“Christianity, born in a world where Roman and Hebrew cultures intersected, elevated the status of women to an unprecedented height.” ~John MacArthur
In our place and time in history, our experiences in life have only given us an inkling of the common degradation of women in the world and over the course of time. Usually it is from story, theatre, or travel that we have opportunity to taste the reality of the burdensome oppression, and often horrific bondage experienced by women.
Living here in America, and after the shifts that have taken place in our history, we know little personally of the magnitude of the devaluation of women through time and around the globe.
Increasingly in a general sense, our culture has viewed women as valuable. We see women in more prominent positions, and given greater honor than any other time in history.
And yet, I wonder even today, if what appears to be improvement is still somewhat of an illusion.
And I wonder if the ground that we seem to have gained has really brought contentment to women. Or has it instead put more pressures on us? Pressure to perform, accomplish, and pursue accolades. Not that those are bad things in and of themselves, but at what price? At what cost to our physical and mental health, to our families and to our society?
As we increasingly value women, has it resulted in wholeness and satisfaction? Do we not still fight feeling small in our souls? And fight many other battles as well?
We still seem to carry a heavy burden of discontent.
Healthy families are foundational for a strong society, but it seems families have become so broken that women are carrying extremely heavy loads of responsibility-especially single moms. And being consumed by responsibilities obliterates the support structures of time together for encouragement, training in life-skills and even generally enjoying life together. No wonder there seems to be a domino-effect of overwhelmed women!
This very well may not be true of you. Perhaps you have a good job, a healthy, well-functioning family, finances, time to go on vacation and to have your neighbors over for dinner. And if that is the case, wonderful! But it is increasingly rare. At least from my vantage point.
In the intro to Twelve Extraordinary Women, we read of how God exalts women in the Bible to a place of high honor. Jesus restores dignity that the world has continually stripped away from women. And more, there is contentment to be had. It is found in knowing that God has created us in His image and has given us His Son.
We can get so used to hearing some phrases that they lose their impact, so I am repeating that:
We need to hear this in our heart:
We are made in the image of God! And He has given us His Son. The Gift that empowers us to really live. John 10:10
Over the next 11 weeks on Wednesdays we will be growing in our knowledge and understanding of how deeply valued women are to God and how our lives are valuable to others and to society as a whole. If you are reading along, please join in conversation in comments. It is in our time together where we really learn as God reveals truth to our hearts.
Today I will leave you with this quote from the book intro:
“Scripture never discounts the female intellect, downplays the talents and abilities of women or discourages the right use of women’s spiritual gifts. But whenever the Bible expressly talks about the marks of an excellent woman, the stress is always on feminine virtue. The most significant women in Scripture were influential not because of their careers, but because of their character. The message these women collectively give is not about “gender equality”; it’s about true feminine excellence. And this is always exemplified in moral and spiritual qualities rather than by social standing, wealth, or physical appearance.” ~John MacArthur
Next week: “Eve: The Mother of All Living