Life-Giving Leadership: Transformed Leadership: Life-Taker to Life-Giver
by Karen Hodge, Guest Writer
…The man called his wife's name Eve, because she was the mother of all living.
…Now Adam knew Eve his wife, and she conceived and bore Cain, saying, “I have gotten a man with the help of the Lord.”
…And Adam knew his wife again, and she bore a son and called his name Seth, for she said, “God has appointed for me another offspring instead of Abel, for Cain killed him.” -Genesis 3:20; 4:1, 4:25
I am still trying to figure out who I am going to be when I grow up. We face grown-up situations but deep down there is a little girl inside us who wonders when she will mature. You will never understand who God is transforming you to be until you understand how God designed you to be, and you will never appreciate your need for a Savior until you understand how your design has been distorted and deterred by the Fall.
The Fall is the tragic intrusion of sin and death resulting in the brokenness of everything and everyone. The Fall-like creation begins with words from the enemy of our souls, Satan, the ultimate Life-taker. He promised benefits but delivered burdens. Sin distorts our perspective and our purpose as a woman. As women, we are called to think biblically about all of life. Eve doubted God's character, which justified her doubting His will for her life. Wrong thinking leads to wrong living. She chose independence over-dependence on God and interdependence with Adam. She chose death both spiritually and physically. She listened to the words of the Life-taker rather than the Life-giver.
There is hope! We see the “I will do what I want” of Adam and Eve contrasted with the sovereignly initiated “I will” of God. “I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel (Genesis 3:15). In the covenant of grace, the Life-giver promises He will crush the head of the Life-taker. With the death sentence still ringing in the air, God sovereignly declared life!
Naming, a privilege of headship was forfeited when Adam disobeyed. The gospel restores Adam’s authority. Eve is currently post-fall and pre-biological motherhood. Her name changes from Woman to Eve, she is declared life-giver. The name life-giver is not so much about what we do but who we are. It points to our need for a new life. This redemptive capacity is more than biological. We tend to have a myopic view of mothering. We limit it to women who have birthed biologically. What about single or barren women? The covenant way is bigger and bolder. Every redeemed woman can be transformed from life-taker to life-giver. Her mission to be fruitful and multiply has now been restored.
As we move into Chapter Four of Genesis, Eve declares self the ultimate authority, “I have done this!” In the rest of Chapter Four, we see her seed is not the Seed of Promise. The way of Cain is characterized by death, autonomy, and self-rule. We need the way of Christ to redeem the way of Cain. We need true spiritual transformation. In verse 25, Eve’s reference point shifts back to God. The movement from the “I” orientation to the “Godward” orientation is the movement from life-taker to life-giver. As the “I” decreases, it must be replaced by the increasing presence of Christ in our hearts. The death of “I” can be painful and slow, but it is through death where one finds the promise of life. Transformation is often complicated but in the end, glorious. The battle between Satan and the Promised Seed (Jesus) of the woman is reflected in the battle for us to move from being life-takers to life-givers. Victory is accomplished when we trust and obey the conquering Seed of the woman rather than listen to the lies of Satan.
Lord change and transform me. Create in me a clean heart and renew a right spirit within me. I repent of my life-taking tendencies. Breathe Your life into me so that I might breathe life into every relationship and situation.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Karen Hodge serves as the Women’s Ministry Coordinator for the PCA (Presbyterian Church in America). Her joy is to connect women and churches to one another and to sound resources. She is also having the time of her life serving alongside her husband Chris Hodge, Senior Pastor at Naperville Presbyterian Church in Naperville, IL. She is the mother to two adult children Anna Grace Botka and Haddon. It is from the perspective of a wife, mother, leader, and fellow pilgrim that she hopes to bring the hope of the gospel to the hearts of women. Karen, along with Susan Hunt, authored Transformed: Life-taker to Life-giver and Life-giving Leadership.
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