A Biblical Response to the Feminist Mindset
by LESLIE LUDY
When my oldest son Hudson was about four, another mom on the playground mistakenly thought he had cut in front of her young daughter while they were standing in line for the slide. Immediately she began chiding her little girl with statements such as, “Don’t let that boy push you around! Stand up for yourself! Shove him out of the way and take what’s yours!”
It was a perfect illustration of the common female mindset toward men in our culture today. Women who have been hurt by selfish men or disgusted by incorrect notions of what femininity should be have decided to take matters into their own hands. The modern feminist approach is one that echoes the sentiments of that mom: “Shove men out of the way and take what’s yours!”
This is the culture in which we live, and this is the mindset we are surrounded by. It’s all too easy to be influenced to think the way our culture does, fighting for what we want and shoving aside anyone (especially men) who may get in our way. But the modern feminist agenda is not God’s agenda. And He has a far better approach to helping us rise up to our high calling as women.
Yes, there have been some positive outcomes from the women’s rights battle over the past few decades (i.e. women being able to vote, being treated with respect in the workplace, etc.). Yet the underlying attitude of modern feminism is the opposite of God’s design for true womanhood — scorning masculinity, disregarding a man’s call to lead, and militantly demanding control (and often superiority).
We are not called to be feminists.
We are called to be Christians.
So how do we become free from oppressive human ideas and embrace God’s life-giving pattern for femininity without tossing aside God’s heart and nature in the process? There are some amazing examples throughout Scripture of women who did just that.
Esther was at the beck and call of an ungodly king who held her life in his hand. Though she was royalty, she was not free to make her own decisions. Even coming into the king’s presence uninvited would likely mean her execution. Change was desperately needed, especially when her life and the lives of her people hung in the balance. Instead of using manipulative or demanding tactics, Esther turned to the power of God. She spent three days fasting and praying for His wisdom and favor before she even attempted to bring her request to the king. Not only did she save an entire nation, but Esther went from being the king’s slave to becoming his trusted and respected advisor — all because she leaned wholly on God’s strength and wisdom instead of her own.
Ruth was an outcast with no money, opportunities, or respect when she chose to return to Naomi’s homeland to care for her. She was forced to gather the leftover grain from others’ fields in order to survive. Ruth could have pursued men romantically who might have been able to change her life circumstances dramatically. But she surrendered her desires and yielded to Naomi and Naomi’s God. It wasn’t manipulation or human strategy that helped Ruth win Boaz’s heart and become part of a powerful redemption story; it was placing all her confidence in the power and wisdom of God, and taking one step of obedience at a time.
Abigail was in a desperate situation, at the mercy of an evil and selfish husband whose terrible decisions were about to cost many people their lives, including her own. She did not panic, but instead yielded to the guidance of God and was given supernatural wisdom to stop King David from rashly taking revenge on her husband and all that he had. Abigail singlehandedly brought sanity to an out-of-control situation, stopped senseless bloodshed, and saved many lives in the process. David praised her for her God-given wisdom, willingly heeded her advice, completely changed his course of action in response to her appeal, and even asked her to be his wife after her wicked husband died.
Each of these women (and many others like them) took bold, counter-cultural steps against oppression that resulted in incredible, history-altering outcomes. But in each case, their bold steps did not flow from a fleshly, selfish, manipulative, or demanding attitude. Rather, they came from an attitude of complete surrender to the One they knew they could trust with all their heart, soul, mind, and strength. They knew He valued them, cared about them, and desired to powerfully work through them to accomplish His purposes. They trusted in Him, not in themselves. And their own lives — and the lives of countless others — were forever changed as a result.
Do you see the difference? We can lean on our own strength and ideas, using fleshly tactics to try to achieve feminine strength (as modern feminists do) or we can let God powerfully work through us and build His strength within us as we yield completely to Him. Which path we choose directly impacts our ability to thrive in our calling as women. So let’s choose to place all our confidence in Him, and not ourselves.
Knowing Our Position
Much debate has swirled around Christianity about acceptable roles for women. It can be a very confusing topic. Should women ever teach publicly? Should a woman always take a back seat to a man’s opinion? Should married women work outside the home? Should single women go to the mission field? And the list goes on.
There are strong, even volatile, opinions on either side of each of these issues, and I am not going to attempt to address them in this article. But honestly, I believe these are all secondary issues. These questions often distract us from the most important question of all: What is our position? I am not referring to our position in the home, or the church, or our society. I mean our position in the heavenly realm.
Colossians 2:9–10 tells us, “For in [Jesus Christ] dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily; and you are complete in Him, who is the head of all principality and power” (emphasis added). And Romans 8:1 says, “There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus…” (emphasis added).
The Gospel is so much more than just mentally agreeing with the fact that Jesus died to save us from our sin. Embracing the Gospel means a change of our position. Before we come to Christ, our position is outside of Him. We are controlled by our own flesh — that selfish, sinful part of us that continually pulls us away from all that is good and righteous. But when we come to Christ, we take a new position in Him. (See Romans 13:14.) Old things pass away, and He becomes the One in control, the One willing and acting within us to do according to His good pleasure. (See Philippians 2:13.) Taking our position in Christ is the secret to Christianity that really works.
When we take our position in Christ, our identity becomes wrapped up in Him and is no longer in ourselves. Ephesians 2:5–6 gives us a powerful picture of what this really means: “But God … even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus” (emphasis added).
This means that in Christ, we can have victory over the control of sin and the flesh. In Christ, we are protected from the power of the enemy. In Christ, we have the ability to live lives that would otherwise be impossible, because it is not we who live, but Christ who lives in us. (See Galatians 2:20.)
What an astounding reality! Knowing our position in Christ is the key to stepping into the life He has called us to live. It has been said that we can’t really know who we are until we know who Jesus is. But we can’t stop there. We must know who He is and what our position is in Him.
When we know who we are in Christ, we won’t need to scrape and claw for our rights — because we are secure in Him. When we know who we are in Christ, we won’t be confused about our identity or gender — because our identity is wrapped up in Him. When we know who we are in Christ, we won’t become obsessed with what we should or shouldn’t do as a woman — because we will be lovingly led by Him one step of obedience at a time.
Paul said that all his earthly accomplishments seemed like rubbish compared to the surpassing greatness of being found in Christ. (See Philippians 3:8–9.) Taking our position in Christ is the only way to walk in our true identity and calling. It is the only way to experience a life that actually works.
If you have never really understood your position in Christ, this is where your true calling begins. In Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead and you are complete in Him! (See Colossians 2:9–10.)
For a deeper understanding of this principle I encourage you to listen to my husband Eric’s message In Christ, available for free at ellerslie.com.
I’d like to close this article with a powerful statement from Elisabeth Elliot. It beautifully enunciates the ultimate answer to all confusion regarding our calling as women: complete and total surrender to the One who made us and loves us more than we could ever comprehend. He is faithful. And He is worthy.
We are called to be women. The fact that I am a woman does not make me a different kind of Christian, but the fact that I am a Christian does make me a different kind of woman. For I have accepted God’s idea of me, and my whole life is an offering back to Him of all that I am and all that He wants me to be.