love relationship with Him.

And all I can do is accept it and thank Him and give my heart and soul to Him.

Because He chose ME despite the cost.

He set it all into motion and endures all the darkness and rejection and willingly goes through the pain because He wants those of us who He knew would accept His gift when He pursued us.

2 Peter 3:9

The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.

So, I think He did it all because He wanted us who He knew would trust in Jesus Christ and come to live forever with Him. He wanted us to experience a love that is impossible to know otherwise. He wanted us to be part of His family. He wanted us to experience beautiful relationships with each other here on earth, and when we go to our eternal home!

1 Thessalonians 3:12-13

12 And may the Lord make you increase and abound in love to one another and to all, just as we do to you, 13 so that He may establish your hearts blameless in holiness before our God and Father at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all His saints.

Praise the Lord, what a marvelous gift He has bestowed on us! May we live all for His glory. May we rest in His all-encompassing love. May we praise Him forevermore.

Psalm 36:5-6

Your mercy, O Lord, is in the heavens;
Your faithfulness reaches to the clouds.
Your righteousness is like the great mountains;
Your judgments are a great deep;
Lord, You preserve man and beast.

Deuteronomy 7:9

“Therefore know that the Lord your God, He is God, the faithful God who keeps covenant and mercy for a thousand generations with those who love Him and keep His commandments;

Rejoice in Your Salvation

For those of us who grew up in Christian homes, it can sometimes be hard to discern when we became a Christian. And that can cause anxiety at times. It has in my life over the years. So I wanted to talk about that today.

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My parents grew up in an Apostolic Lutheran church. This is how life looked, I think … Nearly every relative went to church. When babies were born, they were soon after baptized. Then, as teenagers, confirmed. And just treated as fellow believers after that.

(Most of my relatives and friends go to this denomination church, so I just want to say I’m not trying to pick on them. I’m just making an observation. And I’ve seen other denomination churches with this same problem … or the opposite problem. No church is perfect. But I just want to address this particular issue.)

People growing up in church are just accepting the label “Christian” because … they grew up in church. Everyone goes about assuming they’re a Christian.

In Baptist or Evangelical Free churches, I think there can be the same issue, but it just manifests itself in a different way. Parents telling they’re children they’re not saved and constantly pushing them to say the sinner’s prayer and get saved. So some children say this prayer or get baptized without realizing what they’re doing, or actually trusting in Jesus as their Savior and Lord.

When I was eight or nine (probably around the same time I started reading my Bible) I remember questioning this in my heart. Did growing up in a Christian home/in church make me a Christian? Was I really a Christian? I remembering praying the sinner’s prayer over and over again in a type of desperation.

And I struggled.

Because all these people would say they were Christians. But did they believe they were because they sincerely accepted Jesus Christ, or because their parents told them they were?

I’m not saying that you should tell your children they aren’t saved.

But I don’t know that you should tell them they are, either. How do you know what is going on in their heart?

Being a Christian is not about an assumption based on your church-going habit or your parent’s faith. It’s not about reciting some certain words.

Colossians 2:8 & 23

Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ.

23 These things indeed have an appearance of wisdom in self-imposed religion, false humility, and neglect of the body, but are of no value against the indulgence of the flesh.

Being a Christian is about being a Christ-follower. About a personal decision on your part to follow Jesus Christ, trusting that He is the Son of God and He did, indeed, pay the price for your sin by His shed blood on the cross. It’s about accepting the gift of life that He offers freely.

Being a Christian is about turning from your sin, your old life, and turning to God. Following Him.

John 14:15-18

15 “If you love Me, keep My commandments. 16 And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever— 17 the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you. 18 I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you.

John 10:27-30

27 My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. 28 And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father’s hand. 30 I and My Father are one.”

Galatians 5:16

16 I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.

How do you follow Him? Read His Word – it will tell you! Talk to Him. Be in relationship with Him.

Being a Christian is not a religious choice. It is a relationship with your Creator.

If you sometimes question whether or not you are truly saved, don’t be afraid, dear friend.

Remember that Satan is a deceiver and the father of lies. He would like nothing more than to see you beat down and destroyed.

But God loves you. And He will not leave you like you are.

Turn from the darkness that taunts and run straight to Jesus.

(It’s possible. I have learned to do this often. And the peace that comes is real and beautiful.)

And just ask Him. Ask Him to assure your heart that you’re His.

If you believe in Him and trust Him as your personal Savior, then you are His.

John 3:15-17

15 that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. 16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. 17 For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.

2 Corinthians 5:18-19

18 Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation, 19 that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them,

If you’ve never asked Him to be your Savior, then simply ask!

It’s okay to feel lost.

Luke 19:10

10 for the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.”

If you’ve always believed in God through your childhood up until now, but never stepped into a relationship with Him, just call on His Name.

Acts 2:21

21 And it shall come to pass
That whoever calls on the name of the Lord
Shall be saved.’

Acts 4:10-12

10 let it be known to you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead, by Him this man stands here before you whole. 11 This is the ‘stone which was rejected by you builders, which has become the chief cornerstone.’ 12 Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”

He is near.

His gift is FREE.

All you have to do is come before Him and accept Him into your life.

If you are afraid and just aren’t sure of your salvation, bring that fear to Him. Tell Him about it. He can handle it. He wants to hear from your heart. He’s ready to speak truth to you.

JESUS PAID THE PRICE.

On the cross, He said, “It is finished.” Now all that remains is for us to come to Him in response.

1 John 3:23

23 And this is His commandment: that we should believe on the name of His Son Jesus Christ and love one another, as He gave us commandment.

Just talk to Him.

God, help me to stop living for myself, and start truly following You. I want You to be the Lord of my life.

Jesus, I know that I believe in You and trust in You as my Savior. Help me to rest in that. Rest in You. In the work you’ve already finished.

Lord, maybe I have put my trust in my parent’s faith. Or my good deeds. Or my growing up in church. Or my baptism. Help me to take my trust out of that and put it in You, Jesus Christ. Because You are my salvation!

God, I grew up in church. I still go to church. I’ve believed that You’re real and You’re God. But I realize I haven’t put off the old self. I haven’t become new. I’ve been living for myself. I’ve been living in sin. I’ve been ignoring You. I see that I have no real relationship with You. But I want to! Be my Lord and my Savior, I pray.

Titus 2:11-14

11 For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, 12 teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age, 13 looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, 14 who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works.

***

A lot of pastors and such say there needs to be a time in your life where you made a decision to follow Christ. And I believe the Bible backs this idea up. No one is born a Christian or automatically a Christian because their family is. I don’t find anything in the Bible that supports that.

Romans 10:9-13

that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. 11 For the Scripture says, “Whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame.” 12 For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, for the same Lord over all is rich to all who call upon Him. 13 For “whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

I grew up in a Christian home. As far back as I can remember, I believe in Jesus. I don’t remember a specific day that I made a decision to follow Christ. But I know that there was a time – or a process – where I made that decision. My journey of faith has been a long and messy one, it seems, fraught with struggles, doubt, and fears.

There were seasons of excitement and passion for God. And there were seasons of my crying out: Why can’t I just feel one-hundred percent assured of my salvation?

I think that this is right where the devil wants us to be. Doubting our salvation. It’s a real struggle for the Christian, I think.

But don’t give in to him. He isn’t the victor. Jesus Christ is. And so are you, in Christ.

To be honest, the end of last year/beginning of this year was another turning point for me. It was one of the first times I can remember feeling so confident in my salvation.

It was when I laid everything down. Surrendered. Stopped trying to be good enough and do enough and get everything perfect.

And said: IT’S ALL YOU, JESUS.

1 John 5:12

12 He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life.

Acknowledged fully that He loved me and died for me while I was still a sinner and didn’t even want Him.

And He loved me in that moment of acknowledgement, when I was strangled in anxiety, depressed, hopeless, not reading my Bible enough, and not doing much of anything for anyone.

He loved me.

He loves me.

I am His precious daughter and it’s nothing that I did … it’s all simply because He wants me. And He paid the price for me.

2 Timothy 1:9

who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was given to us in Christ Jesus before time began, 

And, even through the mixed-up, crazy struggles, I’ve been saying “yes” in response to His pursuit.

Yes. I want You, Jesus.

Yes. I will trust You, God.

Yes. I will follow You, Lord.

Help me.

And He does.

So run to Him, child. You think He doesn’t wan to reach down and tenderly draw you to Him?

He wants your heart.

So just give it to Him and trust Him with the rest.

Rejoice in your salvation. Jesus Christ paid it all. All you have to do is say “yes”.

Philippians 3:20

20 For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ,

Ephesians 2:4-10

But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.