A few days ago, I enjoyed the opportunity to listen to Equipping Eve, Erin Benziger’s podcast for women. For quite a while, being on bedrest for my fractures minimized my access to my computer, and when I was able to use it, John was in the same room. Erin quite rightly requests that men not listen to her podcast because she teaches on it, so I won’t have it playing when John’s in the room.
I listened to the episode entitled Biblical Womanhood, knowing Erin’s aversion to typical women’s ministry. I wasn’t exactly sure how she would broach the topic, but I knew it would be interesting.
I wasn’t expecting it to challenge my current series on discerning God’s will!
Erin’s main thesis in the episode was that people typically present Biblical womanhood in terms of attitudes and behaviors we must adopt. We clutch our Proverbs 31 and Titus 2 checklists, resolved to make ourselves into model Biblical women. In so doing, however, we subtly bring ourselves back under law, presuming that our careful adherence to the apparent rules will make God love us.
As I listened to Erin, I wondered if my readers misunderstand my current series as saying that discernment boils down to keeping rules and maintaining legalistic standards in order to please the Lord. Oh ladies, forgive me if I gave any of you such an unbiblical impression! I never wanted to imply that our attitudes or behaviors could in any way cause us to win God’s favor!
Salvation comes through grace alone. We add nothing to God’s grace because we don’t have anything to add. Everything we think we have is a gift from Him. Therefore our checklists can’t do anything to further our standing with Him.
Discerning His will, then, is less about performing for Him than it is about reflecting His holy nature in gratitude for His grace in saving us. As we grow in Christ, He uses His Word to transform us into women who mirror His character and values.
I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. 2 Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. ~~Romans 12:1-2 (ESV)
Yes, the Lord wants to show us His will regarding our attitudes and conduct. Discernment requires that we understand and apply His principles in our everyday lives. But simply keeping rules won’t change our hearts, but letting God’s Word adjust our perspectives and inform our consciences will, over time, bring about the transformation He desires to work into us.
It’s not about rules; it’s about growing into His image.