Well I finished chapter one a few days ago but have been trying to gather my thoughts on what I would blog about it. It is written by John Piper who never fails to give his readers insight, depth and wisdom when given a pen. So much so, that it is now hard to know how to condense it all into a readable, blog size chunk. To be quite honest, I read it twice. I want to REALLY read this book and give a solid interpretation of it. In the confines of our small house with three kids, in the middle of summer, it is very difficult to find a quiet moment to actually meditate on what I'm reading.
The main idea I received from the chapter and I quote, is that, "womanhood and manhood were not an afterthought or a peripheral thought in God's plan. God designed them precisely so that they would serve to display the glory of His son dying to have His happy, admiring bride...."
Women and Men were actually (by God) CREATED with different attributes and God did it on purpose!
Right away I'm thinking of the many ways our society has tried to blur the lines of gender, be it through fashion, how and what we do in the workplace, personal appearance, or roles inside the home. We now have masculine women and effeminate men, women who like to dominate and men who let them and even desire it.
I know for generations, people generally embraced the gender that they were born with and all of the attributes and requirements that come with it- until maybe the last, oh...say 100 years? I'd say during the World Wars was the time period when things started coming to a head. The men were away and the women did....work- outside of the home that is.
But before I get to far ahead of myself (or the book), I'll try to get back on course. If God created man and woman with different attributes, character traits, and purposes, it must mean that when we are living fully within our gender, we are in fact, glorifying God. When we step outside of our gender, no matter how trivial it seems, it is almost like an affront to God isn't it?
Yet, O LORD, you are our Father. We are the clay, you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand.
In the words of John Piper:
The ultimate meaning of true womanhood is this: It is a distinctive calling of God to display the glory of His Son in ways that would not be displayed if there was no womanhood. If there were only generic persons and not male and female, the glory of Christ would be diminished in the world...
John Piper ended the chapter with the biblical roles of the married woman as well as the biblical purpose of the unmarried woman.
Marriage is a metaphor for the "covenant keeping love" between Christ and His church. So first and foremost, we have to STAY married to our covenant spouse in keeping with God's divine purpose in our lives. The moment we enter into our individual covenant, we enter it for keeps.
Men are to take their cues on how to glorify God as husbands from Christ who is the head of the church. Women take their cues from what the church is called to be in her allegiance to Christ. It's the old Leadership/Submission philosophy that sets so many feminists teeth on edge.
The main idea here though is that God created these two roles to be carried out differently all for the purpose of reflecting an image of the glory of the sacrificial love of Christ for his bride and the honor and adoration of the bride toward her husband.
To the single, Piper says to receive the gift of singleness (as long as it is yours) with joy and contentment rather than self pity. Marriage is a beautiful thing- but it is not the main thing. If it were, Jesus would not have said, "In the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven. Matt 22:30
I think that the ability to merely be content with your life as a single woman is key. I know from some of my single friends/family members that reaching contentment is no small feat. Everywhere we look, we are bombarded with man/woman relationships. People pester you to get in one, get married, have 2.35 children...But my response to them is, living up to the standard that God has placed on the submissive Godly wife is no small feat either. The battle is only beginning once you say "I do"...it is by no means won easily. It's a tough job being married and will require more faith, diligence and contentment than you can possibly muster on your own. This is the one thing that I wish single women knew. It is no easier being married than it is to be single- there are just different game rules. We will all be "married" to Christ in His kingdom. Single people are just doing it sooner here on the earth.
So to sum up chapter one...
1. God made you the gender you are for a specific purpose.
2. You glorify him the most when you embrace God's purpose for your life.
3. Married people represent the covenant between Christ and the church.
4. Single people bear witness that the family of God grows not by propagation through sexual intercourse but by regeneration of faith in Christ. They can also be a living example of what being "married to Christ" will look like when we dwell with our Creator.
Now onto Chapter 2
from Him, through Him, to Him by Nancy Leigh DeMoss