The Shifting Sands of Womanhood: Christian Coen
In American culture, there are many labels given to define women that either confuse the individual or claim to know the essence of a woman. Some see womanhood as a call to social action: being the continual, emotional caretaker and stabilizer of the home and workplace. Being a woman is sometimes viewed as a claim to conquer the world and leave the men only for what is necessary. According to our society, the characteristics of women are subject to change over time. Social, economic, and moral standards shift the perspective of femininity and cause us to question who we are as women.
Thankfully, if we stand as a believer in Christ, we look to God and His Word. He defines us as His creation and sets the standard in an ever-flowing cultural shift which surrounds us. Even as the definition of womanhood fluctuates in society, by standing on a biblical foundation, we can find our security and satisfaction in Christ. Through Him, we will be able to not only fulfill our role in the church and family, but also claim our mark as women.
When looking at the Bible we see how God has created us by design, in His image and for His glory. Genesis 1:27 depicts how we as females are image-bearers of God and are a very good part of his complete creation (Genesis 1:31). Although men and women are made in the likeness of God, His purposes for us are different and complement each other (Titus 2). In light of all of this, how can we as female believers glorify Christ in our womanhood despite what the world tells us?
First, we must remember we are God’s creation. And since we are His, we are not our own. Romans 14:7-8 reads, “For none of us lives to himself, and none of us dies to himself. For if we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord. So then, whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord’s.” In remembering that we are Christ’s, we can submit the world’s definition of who we are to Him, knowing that He has claimed us as His own and He defines us.
We must also believe His word is truth. When Jesus was in the garden of Gethsemane, facing his future suffering and death, His mind was on present and future believers. He prayed for us, “Sanctify them in the truth; Your Word is truth” (John 17:17). Jesus reminds us that we must reflect on God’s Word being truth. Truth is defined as something that is fact or a standard. If we believe God and His Word to be true, then it will be the standard for our lives. With the Father and His Word as our focus, we will find security in Christ and trust His wisdom over worldly advice.
The author of Hebrews reminds us of how we can continue to look to Christ despite the world’s definition of us. Hebrews 12:1-2 reads,
Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.
As we find our security in Christ, let us lay aside every weight and sin. Let us lay aside the weight of being who society wants us to be: the perfect mom who has it all together, the entrepreneur who has to make the next jump, the single woman who has to travel and explore in order to find contentment. Let us lay aside the sins we think we need in order to be accepted by others: pride, gossip, slander, fear of man. We must die to what the world wants for us, along with our fleshly desires, and find our true design in Him.
When we trust God with our identity as His children, we will trust Him with our identity as women. If we are finding our truth in God and His Word, we will be able to know what defines us as women, our place in the church and home, and how we can best glorify Christ in womanhood whether single or married. The team at Revive Our Hearts does an exquisite job in expressing the biblical truths of womanhood found in God’s Word through the “True Woman Manifesto.” Within this document there is a beautiful line which reminds us of our identity as female believers living in the world. It states, “As Christian women, we desire to honor God by living counter-cultural lives that reflect the beauty of Christ and his gospel to our world.” We must recognize that our culture does not embrace God's rule or His Word, and since they do not, our lives cannot look the same. Therefore, we should reflect Christ in our world through biblical womanhood.
Titus 2 has become the fundamental passage that gives a reflection of who God has designed us to be as his children. This portion of Paul’s letter exposes how our identity leads to gospel expanse.
But as for you, teach what accords with sound doctrine. Older men are to be sober-minded, dignified, self-controlled, sound in faith, in love, and in steadfastness. 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. Likewise, urge the younger men to be self-controlled. Show yourself in all respects to be a model of good works, and in your teaching show integrity, dignity, and sound speech that cannot be condemned, so that an opponent may be put to shame, having nothing evil to say about us. Bondservants are to be submissive to their own masters in everything; they are to be well-pleasing, not argumentative, not pilfering, but showing all good faith, so that in everything they may adorn the doctrine of God our Savior.
For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works. Declare these things; exhort and rebuke with all authority. Let no one disregard you. (Titus 2:1-15)
Paul reaffirms that our identity, whether male or female, bondservant or master, comes from God and we must embrace it. In order to do so, we must know God’s Word and be willing to proclaim its truth. This includes the beauty and glory of what biblical womanhood is: loving our husbands and children, taking care of our household, serving the church faithfully, caring for the people of your church and community, ministering to those who need a reminder of the gospel, training other women to know and embrace Christ, and the list goes on. All these things and more display the “blessed hope” we have in Christ.
Biblical womanhood is not a forceful cultural shift, but a gospel-displayed life. With our focus on Christ as women of the Word, we can be a light to a world that is confused and misshapen by sinful thoughts and harsh attitudes. We can reflect Someone who not only softens hearts but reflects a truth that cannot be refuted or changed. Let us be biblically-minded women who trust God’s Word and display His truth.