Monday, September 2, 2013

The Irony Is Too Much

Being in Women’s Ministry, I get to see women at their best and women at their worst.  God gave me a heart for women…for their insecurities (which I often suffer) for the parenting issues, aging issues, friend’s issues and the list goes on.  Women it seems are never satisfied with the way God made them and that makes them vulnerable to women who seem to have it together.  When these insecurities raise their ugly heads, I have found that comparisons begin to take shape.  You know what I mean: If I could be skinny like… If my husband was like… If my children were like…  If I lived there, then… If I had a college degree and this list has no end.  When we do our own comparisons and don’t measure up then we get the jealousies going…which lead to turning into mean girls. 

Now, none of that is new.  It has been going on since the beginning of time and most women struggle with some of these issues throughout their lives. God has and will show Himself faithful in over-coming them.  There is, however, among Christian women, a new comparison, which is causing unneeded comparisons and divisions.  It is the most ironic comparison I have ever seen. I was faced with it last week and I walked away shaking my head in disbelief. 

Before I tell you what it is, let me also mention that each of us is fearfully and wonderfully made and each of us has a preferred way of learning. We are unique and often “one size does NOT fit all!”   Being an educator, I know there are different learning styles and when I teach I try to incorporate a bit of all of them when possible.

We also are in different stages of our lives…a single woman is different than a mother with an infant, who is different than a mother with teenagers and still yet different than a retired person.  Each is in a different stage of life.  Time constraints are different in each stage.  Some women are working while others stay at home.  All of this to say, while women are the same we are all different in our needs and abilities afforded to us.

I love studying the Bible…those who know me know I am also a theology geek. My personal method is expository study.  I love to look up the Greek and Hebrew meanings of words and search out truly what the verses are saying…in context and in original language.  I have time to do that BUT I didn’t when my children were 3 and 4.  I studied what I could, in the bathroom, in-between crises!!  When I taught school and volunteered to make sure my kids were supervised, my time was limited.  I found more time to get into the Word of God but it still wasn’t hours on end!  God understood and filled me with Himself in the time I had.  He was with me 24/7 reminding me of His words to encourage and keep me going as I navigated my busy life.  My ministry then was raising my children and God’s word was there to help me do that to the best of my ability.

My ministry now is to women…those who are young mothers…those who have teenagers, those who are going through the empty nest…  Women who feel they aren’t as good as other women, as smart as other women, as pretty as other women are my ministry. That is why this new comparison bothers me so much.

Are you ready??  This comparison is the method we use in Bible study!  We are blessed in this day and age to have so many strong, biblically sound* resources available to us.  No other generation has had the volume of studies in various learning styles. We should be so glad but instead we are like college sororities creating “Bible study cliques”.   I am sure you have seen it: The two most popular are:  Beth Moore groups and the Kay Arthur, Precepts groups.  There are more but these are the most prevalent.

Both Beth Moore and Kay Arthur love the Lord with everything they have within them.  Both have wisdom to share…so do Priscilla Shirer, Jennifer Rothschild, and many more.  God has gifted this generation with many women who have an ability to make the Bible come to life and therefore make us grow spiritually.  They are just different in their approach just as we are different in our learning styles.

II Timothy 3:16-17 says:  All scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training the righteousness so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.

Notice it doesn’t say it is useful if you use Precepts, Topical, or an Expository method.  The Word of God is to equip us for every good work. The Holy Spirit will use whatever scripture we put into our minds, no matter how it gets into us!  Let’s be very careful to not put God into our own comfortable little Bible study box for that is when pride will take over.  If your method is biblically sound use it.  Make sure that what you study changes you and equips you for every good work!  Make sure you are not putting others down spiritually because they don’t use your methodology. Watch out for Bible study cliques…for they exclude instead of include.

Isn’t it ironic that again what should unite us, satan uses to divide us.  Be watchful for his devices!

Now, go get some of His Word into you so you can be equipped.

  *There are studies that are opinions and not sound theology.  I do NOT endorse those.