Monday, April 21, 2014

Our roles as woman in the faith: We are vulnerable to satan in specific ways. Part 1

This is a three part series about women in the faith. In this part I'll show from scripture that women have particular vulnerabilities to satan. We will look at what those are and how to avoid being used by satan to bring shame on the family and slander to the faith.

In the second part I'll look at where the modern woman is doing her dark work against Jesus: it's not just inside the church anymore. Mommy bloggers and online amateur theologians have grown to be an enormous network outside the church and thus often operate outside their husband's watchful eye and usually outside their pastor's eye. Much mischief happens on mommy blogs and amateur online theologian platforms and satan uses these to filter back to the church, to our detriment. I myself am in the amateur online theologian category so definitely don't take what I write at face value but test it.

Third, I'll look at the most famous female false prophet, heretic, and worker of iniquity today: Joyce Meyer. Meyer is representative of the female false teacher doing very much harm to the women of the church. Under her umbrella are women like Beth Moore, Anne Voskamp, Kim Walker Smith, and other newcomers who are spiritual daughters of Meyer and Moore and are being used by satan in exploitation of the particular vulnerabilities I will show in part 1.

Would they target a Christian book to men titled
"Eat the hot dog, buy the tie"? I think not
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In the bible there are groups of men listed and also individual men listed by name who were causing dissension or harm to the faith. Of the groups, Paul rebuked the Circumcision group (Galatians 2:11-14) and Jesus rebuked the Nicolaitans. (Revelation 2:6). Paul also names individual men who he rebuked or wrote about in a negative light,
  • Demas who left the faith, an apostate (2 Timothy 4:10).
  • Phygelus and Hermogenes who deserted Paul, apostates both. (2 Timothy 1:15).
  • Alexander the metalworker, he did Paul harm and opposed the message of Christ. (2 Timothy 4:14).
  • Hymenaeus and Philetus, irreverent babblers, leading people into ungodliness (2 Timothy 2:17, 1 Timothy 1:20).
  • Alexander made a shipwreck of his faith and handed over with Hymenaeus to satan to be taught not to blaspheme (1 Timothy 1:20). Unsure if this is the same Alexander as above or a different Alexander (a very common name then, as was Mary).
  • Diotrephes, rebuked by John, a man who "who likes to put himself first," "speaks wicked nonsense" and "does not recognize our authority" (3 John 1:10).
Not to be outdone, women are named too. Jesus names a group in Revelation 2:20, a false prophetess named 'Jezebel' and her followers. She is a false teacher whom Jesus said He will throw into a permanent sickbed in hell if she did not repent.

In 2 John 1:4-11, John gently corrects a specific but unnamed woman who needs to watch herself, to walk in love, and to refuse to receive false teachers into her house.

Albert Edelfelt (1854–1905) Women of Ruokolahti outside the Church
Another general group receiving a warning are Gossiping widows. They are a group named in a negative light. GotQuestions explains,
"Another group who were (and still are today) known for indulging in gossip is widows. Paul cautions widows against entertaining the habit of gossip and of being idle. These women are described as “gossips and busybodies, saying things they ought not to” (1 Timothy 5:12-13). Because women tend to spend a lot of time in each other's homes and work closely with other women, they hear and observe situations which can become distorted, especially when repeated over and over. Paul states that widows get into the habit of going from home to home, looking for something to occupy their idleness.
Younger widows also were mentioned in a mild rebuke because of their potential to give the adversary an occasion for slander. These women are loaded with passions and "some have already strayed after Satan." (1 Corinthians 7:9; 1 Timothy 5:14-15)

Women in general were told to remain silent in the churches, especially regarding tongues, interpretation of tongues, and prophesying. This is the section where Paul was rebuking the Corinthians for having disorderly services, and women were a large part of the reason the services had become chaotic. (1 Corinthians 14:34-35)

Women who were specifically named were Euodia and Syntyche (Philippians 4:2-3). These women were causing disunity due to their disagreement with each other. Paul asked his loyal yokefellow to help these woman agree in the Lord.

You notice that there is a general difference between the men listed and the women. The men were mostly false believers. They tended not to be in the body of Christ. You notice stern warnings of the men, who were all obvious heretics and shunned or told to be put out. (One exception is that Paul rebuked Peter and of course Peter was a true believer. Alternately Paul rebuked a demon possessed slave girl and of course who was a false professor of the faith).

The women who are mentioned, however, were mostly believers in the church. Their spiritual crime caused disruption, division, and chaos in church circles. Gossip, idleness, and easily being drawn into false teaching were the issues at play here.

"Galicnik Wedding by Marjan Lazarevski" A Macedonian bride. CC

Women are the weaker vessel. (1 Peter 3:7). Some women are weaker than others. (2 Timothy 3:6). Satan attacked the woman, Eve, first, didn't he? Genesis 3:1 says that satan was the craftiest creature in the garden. That means he didn't just come up with a spur of the moment plot and threw spaghetti at the wall to see what would happen as he chatted with Eve. Crafty means "clever at achieving one's aims by indirect or deceitful methods." Crafty means that Satan had a method in place, he thought about it for a while, watched Adam and Eve, and came up with a plan. Point number one on his plan was "Approach the woman."

Knowing this, satan sends false teachers who have the appearance of godliness but denying its power, to seduce women with their false doctrines.

He also uses women in their vulnerability (the younger ones with passion and the elder ones with gossip and slander) to spread discord and gangrenous doctrines.

He targets the women and he uses the women. So, how can women avoid being used by satan who wants to exploit our vulnerability?

First, recognize ourselves as weaker. (1 Peter 3:7).

Labeled for reuse
Second, submit to authority. If married, submit to husbands. Raise your children. If having a question, ask the husband outside of church services. Wives should adorn their husbands as a jewel, busy herself with the home, and remain quiet. (1 Timothy 5:14, Ephesians 5:22, Titus 2:5, 1 Corinthians 14:34). Doing these things will not give satan as much of an opportunity to exploit your vulnerability.

In the same vein, elder widows with children or grandchildren should "show godliness to their own household and to make some return to their parents, for this is pleasing in the sight of God." (1 Timothy 5:4)

Elder widows without family should "set her hope on God and continues in supplications and prayers night and day," (1 Timothy 5:5). Anna did this and was revered for it. (Luke 2:37-38).

Third, be busy. Elder widows should be "having a reputation for good works: if she has brought up children, has shown hospitality, has washed the feet of the saints, has cared for the afflicted, and has devoted herself to every good work." (1 Timothy 5:10). 1 Timothy 5:13 speaks ill of idle women, so keeping one's self spiritually busy in true service will also stave off satanic attacks and keep us thriving on the narrow path.

A silly woman at Mard Gras, by acedout. CC
Fourth, rein in passions. Younger widows tend to be passionate and flighty. They set their minds on marriage again so Paul said they should marry. (1 Timothy 5:11).

Self-indulgence in women is severely rebuked. Paul said "she who is self-indulgent is dead even while she lives" (1 Timothy 5:6). Idleness is rebuked because it tends toward disruptiveness (1 Thessalonians 5:14; 2 Thessalonians 3:11).

Women loaded with passions have a huge target on their back. Paul wrote, "For among them are those who creep into households and capture weak women, burdened with sins and led astray by various passions," (2 Timothy 3:6). So obviously one way to remain spiritually fit and stave off satan's wiles is to repent frequently when we do sin and resist sin when it presents itself.

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I hope these words help you, whether you're a young wife or an elder widow. Women are women, and we all have the same vulnerability in our weakness to satan and his attacks. These attacks don't hurt merely the family, they disrupt the church, as we saw with Euodia and Syntyche, the disorderly prophesiers, and the idle widows. Pettiness, idleness, gossip, slander, division seem to be the unique set of negative characteristics we possess in our sinful state that Jesus revealed to us women. He gracefully shows us through scripture how to combat this. In so doing, we can receive high commendations from our Father, our Lord, our Comforter!

In Proverbs 31:30-31 it says, "Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised. Give her of the fruit of her hands, and let her works praise her in the gates."

Proverbs 3:15-18 "She is more precious than jewels, and nothing you desire can compare with her. Long life is in her right hand; in her left hand are riches and honor. Her ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace. She is a tree of life to those who lay hold of her; those who hold her fast are called blessed."

Judge Mary Margaret Bartelme,
a most dignified woman. WikiCC

Widow Anna was commended. Mary was called favored by God. (Luke 1:28). Eunice and Lois were commended by Paul as having great faith and raising Timothy well. (2 Timothy 1:5, 2 Timothy 3:14). Dorcas was lauded for all her good works and charities. When Dorcas died, "All the widows stood beside him weeping and showing tunics and other garments that Dorcas made while she was with them." (Acts 9:39b). "All" the widows! Dorcas was loved, and when she died, many pleaded with Paul to raise her to life. If you were to die, would all the women in your circle cry and beg for you to be returned to life? Or would they be relieved to see you go? In Dorcas' busy-ness I am sure that satan had little opportunity to worm his way in and cause her to bring shame to the church.

Please ponder these things. Check the scriptures and test all that I've said. We have an important role to play, that much is obvious. Satan wants to use us in disrupting the church and be a carrier of false doctrine in our silliness and rebellion. That can easily become our role if we do not pay attention. Our role should be an important work for Jesus in unifying the church when we repent of our sins, and stay on our God-given path. Let us please Him as His precious women of faith, working and striving and contending and being a helpmeet to the men in our lives, whether they are fathers, husbands, or pastors.

___________________

Further reading

What does it mean that women are the weaker vessel

Bible Gateway: All the Women of the Bible

Essay: Widows in the church, part 1

Should you leave a church if it has a woman pastor? 

The Proverbs 31 Woman 

5 comments:

  1. VERY TIMELY! satan has been having a hey-day with me lately!! (constantly pitchforking me.... reminding me of sins from my past!) To get right to it: some 20 years ago for reasons I don't completely understand, I had an affair (it was an emotional affair ONLY!) with a church minister. The Lord dealt with me, I REPENTED, and I chose to leave that liberal church, never looking back. ..... HOWEVER..... his wife -to this very day- tells everyone she comes in contact with that I was flirting with her husband. You'd think after 20 years, she'd get over it! But no doubt, it's in her heart to ruin me, to destroy my reputation. I continue to suffer the consequences and some decent friendships have been destroyed once they hear... it's like I **FOREVER** have to wear the "Scarlet Letter"!!! {he was not so innocent either... but of course LIED to his wife about that & she wholeheartedly believed him}
    Like I say, I have repented, I've gotten into the Word, I am not the same person any more. Yet all she has is a *snapshot* from 20 years ago & wants to continue to crucify me & unfortunately others judge me on that.
    With everything in me, I regret the past & if I could just have "do overs" then with the Lord's help, I would do my best to not repeat past sins and mistakes!! None of us get to re-do the past though; so for now I'm holding onto Philippians 3 in trying to forget the past & move forward!! What else CAN I do?? I do look forward to being in Glory and getting to start over with a CLEAN SLATE!!
    Sometimes I can't help wondering who has the worse sin: what I did (which I know was bad) or what she (the wife) did and continues to do? Constantly gossiping about it.... Either way, I try to do as the Bible commends and actually pray FOR her!! Not only do I pray this will not be held against her account but I also pray that she will see the error of her ways and quit letting this define and establish her life. Anyway, betcha' didn't expect an out & out confession today, dear Elizabeth!! This haunts me and taunts me... I'm just glad that I'll get relief in heaven. It's almost like a felon ~ once he's done his time, yet no one can believe he's a changed person and no one will not give him a break. We actually know a felon and I can totally relate to what he went through.
    Here, even if a fellow Christian "forgives", he will not give you a break! ~ will not FORGET! Up there (heaven) thankfully, the Lord CHOOSES to forget our past.

    I do have 1 more little thing to add: women are NOT to be SUBMISSIVE or a helpmeet to ALL men!!! ~ but rather, to husbands ONLY!!! We are to HONOR our fathers; and respect and pray for our pastors; but are a helpmeet ONLY to our husbands..... otherwise, we get ourselves entrenched in all kinds of cult-like thinking!! Women: BE CAREFUL!!

    And any truly Godly person reading this, I'd like you to know that I covet your prayers! For the remainder of days I have left here, the Lord knows my heart and knows that I truly want to be faithful and be a Proverb 31 virtuous woman!! I need and want to make some friendships with "real" Christian women!! ~ with people who will not constantly G L A R E at me and bring up my past....

    I regret most of my life actually; but the Lord knew Mary "was a sinner", too; as she broke open the flask of spikenard.... I would not have chosen to identify with her necessarily, but even so, this is my Christian confession and my story!

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    Replies
    1. Dearest Anonymous,, my heart goes out to you. Just remember that when Jesus was paying for your sins at the cross, he already KNEW ALL you would do even after you were saved. He KNEW and loved you so much he still paid for ALL your sins. And don't forget ALL of the great examples in the bible where people like Samson, David, and Moses who SINNED greatly by committing adultery, murder and flirting with lust were STILL used by God even AFTER they sinned greatly. God uses people who think they are nobodies. HE isn't done with you-I'll be lifting you up and saying a prayer to our heavenly Father for you-

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  2. Dear Anon 4/22/14 11:22 am

    Here are some scriptures I hope will minister to you:

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

    1 John 1
    9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

    Colossians 2
    13 When you were dead in your transgressions and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He made you alive together with Him, having forgiven us all our transgressions, 14 having canceled out the certificate of debt consisting of decrees against us, which was hostile to us; and He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross.

    As for any person who will not forgive another repentant person's sins:
    Matthew 18:23-35

    -Carolyn

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  3. I watched my family member follow this principle of being subject to another family member and was not blessed nor cared for but beat repeatedly while we watched helplessly.
    I believe being subject to someone back in time did not mean nor result in anything hurtful, demeaning, demoralizing or slave-like.
    Being born In today's world I am subject to my Savior, employer, the IRS, and your best friend to be honorable and trustworthy. I own my own land, my own accounts, feed many needy women and children, visit the sick and the old, and tell others about the Grace that saves us. I am a woman, a woman of God.

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    Replies
    1. Hello anonymous,

      I can well appreciate that you've had to be self-sufficient and manage your own affairs. I do as well. I'm so glad you tell others about the grace from Jesus that saves, as we repent of our sins.

      I can't imagine the horror of having to watch a family member get beat up all the time and only watch helplessly. It is definitely a sinful world and sinful people live in it.

      It must have been hard for the slaves in Paul's day, when Paul said submit to your masters. (Eph 6:5, 1 Tim 6:1, Titus 2:9, 1 Peter 2:18). Many Masters were not kind. Wives submit to husbands, husbands submit to Christ and love their wives like Christ, sacrificially, even unto death. You're right, the submission of slaves, wives, husbands, elders & deacons, etc was not demeaning then or now. However there is always sin crouching at the door and there is always someone who may take advantage of submission. I'm sorry that happened in your case.

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