It's a curious thing to go back in time and read old blog posts that I wrote in years past. Sometimes it's strange (like the 'hearing your voice recorded' strange), but mostly it's very challenging. Having someone speak truth to you is one thing; hearing your "written voice" speak that truth to you is another thing. As I was praying about what to post today, I wandered back through our re:flect-I "Thanksgiving" posts. I read a lot about remembering to give thanks and pursuing a contented heart. Much was written on these topics because that's something I've found challenging to live out. It's not easy. Even J. C. Ryle, that beloved pastor and theologian of the 1800s, knew that sanctification was a fight. If you think this Christian journey is a breeze, then chances are you don't know your flesh, the world or the devil very well.
The curse is detailed in Genesis 3. Falling prey to Satan's schemes, believing that God was holding out good things from them, minimalizing the very Word of God, Eve was deceived, Adam abdicated responsibility and both became the Enemy's first victims. God doled out a curse because of their sin and within that curse are specific expectations of how men and women will struggle from that time forward.
Specifically to the woman:
“I will make your pains in childbearing very severe; with painful labor you will give birth to children. Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you.” Genesis 3:16
In our flesh, women want to be the boss of everyone, especially our men. In their flesh, men want to be unloving and mean rulers. Oh, how I see this as truth in my heart:
'If only everyone just did things the way I think they should do them.'
'I could sure make things happen faster if I didn't have to wait on my husband.'
This ugly truth is the very struggle described in Genesis 3: 16. Describing myself, I tell my husband, "The curse is strong in this one." It.is.a.major.fight. But, listen...
His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and goodness. Through these He has given us His very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires. 2 Peter 1: 3-4
And if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of His Spirit who lives in you. Romans 8: 11
And I will put enmity between you (the serpent) and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; He will crush your head, and you will strike His heel.” Genesis 3: 15
There will be One who will destroy the Deceiver, Liar and Accuser, also known as Satan. This is sweet mercy and Jesus is the Promised One. Why would I ever want to continue in my sin? Jesus has redeemed me from this.
The Christian world has become full of many voices...pastors, of course, but also those less trained. You can turn to any blog, including this one, and hear the thoughts of men and women on any given day about any given topic. I didn't have to pass a class to assume the responsibilities of blog writer. Some pastors aren't actually ordained. Many writers and speakers are just everyday people with something to share. Many of this is helpful and Biblical; others are sorta kinda helpful and Biblical; and others not so much, if at all.
Because of all these voices, we must practice godly wisdom and sound discernment. Consider whether a voice in the Christian world is stirring up love and good works in you so that you may press on in faith and spur others onto good works. Consider whether a voice is encouraging you toward obedience or excusing you in your sin. And, consider whether a voice is urging you to be thankful that God created you as a woman or planting those seeds of discontentment because, as a woman, you certainly can't do all those things that men can do. And...it's...just...not...fair. Right?
And this is what I find in many blogs written by women professing Christ. They want to talk deep theology with the big dogs and pastor a church and have equal rights. It's the feminism cry from earlier decades, but now it's in the church. Instead of being content with how God made us, women want more. We essentially want to be men.
To talk deep theology with other women just isn't enough. To conduct meaningful and life-changing ministry with other women just isn't enough. We want more. We want to be the ones with the knowledge, the information, the reins.
Smells of the curse to me.
Just as with any other sin, we must fight our tendencies to be discontent with how God made us and how He established our roles before Him. As we grow in contentment of His plan, we can be thankful that God hasn't burdened us with the responsibility He's given our husbands, our church elders, our pastors. We are still blessed with the ability to serve in a thousand different ways as we build His Kingdom (I mean, how many women do you know who are sitting around wishing their schedules were busier and they could be responsible for more at church or home?!?!?!).
Rather than being discontent with God's design for women, may we be discontent with our flesh under the curse. May we resist fighting against our husbands, may we be thankful that God has given us more than enough to do in our homes and in churches and may we be content under God's plan and wisdom and not rise up against Him with our 'better' ideas or meager complaints.
I pray that one day, when I'm a little old lady, that people will know me as a woman who fought hard and well against the curse that was once so very strong in her. Will you join me in this battle?