Monday, April 28, 2008

A Challenge to Women

As I think of the past couple of posts about the high calling of being a wife and mother, I was reminded of this challenge by John Piper. I find #7 and #11 particularly relevant to my recent musings:

1. That all of your life—in whatever calling—be devoted to the glory of God.

2. That the promises of Christ be trusted so fully that peace and joy and strength fill your soul to overflowing.

3. That this fullness of God overflow in daily acts of love so that people might see your good deeds and give glory to your Father in heaven.

4. That you be women of the Book, who love and study and obey the Bible in every area of its teaching. That meditation on Biblical truth be the source of hope and faith. And that you continue to grow in understanding through all the chapters of your life, never thinking that study and growth are only for others.

5. That you be women of prayer, so that the Word of God would open to you; and the power of faith and holiness would descend upon you; and your spiritual influence would increase at home and at church and in the world.

6. That you be women who have a deep grasp of the sovereign grace of God undergirding all these spiritual processes, that you be deep thinkers about the doctrines of grace, and even deeper lovers and believers of these things.

7. That you be totally committed to ministry, whatever your specific role, that you not fritter your time away on soaps or ladies magazines or aimless hobbies, any more than men should fritter theirs away on excessive sports or aimless diddling in the garage. That you redeem the time for Christ and his Kingdom.

8. That, if you are single, you exploit your singleness to the full in devotion to Christ and not be paralyzed by the desire to be married.

9. That, if you are married, you creatively and intelligently and sincerely support the leadership of your husband as deeply as obedience to Christ will allow; that you encourage him in his God-appointed role as head; that you influence him spiritually primarily through your fearless tranquility and holiness and prayer.

10. That, if you have children, you accept responsibility with your husband (or alone if necessary) to raise up children who hope in the triumph of God, sharing with him the teaching and discipline of the children, and giving to the children that special nurturing touch and care that you are uniquely fitted to give.

11. That you not assume that secular employment is a greater challenge or a better use of your life than the countless opportunities of service and witness in the home the neighborhood, the community, the church, and the world. That you not only pose the question: Career vs. full time mom? But that you ask as seriously: Full time career vs. freedom for ministry? That you ask: Which would be greater for the Kingdom— to be in the employ of someone telling you what to do to make his business prosper, or to be God's free agent dreaming your own dream about how your time and your home and your creativity could make God's business prosper? And that in all this you make your choices not on the basis of secular trends or yuppie lifestyle expectations, but on the basis of what will strengthen the family and advance the cause of Christ.

12. That you step back and (with your husband, if you are married) plan the various forms of your life's ministry in chapters. Chapters are divided by various things—age, strength, singleness, marriage, employment choices, children at home, children in college, grandchildren, retirement, etc. No chapter has all the joys. Finite life is a series of tradeoffs. Finding God's will, and living for the glory of Christ to the full in every chapter is what makes it a success, not whether it reads like somebody else's chapter or whether it has in it what chapter five will have.

13. That you develop a wartime mentality and lifestyle; that you never forget that life is short, that billions of people hang in the balance of heaven and hell every day, that the love of money is spiritual suicide, that the goals of upward mobility (nicer clothes, cars, houses, vacations, food, hobbies) are a poor and dangerous substitute for the goals of living for Christ with all your might, and maximizing your joy in ministry to people's needs.

14. That in all your relationships with men you seek the guidance of the Holy Spirit in applying the Biblical vision of manhood and womanhood; that you develop a style and demeanor that does justice to the unique role God has given to man to feel responsible for gracious leadership in relation to women—a leadership which involves elements of protection and care and initiative. That you think creatively and with cultural sensitivity (just as he must do) in shaping the style and setting the tone of your interaction with men.

15. That you see Biblical guidelines for what is appropriate and inappropriate for men and women in relation to each other not as arbitrary constraints on freedom but as wise and gracious prescriptions for how to discover the true freedom of God's ideal of complementarity. That you not measure your potential by the few roles withheld but by the countless roles offered. That you turn off the TV and Radio and think about... [here Piper offers various areas of possible ministry--click here for the complete list]

The awesome significance of motherhood
Complementing a man's life as his wife
Ministries to the handicapped
Ministries to the sick
Ministries to the socially
Prison ministries
Ministries to youth
Sports ministries
Writing ministries
Teaching ministries
Music Ministries
Home Bible Studies
Prayer ministries: praying!!!
Missions: all of the above across cultures
Support ministries: countless jobs that undergird major ministries

HT: Lydia at The Purple Cellar

15 comments:

  1. That's a great comprehensive list and it makes me feel a bit overwhelmed except for the fact that the Lord portions these out in a way that doesn't overwhelm when we look to Him each new day...

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  2. Wow. Kinda like drinking from a fire hydrant. But as ellen b. said, God will give them to us a portion at a time.

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  3. That's a set of convictions that will leave a person broken and humbled. Hmmm, exactly where God desires His children to be. I've copied these all into my file of things to remember and ponder. May God add them to my life, and may I submit with humility and brokenness.

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  4. Now, that is a great list of worthy goals.

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  5. What a challenging list! Very convicting (as if The Excellent Wife weren't convicting enough!)

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  6. What a challenging list! Very convicting (as if The Excellent Wife weren't convicting enough!)

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  7. WOW. I really needed this for the season I am in. I'll be preinting thos one out and pondering them for a while.

    Kelli

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  8. Great stuff! Convicting and a bit overwhelming, but still great. Although, there's that "redeeming the time" thing again... :)

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  9. So, so, so, so encouraging and freeing and stirring and convicting!

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  10. I'm sure everyone would have their own favorite, but mine is #13. I just read his book "Don't Waste Your Life," and he talks a lot about the wartime mentality in there. It's a great way of looking at the world.

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  11. I absolutely LOVE #13! It's what allows me to be calm in the chaos - appreciating it because I know life would be very boring without chaos.

    The entire list is great, I'm just taking these one day at a time.

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  12. Thank you for sharing this Lisa! All of these are great "thought food" for me. I love challenging our children to "hope in the triumph of God."

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  13. I have recently read John's book, "Don't Waste Your Life." Honestly? According to John, I think I've wasted most of mine! He's a powerful writer with a powerful message, and I love this particular list. However, if I am not careful and wise to the enemy's schemes, he will take a list like this and tempt me to breathe a fresh wind of condemnation over my life--focusing on the mistakes of my past and the failures of my current.

    By God's gracious grace I walk this road with a healthy and holy fear for the Father who made me...who loves me inspite of me most days...and who will one day walk me home to my forever.

    But I'm always up for a good hard look at my life and for ways that I can grow in my knowledge and understanding of just exactly what I am to be doing while moving along his path.

    I'm new to your blog, but I will be back.

    peace~elaine

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  14. This is an amazing list! And "ouch" on not just a few. Boy, am I challenged to live up to such a vision.

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  15. What a challenging list! Very convicting (as if The Excellent Wife weren't convicting enough!)

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