There is a point in each of our lives when we begin to seek to discover ourselves. What I long for, what my deepest desire is when that time comes, we turn to God. For only in God can we find the truth about who we are, and it is only by growing in him are we able to see with discernment the way he sees.
The rest of your life will be marked by competition for your identity. This world is saturated with voices telling you how to live. It would like nothing more than to completely overwhelm you with inadequacy and misinformation toward every aspect of who you are. Make no mistake. You are in a fight! The very core of who you are is under attack.
You cannot turn on any type of media without seeing, hearing or reading someone sharing an opinion on the topic of the position and roles of women in biblical and secular settings.
I for one am so thankful we are discussing this because God does have a word for us! He is for males. He is for females. He is for all of humanity because after all, we are all created in his image! (excerpt from the Who Am I? companion workbook)
There is no possible way we can cover this teaching in one quick blog (or even several) and I promise I will never claim to be an expert in this area. The positions of women and men within the body of believers has been a source of contention within the church from the very beginning of her existence. Because of that, I need to ask you to do something for me. Just for this time we are together, throw-out any presuppositions and talk straight scripture with me. I know many of you, myself included, have been wounded by someone wielding an opinion wrapped around a verse. So, for this moment, let’s give our vulnerabilities over to the one who will never harm us and examine a few things that we can trust because of the source – the word of God.
God is a God of order, not chaos, and I love that about him! In his wisdom, he has placed all of humanity under a system of authority.
What we must understand is that this system is meant for the protection of the body as well as the advancement of the Gospel.
There are two simple truths that when rightly applied within the body of believers will result in an amazing outcome. Let’s look at the truths first –
There is a God established system of authority.
Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, he who rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves.
You can also check out 1 Peter 2:13-17, the rest of Romans 13, Hebrews 13:17 and Titus 3:1-2 if you need a little extra, but this set of verses is very clear. God has established a system of authority and when we rebel against that system, we are in truth, rebelling against God.
If you are a member of the body of Christ, you have been called to submit.
Ephesians 5 probably gives some of you the shivers. The word submission, by our own negligence, is viewed with negative connotations. Why? Because it has been a source of much misinterpretation and abuse within the very walls that have been called to correctly divide the word of truth. God forgive us.
Most Bible translational divisions begin a new paragraph starting at Ephesians 5:22 but in actuality, the thought process on submission must start with the previous verse.
Ephesians 5:21 Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.
If we do not get twenty-one correct, we miss out on the purpose of the entire passage and will never correctly understand what follows.
Before any dust can settle on the woman or the man, each one must submit to one another. This is done for no other reason than we show reverence for Jesus’ example of submission – his life, death, burial and resurrection – when we live this way. I hope that speaks truth into someone’s life! God designed his system of authority with each one submitting to each one because it reveres the work of Christ and places us all under God’s ultimate authority.
Now, here is what no one likes, but is still the absolute truth. We are simply commanded to submit. Not after we have been submitted to, but just to submit. Why? Because Christ is who we are revering, and God holds our final word on submission. I wish we lived in a perfect world where everyone did exactly like they should. We do not, and they/we will not. But because Christ did not consider himself equal with God but made himself nothing, being found in the image of man and being obedient to death on the cross, I too must follow his example and offer my submission. (Philippians 2 paraphrase)
But it does not end here! God has a unique plan that centers around our obedience to submission and, praise him, he knows what he is about! Let’s look at the result when we live life this way –
The outcome is a unity that displays the very love of God.
Paul finishes his description of God’s system of authority by describing the outcome of obedience as similar as when man and woman are joined together and become one instead of two.
For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.
He then continues that line of reasoning by linking that oneness to Christ and the church.
This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church.
Honestly, there is so much here, but please understand this – the desired outcome of obedience to authority is oneness and unity.
Why is this so important? Do you remember when I said earlier that this is all about advancing the Gospel?
Let’s look at John 17: 22-23
I have given them the glory You gave Me, so that they may be one as We are one— I in them and You in Me—that they may be perfectly united, so that the world may know that You sent Me and have loved them just as You have loved Me (emphasis mine).
I wish I could sit with you and pour over these verses together! Do you see what happens when we practice oneness and unity? When we bow down in submission to recognize our ultimate authority is God? The world will see and will know God’s love. They may not understand exactly what they are witnessing, but they will know it is something they do not possess and will be drawn to want more. God is so amazing this way! He has established authority over our lives for our own protection as well as an external expression that draws mankind unto him.
There is authority over our lives God has established and set up as a safeguard for the body. It begins with mutual submission that is grounded in the knowledge that we are revering Christ while bowing down to our ultimate authority – God Almighty.
And when we know our position within the body and live this thing out, we will be that light, that very thing that the world will see, not understand, but crave. This is who we are as women! Living out our God-given role within the body and advancing the Gospel. Let’s go be that!
Want to know more about the Who Am I? study? Go to the contacts page for more information, and check out the blog for previous snippets of the Who Am I? Bible study.