Not Just Pretty Flowers: A Reformed Girl and Her Masculine Theology

Breaking the mold of the reformed woman

What does God say about sex? May 27, 2009

Filed under: Articles,Bible — ashleylavalette @ 17:30

The following is an article I wrote last year.   Check out Mars Hill Church in Seattle’s sermon series Religion Saves… for more resources.

What does God say about SEX?

The very first place to start is well… at the beginning.  Why did God create sex?

Genesis 2:24-25, we find that God created woman as a partner – wife – for man and that they were naked.  Adam and Eve were given the gift of sex to become one.  The word “one” in this verse is similar to how the Trinity (God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit) is One.  God made sex to be more than an act.  Sex binds two people together to make one body.

In vs. 25, God points out that in their nakedness, there was no shame.  In this relationship with each other and God, they were in perfection – what God created them to be.

After Adam and Eve both sinned, the first thing that they realized was that they were naked.  In nakedness, one cannot hide dark sin. 

In Exodus 20, God gives Moses the Ten Commandments.  The first is in vs. 3.  Having no other god before Him does not always mean statues of little fat men.  It means anything that comes in between your relationship with God.  God is the only One who is to be worshiped.  He is the Creator.  So many times, we worship the created, as warned in vs. 4, instead of the creator.  So many times people make other people (their boyfriends/girlfriends/friends with benefits) their god.  They worship their partner.  They lay down on an altar and give a sacrifice (the bed), they allow the partner to use them to glorify themselves.

In vs. 14, God says that adultery is a no-no.  You know, Martin Luther said that the first two commandments are the most important.  Because if you love the Lord with all your heart, mind, and soul, and you have no other gods but Him, the rest of the commandments will just happen.

 So, what is adultery?  Adultery is a relationship (mostly referred to with sexual connotations) with someone other than one’s spouse.  The problem is that though one might not be married at this moment, they will most likely be one day.  So, having sex with someone outside of a marriage relationship is having sex with someone other than their spouse.  Think of it this way – one day, the man you are having sex with will be married.  One day, you will be married.  Both of you are having affairs on your future spouse.

Proverbs 6:32 sums up the depth of adultery.  There is pain involved.  This is because God created sex for the husband and the wife.  Anything outside of this covenant – promise – is sinful and with sin comes pain and death.

 Jesus takes the definition of adultery one step further in Matthew 5.  Jesus spends most of His time teaching people that ‘the rules’ don’t mean anything if your heart is not one that is seeking after and worshipping God.  He shows us that even in our hearts, we can commit adultery.  Even wanting someone who is not ours is sinful.  The definition for lust here (the word Epithumeo in Greek), means to covet.  God warns us against this in one of the other commandments (Ex. 5:17).

 Anytime the phrase “sexual immorality” appears in Scripture, especially in the New Testament, the word is ‘Porneia’.  This is an overall group for anything sexual outside of marriage.  Paul talks about Porneia quite a bit especially to one of the churches in Corinth.  Corinth was very similar to our culture today, with an “Anything Goes!” mentality.  1 Corinthians 6:12-20 is where Paul hits the church hard.  In vs. 12, Paul kills the excuse that we are human and do not have to be in control of our own bodies.  Vs. 13, tells us that our bodies are for God, to worship Him and to honor Him.  Paul goes on to say in vs. 18-20 that sexual immorality is the one way that we can sin against the body.  If you are a Christian, saved by the grace of Jesus who purchased you with His blood on the cross for your sins, then your body is not your own, but God’s.  The Holy Spirit lives in those who are saved and when their bodies sin, they bring God with them.

Colossians 3:5-8 says that just as Christ was put to death for our sins, we are to put them to death and run away from them.  That includes sexual immorality.

Back in 1 Corinthians 6, Paul makes some very serious claims.  Vs. 9-10 says that our sins are serious.  Using your body as a prostitute would get you to hell if there is no repentance to Jesus.  Repentance means asking Jesus for forgiveness and crucifying that sin, as He was crucified in our place, and turning away from it. 

 In John 4:1-26, Jesus teaches us that we cannot ever be filled by the empty promises of sexual immorality – Porneia.  Here we see Him speaking to a woman at a well with a very busy sexual history.  She was worshipping the created instead of the Creator.  She had gone in and out of relationships that only left her dry and ruined.  She had to have been lonely.  She definitely had a reputation.  We know this because she was visiting the well at the hottest part of the day – when no one would be around to judge her.  She knew she wasn’t satisfied.  When Jesus tells her in vs. 13 that she will only end up being thirsty again, He was not just talking about actual water.  He was talking about all of the lies that people buy into that make them think that they will be fulfilled.  In vs. 14, He says it.  We will only be satisfied in Him.  Only in Jesus.  Not sex, not relationships.  Not the opposite sex.  Only in Jesus.

 You see, it’s not an issue of when to/ not to.  This is a worship issue.  Either we worship the Creator or the created.  Either we look for the Living Water to take away our thirst or we try to fill ourselves up on something that never will. 

 Romans 8:1 – Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.

 What does God say about sex?

Outline

  • The Beginning
    • Genesis 2:24-25
    • vs. 25

 

  • The 10 Commandments – Exodus 20
    • vs. 3
    • vs. 4
    • vs. 14

 

  • Adultery
    • Proverbs 6:32
    • Matthew 5
    • Ex. 5:17

 

  • Porneia
    • Corinthians 6:12-20
    • vs. 12
    • Vs. 13
    • vs. 18-20

 

  • Put it to Death!
    • Colossians 3:5-8
    • 1 Corinthians 6: 9-10

 

  • Jesus and Woman at the Well
    • John 4:1-26
    • vs. 13
    • vs. 14

 

 

 

Romans 8:1 –

Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.

 

 

Extra Scriptures about sexual immorality:

  • Romans 13:13
  • Galatians 5:19
  • Ephesians 5:3
  • 1 Thessalonians 4:3
  • Jude 1:7
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I have to have a kid?!? May 11, 2009

Filed under: Articles,Bible,Women's Theology — ashleylavalette @ 11:43
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A friend and I were discussing last week the strangeness of 1 Timothy 2:15.  In context, Paul is talking about women’s roles in the church.  Of course, this is a very touchy passage for people who think that women have since evolved and can ‘handle tougher roles’.  Not the point of this blog.  Let’s look at the verse in context:

(All passages unless otherwise indicated come from the ESV translation)

12 I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man; rather, she is to remain quiet. 13 For Adam was formed first, then Eve; 14 and Adam was not deceived, but the woman was deceived and became a transgressor. 15 Yet she will be saved through childbearing – if they continue in faith and love and holiness, with self-control. (Emphasis mine)

The passage below is taken from an article from the Council of Biblical Manhood and Womanhood entitled Saved Through Childbearing? A Fresh Look at 1 Timothy 2:15 Points to Protection from Satan’s Deception by Andreas J. Köstenberger.  The word “saved” is translated from the Greek word “sōzō”.

sōzō may refer to spiritual protection rather than salvation in 1 Timothy 2:15, we discover that Paul’s concern for the spiritual protection of believers pervades his writings. In 1 Corinthians 7:5, he counsels that husband and wife not make themselves vulnerable to Satan by prolonged abstinence from sexual intercourse. In Ephesians 4:27, he warns that unresolved anger would give the devil a foothold.”

Köstenberger goes on to say “If this be so, (then) “women shall be kept safe by childbearing” is the likely rendering of 1 Timothy 2:15.  (W)hat are women to be kept safe from? On the basis of what has been said thus far, and without much further demonstration, it can be argued that what women are to be kept safe from is being deceived, ultimately by Satan himself.

Three factors combine to make this the probable understanding of the passage: first, the close parallel of 1 Timothy 5:14-15 where Satan is explicitly referred to and where “childbearing” is likewise mentioned as the way by which women will be kept safe; second, the fact that Satan is clearly in view in the preceding verse, 1 Timothy 2:14, where Paul conjures up the scenario of the Fall as one of two reasons why women are not to occupy roles of ultimate authority over men in the church (see vv. 12 and 13): “And Adam was not the one deceived; it was the woman who was deceived and became a sinner.” Eve, Paul implies, was not kept safe at the Fall; she was deceived. Why? Because she left her proper domain under her husband’s care. What happened as a result? She became an easy prey for Satan. How can women under Timothy’s charge (and in churches everywhere) avoid repeating the same mistake? By “childbearing,” that is, by adhering to their God-ordained calling, including a focus on marriage, family, and the home. 1 Timothy 2:15 thus turns out to be Paul’s prescription for women as a lesson learned from the scenario of the Fall described in the preceding verse.”

I suggest that you read the entire article to find out the third factor and for a more detailed explanation on this crazy verse, which can be found at https://www.cbmw.org/Journal/Vol-2-No-4/Saved-Through-Childbearing . 

With a little patience and understanding, one can find that God is purposeful in the things He says in Scripture. 

…And it’s okay that I don’t have a child right now! 🙂 (phew!)

 

Study ALL the words! Proverbs Pt. 5 April 14, 2009

Filed under: Bible,Proverbs — ashleylavalette @ 15:51
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Proverbs 31:19

 

 In this one verse alone, God is teaching us so many things.  I know it would not seem like it.  The first time I read it, I even thought that I should have combined it with verse 18, mention something about sewing, and then move on.

BUT, as Scripture says, ALL Scripture is God-breathed and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness (1 Timothy 3:16), even the verses that seem on first glance like they are not saying a whole lot.

Another feeling that I had to fight was skipping past the word “distaff”.  After researching, I found out that a distaff is about three feet long and is used in the process of making thread.  One would wrap fibers of wool or flax around the distaff and the other end of the material would be connected to a handheld spindle.  The woman would tuck the distaff under her left arm and prop it up.  Then, in the other hand, she would hold the spindle, just as the verse suggests.  She would then allow for the spindle to spin, tightly gripping the fibers, twisting them together to form a thread.

When she was finished, all of the fibers from the distaff are wound together as thread on the spindle.  The thread could finally be used for sewing.  I did not realize that there were so many steps!
This action described in verse 19 involves the woman’s whole body.  She must keep the distaff upright and her hands must be trained in the art of spinning.

The most interesting detail of this verse is that the English “hands” in this verse is really two different words in the Hebrew.  The first word translated to the English “hands” is “Yad” in Hebrew and actually means strength.  She puts her strength to the distaff while her physical hands (“Kaph”) hold the spindle.

This has got to be a boring job.  Think of all of the different jobs that we have seen her do (and there are still more to come).  She has so many things going on – so many that she stays up to work while others go to bed (see Part 4).  But now we see her sitting quietly with the tedious job of making thread.

This very simplistic job is actually quite important.  If the thread is not ready to go, then the next step in the sewing process will be stalled.  Maybe others would not be able to do their jobs the following day.

I bet she had many more important things to do.  I bet she’d rather go do something else for herself.  I bet she is thinking of other things.

But she does the job.  She does not rush through it, doing a sloppy job.  She worships God even in this.  She does even the most boring job with a loving, glad heart.

We can find the antithesis to this in Malachi 1:13-14.  Here, the people did not find use in the ‘little job’ of an offering for God.  They hurried up and got through it, finding whatever they could to use as an offering, just to check it off the list.  You could say that they were just going through the motions.  If you read a little further in Malachi Chapter 1, you can find out God’s response.

Jesus is concerned with our heart, not our actions.  If our hearts are in the right place, then the actions will follow, just as they do for the woman in Proverbs 31.  She probably didn’t enjoy the tiring, boring job of spinning, but she loved God and her family.  Again, it was another way for her to serve.  If she would have done the same exact thing with a bad heart, she would not be an example to follow.  God is not tricked when we do something begrudgingly.

I have such a begrudging heart.  I do things based on my schedule and my mood.  If only I worshipped my Lord in everything!  How different even menial tasks would be!
I pray that God teaches us how to worship without ceasing and that He changes our hearts to want to glorify Him in even the most tedious tasks.

God, please teach me what real worship is.

 

Karfreitag April 10, 2009

Filed under: Articles,Bible — ashleylavalette @ 10:12
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Our “Good Friday” is called “Karfreitag” in German.  “Karfreitag” can be translated to “Grieving Friday”.  The “Kar” part actually comes from the jewish word “kara”, which means grief, sorrow, distress, etc. 

As I do most days, today I visited challies.com to read Tim Challies’ latest post.  He has been reading the book The Cross He Bore by Frederick Leahy and chose a very powerful quote from the book to speak about today…

“At Bethlehem, when the Saviour was born, the night was changed to day as the glory of the Lord shone around the shepherds. On Golgotha the day gave way to night as Christ sank deeper and deeper into the abyss of damnation. At Bethlehem there were countless angels praising God; on Golgotha legions of darkness filled the impenetrable gloom, hoping that darkness would finally triumph over light.

 Golgotha was so different from the mount of transfiguration where the Lord conversed with Moses, representing the law, and Elijah, representing the prophets (Mark 9:2-4). There, for a brief moment, the glory of deity broke through the veil of flesh, a fleeting glimpse of the radiant splendour of Christ when he comes at the end of this age “in the glory of his Father with the holy angels” (Mark 8:38).

 Between the shining forth of glory at the transfiguration and the glory of the second coming, however, lies the heavy darkness of Golgotha.

 At the creation, God, at an early stage, introduced light. Yet now he leaves his Son suspended in darkness at midday…”

 

“It Smells of the Lamp” Proverbs Pt.4 April 2, 2009

Filed under: Bible,Proverbs — ashleylavalette @ 23:29
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Alright.  After our break, it’s time to get back to work.  Our next verse is Proverbs 31:18.

This verse seems out of place with what we have been talking about.  Is she full of herself in noticing that she is doing well with the products she is selling?

I believe that this verse is showing us that she is a woman with a calculated, organized plan.  Just as we learned from verse 16, she does not make decisions based on her emotions.  She has considered a strategy.  So, when she “perceives that her merchandise is profitable”, it is evidence that she is a good business woman.

The woman works hard through the whole process of her business, including the end result.  She does not work to pass the time frivolously.  Her investments yield fruit and she keeps a watchful eye on them.

This is also more evidence that she does not only start a project and leave it for someone else to finish.  The second half of verse 18 talks about her lamp not going out at night.  The woman does not lose focus!

Even after the sun goes down, the woman is still working.  Now, some might read this and want to scream, “She’s a slave!  She never relaxes!  It’s nighttime!  Give the woman a break!”  Scripture is not saying that the woman should never rest (in fact, just the opposite –  I believe that God demands that His people take a Sabbath!).  God is not saying, “Woman, work all day and then come home and do the chores.”

I believe that God is saying, “Woman of virtue, I see your hard work.  I notice how you take care of things, even as others sleep.  I know that the reason why you are still awake is because you love Me and you want to care for your family.”  Take note that the verses are not commands, per say.  Take a look at other places in Scripture like 1 Corinthians 7 or 1 Peter 3.  These are commands directed toward Christian women.

The verses in Proverbs 31 draw us a picture of a woman that all women should want to emulate.  The bottom line here is the woman’s heart.  She stays up, not because she is ordered to, not because she has to, but because her life is not her own.  Jesus Christ has called her to Him.  Her sinful self has been crucified with Him.  Matthew 10:39 says “Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it” (ESV).

As John 12:26 says, she has been called to follow Jesus and that is why she serves Him the way she does.  God has been honoring her through the scriptures for thousands of years because of her service.

God, please teach the women who are Yours to serve in Your name.  I pray that You will draw to Yourself those who still own their own life and only work to serve themselves.  Please show us how to follow the example of this woman of virtue.

 

Get Your Hands Dirty, You Sissy! Proverbs Pt. 3 March 19, 2009

Filed under: Bible,Proverbs — ashleylavalette @ 20:06
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Proverbs 31:16-17

Here, again, we see how the woman who fears the Lord works with her family in mind. Verse 16 shows us a couple of things. First, we see an example of how her husband trusts her (verse 11). She is choosing, buying, and running a piece of real estate. Now, there is a lot that goes into buying property. One must know the value of the land, how much money they have, how to recognize a good price, how to purchase, etc. This woman must be knowledgeable. Also, do not overlook the word ‘considers’. She does not hurry and make a rash decision. She weighs the pros and cons. She thinks of all the ways that her decision will affect her family. She realizes that this is a huge decision. She is responsible for the outcome.

The second half of this verse points out that she follows through with her plans. She is not an irresponsible dreamer. She does not leave the dirty work for someone else. She does not get bored and move on to another project. And maybe the most important – she does not start all of this and then assign tasks to her husband!!! This is her project from beginning to end. The goal of purchasing and growing a vineyard is definitely not to give her husband something else to do or work on. He already has a job (Again, to the single ladies: HE HAS A JOB! That is a conversation for another time, but that time will come!). She takes care of everything, including the manual labor of working the vineyards.

Verse 17 says “She dresses herself with strength” (ESV). I really like the Hebrew here, which means “She girds her loins with strength.” This verse teaches that a woman has no excuse to be a sissy. She is to get her hands dirty. She can lift heavy things. It’s okay (rather commanded here) to be in shape and to have a little muscle. So many women and women’s ministries love or hate this chapter in Scripture. They feel that the woman here is presented as the woman who is always barefoot and pregnant. Some hate it because they are ultra-feminists out to crush the sexist masculine culture. Some love it because it gives them another excuse to go get a manicure and watch soap operas all day. But verse 17 slaps both of these groups in the face. The woman here does the hard work.

One thing not to forget, however, is that the woman in this chapter is definitely not masculine or butch. We will see in a couple of verses that she is elegant and does keep up on her appearance.

I pray that God teaches us HIS definition of femininity. Also I pray that we will carefully and prayerfully and consider ways that we can invest ourselves for our families, whether we have one now or in the future. I pray that we learn how to be the virtuous wife and apply our knowledge in a greater scale to the church, who is Jesus’ bride.

 

Selfish Sleep – Proverbs Pt. 2 March 17, 2009

Filed under: Bible,Proverbs — ashleylavalette @ 18:16
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Proverbs 31:13-16

 

While it could be very easy to look at these couple of verses and conclude that God wants women to work outside the home and have careers, I think it would be profitable to look closer. Why of all things does the excellent woman seek after wool and flax? Well, both materials are used for clothing. Flax has a number of other uses including being an ingredient in medicine and food. She seeks for and works with these materials to take care of her family.

Just as a wife expects her husband to consider her in everything he does, so the wife should consider him. Her husband is the whole reason why the virtuous woman works in the first place. It is absolutely not because of her selfish aspirations. She is tied to her family, not her job. That means that if she had to, she’d walk away from everything – the years of education, the time used to train, the promotions – if it came between her and her family.

The goal in verse 14 is taking care of her family. Work is just a means to do that. Both of these verses describe a woman who is willing and determined. She understands that the goal is not necessarily her satisfaction. It is not about her career or her “me time.”

More evidence of this follows in verse 15. Her ultimate goal is taking care of her family. One can tell that she is determined because she gets up early in order to do it! Matthew Henry commentates, “Those that have a family to take care of should not love their bed too well in a morning.”

I think what’s so cool about this is that women have so many responsibilities. I am excited that God pushes us to do so much. Our families rely on us.

Now if anyone knows me at all, they know that I LOVE my sleep. I do know now after reading these verses that I choose it over the work that God is calling me to. I believe it is because I still don’t have the biblical goal of my family. Think about it. Sleeping in (not generally sleeping, but sleeping in) is selfish. It is lazy and cannot benefit anyone (even you, because you know with more than eight hours of sleep, you are just as tired as when you went to bed).

Again, single ladies cannot get out of this just because they do not have a family right now to take care of. You are to be preparing. Everything you do, do it for God first and your future family second. It does not matter if it is you education, career, dating life, etc.

This is so different from what our culture says is important. Culture says that every move we make as women should be dictated by how it affects us personally. School is to better my career and to find myself. When I make time, I will marry but the man must bend around my life. He cannot ask me to change myself. We’ll get to kids when I am ready to take off of work.

However, when I get out of the spotlight and my priorities become God first and family second, my course of action changes drastically.

 

Today’s verses are really challenging me. I pray that God will convict our hearts and rid us of our selfish ways.