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What Does It Mean To Be Wholly a Woman?

Family Life Today / Dave & Ann Wilson, Bob Lepine
The Truth Network Radio
May 17, 2021 2:00 am

What Does It Mean To Be Wholly a Woman?

Family Life Today / Dave & Ann Wilson, Bob Lepine

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May 17, 2021 2:00 am

Author Abigail Dodds, a wife and mother to five, talks about the way men and women are inherently different from one another. It's easy to generalize male and female characteristics, but we must be careful. Dodds admits she doesn't really fit the mold of a woman with a gentle and quiet spirit. The gifts of the Spirit, she reminds us-love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control-can be exhibited by all believers, regardless of gender.

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In Genesis 1 the Bible so so God created human beings as male and female Abigail God says that's at the core of what women need to understand about who they are as women to be a women means to have been created like nothing right like saying X is X, but I do believe this with all my heart and I'm just going to say what God has made in woman in that word even as it defines what we are is it only valuable. This is family life today hosts are David and Wilson came does the Bible give us a clear sense of the difference between men and women and what are we to understand about how we were made differently to talk about that today with Abigail Downs and welcome to family life today. Thanks for joining us. I just met our guest for today's program a little while ago and I'll introduce her. Abigail Doug joining us and coming out today welcome. Thanks for having me work happy to have you here.

I can already tell I know you can save up to say I can already tell that and in Abigail you have a great conversation today. I think that's true okay now is actually what I was concerned I was going to send already tell she is a very courageous woman because just to tackle the subject. She has tackled in this book. In this day takes some courage, don't you think. I think it does take courage, and it takes conviction. This has to be a conviction for you to put your thoughts into words and also she's brave because she's left her five children that are five from 5 to 15.

Maybe it's the brave. Maybe it's just that Abigail is a writer. She lives in Minneapolis married with five kids, a regular contributor desiring God ministries and the subject. You've decided to tackle is the subject of trying to come up with a biblical definition or understanding of womanhood and femininity and the reason that what I don't have to explain why that's so courageous to try to come up with that we have this cultural idea of what masculine and feminine are and I'll get a backlash against the cultural saying no, the cultural it should be. There shouldn't be any definition and you're trying to say okay what is the Bible tell us about how men are different than women, and how can we embrace that and believe it and you knew you were sailing into headwinds when you set underrated to write. I don't think you can live in in this world and not know that you are tackling something that a lot of people maybe don't want to hear about or are very apprehensive about hearing about and I get that. I think I can be apprehensive when I pick up books on this topic because there's so many ways to go run and there's so many ways to step on people's toes unintentionally even as you're trying very hard to say something true and and winsome and godly.

What you say might not line up with another person's lived experience or with damage that they've had done to them in their experiences and so to try and wade into those waters is difficult but still necessary and just still so important that we understand that Christ applies to every single bit of our life and there's none of that we should leave water and one of my sons has coined a phrase I don't know if you hear somebody else use it, but he talks about generalities.

He says that Craig is raised and it's this idea that we've got these preconceptions of what gender should be based on cultural standards rather than on biblical standards on some of this comes out of I think of told this before he he was at a youth retreat when he was in junior high and the speaker was saying, you know, guys and girls are different guys like sports and girls like to read, so my son who loved to read and wasn't particularly athletic comes home goes so what am I and I've had the same experiences of hearing the people up front.

Use some generality to describe what it means to be a woman and then kinda come away scratching my head thinking. I don't know if I see it and so does that mean I'm not true woman or does that mean I'm not a biblical woman and that's why we have to go back to the word over and over and be looking at what God is saying about what he's created what he's made and what that means grandmother's a farmer's wife and when she worked out the hot sun. She is sweating and working alongside him and my mom that farmers daughter and me. Nothing gave her more joy than to take the chainsaw out and do some yard work and these were wonderfully feminine, godly women who were not afraid of some sweat and hard work, and so I just think we need to make room for those kinds of things.

When we talk about men and women so charges were listers to hear wonderful godly sweating chainsaw wielding women.

That's right, can all work together right away that just described my wife. I like actually because wife Marianne. She loves to do yard work on mowing the grass right now to why I think that that doesn't mean you're not feminine. No, not a bad site and I mean the Proverbs 31 woman, my goodness, I'm pretty sure she was getting some sweat going right when we first started working together on family life today and I remember you saying I wonder if this is gonna work because I don't think of myself as you said, I don't think of myself as a typical woman. I don't what you mean well I think that I was a tomboy growing up, I like to play outside in with the boys.

I like to play football and all the sports she's good at it. So I and I'm also I think when I was growing up, I thought of women is explained in his nurturing. I tend to be tough and loud and I think I don't fit that mold will quiet you go right the first time when I was at the weekend to remember a marriage conference and they were talking about what a woman is and that nurturing part of her and she had those were the words the Scripture of a quiet and gentle. I thought all I don't even fit into the Bible. I think some women feel like that and he found that yeah I think that's a very common way to feel and I know I myself have thought like wow I have too many strong opinions.

I got to much going on I care too much about all the wrong things. Things like that and for all of us those principles set up. Have a gentle and quiet spirit that Peter is is admonishing us to be like you. That's something that we need to learn with an older woman's arm around her shoulder. He's telling us.

I felt the same way when I heard that, and here's how God grew me in that area.

Even so, isn't he wonderful to do that, but it's a really hard thing. I think to hear sometimes from on high are from a certain way that's a little bit more detached. We think, I have no model for this, just don't know the steps forward. If that's what I'm supposed to be. How do I get there because I have more opinions than I know what to do with and I want to say them all and I want to be really really adamant about all of them and so tempering all those things by the Holy Spirit's help, and in the community of believers is such a valuable thing in a way of growing in grace in those areas that we know biblical and yet not feeling alienated, recognizing that my natural bent may be a certain way and you sent me and I can cultivate a gentle and quiet spirit that mine is grace. Will you open the book was sort of a in my opinion angst. A look at the womanhood in the in the church today talk about the Leviticus like it's coming from your spelling the word that I felt today because you say I'm partly distressed over the state of Christian women and that that feels like an angst to me what made you write that so we are always facing wins from one direction or another, and so the culture is kind of blowing us all in in one direction in terms of there are zero differences between men and women as a matter fact, a man can be a woman.

A woman can be a man and then sometimes those wins, they generally are blowing into the church as well, but often were. We've got our notice to those wins a little that we know they're there.

And so we are generally trying to push back to some degree, although I think we still can be. All of us can be blind to some of them anyway. But then sometimes what happens is will swing the pendulum the other way really hard time to make sure that we don't think like the world act like the world that we might not do it with our feet in the Scripture. It might just be a reaction. And so if that happens then what you do end up with is legalism or things of that nature and said that sometimes the angst I feel is that the different ways the pendulum is swinging coming from different angles can really make it hard to feel like which way am I supposed to be pushing against what am I aiming at what am I aiming for. And so, my burden was really just to say we can't talk about what it means to be a biblical woman without putting Christ in the conversation. We can't abstract Christ away from what it means to be a biblical woman. We need the new birth and we need to see ourselves as having been made through Christ and for Christ and once we do that our conversations have such a more sturdy footing. I'm so we can look to biblical examples of women and all the sudden our feet are much more settled on solid ground when we've really thought through what it means to be made through and for Christ. But you know the 90 exact number here will say 97% of what the Bible says about living the Christian life is not gender specific rate so the fruit of the spirit is for all of us rise right and the imperatives that followed the indicative. Those are for all of us. There's only a few places where language gets gender specific amounts were you say if the language of the Bible gets gender specific. We all stop and go okay why did you turn here and say, women.

This is for you right when I tried it give an analogy like this if your uncle writes a letter to the family and he's telling all about something that happened in his dear family, and it's a whole long letter and then he pauses at one point and says into my niece and then said something else and then continues on the main points of the letter are probably in the body that goes to all the family but to the niece she will pay certain attention to the part that's written with her name there.

But just like the Bible, the gospel is the good news about Jesus Christ and the point of the Bible is to get us to Christ, to know and reveal the person and work of Christ.

That's how we know the father and so that's the point yet, there are really specific ways that that applies to men and women that that the biblical authors don't hold back on and so it can't be received, though without understanding that bigger piece.

We will not love anything in the Bible unless our old heart has been taken out and a new heart put in and so that was another thing I really wanted to lay the foundation for is without the new birth without a new heart. This will not make sense. Yes, in fact, little trace and asked that how do you think it chase.

There's a verse I think it's in the Psalms. I wish I had the reference off the top of my head, but says the lines have fallen for me in pleasant places. Behold, I have a beautiful inheritance when you think about lines. Lines are marking things off the restrictions. In one sense it's kind like saying the fences are great around here and we can't say that without any heart because our especially our American mindset says restrictions are not good. I have complete autonomy. I am completely free to do and rule over my life as I wish. And so, for God to come down and say there are some boundaries for your good will. If rules to you are just simply a way of limiting oppressive you will not love the rule giver. But when you realize the rule giver is a loving God who puts lines down in pleasant places not to give you some unhelpful restriction, but because this is the absolute best thing for you then when you have that view of God which you can only get through Christ because he's the definition of love and so that's how we understand that God really is love, then you see the lines and you say I know who this is coming from. This is coming from my loving father only ever does good to me and then you start to discover the ways that these lines actually are good reorient to thinking so the person who is just thinking.

Galatians 320 right now to just go on but it says there is neither male nor female.

These distinctions that we are trying to impose in Christ, the distinctions go away and women should have the freedom to be and to express and not that the boundaries between men and women have been dissolved in Christ while I love that passage from Galatians and I don't like it when people pit scriptures against each other like this is the Scripture that people over here like to use, but we can stay away from it because were afraid it might undermine our text for his underlying our point of view, because I think flattening couple gift that yes in Christ. I am a co-air. I really am as his daughter full complete heir with Christ and in the way I understand that is, it's not that distinction vanishes in heaven.

We know that it will be every tribe and tongue people and nation. So the distinction will still be there.

In that sense in terms of tribes, tongues, peoples and nations, and so that's the way I tend to think of it as it's this diversity brought to unity and that we are all here together with Christ, but not that that flattens everything about us will value or worth equal inheritors equally loved by God. Yes, with still God given distinctions the are a part of who we are, yeah, means the distinctions I can feel it is you talk about womanhood. It's in your subtitle free whole and called in Christ. I want to hear what you say is a woman whose holy woman because I think Bob and I probably understand manhood do we understand womanhood. You know honestly been here for more than 25 years to to ask the question come up with a biblical definition of masculinity and femininity is one of those things that we keep coming back to not wanting to go too far and not wanting to blur the Bible teaches just fine. What's the sweet spot. That's why when I saw this book, I said, I'm glad Abigail's figures out you write about it at exactly today's point if you had to come up with that. That one sentence. Here's what it means to be holy. A woman WHO LOL what a woman.

What would you say to be made holy woman is simply to be created by God as a woman that sound like nothing right is, like saying X is X, but I'm not trying to tell you what the attributes of a Christian woman are because I think we can find is in the Scripture, but when we asked the question, what is it to be a woman.

I simply want to say something so foundational because our culture is saying that to be made. A woman isn't a woman, and so unless we start with to be a woman means to have been created that means your creature means you didn't make yourself and it means you don't decide what you are it means to be created by God as a woman and so that has applications for your body.

It has implications for on the instructions that you're given in Scripture and certainly there is a deeper essence to that.

You're right I'm not and be able to put word and it's also in his image, and so we made qualities of God that we represent him, which is beautiful, that are distinct and can be different from men right and we don't always embracing yet God is reveling in his creation. This is a conundrum and we gotta be careful about being too boxy and saying femininity means this and if you're not this or not feminine because that may depend on and what environment is this happening right here's another question for you. Do you feel free to be holy woman in the culture and in the church. Well, I think I would say yes. I feel completely set free in Christ to be exactly as he's made me and I I feel that I don't think you'll have the freedom peace until you've had new birth so I would say being holy woman WHOLE even if you aren't a believer is something that we can't get around and one of the things that gets said in the church is I don't I don't like it when people treat me as just a woman I want you to see me as a human or I don't like to be treated as just a woman I want you to see me as a person not to that, I would say amen to treating people as people, but the part of that, Mrs. something really valuable is that to be a woman is to be fully human. And so we shouldn't talk about the word woman as though it's small and degrading. But if I want to treat someone like their important will then will treat them more like a human or a person or a man know I would like it for everyone to treat me as a woman and let that be as big as it really is it's it's a full reality, I'm a human. As a woman and so you should treat me accordingly not as though being a woman is only the small slice of specifics, but if you were going to treat me really well then you would treat me like a person sick. Why not just treat me as a woman and then you decide that that is a good thing. It is a valuable thing and so we get into these semantics because we are trying to be seen as valuable, and I'm just trying to say what God has made in woman in that word even as it defines what we are is itself fully valuable, so do you feel free to be a whole woman to embrace biblical femininity in the church.

When the culture I feel total freedom in my relationship with Christ. I feel like he celebrates me.

I feel like he complements my gifts and my strengths and I feel freedom to be who I am in him. However, I don't always feel that freedom in the church or in culture. You don't feel like everybody else having always thinking what is this person what is this what is this church will they celebrate me as well, or the culture are they celebrating me to the point where it's an idolization of me being a woman is it's a tricky path to walk and yet I do know in Christ, he celebrates me and I think culturally speaking, when Jesus walked the earth.

It was a different day.

There were many Hebrew scholars that wouldn't even believe that women had a soul and so you have Jesus walk onto the scene where he is elevating women, even using him in his teaching was unheard of. John four with the woman at the well, that was unheard of.

That he would not only speak to a Samaritan woman, but he would have a conversation and even ask her for water, she would become unclean and so yeah it's a tricky day and yet a beautiful day to be alive, is a woman in a place called America is very different from other parts of the world. So I am here to big ideas out of the conversation we've had today maybe 31 is that the first thing in understanding what it means to be a woman or man is to experience the new birth from the new birth.

You're always going to have a distorted view of manhood or womanhood. Second thing I'm hearing is that it's hard to nail down into a sentence or phrase. What masculinity and femininity are there are shades.

There are gradations there are words we can put to that. We don't want to get to concrete with what those words mean or try to box somebody you but maybe it's more about the direction your lien limit is an absolute descriptor of view and then the last thing I'm here both of you say is at the end of the day of the freedom you feel to be the woman God's made you to be depends on whether you're concerned with what he thinks about your mother concerned with what church people or the broader culture. Think about if you're looking around for affirmation of your womanhood from your peers or from a culture or even from folks in the church. Republican be frustrated but if you're saying, Lord, I want to be the woman in our case to the man, but you've made me to be. I want to fully embrace the fact that you made me as a woman, or as a man I will live for you and when you look to his word and understand his pleasure in that you can, to not what everybody else's thing about you and just live in mild sure be nice if there is a book written on this Bob nice what what I thought I could read as a matter of fact, Abigail has spent a long time working on a book called a typical this is hard to say on radio so the word is a typical woman. If I search for it on the web search using the word a dry start atypical for Lansdowne okay just go to family life We've got it in our family life to the resource Center you can order the book from us or call one 800 FL today and sell a copy of Abigail Dobbs book. A typical woman for you whole and called in Christ are happy to send it to you again. You'll find I'm on the family life or you can call 1-800-358-6329 that's one 800 F as in family L as in life, and then the word today and we want to take just a minute and say thank you to those of you who have already gotten in touch with us to say we will help you take full advantage of the matching gift offer that has been made available to family life during the month of May will got some great news that matching gift offer has now been expanded.

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Abigail Dobbs will be here again were to continue our conversation about understanding womanhood and femininity.

What is a God has in mind for women. He makes them women talk more about that tomorrow. Be with us for that think our engineer today.

Keith Lynch got some extra help from Mark Ramey this week with our entire broadcast production team on behalf of our hosts David and Wilson on Bob Payne see you back tomorrow for another edition of family life, family life, to a is a production of family life of Little Rock, Arkansas.

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