The Wonders of Femininity

As a disclaimer up front, this is not much of a discussion on the marriage relationship, but on the individual.

Everybody is a sinner in need of grace. As sinners, we are corrupted forms of who we really are, and the wonderful, perfect design of God lies underneath it, ready to be restored and brought to life by the power of Christ.

 
I have no doubt that God made no mistakes when He designed men. And I have no doubt that He made no mistakes when He designed women. Among its innumerable flaws, Christian culture tends to describe masculinity and femininity–and especially, the interaction between the two–almost entirely in terms of marriage, although there’s so much more than that, for the simple reason that 99+% of Scripture is written equally toward male and female, describes the Body of Christ’s interactions without a pervasive addressing of gender; there are a couple, such as the issue of female authority, which actually helps imply that many other male/female interactions are to be expected. In fact:
 
1 Timothy 5:1-2
 

“Do not rebuke an older man harshly, but exhort him as if he were your father. Treat younger men as brothers, 

older women as mothers, and younger women as sisters, with absolute purity.”
 
Jesus hung out with his family!
 
Matthew 12:46-50
While he was still speaking to the people, behold, his mother and his lbrothers stood outside, asking to speak to him.1 48 But he replied to the man who told him, “Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?” 49 And stretching out his hand toward his disciples, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers! 50 For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.”
 
And promised that we could, too:
 
Matthew 10:29-30
 
“Truly I tell you,” Jesus replied, “no one who has left home or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields for me and the gospel will fail to receive a hundred times as much in this present age: homes, brothers, sisters, mothers, children and fields–along with persecutions–and in the age to come eternal life.

 

(The same promise is found in Matthew 19:29 and Luke 18:29-30)
 
Whereas, unfortunately, part of our horrific culture imparted to men includes a perception of women as prizes: another notch on the belt of James Bond or some other aspiring alpha male as part of our fight against one another to see who is the greatest. On women’s end–and this is another thing to beware–a man is often portrayed as a “Superman” who puts an end to all of a woman’s problems, whereas in reality any leader figure may well lead his wife/followers/family on a journey that may include new dangers, not unlike our journey in following the leadership of Christ. The reality is that men’s interactions with women, in every way, can be powerful and a vital element of the family of God, an excellent team within the Body of Christ, playing to the strength of God’s wonderful design for masculinity and femininity.
 
I have a tough time nailing down definitions beyond the fundamental differences between masculinity and femininity. The fundamental differences are derived from the directives of 1 Corinthians 11:3-14). But here is my simplistic, two-pronged description of the benefits of femininity within community–trite as can be! 😉
 
The cheerleader: She sees the good in others, and desires to amplify those good qualities. Her desire for the success in others is absolutely sincere, and loves to study intensely the unique path of success per individual–the unique strength, and the unique path that that person must conquer in whatever form. The expert cheerleader can see the strengths of others even as those strengths are but seeds, not yet even developed. In all that she does, she stimulates the desire in others to be useful, and the recipient of her blessings cannot wait to apply himself/herself and put his/her strengths to use for maximum effect in the world. The good cheerleader is not a coward who simply seeks out those who look the strongest to tag along but takes the side of the team who is truly in the right.
 
The nurse: She sees the flaws in others. The elements of a person that are weak, hurt, even sinful, but responds every time with a heart of gentle mercy, out of a desire to achieve healing on every single level. While the cheerleader brings out the beauty and effectiveness of an individual after seeking out the good, the nurse seeks out the flaws and the damage. She is a healing messenger that assures that all who hurt are worth healing. The nurse may not be quite like the surgeon and take on the more massive issues that afflict a person, but she is determined to care for every scratch, every bruise, and every source of discomfort–a HUGE number of details she studies to seek bringing those she blesses to a state of absolute comfort, whereupon the cheerleader dovetails with this healing and restores them to full effectiveness.
 
On the masculine end, benefits abound. Apart from the obvious, oftentimes what we find is that we, as men, are required for our strength at the same time–it can be such a tremendous blessing to get our minds off of ourselves and be a service to women; chances are, the cheerleader and nurse is not without her own needs.
 
I actually believe that the biggest problem with modern Western marriages (with all the trouble it has had) comes from expecting too much out of one person, versus the support of a larger community. In a marriage, two become one for the full daily grind, but we don’t stop being men and women as we mingle within communities and with all the potential good that can take place between us. Scripture puts the occasional parameters on male/female interactions, such as the issue of female authority (1 Timothy 2:12-14) which Paul understood from a quite logical standpoint with regards to male/female design.
 
(What we tend to get more from women in culture is the dark side of the nurse and the cheerleader; our strengths are downplayed, and our weaknesses, real or imagined, are amplified and discussed with anything but constructive intent. Feminine women are diamonds in the rough. To be sure, there’s no doubt that men put them to the test with our flaws and undeveloped strengths.)
 
1 Corinthians 11:9
“Man is not made for woman, but woman for man.” 
 
Now, of course, getting the image of Adam and Eve, we might simply get the image of God giving Adam a wife. But I believe God’s design for femininity stems, in principle, as a responder to people. Moreso than men, I find it clear that women require and seek out human leadership–oftentimes frustrated and embittered when the leadership available fails, and once again, this is not limited to marriage, but also other figures such as pastors who meet the needs of communities. Moreover, women can impart their feminine blessing to other women and men. Among the stories of godly people in the Bible, men who sought God without the guidance of human leadership far outnumbers women in my observation. Men and women both respond to leadership, to be sure, but God’s design of woman wove this deeply into Eve’s design to find her fulfillment in response to people. I do not see this as an “inferiority,” although it is potentially a distinct vulnerability. A married woman responds to her husband’s leadership for the daily grind as his helper, as the marriage is a fleshly, earthly covenant, but not necessarily for the spiritual–it is possible that he’s an unbeliever, after all–and ideally they are both disciples of Christ capable of responding to human leadership. Fundamentally, masculine and feminine amounts to the relationship of lead and follow.

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3 Comments

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  1. A Man Does Not Need a Woman to be “Accomplished” or “Good Enough.” | Self-Defensive Christian Man

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