One of the issues very close to my heart is freedom – in particular for today’s purposes, freedom for women to be truly as God designed them to be.
Now before I go into this topic, I’d like to state for the record – I am NOT a feminist.
Feminism has caused a lot of contention and an ongoing struggle for women. It’s never quite delivered on its promise of freedom and its rage against men has done a lot of damage that effects marriages, businesses and life in general.
Without doubt many women have suffered over the centuries. They’ve been silenced, abused and controlled. It’s heartbreaking but a reality of our world. There are also many women who have not experienced that, they’ve found a way to live their best life, love their husbands and find the freedom to thrive.
You can see clearly in scripture that God has a perfect design for both men and women. He is no disrespecter of persons (Acts 10:34, Romans 2:11). But it’s been those that are religious minded, controlling by nature and those that lack understanding that have made gender a power play. In fact, biblically the truth is, the real enemy to a woman is Satan, from the time in the garden with Eve. He is frightened of the potency of a woman who is fully expressed in her purpose, design and life.
The thing is, more often than not, we hold ourselves back from embracing what we’re called to do. There is a fight between our family and work life, with constant pressure to primarily focus on home and children, even above the work of God. But women are capable of many things, you just have to study Proverbs 31 to see what this incredible lady achieved.
In the Jerusalem version of the bible, it says awesome things about her:
- She is always busy, she works with eager hands
- She’s amazing, like a merchant vessel, with food and goods
- She looks after her household, gives orders to her serving girls
- She sets her mind on a field and buys it; with what her hands have earned she plants a vineyard
- She helps others
- She considers circumstances and prepares for them
- She opens her mouth with wisdom, with kind instruction
- Her husband is respected because of her.
That is just the highlights! God, and her husband, are in no way trying to subdue, control or abuse this woman. She is flying. She’s in business, looks after her home, honours her husband and cares for others. Quite frankly, she’s a tough act to follow!
Did you know that this is one of the first clear examples in the bible of a person in business? And… it’s a woman? Here she is – independent but not fighting or struggling for anything. She is thriving. She’s working hard, taking care of her work and home, discerning how to handle the money and becoming the woman who is praised because of her wisdom, even her husband is praised because of her.
We know according to the scripture that God is totally for this in a woman, even if the husband doesn’t fully grasp what is going on. This great testimony is reflected in her character, her heart and success. She is doing all as if she is serving God personally.
I think this is the key for any woman that is building a business and looking for the way to navigate her life and marriage in a Godly way. It is when Jesus is Lord in her life. It is He she answers to above all else, endeavouring to ‘walk in the spirit’ in all she does. This type of discipleship understands that she, as an individual, is answerable to God.
If Jesus passes by and says follow me but her husband says no, then who does she listen to? Who does she trust? Who then is Lord? For the Proverbs 31 woman it is clear she is operating in her own sphere of influence with excellence and honour.
Personally I’ve witnessed the incredible capacity of women who are successful in their career, that put the Kingdom of God first and in their homes still honour and esteem their husband in a Godly way. And miracles have happened for them, the blessings that have come to them, are truly New Testament style. It transformed my thinking about what was possible for me and made me appreciate the women in scripture who have thrived in faith too.
Look at Lydia in Acts 16. She was a business woman, a worshipper of God and became pivotal to helping Paul in his ministry and preaching of the gospel.
We can look at Mary, sister of Lazarus, in John 12. She grasped the concept that Jesus was like that pearl of great price, the one she could give everything she had to own, after all he had raised her brother from the dead. She broke an expensive bottle of perfume, poured it on his feet and wiped it with her very hair.
Her money, her heart, her treasure have become part of the story of Jesus. Instead of just looking after her own house, she put first things first. Even when the men around reacted, saying it could have been used for the poor, Jesus said ‘leave her alone’! This woman understood.
God wants to utilise all of your gifts, talents, abilities and help you to be a Godly witness to all around you, even to the uttermost parts of the earth. That is true freedom – loved, accepted and promoted to be the fullest expression of you!
And for you whose husband might not believe or struggles with you building your own business and loving Jesus, you must guard your heart so that it doesn’t get hard. Love first. Develop the skills to better communicate and let kindness be in your words. You don’t have to share everything about what’s in your heart or even what is going on with your business. Sometimes wisdom tells you to be silent.
This is where the prayer of faith is activated and you can ask God to help you, to grow in the fruit of the spirit. You are a witness maybe not in words but in how you react, how you behave in different circumstances, always remembering that Jesus is your Lord.
The challenge of discipleship in Christ is that in some circumstances it can lead to division, it’s a scriptural reality. Fear must not be given any space, you are a daughter of God and he will never leave you alone, ever.
Ladies we must be those that live by the word of God. That have the faith to trust God with our marriage, our home and our business. To yield all to Him and become the powerful Kingdom person you’re designed to be, that is purest expression of freedom there is!
Thank heaven for the book of Proverbs, full of the good, bad and amazing lessons about women. We know that there is a challenge to be Godly in all our ways – not just for Sunday or around other believers but even in our business or career. It does us well to check our character, to let love lead and speak with wisdom. To make sure Jesus is our Lord and no one comes before him.
And when we’ve done all we can, to rest in faith. Life is going to get exciting!