We often cheapen the cross. We water down the beauty of the gospel. We portray grace as an excuse to sin instead of the grace that covers our sins. We focus more on whether we are lovely than the loveliness of Jesus. We decide that it is better to be happy than holy. We often lose our first love by focusing on receiving earthly love. We have emasculated our brothers. We want the world to hear us “roar” when all the while the enemy is roaring in our own lives. We have written our own theology that fits the life we desire to live. We have cut and pasted His words on pallets of wood but no longer hide it in our hearts. (FYI: I love my pallets of wood… they are all over my house).
My heart is heavy. My heart is broken. I am fearful of the direction we are headed. A direction that is more about life coaches than life everlasting. A direction that is more about empowering ourselves than embracing the gospel. A direction that is more concerned about our outward beauty than the state of our soul.
During my church’s 24 hours of prayer, I sat in the pew by myself and stared down at the sheet of paper that said “during this hour pray for women’s ministry.” Not a coincidence. I thought about how we often shape the gospel to fit our lives, instead of allowing the gospel to shape our souls. We have been raised to walk in newness of life, a grace filled life, a different life than the world offers. There is a responsibility that lay on our shoulders to teach and train women to know God, His word, and His gospel. I felt the weight. I dwelled on the truth that the Spirit of the Living God has breathed life into our lungs. Each breath solely for the purpose of speaking His gospel, even when it’s hard. I read the words that have been sitting heavy on my mind. The words my dear friend Carrie pointed me too weeks ago.
Paul’s last letter before he was martyred… 2 Timothy.
“But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people. For among them are those who creep into households and capture weak women, burdened with sins and led astray by various passions, always learning and never able to arrive at a knowledge of the truth.”
If we are captured, our households will be taken prisoner as well. Then that household will pour forth into our spiritual sisters and our future generations. This is not something that will quickly pass without any damage. This will shape our churches, our daughters, and our world for generations to come.
We snatch a bible study off the shelf without ever understanding that the sprinkling of truth on a plate of lies will never satisfy our hungry souls. Hear me, there are great studies out there. Yet, there are many that are more focused on “me” than “HE” (https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/sisters-jesus-is-not-your-cheerleader). We often don’t dig, seek, weep, or write. We listen, like, tweet, and post. We take others theology and pin it on our hearts like a badge of honor. When they walk away we quickly follow. Instead of digging into His word to discover the truth, we place the lies in our hearts. Never understanding that these lies have an eternal impact on our souls and others. I know this sounds harsh but this my sisters is LIFE and DEATH.
Women, we have a great responsibility and a great role. In the first chapter Paul writes to Timothy, “I am reminded of your sincere faith, a faith that dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice and now, I am sure, dwells in you as well. “ Timothy’s lineage of faith was poured down from women. Strong women that were not weak or wimpy. Women that were righteous, with a right theology, women that understood the power of the gospel, the full gospel, the hard and the beautiful. They did not pick and choose what they liked. They received it with joy, fear and trembling. Then they passed it on. John Piper once stated in a sermon “wimpy women have wimpy theology.” AMEN! May we be righteous women with right theology. Prepared for the world to hate us. Prepared to receive persecution and push back, because we care more about pleasing our Savior than a platform. We care more about eternal destinations than earthly difficult discussions. We care more about the status of our loved one’s souls.
Paul writes beautifully as he prepares to face death for the gospel He has boldly proclaimed. He strongly urges Timothy and I believe he is urging us in the year 2016 to….
Hold on to the pattern of sound teaching… my son (daughter) be STRONG in the grace (true, genuine, godly) that is in Christ Jesus
What you have heard from me… commit to FAITHFUL (wo)men who will be able to teach others: committed to teach and pass the truth
Share in suffering: be prepared to suffer
Keep your attention on Jesus Christ: not the world
Be diligent, correctly teaching the word of truth: even when it won’t win you a popularity contest
Avoid irreverent empty speech
Flee from youthful passions and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace: don’t fix the gospel to fit our life.. flee
Reject foolish ignorant disputes
Continue in what you have learned and firmly believed: do not waiver even when many that claim Christ will
He then goes on to write in his final words…
“I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths. As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.”
Sweet sisters, may we preach the word because we know the word. May we be sober minded not self-minded. May we endure suffering not run from it. May we be evangelists who speak the full, beautiful, and powerful gospel that sees women walk from death to life. May we fulfill the ministry for which Christ has called us too.
I want to look back on my life and say “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved his appearing.”
Let’s fight sisters! Fight for the gospel, for our homes, our sisters, our daughters, and our future generations. Fight to be righteous women not weak, with right theology, not wimpy theology. Let us live under the grace of Christ. Let us pursue Christ and His righteousness. Let us love others as Christ loves us and never shrink back from speaking the truth in love. Let that be the cry of our hearts!