Saturday, March 18, 2006

Women of Truth and Grace

I find it quite overwhelming to look back on recent years and see where the Lord has brought me. I see the path I was heading towards, one of self-confidence and independence. At one point along the way, the Lord drastically intervened and after many tears of confession and repentance, I see how He began and still is drawing me to Himself, molding me into a woman under His sovereign grace and will. Such a transformation was not expected when it occurred almost three years ago, but as is the case in such circumstances, the end of my path would have been utter despair had the Lord not entered in and drastically changed my heart. My human nature does not want to be dependent on Him, walking with my eyes set on Him alone in humility as I grow in His grace. But by His grace and for His glory, He is continually in the transforming process of raising me up into maturity.

This is to preface a particular issue, which, at its very mention, always strikes a chord in my heart. The topic of women in ministry hits close to home because there has been a daily process of the Lord growing me in humility, modesty and gentleness as a woman.

Do not let your adorning be external--the braiding of hair, the wearing of gold, or the putting on of clothing-- but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God's sight is very precious. 1 Peter 3:3-4, ESV

Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good, and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled. Titus 2:3-5, ESV

Therefore, I have an extremely difficult time holding my tongue when I see women so bent on having a place in ministry that they begin displaying what is in reality a rebellious spirit. This is one area in which I must watch my tongue and the creeping in of unrighteous anger. Women are supposed to live as members of the body of Christ in quiet reverence, humility and grace. How can a woman who is so determined to have a role of authority honestly profess being a person of gentle and quiet spirit? All it takes is engaging in conversation, whether in a classroom setting or more casual environment, to begin discussing the spectrum of views. It won’t be long before her true colors begin shining through. It bothers me oftentimes to no end when I woman professes to be kind and submissive with her mouth, yet exudes an attitude of pride. Humbleness of heart is not exemplified when a fellow student (who happens to be male) is received with mockery and laughter when he is simply trying to make it through one sentence of describing his heart and view on women in ministerial roles. Such an attitude is not gracious and by no means displays brotherly love and encouragement.

Yes, being a woman engaged in vocational ministry is challenging. Yes, there are differing opinions even among students walking across the same seminary campus. But are we going to be so determined to have a noticed and defined place that we put aside genuine humility? How in the world are we to be seen as a people of grace and truth when we cannot even have a conversation amongst brothers and sisters without it turning into an opportunity for ungodly sarcasm and attacks? My heart has been so burdened by this in recent days. I would hope that those of us in the body of Christ, especially those training to be leaders in the Church, could begin such discussion with humility enough to confess our pride as sinful human beings! If not, here is what happens: you engage in a conversation about women in ministry and before long, mention of the Lord has dissipated. And for that, O Lord forgive us…

Finally, all of you, have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind. 1 Peter 3:8, ESV

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