Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Dear Daughters of God...

This month's blog posting is a guest blog from my great friend and brother in Christ, Brian Ellis. He has continually proved to be a solid spiritual example in his walk with the Lord, and never fails to speak Truth! Feel free to check out his blog "Abiding in Him", and as always, post any comments or questions you have! 

My dear sisters in Christ, 
You are the pinnacle of creation. You are daughters of God, Daddy's baby girls, His beloved. In view of His love for you, and as your brother in Christ, I wish to encourage you and share with you some things that have been on my heart in order to spur you on towards honoring the Lord with your spirit, body, and life. 

Prepare yourself to be a good wife.
Proverbs 31:10-"A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies" versus Proverbs 21:9-"Better to live on a corner of the roof than share a house with a quarrelsome wife."  A good wife is more valuable than jewels, she comes from the Lord. A bad wife is a curse. Many of the proverbs are only repeated once, there are only a few which are repeated many times; one of which has to do with wives. Work towards developing qualities in the areas of: 

  • having a gentle and quiet spirit, 
  • being submissive
  • offering your body as a living sacrifice to the Lord
  • having a servant's heart.
Choose who you date carefully.
The man you marry will be your leader. He will lead you as Christ leads him. He will also have an unbelievable influence over your children, especially in regards to spiritual matters. This being said, it is imperative that you choose wisely who you date towards marriage. Notice how I said towards marriage: you're either brother and sister in Christ, moving towards marriage, or married. 
Here are some tips:
  • Proverbs 31:30 can apply for men too! 
"Charm is deceptive and beauty is fleeting, but a man who fears the LORD is to be praised." Don't date a man because he is charming; it's deceitful, it disappoints and betrays. You won't get what you expect. Beauty is fleeting...find the most attractive man alive today and then look at him in 100 years. He will look grotesque. It's here today, gone tomorrow. Rather than seeking a man who is charming and handsome, seek FIRST a man who gains favor from the Lord."
  • If you find a man who esteems you higher than he esteems the Lord, run from him like the plague.  
  • Look at the way a man treats others, not you! Look at the way he treats people in inferior situations, his boss, those who can do him no good. IN THE BEGINNING OF RELATIONSHIPS A MAN WILL PUT HIS BEST FOOT FORWARD, BUT WHAT YOU SEE ISN'T ALWAYS WHAT YOU GET. You don't want a performer. Spend time and get to know the true him. What's his reputation? If he doesn't respect his mother, doesn't respect women, he won't respect you when he gets your heart. Look for a man who can lead when you're married, who will be a good husband and father. Ask his closest friends about him, see what people say about him. Seek wise counsel. Look for spiritual fruit developing in his life (Galatians 5:22-23). If you don't, you're making your own bed and you will sleep in it.
Be like Ruth.
Many women are encouraged by Ruth, as you should be. She was a loyal, compassionate, God-fearing woman who exhibited the fullness of the beauty and majesty of womanhood. You can learn a lot from her, especially in terms of relationships. Read this passage from Ruth:
“Wash and perfume yourself, and put on your best clothes. Then go down to the threshing floor, but don’t let Boaz know you are there until he has finished eating and drinking. When he lies down, note the place where he is lying. Then go and uncover his feet and lie down. He will tell you what to do” (Ruth 3:3-4) 
The man's duty is to pursue the woman; he make the moves, he initiates. Boaz was the kinsman-redeemer (meaning he married the relative's widow to redeem the inheritance). He had to pursue Ruth. But the woman has a job as well: to show the man that there is something to be pursued. Ruth showed Boaz that there was something to be pursued, that he had a job as the kinsman-redeemer that should be honored. Ruth's reputation had also preceded her, as Boaz already knew she was a woman of noble character. If a girl tries to show she isn't interested, but she truly is, it will throw the guy off. Don't play hard to get. No guy in his right mind will pursue a girl who doesn't show an openness to being pursued. Be like Ruth and present yourself in a manner that shows you are open to being pursued. You don't have to say "I want you to pursue me," but you can drop those little hints in the way you act that convey that you like him and are interested. Actions speak louder than words!

Your BOYFRIEND is NOT your spiritual leader. Your HUSBAND is.
I've noticed something in dating relationships: boyfriends begin to think it's their duty to lead their girlfriends, and girls think it's their duty to submit to their boyfriends. Where does Scripture say "girlfriends, submit to your boyfriends as unto the Lord?" Where does it say "the boyfriend is the head of the girlfriend as Christ is the head of the church?" Is that the King John Version translation? Is that in the book of 1 Matthew?
When in a relationship, it's important to see if a man has the capability to lead. But he is not your leader until you are married; he is not responsible for the development of your spiritual maturity until marriage. In the same way, you should learn how to be submissive, but you do not submit to the man until you are married. A husband leads his wife as Christ leads the church; he leads her as Christ leads him. If you aren't married, Christ is your leader; you have not yet been given to marriage, you are His. You should, however, encourage one another towards Christ and the pursuit of godliness while you are dating (the same way you do with your brothers and sisters in Christ, which you both still are until you become one flesh), there is just no leading/submission. Woe to the man who tries to be your spiritual leader before you are married-God is a jealous Father who cares for His children...He is a protective Daddy and He has not yet given His daughter in marriage. 

Wait on God to give you away in marriage to your husband.
I know that you've probably heard it a million times. But it carries truth. In almost every society, fathers give their daughters away in marriage. God gave Eve to Adam. In the same way, our heavenly Father gives His daughters away in marriage and He will give you away when He's ready. Until then, delight in Him and wait on Him...His timing is perfect! Dance with God and He'll allow one of His sons to cut in.


View yourself as God does; Let your beauty come from your inner self.
"Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of godly 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." 1 Peter 3:2-3. 
In society, we put great value in our outer beauty; in Scripture, 
Jesus said "...what is valued among men is detestable in God's sight" Luke 16:15. 
"Do not consider his appearance or height, for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at things people look at: people look at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart" 1 Samuel 16:7. 
In God's eyes, physical beauty is vain, meaningless, futile, and empty...but a good spirit is of great worth in His sight. Notice how in 1 Peter 3:3 it says unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit and in Proverbs 31:30 it says beauty (physical) is fleeting, but spiritual beauty is eternal. No matter your physical beauty, there will come a day when godly women will shine in the Kingdom of the Lord like the sun- they will shine with a glory and beauty this world has never dared to imagine. Beauty here is fleeting, there it's forever and you can see hints of this true beauty in your inner being, not outer. Plus, beauty is defined differently depending on what culture you live in: American beauty values thinness, while in Nigeria fuller figured women are viewed as beautiful. The view of beauty to the world changes, but the view of beauty to God never changes, because He never changes. Jesus Himself is the perfect example of true beauty! The Bible says that physically, Jesus had no attributes that drew people to Him...He just wasn't an attractive guy. Now spiritually, He was the most beautiful person who ever walked this earth. Compare Him to Satan, who Scripture says was physically the most beautiful angel...but his spirit was rotten. As we seek to follow Jesus and become like Him, we should begin to let our beauty come from our inner self. 

Monitor the amount of social media you intake. Most of it will point you away from Christ.
We live in a society that strives for certain things, and if you don't have these these things they tell you you're not good enough and you need to change. The world encourages us to find our identity in what you wear, what you drive, how you look, how wealthy you are, etc. You shouldn't look to magazines and tv commercials to find your identity, you should look to the cross. Your identity is found in Christ and your beauty is found in the work He has done/is doing in you. You are the workmanship of God, like His masterpiece:
"I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; you works are wonderful, I know that full well." Psalm 139:14
I urge you to remember that, sister! Love the way you are, remember the One who made you makes beautiful things and He took special care in making you!


Address the heart, and then the hemline. 
Any biblical discussion of modesty begins by addressing the heart. This is because dressing modestly is fruit of the transforming power of the Gospel. Modest dress is centered around the Gospel because a modest heart precedes modest dress; it's the fruit of a godly, regenerate heart. Read this excerpt from John McArthur on addressing the heart, not the hemline:
“How does a woman discern the sometimes fine line between proper dress and dressing to be the center of attention? The answer starts in the intent of the heart. A woman should examine her motives and goals for the way she dresses. Is her intent to show the grace and beauty of womanhood?…. Is it to reveal a humble heart devoted to worshiping God? Or is it to call attention to herself, and flaunt her…beauty?  Or worse, to attempt to allure men sexually? A woman who focuses on worshiping God will consider carefully how she is dressed, because her heart will dictate her wardrobe and appearance.”
Read this too:
 Immodesty, then, is much more than wearing a short skirt or low-cut top; it’s the act of drawing undue attention to yourself. It’s pride, on display by what you wear.”
You see what he's trying to say? A modest, humble heart will lead to modest dress. Immodest dress is an expression of arrogance, it reveals the absence of humility. Proverbs 11:22 says "like a gold ring in a pig's snout is a beautiful woman who shows no discretion." Discretion=prudence, discreetness, gumption...polar opposites of immodesty. A gold ring in a pig's snout is something nice in an extremely ugly setting. Can I remind you that this is Scripture; this is Holy Spirit inspired. God is speaking through Solomon. Can I also remind you that back in the Old Testament, the pig was the most unclean animal. He relates a beautiful woman who shows no discretion to the most unclean animal. 

Therefore I urge you sisters, show discretion in the way you dress. Remember, YOU ARE A SAINT, A PART OF A ROYAL PRIESTHOOD. Discern what you wear and the message it conveys, and make the way you dress an act of worship. Let your clothes highlight your face, not your body. What is most catching about you? Your clothes? Your body? Or your character? Remember, a tree that bears good fruit pleases God and He prunes it to be more fruitful.

Most fashion advice today encourages sensuality. The more revealing it is, the more sexual it is, the better. You should discern who is making these fashion trends: are they people who fear God and are devoted to Him? Or are they unregenerate and of the world? God still loves them and Jesus died for those people, so you should still love them and not judge them...but you should not be ok with their fashion choices if the fashion is sinful. 

Dress in a way that won't cause your brothers to stumble.
Before I begin, I want to say we are all accountable for our own sin. A man makes a choice in his own heart to lust. But a woman may make it harder for a man to keep a pure thought life. Some of the things women wear are extremely revealing (yoga pants, leggings, tight running shorts) and can literally be the match that ignites the flames of burning passion within a man's heart. I understand that those articles of clothing are comfortable, but when has dressing comfortably been an excuse to dress revealingly? How is that putting the needs of others before your own? How does that honor God? Dressing revealingly promotes sensuality, which God hates and we should too. One reason you should not promote/provoke sensuality, lust, or sexuality is because...
"Young ladies can be ignorant of the war with lust men confront daily. No women will truly completely know the struggle with lust that a man has. They are often ignorant of the effect of their bodies on the eyes and hearts of men. They are often ignorant that men are visually stimulated. But after this message no one can claim ignorance."
Ladies, there is serious spiritual warfare going on in the hearts of men. Now that you are aware of this, will you be a stumbling block to your brothers or will you link arms with us as we make war with lust?

Daughters of God, I hope the Lord has touched your heart through this blog post. I want to encourage you that godly men are on your side and want to spur you on in your pursuit of godliness; you are not in this alone. Continue to live in a way where the world can see the purity and reverence of your life, your utmost devotion to the King! I want to finish this post with something I've read in 1 John:

"Dear friends, we are now children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known."-3:2 
"If our hearts condemn us, we know that God is greater than our hearts, and He knows everything."-3:20
No matter the distance you see between who you are today and who God is making you into, don't reject the truth that you are a child of God and He loves you! We are becoming, and we cannot see the end result right now! But know that God IS continuing the good work He began in you. Don't condemn yourself because of this distance either; your heart may try and condemn you but He is greater than your feelings, and our feelings aren't always capable of telling us the truth of who we are in Christ! Fact(truth), Faith, Feeling...never put feelings first! No matter how much you fail to live up to the title of a Daughter of God, a Proverbs 31 woman, a Heiress of the Kingdom of God, turn your feelings of guilt, failure, etc over to the one who knows you better than you know yourself and is at work in you!

Much Love,

Brian A. Ellis

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