Thursday, June 4, 2015

Biblical Womanhood

No, I won't be dressing up as Willy Wonka this Sunday; but I will be preaching on womanhood.  Which is a bigger mistake?  I leave that to you to judge.  

When I was growing up in the 70s and 80s, you often saw ads in magazines showing old black-and-white photos of dowdy women doing menial chores, juxtaposed with a dazzlingly beautiful, full-color modern woman with a cigarette in her hand.  The tagline said, “You've come a long way, baby.”  It was the golden age of feminism, and Virginia Slims were the cigarette just for women.  “See ladies: Lung cancer and emphysema aren't just for men anymore!”  In many ways, we can say that women have come a long way in my lifetime.  But still, as I look around at our world, it must be hard to be a woman.  You face stresses men like me never even dream of.  These days, you’re held to an impossible standard of beauty.  Essentially, the world expects you to look your entire life like you did when you were sixteen.  No one expects that of a man.  And while you’re supposed to maintain this flawless skin and perfect hair and slim body, you’re also expected these days to be as physically tough and capable as any man.  You have to be successful in your career, but also be a perfect mom, whose children behave perfectly and dress fashionably and win every competition and get into the best schools.  You have to give birth to those children, of course.  The father of those children is no help at that point; his contribution is over as soon as the fun part ends.  And you have to do all of this in four-inch heels.  To make matters worse, now you have some male preacher telling you how to do it. 

Remember these ads?

Seriously, I am utterly unqualified to tell you anything about how to be a woman.  My job this Sunday is to tell you what the God who created you has to say.  What would He say to women today?  Specifically, what would He say to you about how you relate to men?  Let’s start with Genesis 3:16.  Last week, I preached on Biblical Manhood, and I said this verse is often wrongly used to justify male dominance.  But this isn't a command from God; it’s Him telling us the consequences of our sin.  When it says your desire will be for your husband, it doesn't mean that women will always find their husbands physically desirable (guys, don’t you wish that’s what it meant?).  It’s the same word God uses in 4:7, when He says to Cain, Sin is crouching at the door.  Its desire is for you, but you must rule over it.  It means “desire to control.”  So God is saying, “I created you to fit together perfectly, to co-exist beautifully.  But now that there is sin, there will always be trouble between men and women.  Women will try to control men, and men, since they are physically stronger, will oppress women.”  That’s not the way God wants it to be; it’s the way things are when we follow our sinful natures instead of His Spirit.  Last week, we looked at God’s instructions to men that counteract that curse.  Now, what would God say to women?  That's what I'll be talking about Sunday. 

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