Wednesday, January 14, 2009

True Woman - Women in the Church

today is day 11 into our study on what makes a True Woman. First we studied Proverbs 31, now Nancy heads off to study 1 Tim 2: 9-10. This is the teaser sent in the email to me.

For the next ten days of our make-over, we’ll journey with Nancy Leigh DeMoss through her teaching on 1 Timothy 2:9-10 titled “The Attractive Christian Woman.

Women in the Church

Women can be either a great blessing in the church, or they can do incredibly great damage. They can make the gospel believable, or they can cause people to turn away from Christ.

  • The first item Paul brings up on his agenda for women in the church is their appearance.
  • The way you dress is a reflection of your heart and character. Right attitudes will produce a right appearance.
  • You can't separate the inward from the outward.
1 Timothy 2 reads as follows, I have highlighted verses 9-10:

1First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, 2 for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. 3This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, 4who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. 5For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man[a] Christ Jesus, 6 who gave himself as a ransom for all, which is the testimony given at the proper time. 7 For this I was appointed a preacher and an apostle ( I am telling the truth, I am not lying), a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and truth.

8I desire then that in every place the men should pray, lifting holy hands without anger or quarreling; 9likewise also that women should adorn themselves in respectable apparel, with modesty and self-control, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly attire, 10 but with what is proper for women who profess godliness—with good works. 11Let a woman learn quietly with all submissiveness. 12 I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man; rather, she is to remain quiet. 13 For Adam was formed first, then Eve; 14and Adam was not deceived, but the woman was deceived and became a transgressor. 15Yet she will be saved through childbearing—if they continue in faith and love and holiness, with self-control.

Hmmm....know what I just noticed? This section is all done in the context of prayer. Just as men should pray raising their hands before God, women who pray dressed in a manner that is respectful. hmmm.....interesting that. Just different sides of the self-same coin isn't it? But perhaps in a way that hits more home for many of us women. How we dress reflects sometimes in part how we think. Are we dressing to impress others or are we dressing to show our attitudes toward God?

Anyways, lets go see what Nancy has to say today about this passage and how we are to act as as Christian women. The rest of her talk is found here. With the entire series being found here.

Nancy points out this:

That is the first item he brings up on his agenda for women in church. He talks to women about their appearance or their attire, and then he talks to them about their attitudes, and then he talks to them about their actions.

We're going to look at each of these in the next few days. He says that the way these women dress is a reflection of their heart and their character. If they have right attitudes, that will produce a right appearance. What I think he is saying is that you can't separate the inward from the outward.

Do you see how the one shows the other? Our hearts show up in how we dress, how we dress shows the attitude of our hearts. It's a mutual reflection.

Part of me finds it easy to ignore these verses since Paul talks about clothing and outward appearances and that's not terribly important to me, but I do have to wonder can I apply this to MY life. Not the lives of people that I know that I have to wonder...what are they thinking going to church dressed like that?!?!?!? That is NONE of my business (it's between them and God). How is my heart, before God, reflected in how I dress? That is what I need to consider.

The question for many then will be....what is deemed to be respectable apparel? What accurately portrays the heart of a woman humble and godly? Braided hair isn't a big deal these days, people often wear jewelry in church (nowadays that can be both men and women), and costly things today are costly to purchase...and this is something that is in the eye of the beholder. What I think is pricey other people think is normal. So it's got to be a bit more than all that I should think? But seeing as it's the attitude that is the more important here that's what we as women can address amongst ourselves. Is our attitude just to go to church and worship God? OR is our attitude to dress as best we can and show that we clean up nicely?

Then of course one wants to avoid the other spectrum of dressing too casually in a manner that reflects the lack of importance we attach to worshipping God. God is a God to be feared, worshipped, do we show that?

How do we show our respect of God in how we dress? What say you? What is that happy medium?

I have to admit...I don't know. I personally like to wear pants...particularly in the winter. I find it easy, convenient and it suits my personality. I've never really been a dress wearer. But is that suiting MY convenience? Am I being respectful of God by choosing my preference in clothing? I have to admit...I don't feel any different going to church if I'm wearing dress pants or a me they are overall just clothes (and clothes really aren't that important to me) and my heart can be with God or well....more distracted.

Stuff to ponder isn't it?

added: I found this post by my hubby fitting with today's thoughts on what our bodies should be reflecting. He's doing a thing on Calvin's Institutes this year, and yesterday he talked about what it means to have a pious mind.

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