Godly Liberated Womanhood


September 29, 1981
Godly Liberated Womanhood--I am glad the word "godly" is in the title. That makes a big
difference, doesn't it? If it only said "Liberated Womanhood" we would probably think of the
women's liberation movement which became more prominent in the past decades women's groups
who protest what they consider unequal treatment of men and women and who work for enforcement
of laws that promote women's equality. Their ideas and demands militate against the teaching God
gives us in His Word. He gives us clear instruction concerning women's place, and it is only as
women take their God-designed place that they can be truly liberated.
What do we mean by "liberated"? To be liberated is to be made free, or to be released from
bondage. The woman of the world who favors women's lib (as we have often heard it called), desires
to be free from any law that would hinder her from having equal rights with man. A godly woman
desires to be free from anything that would hinder her relationship with the Lord. In order to have
a right relationship with God we need to yield to Him and to His Word.
The starting place for a right relationship with God is, of course, recognizing our sinful
condition and coming to Him in repentance and faith, believing and receiving Christ. In this new
birth experience our sins are forgiven and we are redeemed by the precious blood of Jesus. We are
freed or liberated from the bondage of sin and its guilt. Romans 6:13-22 tells us: "Neither yield ye
your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those
that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God. For sin
shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace. What then? shall
we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid. Know ye not, that to whom
ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death,
or of obedience unto righteousness? But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye
have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was
delivered you. Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness. I speak after
the manner of men because of the infirmity of your flesh: for as ye have yielded your members
servants to uncleanness and to iniquity unto iniquity; even so now yield your
members servants to righteousness unto holiness. For when ye were the servants of sin, ye were free
from righteousness. What fruit had ye then in those things whereof ye are now ashamed? for the end
of those things is death. But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have
your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life."
In Romans 8:1 we read that we are free from condemnation. "There is therefore now no
condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit."
Are we enjoying this freedom? Do we really appreciate being liberated from the bondage of
sin and guilt? We are in Christ Jesus, free to walk after the Spirit, to mind the things of the Spirit,
to be spiritually minded. These are all phrases from Romans 8. It speaks also about the Spirit of God
dwelling in us, Christ in us, we through the Spirit mortify the deeds of the body, we are led by the
Spirit of God, we have received the Spirit of adoption whereby we cry Abba, Father, children ofGod, heirs of God, joint-heirs with Christ. Does this sound like true liberty? Verse 21 of Romans 8
speaks of the glorious liberty of the children of God. Someone has said ; "The bondage of sin is the
most grievous bondage; and freedom from its guilt and influence is the greatest liberty."
The Spirit and Word always agree. We need to continue in the Word. We read in John 8:31,
32, and 36: "If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth,
and the truth shall make you free. If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall
be free indeed."
If God and His Word reveal to us anything in our lives that would be keeping us in bondage
to the world, to Satan or to our own selfish desires, let's confess and forsake it. In our Christian Life
Conference over the past week end, we were challenged and refreshed spiritually In a series of
messages on the crucified life. We were reminded that we need to daily crucify the old man; and as
we get new truth, yield to it and go on from victory to victory. II Cor. 3:18 says, "But we all with
open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory
to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord."
We are at liberty, then, to do the will of God and to obey His Word. The godly liberated
woman will want to take her rightful place in the home. She will accept God's divine order as given
in Ephesians 5:22-24: "Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. For the
husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the
body. Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in
everything." If husbands love their wives even as Christ loved the church and gave Himself for It,
and if they love them as their own bodies, as we read in the verses following, it should not be
difficult for wives to submit to their husbands and to reverence them as the last verse of that chapter
says. We have often read and heard these verses. Are we living them? Oscar Lowry in his book, A
Virtuous Woman says, "Neither man nor woman has ever been able to successfully change God’s
order at this point, although many have tried to accomplish that very thing in this wicked generation.
Particularly has this been true on the part of a certain class of women who have tried to throw off all
restraint and gain a so-called freedom and liberty that she imagined would be ideals However; In her
attempt to escape that sphere of life and responsibility to which she was divinely ordained by God
Himself, women have certainly made one grand, glorious mess of things politically, religiously,
morally, and spiritually."
I Peter 3:1-7 also gives some admonition to wives and husbands. "Likewise, ye wives, be in
subjection to your own husbands; that, if any obey not the word, they also may without the word be
won by the conversation of the wives; While theybehold your chaste conversation coupled with fear.
Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or
of putting on of apparel; But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible,
even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price. For after
this manner in the old time the holy women also, who trusted in God, adorned themselves, being in
subjection unto their own husbands: Even as Sarah obeyed
Abraham, calling him lord: whose daughters ye are, as long as ye do well, and are not afraid with any
amazement. Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honour unto
the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayersbe not hindered."
These passages do not in any way imply that women are inferior to men, but they show the
different spheres of life to which God has ordained them. From the same book another paragraph:
"In recent years we find many wives in rebellion against the teachings of both Paul and Peter
respecting their obligation to 'be in subjection' unto their husbands. However, in both passages
quoted above we see that marriage is a matter of give and take--not all take nor all give on the part
of either husband or wife. Certainly neither passage should be construed to mean that the wife is to
be a slave to her husband, or that the husband is to lord it over the wife like a slave-driver."
Concerning these scriptures I would also like to quote a bit from Marjorie Hiebert's book,
Happiness for our Hearts and Homes. "The world's attitude is in rebellion to this principle, which
in turn has brought much unhappiness into the homes of today. To break this commandment not only
brings conflict in the life of the family, but it also brings spiritual conflict in the heart of the woman
who sidesteps this principle. Certainly wifely submission does not mean slavish subjection but a
working together--he as king and ruler, she as queen and helpmeet; he the director, she the helper,
and both together the force. It is God's ordained law that the husband take leadership and when the
wife follows she will compliment both her husband and herself at the same time honor Christ and
His Word. Here she will find peace and serenity and avoid many a spiritual battle she would
otherwise encounter."
"As an outward sign of this submission a woman is commanded to have her head covered
(I Corinthians 11:3-15). A lack of understanding and obedience to this ordinance of God is prevalent
everywhere. This principle has a deeper meaning, a nobler purpose and a greater blessing than many
realize. Paul points out in this chapter that to cover one's head during prayer indicates subjection to
authority. Man is subject to no visible being but to the invisible Christ, and should therefore have
no visible covering upon his head while praying an outward sign that Christ is his Head. Woman is
subject to man, a present visible being and should therefore have a covering upon her head. Wearing
a head covering means that woman recognizes the divine order at creation and is willingly subject
to authority."
"May every woman understand the principles this ordinance teaches the relationship in
creation and in Christ, and then, 'because of the angels' (what a worthy cause), willingly submit to
God and His order, thereby receiving a great blessing."
Perhaps you have no problem accepting your place in the home in submitting to your
husband. It should not be hard if you truly love him and he loves you. Count it a privilege to be
subject to him, because you are obeying God's Word in doing so. Even though you are under your
husband's headship, you are liberated – freed to do righteousness. Be the kind of wife your husband
can easily love as Christ loved the church.
Encourage him in his work and responsibility, and express to him sometimes your
appreciation for him. I regret that I did not do more of that while my husband was here, we need to
show our love and appreciation for loved ones while they are living--whether it is our parents,
grandparents, our companions, or our children. Death is no respecter of age.We were reading about how worldly women rebel against God's divine order. They want to
be somebody in life. They don't want to just be keepers at home as Paul speaks about to Titus in
Titus 2:4,5: "That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their
children, To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the
word of God be not blasphemed."
Theyare interested in position and prestige. What is most important to us in life? Do we want
human recognition or God’s approval? On what do we place the most value? Where do we have our
goals set? Is your heart and mine filled with earthly projects, personal interests and ambitions, the
desire for an abundance of money and possessions, and the pleasures of life? Do we have time for
the Lord, the church, for the physical and spiritual well-being of others?
Jesus said in his teachings in the Sermon on the Mount, "Lay up for yourselves treasures in
heaven...for where your treasure is, there will your heart be also." Where is our treasure? He also
said, "But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added
unto you." If we put first things first, God will see that we have the necessities of life.
God has placed us here in this earth for a purpose. What is that purpose? I think of a couple
verses. Maybe you think of others. "Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good
works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven." Matthew 5:16. "That we should be to the praise
of his glory..." (Ephesians 1:12). God placed us here to bring glory to Himself. Then shouldn't all of
life be centered around glorifying God? It should be our desire to seek His will in each area of our
life so that we can bring honor and glory to Him.
If you are a teenager or an older single sister, what are your goals? Is your main interest in
making money or having a good time? We need money to get along in life but let's not have that as
our goal. We want to enjoy wholesome living, but we don't want to be pleasure seeking and have our
minds set on that. It is natural and normal for young ladies to desire courtship and marriage. But
remember, the most important thing in life is to do the will of God. If He has marriage in His plan
for you, you will want Him to choose the right young man for you.
How very important to seek God's leading in your life, especially as you consider a lifetime
companion. There are so many divorces and broken homes today. Certainly it would be better to
never marry than to be unhappily married.
If God does not have marriage in His plan for your life, accept His will for you. It may not
be easy, but you can have peace and happiness as you yield to His will.
In my later teens and during my twenties I dated several young men but didn't feel that any
of them was the right one for me. As I grew older I realized that perhaps I would never marry and
that maybe God had other plans for my life. I learned that true happiness comes from being in the
Lord 's will, whether it was doing housework, secretarial work, working in an office, or serving on
the mission field. Later on, after entering my 40's, God brought Walter into my life and I enjoyed the
blessings of sharing in married life for a few years. And I am still enjoying the rewards of having
step-children' and step-grandchildren.In her book Happiness for our Hearts and Homes, Marjorie Hiebert has a chapter called
"Single and Satisfied." She says, "Girls can be single and satisfied: Single girl, if you consider
unmarried life a problem, it is only because you have made it so. The desire to marry is not wrong
in itself, but a rebellion against God's plan for your life can cause frustration and heartache; whereas
an acceptance of God's will can bring peace and contentment."
She goes on to point out that some girls will marry almost anybody just to be married but
later regret it and see their mistake. She says further, "Surely a single girl will miss some of the warm
moments that are a part of marriage, but she will also miss the responsibility and trials that come
with marriage and raising a family, especially when God is left out. Singleness is blessedness
compared to a marriage outside of the will of God. One thing worse than being single is to be
married to the wrong husband. At the entrance of marriage a girl yields her all to a husband, and he
who is not worthy of this trust can only bring heart-rending anguish to the one who has yielded so
If you are single, it may be that God has a special work for you to do. Many of our single
sisters are teaching school. Others may be serving on the mission field, teaching Sunday School,
doing office work, helping to care for the aged, or working at home. The single girl without the
cares of home and family can give herself more completely in direct service for God.
In the book Woman Alone by Evelyn K. Mumaw, she says "Clearly, in the mind of God, the
most important thing about a woman is not whether she is single or:married, but whether she is
rightly related to the Lord and His church. Whether she is single or married is important only as this
relates to the will of God for her life."
If you are married and perhaps have children, what are your goals? Are your main interests
in the material realm? In purchasing more and better things for your house and family? We are all
involved with the material things of life and rightly so. But let's not become so attached to our earthly
possessions and to material things that they are a hindrance to living for the Lord. Have we ever been
blessed materially more than we are now? Are we being good stewards of our money and
possessions? Or are we as thorny ground and the "cares of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches,
and the lusts of other things entering in, choke the word, and it becometh unfruitful " in our lives?
In a recent issue of a Mennonite paper (not our group) one writer said, “We cannot practice
material goal-striving in our congregations and families and preach service and sacrifice....Our
commitment to mission and service is still just a trickle of what our potential could be.” How is our
commitment? Do we know anything about sacrificial giving?
What are we doing with the great commission Jesus gave to his disciples? We cannot all go
to foreign soil, but are we helping to make Christ known right where we are? How concerned are we
for our friends and neighbors, or even members of our own families who are not saved? (I'm asking
all these questions to myself as well as to you).
If we are enjoying liberation from the bondage of sin, and all of us can be, let's help others
to be liberated and to find this freedom in Christ. Proverbs 11:30 says, "He that winneth souls iswise" and in James 5:20 “Let him know, that he which converteth the sinner from the error of his
way shall save a soul from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins.”
Perhaps busy mothers are thinking, “When do I have time to help tell the good news to
others?" Those with small children may have fewer opportunities to witness to others outside the
home. But remember, your influence in the home is very important, too. Someone has said, “The
father is the head of the home but mother is the heart of the home.” Mothers have the main
responsibility of caring for and nurturing that little life in those early years when much of the
character is formed. I would like to quote a few paragraphs from Happiness for our Hearts and
Homes. “One mother writes this: ‘We lost a boy of three and a half years. In his sickness and
delirium he kept saying many noticed things over and over again – things I’d never thought a child
so young noticed in daily family living. I learned anew that we parents must be very watchful and
careful as to how we live before our children.' If only we could realize this more!"
“Remarks which we assume to be beyond their understanding, deeds which we thought were
unnoticed, are leaving marks that would startle us if we could see them in maturity.”
“There are times when we feel there is no use going on, that our influence is almost
worthless, we think we cannot make another mile, but go on we must.”
“There was a humble, obscure Christian housewife who was most faithful in her sphere of
service. She was an example-setting mother to her children. Said she to her pastor one day, ‘I'm so
discouraged. I've done so little for Jesus. I have wanted to do great things for Him.’ The pastor
answered, ‘You have done great things for Him. You have faithfully served Him. Your reward in
heaven may be even greater than that of others whose names and exploits are known to the world.
Remember, Jesus will reward us, not for the quantity of service rendered, but for its quality, and the
fire shall try every man's work of what sort it is.’”
“Take heart! If you are faithful in your service to God--a service of devotion and dedication,
some day your children will rise up and call you blessed.”
Even though your responsibilities keep you at home most of the time, probably there are
some opportunities to share God's Word With others outside of your family, maybe by word of
mouth, or perhaps by tract or scripture portions. Possibilities include salesmen, the man who
delivers fuel for your furnace (maybe you burn wood), the United Postal Service package deliverer
or any one who may call at your door. Writing letters or calling by phone are other ways of
contacting those who need our friendship and gospel witness. Those of us who can should try to visit
in such homes occasionally. Let them know we care about them. Perhaps sometimes you can
participate with literature distribution or cottage meetings in your community.
We need a real love and compassion for people. Does the love of Christ constrain us? This
love doesn't come naturally but is from God. Romans 5:5 talks about the love of God being shed
abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost. The Bible says so much about love. Besides the first and
great commandment of loving the Lord with our whole being we are told to love our neighbor as
ourselves. Colossians 3:14, after naming virtues to put on, says "And above all these things, put oncharity, which is the bond of perfectness." Love is the test of discipleship. John 13:35: “By this shall
all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another. Paul tells us in the first three
verses of I Corinthians 13 that nothing is profitable that is not done in love. He goes on to describe
that agape love. Love is mentioned first in the fruit of the Spirit and in many other verses. May our
desire be as Paul expresses in his letter to the Philippians, “and this I pray, that your love may
abound yet more and more...”
We are ambassadors for Christ and have been reconciled to God by Jesus Christ. Now God
has committed to us the word of reconciliation. May we be faithful representatives of Christ in this
country where He has placed us, and may we help others to own Him as their Saviour and King,
Is our goal like the Apostle Paul's in Philippians 3:8-14? “Yea, doubtless, and I count all
things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have
suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, And be found in
him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of
Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith: That I may know him, and the power of his
resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death; If by any
means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead. Not as though I had already attained, either
were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended
of Christ Jesus. Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting
those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward
the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.”
Professor Drummond once said: “To become Christ-like is the only thing in the whole world
worth caring for; the thing before which every ambition of man is folly, and all lower achievement
As godly liberated women, may our constant desire be as Paul says in Ephesians 4:15, "But
speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things which is the head, even Christ."
-Dorothy Newswanger