Tag Archives: femininity

The Gospel of Marriage and the Glory of Gender

How significant are individual marriages to the Body of Christ?  How important is a Biblical understanding of gender?

Many Christians believe that marriage and sexuality are private issues which often distract us from the more important matter of sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ.

But could it be that when we bypass doctrines of sexuality, we throw out critical evangelistic tools? And could it be that when we embrace God’s gifts of gender and marriage, we create compelling revelations of God?

Revealing God

In the beginning, God sculpted the cosmos as a stunning revelation of Himself. And then, God designed men, women, and marriage to tell us even more about Himself.

God created human beings in his own image. In the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. (Genesis 1:27, NLT)

marriage and gender

We know that God is neither male nor female. Yet there is something unique about our being male or female that is unlike that of the animals, for only people are created in the image of God. Imago dei is stamped into God’s design of men, shaping them to reveal the divine attributes of masculinity in glorious ways. And imago dei is stamped into God’s design of women, shaping them to reveal the divine attributes of femininity in glorious ways.

While being male or female is a component of physical biology, masculinity and femininity are components of personal relationship. They are profound reflections of the triune God, whose very nature is rich, full relationship.

Our gender is a divine commission to reveal the greatness, the beauty, and the strength of God in compelling ways. The DNA of our assignment is written into every cell of our body; it is printed across the fibers of our being several trillion times.

“… maleness and femaleness are objectively rooted in biology, and should be valued and affirmed, not rejected or altered.”1

Although we often struggle to flesh out the glory of God in our daily lives, we can embrace this sacred calling to live fully and faithfully as imago dei. This high calling is one which extends to every part of our lives, including our sexuality. Ravi Zacharias points out that when we deny the sacredness of our sexuality, we deny the sacredness of human life itself.2  Although our bodies are physical and temporal, they have spiritual and eternal purpose.  Our material bodies are knit with our nonmaterial spirits so that together they share in the dignity and worth of human life.³

Telling the Truth About God

It is the goal of evangelism to tell the truth about God. The psalmist marveled at the power of the natural universe to tell the truth about God:

The heavens declare the glory of God;
the skies proclaim the work of his hands.
Day after day they pour forth speech;
night after night they reveal knowledge.
They have no speech, they use no words;
no sound is heard from them.

gospel of marriage and gender

Yet their voice goes out into all the earth,
their words to the ends of the world.
(Psalm 91:1-4, NIV)

Are the voices of God-created gender and God-designed marriage any less persuasive or wide-reaching? First, creation tells the truth about God’s existence and power, and then marriage tells the truth about God’s loving nature and faithful character. When we “preach” this good news through our relationships, we are laying the groundwork for sharing the saving gospel of Jesus Christ.

The Gospel of Masculinity

God initiates the relationship with His beloved, the people of God. At immense cost to Himself, He pursues her; and having won her heart, He commits Himself to her. With self-sacrificing love, He cares for her. He ministers to her needs with gentleness and humility. He desires her, cherishes her, and delights in her.

the gospel of marriage and gender

A man reflects his Creator well when he demonstrates this same faithfulness and nurturing with his own bride. But when men fail to reveal these truths about God, then masculinity fumbles its “good news.”

Because masculinity reflects God, a demeaning of masculinity becomes a suppression of the truth about God. If masculinity does not represent success or trustworthiness to us, then it is difficult for us to see God as Someone we want to imitate or to follow. If masculinity is not great, then God, who encompasses masculinity, is not great, nor can He show us how to be great. When we denounce masculinity, we are left with a God who does not pursue our hearts, does not protect us or provide for us, and does not cherish us.

It is a man’s greatness and significance to tell the gospel through his masculinity. He tells the truth about who God is as he takes action, repels passivity, and carries responsibility for the well-being of another.

This is effective evangelism because we long to know the God of a man who is masculine in these ways. God-reflecting masculinity gives us hope that there is a God who will shelter us with His own life, care for us, and love us well.

We must teach our sons the glory of being men who specialize in revealing God through masculinity. When men do not know the glory of being masculine, they may become violent abusers or passive consumers instead of responsible, self-giving lovers.

The Gospel of Femininity

Femininity is the relational expression of warm welcome and genuine acceptance. A feminine woman shares her strength to build her husband up. As a life-giver, she energizes others. Her honoring, serene spirit is a fragrant invitation to know her God.

gospel of marriage and gender

Femininity gives us hope that there is a God who will receive us with open arms, who will accept us, and who will support and strengthen us.

We must teach our daughters the glory of being women who specialize in revealing God through femininity. When women do not know the glory of being feminine, they may demean themselves; they stoop to merely flaunting their femaleness. Instead of contributing strength to their relationships, they may compete for control.

The Gospel of Marriage

Through the amazing creation of marriage, God reveals the essence of His nature, which is love. Far more than a feeling, love is the decision to give to another. Love cannot exist within a relational vacuum. Marriage reflects the vibrant fellowship within the Trinity, a union which has eternally accommodated love.

Marriage reflects not only the relational nature of God, but also the diversity and the unity within the Godhead. Only the marriage of one man and one woman can do this. The rich distinctions between the man and the woman are not obliterated in their union; instead, they are celebrated as delights of communion.

Marriage also illustrates the very holiness of God, for marriage is an exclusive relationship. Holiness requires perfect belonging—complete and undefiled. A marriage is holy when 1) the man and woman belong fully to one another as husband and wife, and when 2) nothing is present to defile that woven-together relationship. This reflects the holiness of God, in whom all that belongs is present, and all that does not belong is absent.

the gospel of marriage and gender

Marriage tells the gospel like this:

  • To know God, we must renounce spiritual singleness. In order to accept God’s proposal of spiritual union, we must forsake all other spiritual lovers (such as possessions, pleasure, prominence, or power).
  • To be in relationship with God, we agree to belong fully to Him as His people, and He promises to belong fully to us as our God.

Christian marriages are designed to be pictures of the gospel. When we keep our vows to love, honor, and cherish, we are telling the truth about who God is.

Marriage reveals that God is a trustworthy, promise-keeping Lover. Our marriages are not merely private affairs, incidental to the great work of evangelism. Instead, our marriages create a platform upon which evangelism advances … or falters.

Strengthening Evangelism

In the disorienting chaos of our culture, we have forgotten our glory as men and women. Many have exchanged the great honor of revealing the Almighty for a self-destroying drive to replace Him.

When we tell the truth about God through our masculinity or femininity and through our marriages, then the world will see this good news:

God loves us.
He sacrifices Himself in order to benefit us.
He welcomes us.
He accepts us.
He protects and provides for us.
He cherishes us.
He keeps His promises.

That is a glorious gospel to preach!

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1 Ryan T. Anderson. http://dailysignal.com/2015/10/30/houston-ballot-measure-on-sexual-orientation-gender-identity-threatens-privacy-religious-freedom-and-businesses

2 “When you de-sacralize sexuality and the body, you will de-sacralize life itself.”  http://rzim.org/just-thinking-broadcasts/india-vision-qa-part-2-of-4-3

³Nancy Pearcy explains this integration of body and spirit in her latest book, Love Thy Body.

 

The Glory of Femininity

What is true femininity? How can it strengthen our marriages?

Recently, I offered my salute to masculinity. Today I would like to honor femininity.

Every woman has a great strength to bring to her marriage: the “superpower” of femininity. femininityBy femininity, I do not mean pink, ruffles, or lace.

It is the great strength of femininity to offer warm welcome and deep acceptance.

{Click HERE to read more.}

As women embrace godly femininity, they regain not only a forgotten strength but also a God-revealing glory.

Blessings to you,
Tami
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Masculinity: A Salute to Men

How does an adult male become a masculine man?

masculinity

As a culture, we do not talk much about masculinity, and our little boys are becoming big boys instead of men.  We are seeing more passive males and fewer masculine men.

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Why is masculinity important?

In the beginning, “God created humans in his own image. He created them to be like himself. He created them male and female” (Genesis 1:27, ERV). Our human design as male or as female reflects something very important about God. We know that God is neither male nor female. However, He has attributes of both masculinity and femininity.

While being male or being female are components of biology, masculinity and femininity are components of relationship. The triune God encompasses full and rich relationship within the Godhead. When males live as masculine men, and when females live as feminine women, they are able to reveal more fully the glory of God. When we blur the distinctions of masculinity and femininity, we are blurring a critical piece of our knowledge of God. In the process, we also fail to know ourselves, for we have been made in His image.

In a culture which understands only the biological distinctions of male and female, people often act like animals, which are male or female but not masculine or feminine. When we reduce ourselves from “bearers of the divine image” to mere animals, we miss the glory and significance for which we were created. We also lose critically important tools for building strong relationships in our marriages.

Alone in the Garden of Eden before God created Eve, Adam was a male human being. But in relationship with his wife, Adam could be masculine. Understanding the unique strengths of both masculinity and femininity gives us an immense advantage in our marriages: not only do we gain insight into our spouses, but we also gain valuable instruction on how we can best contribute to these relationships.

While being male and female allows for physical interaction, being masculine and feminine allows for souls to be knit together.

What is the masculinity of God?

We see this type of masculinity being fleshed out through the Lover in the Song of the Songs, and we read God’s directives for masculinity in several power-packed verses in Ephesians 5. From these and other Scriptures, we learn two primary characteristics of God-revealing masculinity:

1. A masculine husband is a man of responsibility. The apostle Paul wrote that the husband is “the head” of his wife. This means that the man is to carry the weight of responsibility. God has charged the husband with nothing less than the well-being of his wife. It is the calling of a masculine man to cherish his wife, esteem her, protect her, provide for her, and love her with unconditional, tender love.

planting-865294_640Following the example of Christ the Bridegroom, a masculine husband makes it his goal to nurture his wife’s health and thriving, both outwardly and inwardly. This man does not shirk his responsibility; he stands tall to carry it well. As he shoulders the weight of this responsibility, a masculine husband gains the spiritual weight of significance and develops the strength of success.

2. A masculine husband is a man of action rather than a male of passivity. After accepting responsibility for the well-being of his wife, what does a husband do? With energy and with initiative, he acts on behalf of his wife. He moves toward his beloved to know her and to serve her. He works for her good, taking action even to the point of self-sacrifice. He lays down his self-centeredness, his self-directed interests, his self-focused energy, his self-directed time, and his own self-guided preferences. He knows that loving his wife well is the best thing that he can do for himself. When his bride is radiant, the masculine man wins. (They both win, don’t they?)

God’s loving of us first, His moving toward us to love us, His self-sacrificing action to rescue us, His ongoing pursuit of us—all of these are part of the masculine glory of God. Certainly, there are many times when women can, and even should, act in these ways, too. But God has a unique calling on the lives of husbands to be responsible for their wives’ well-being and to take energetic, loving action. Husbands who specialize in these things are wise.

How can a wife encourage her husband’s masculinity?

With the best of intentions, many women choose the worst of tactics: pushing, controlling, or leading. Not only do these approaches fail to stir up masculinity, but they can actually backfire, making matters worse. Pushing a husband tends to evoke his withdrawal or his anger—two things a wife does not want. When a wife tries to control or to lead, the husband will often become passive.

The best way to encourage masculinity is through femininity, which is the warm welcoming of a husband’s spirit. Femininity is the deep acceptance of a husband as a man of great value. (Certainly, femininity is not the welcoming of ungodly behavior, nor is it an acceptance of abuse.) A feminine woman supports and cooperates with the responsibility of her husband, and she welcomes his proactive movement to serve.

How does our culture affect masculinity?

Our culture works relentlessly to suppress masculinity. Though it may seem ironic to some, pornography is a vicious emasculator. The pornographic industry recognizes maleness, but it eviscerates masculinity. Pornography deforms a male into profound passivity; instead of moving toward his wife to give for her benefit, the husband demands movement toward himself for his own consumption. Instead of bearing responsibility, he denies it, trading away the masculine glory of God.

King David, who was a man after God’s own heart, spoke these final words of counsel to his son Solomon: “So be strong, act like a man, and observe what the Lord your God requires …” (1 Kings 2:1, NIV).

The Spirit of God is continuing to raise up such men––men of spiritual strength, action, and responsibility.

I salute these mighty, masculine men of God.

God’s Gorgeous Design of Wives

Thank you for your prayers for the “WifeSOS” webinar this week. God blessed us with a wonderful event. As we thank Him for His help, let’s continue to pray that God will use the material to encourage and equip many wives.

If you missed the webinar, or would like to share it with someone else, here is my segment, “The Four Specialties of a Gorgeous Wife”:

May you soak in God’s amazing love for you this weekend.

Blessings to you,
Tami