If there’s one thing that’s not lacking in today’s world, it’s the amount of influences and voices telling a woman who, what, and how she should be. Whether you’re scrolling through your phone, watching TV, or even talking to other women, it’s almost inevitable that you’ll come across some sort of messaging attempting to influence the way you think about yourself as a woman, and ultimately the life that you live.
“A little more of this”.
“Less of that, that’s too much”.
“Have you tried this instead of that”?
“You’d be much happier if you just (insert advice that you didn’t ask for here).”
The list goes on and on. And for women pursuing a life where Jesus is at the center, it’s more important now than ever to root ourselves in the truth of His word, no matter who or what tells us otherwise. This brings forth the question, “What does it really look like to be a godly woman in a fallen world”? Is it really possible to be free of societal influences, when you find them everywhere you turn? How do you discern when the influence isn’t coming from God (even when some people claim it is)? While its possible to discuss the topic for hours, its equally as important that we understand the simple truth of godly womanhood, and stand firm in it as we walk through the journey that is this life.
Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good. Then they can urge the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God.
This is just one example of scripture that gives reference to what it really means to be a godly woman. Being kind, self-controlled, loving to our families, and submissive to our husbands. Learning from the women that have come before us, and teaching the women that follow behind us. This might sound a little bit different from the world view of living “only” for oneself, not letting any man “tell you what to do”, and doing whatever your flesh desires with your body. In fact, the messages that we hear throughout scripture are often times the complete OPPOSITE of the messages that we hear in the media and throughout society. Instead of writing off older women, we as women should be learning from them. Instead of criticizing those who seem “old-fashioned”, we should be looking to the Word, which stands the test of time, EVERY time.
1 Peter 3: 3-4
Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.
Before going forward, it’s important to clarify what this scripture means for the Christian woman (and more importantly, what it does NOT mean). It can be easy to read this and think that Christian women are supposed to be plain-Jane, boring women who don’t do their hair and makeup. But in actuality, it emphasizes the value of inner beauty, noting that our worth as women should not come from those things (not that they are inherently bad). That doesn’t mean it’s wrong to get dolled up and look nice, it means that it doesn’t define your beauty that shines from within your heart and in your actions. At the end of the day, we aim to live a life that glorifies God, from the inside out.
1 Peter 3:8-9
Finally, all of you, be like-minded, be sympathetic, love one another, be compassionate and humble. Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult. On the contrary, repay evil with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing.
“Wait… So you mean I shouldn’t put that person in their place when they clearly disrespected me? That I should repay it with a BLESSING”? Exactly. If the ultimate goal is to live like Christ, we must love, and live in the example He has set for us. That means regardless of the egoistic mentality pushed forth in our society that is often masked as “strength” or “empowerment”, we are to continually love, without deciding whether or not the recipient is deserving in our eyes. This goes for our peers, our spouses, and our family. To live as Jesus lived, we are to love as Jesus loves. Because true empowerment comes from knowing your worth in Christ.
At the end of the day, we are called to influence the world, not to become like it. We are called to love when the world tells us to hate. To forgive when the world tells us to avenge. To submit when the world tells us to rebel. To do more than quote scripture, but to truly live it, knowing that the light that shines from within us when we do, will make us more beautiful than any outward adornment ever could. To trust that God will fight our battles, as we surrender to His will. To know that there is always wisdom to be gained by those women that have walked before us. And to live a life that is rooted in the love and likeness of our Savior; a love that will never change, no matter how much the world does.