WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO BE A WOMAN?
As a man, you might think I’m not qualified to answer this. We don’t define femininity based on experience though, but rather based on God’s word. We know from God’s word that both men and women are created equally in the Imago Dei, and therefore have inherent dignity and a divine purpose to glorify God. While we celebrate our sameness as men and women, the question of what it means to be a woman and not a man must be answered as well.
Biblical femininity is the purpose of womanhood according to God’s design as revealed in God’s word. We can look at Genesis 2:18, the account of the creation of the first woman, to see God’s intention for the woman: Then the Lord God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.
A HELPER FIT FOR HIM
In this text we see a problem; for the first time in history, something is not good. While the man is made fully in the image of God, he was inadequate for fulfilling God’s purposes alone. Something was lacking. Creation was incomplete. The man alone was insufficient, and in need of help.
A helper is someone who offers strength to another person who needs it. The Old Testament is full of references to God himself as “our help” or “our helper” (Ps. 10, 30, 54, 70, 72, 118). The New Testament encourages us in proclaiming, “the Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid” (Heb. 13:6). Jesus even refers to the Holy Spirit as “the Helper” (Jn. 14:26). The call for women to be helpers is a call to image our God, who is our great helper.
So, based on Genesis 2, we can define the purpose of woman like this: Glorify God by affirming the leadership of godly men, and responding with necessary help for the sake of human flourishing.
The man is created to work, protect, and lead spiritually, and the woman is called to respond to the man’s leadership by helping him and strengthening him for that work, so that all are built up.
The most obvious application of this kind of complementary relationship is in marriage (which we will cover in a few weeks), but this also plays out in singleness, dating, and in the church.
Singleness and Dating
- Do not be deceived into thinking life begins when you get married. The desire to get married is a good desire, but to spend your singleness moping around and wallowing in self-pity is to waste your singleness. Follow Jesus now. Make disciples now. Glorify God now.
- You are not cheap, you are made in the image of God, and are priceless. So set the bar HIGH for what men you will consider dating and eventually marrying. Do not lower your standards and date immature guys who don’t take Biblical manhood seriously. By doing that, you are not helping anyone, but are enabling them to remain “boys who can shave”.
- If you are dating a godly man, encourage and affirm him wherever he is taking Biblical manhood seriously. Where he is trying but fumbling, correct him without emasculating him, and point him back to other godly men for accountability.
- God has put the burden of the spiritual leadership of the church on elders; godly, called, qualified men who shepherd the flock toward holy, missional, worshipful living. How you can help as a single woman is to jump in on this vision and mission to serve.
- What is not helpful is Christian women who do not serve, and only complain about or criticize church. That does not help anyone, but rather defames the name of Jesus since the church is the body of Christ. Do not be silent when there are problems in the church, but use your voice to be helpful not hurtful.
- Learning to love the church and submit to godly leadership now will set you up for a healthy marriage later, if the Lord leads you to that.
- God has gifted you. Grow in those gifts, cultivate them, and put them to work for the glory of God wherever he has placed you. Serve. Give. Go make disciples. Men do not disciple women, that would be weird. You go make disciples. Take Biblical womanhood seriously, because the world desperately needs you to.
Women are necessary, needed, crucial, and indispensable for the advancement of God’s kingdom and the building up of his church. The world needs both godly men and women to reflect the glory of God and the grace of the gospel of Jesus.