This isn’t a popular thing to say in today’s culture, but God created man and woman. Gender was a deliberate thing. It is part of who we are and how we are made.
Does that mean that all men act the same? Or all women act the same? No. Does it mean that a little girl that likes playing sports is a boy inside? Does it mean that a little boy that likes to play house is a girl on the inside? Of course not. Toys, games, likes, and dislikes have nothing to do with our gender. God created us to be individuals—but individuals under the parameter of one gender or the other.
Men and women are different but equal. They’re both of equal worth to God. However, women and men approach life in different ways. This is a very good thing. It means that males and females don’t need to compete. They are free to complement one another. Both are necessary and important.
God formed the first man out of dust and a breath of life and gave him the job of caretaker of the garden. But things weren’t perfect. The man was alone, and this wasn’t good. Something was missing.
When the man slept, God took one of his ribs and made a complementary partner for him—a helper and a perfect match—a woman.
The word for “helper” in Genesis 2:18 is “help meet.” Help meet comes from two Hebrew words, “ezer” and “k’enegdo.” Ezer means help but goes deeper than that to mean rescue, save, and be strong for. K’enegdo means in front of or opposite. This means that woman was created to be the mirror image of man—his complement to help him.
Women are not independent of men and men are not independent of women (1 Corinthians 11:11). Women and men need each other. One can’t get along without the other.
Unfortunately, the fall of Genesis 3 ruined the beauty of Genesis 2:18-24. Sin caused women to be tempted to control their husbands. Instead of surrendering to the beauty of God’s perfect partnership of man and woman, women desired to grasp at the reins of control. As a woman, my desire is to have control over everything in my life. The motive for this is often not bad at all. I simply want to help my loved ones and myself get through life’s inevitable problems. And, of course, my way is the way for that to happen. Right?
Not really. Things go much smoother when I’m not grasping at control. Trying to have and keep control is a futile endeavor anyway. I can never really have control.
I can have 10 poles with 10 plates on top of them. I start spinning each plate one at a time. I get two going and go on to the third. By the time I get the third one going, the first one has stopped. I go back. First one—check. Second—check. Third—check. I’ve got this now. Fourth one started. One and two stop. I go back. I go on and on with this process and never get all 10 plates spinning at the same time. With God’s help and grace, I can make a few of them spin at once. But not all of them.
There’s a simple reason for this—I was never meant to control all things at once. I must rely on God for that. He is the only one that can control all things. He also can change anything in a moment.
In my marriage, I can offer suggestions. I can help make decisions. I can and should give input. I am a partner in the relationship, but my husband is the leader, even though we are equals in life. A leader isn’t better than the follower; the leader is simply the guide. Abraham led Sarah into the unknown territory that God pointed him to (1 Peter 3:5-6).
Accepting the authority of my husband brings out the beauty of God’s original creation. I’m under his authority and we’re both under God’s authority. It’s a reverent, orderly way to live, not a dictatorship (1 Peter 3:1-2). I show him the respect of allowing him to lead me and he, in turn, loves me and desires to lead me well. And God orchestrates every aspect of this process to smooth out any rough edges.
Rough edges are often caused by my desire for control (mentioned above). If I refuse to let God temper that desire, I become like a constant, irritating dripping faucet. Plink… plink… plink. Nag… nag… nag (Proverbs 27:15-16). I can’t be reasoned with or led if I’m stuck on getting my own way. This is far from the beautiful, complementary design that God intended.
When I temper my need to control, I can share my concerns and ideas, while trusting my husband and God to work out the details. I get the opportunity to walk in humility and portray the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is so precious to God (1 Peter 3:3-5).
And my husband gets the opportunity to treat me with understanding and love as we live together and trust God for the answers that neither of us know (1 Peter 3:7). He may be leading, and I may be helping him, but we’re both walking in humility together under our very present and caring God’s authority.
This is why God created woman.
To help. To share. To encourage. To show compassion. So that man and woman together can show the world a beautiful partnership. A partnership that portrays how God interacts with His people (the church). God leads and the church follows.
Woman was indeed created to be a helper to man and within the world. But that doesn’t mean she’s limited in what she can do. Proverbs 31:10-31 gives a vast description of the many ways women improve the world.
- She brings value to her husband.
- She makes things with her hands.
- She feeds her family and adds variety to their food.
- She serves her family tirelessly.
- She builds up finances and works like a business person.
- She works hard at what she puts her mind to.
- She has compassion for and helps the needy.
- She provides clothing for her family.
- Her husband is respected because of the way she builds him up.
- She brings strength and dignity to the people around her.
- She offers wisdom freely.
- She doesn’t like to be idle—busyness can be a downfall.
- She deserves honor for the work she does and attempts to do.
If you’re still worried that a submissive nature means that a woman is not equal to a man, consider the attitude of Christ Jesus. He was God but gave up his divine privileges to become a human being. As a man, he humbled himself in obedience to God. Moreover, he died a criminal’s death on the cross to become a sacrifice for all mankind’s sin, to the glory of God the Father (Philippians 2:5-11). There is power in submission and obedience. God’s power shines through us as we humble ourselves.
Women are noble and are worth far more than rubies (Proverbs 31:10).
Jennifer Heeren loves to write and wants to live in such a way that people are encouraged by her writing and her attitude. She loves to write devotional articles and stories that bring people hope and encouragement. Her cup is always at least half-full, even when circumstances aren’t ideal. She regularly contributes to Crosswalk. She lives near Atlanta, Georgia with her husband. Visit her at her website and/or on Facebook.
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