Women! A Christian Perspective

Crowning-Glory-II-smallGod sets his own image on the earth. He creates a being like himself. He creates a son. The LORD God formed the man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being. (Gen. 2:7)

It is nearing the end of the sixth day, the end of the Creator’s great labor, as Adam steps forth, the image of God, the triumph of his work. He alone is pronounced the son of God. Nothing in creation even comes close. Picture Michelangelo’s David. He is . . . magnificent. Truly, the masterpiece seems complete. And yet, the Master says that something is not good, not right. Something is missing . . . and that something is Eve.

The Lord God cast a deep slumber on the human, and he slept, and He took one of his ribs and closed over the flesh where it had been, and the Lord God built the rib He had taken from the human into a woman and He brought her to the human. (Gen. 2:21-23 Alter)

She is the crescendo, the final, astonishing work of God. Woman. In one last flourish creation comes to a finish not with Adam, but with Eve. She is the Master’s finishing touch. How we wish this were an illustrated book, and we could show you now some painting or sculpture that captures this, like the stunning Greek sculpture of the goddess Nike of Samothrace, the winged beauty, just alighting on the prow of a great ship, her beautiful form revealed through the thin veils that sweep around her. Eve is . . . breathtaking.

Given the way creation unfolds, how it builds to ever higher and higher works of art, can there be any doubt that Eve is the crown of creation? Not an afterthought. Not a nice addition like an ornament on a tree. She is God’s final touch, his pièce de résistance. She fills a place in the world nothing and no one else can fill.

A series of quotes or quips inspired by the writing of John & Stasi Eldredge (RansomedHeart). 

Advertisements

A Heart to Heart

red-heartIt’s undeniable: the new covenant, accomplished through the work of Christ, means that we have new hearts. Our hearts are good. Or God’s a liar. Until we embrace that stunning truth, we will find it really hard to make decisions, because we can’t trust what our hearts are saying. We’ll have to be motivated by external pressure since we can’t be motivated by our hearts. In fact, we won’t find our calling, our place in God’s kingdom, because that is written on our hearts’ desires. We’ll have a really hard time hearing God’s voice in a deeply intimate way, because God speaks to us in our hearts. We’ll live under guilt and shame for all sorts of evil thoughts and desires that the Enemy has convinced us were ours. God will seem aloof. Worship and prayer will feel like chores.

Of course, I just described the life most Christians feel doomed to live.

Now listen to Jesus:

Each tree is recognized by its own fruit. People do not pick figs from thornbushes, or grapes from briers. The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. (Luke 6:44-45, emphasis added)

Later, explaining the parable of the sower and the seed, Jesus says,

The seed on good soil stands for those with a noble and good heart, who hear the word, retain it, and by persevering produce a crop. (Luke 8:15, emphasis added)

Jesus himself teaches that the heart can be good and even noble. That somebody is you, if you are his. God kept his promise. Our hearts have been circumcised to God. We have new hearts. Do you know what this means? Your heart is good. Let that sink in for a moment. Your heart is good.

What would happen if you believed it, if you came to the place where you < i>knew it was true? Your life would never be the same. My friend Lynn got it, and that’s when she exclaimed, “If we believed that . . . we could do anything. We would follow him anywhere!

Stormy People

ImageThere is the story of subduing the storm and immediately after, the encounter with Legion. In all three synoptic Gospels, these two stories are linked—a frightening storm, and then a frightening demoniac. In all three accounts, Jesus—who was sleeping in the stern of the sinking boat—rises to confront the tempest like a drill sergeant: “Quiet! Be still!” Now, why does he need to rebuke the storm? The word—epitimao—is the same used when Jesus commands foul spirits to come out of people. Fascinating—the storm needed to be rebuked. The very next episode in all three synoptics finds Christ stepping on shore to confront Legion.

He frees the man, the locals rage against Jesus, and he gets rights back in the boat and returns to the other side. Did he go to all that effort for one man? It ended up that way. And Jesus did say something about leaving the ninety-nine to find the one. It certainly is an awe-inspiring doubleheader, and fearsome, too. That is, Jesus is fearsome. Everything else trembles before him.

A series of quotes or quips inspired by the writing of John & Stasi Eldredge (RansomedHeart). 

 

Battling Hearts

Image

Lyre lyre, pants on dragon fire.

Every man wants a battle to fight. It’s the whole thing with boys and weapons. And look at the movies men love—Braveheart, Gladiator, Top Gun, High Noon, Saving Private Ryan. Men are made for battle. (And ladies, don’t you love the heroes of those movies? You might not want to fight in a war, but don’t you long for a man who will fight for you? To have Daniel Day Lewis look you in the eyes and say, “No matter how long it takes, no matter how far, I will find you”? Women don’t fear a man’s strength if he is a good man.)

Men also long for adventure. Adventure is a deeply spiritual longing in the heart of every man. Adventure requires something of us, puts us to the test. Though we may fear the test, at the same time we yearn to be tested, to discover that we have what it takes.

Finally, every man longs for a Beauty to rescue. He really does. Where would Robin Hood be without Marian, or King Arthur without Guinevere? Lonely men fighting lonely battles. You see, it’s not just that a man needs a battle to fight. He needs someone to fight for. There is nothing that inspires a man to courage so much as the woman he loves. Most of the daring (and okay, sometimes ridiculous) things young men do are to impress the girls. Men go to war carrying photos of their sweethearts in their wallets—that is a metaphor of this deeper longing to fight for the Beauty. This is not to say that a woman is a “helpless creature” who can’t live her life without a man. I’m saying that men long to offer their strength on behalf of a woman.

Now—can you see how the desires of a man’s heart and the desires of a woman’s heart were at least meant to fit beautifully together? A woman in the presence of a good man, a real man, loves being a woman. His strength allows her feminine heart to flourish. His pursuit draws out her beauty. And a man in the presence of a real woman loves being a man. Her beauty arouses him to play the man; it draws out his strength. She inspires him to be a hero.

A series of quotes or quips inspired by the writing of John & Stasi Eldredge (RansomedHeart). 

Easter Sunday 2013

Image

Holy Week offers the template. On Good Friday Jesus absorbed the worst of what Earth has to offer, a convergence of evil and death in an event of profound injustice. Easter Sunday gave a sure and certain sign of contradiction, demonstrating that nothing can withstand the healing force of a loving God. We live out our days, though, on Holy Saturday, aware of the redemptive power of suffering while awaiting the restoration power of creation made new.