Our most outstanding similarities, beyond the short hair, included a focus on kingdom work and a desire to teach. But Unlike, Joyce, I chose to not be a preacher in the church.
Someone recently said to me, “Serena, I believe you could preach a better sermon than 90% of the men in the church.”
I know I could, but I don’t. Here’s why:
I choose to respect the boundaries of God.
I believe that the bible contains the words of God. Though they were penned by humans, I believe all scripture to be inspired by God and authoritative (2 Tim. 3:16). When I see boundaries that God has place on our activities, relationships and our actions, I choose to honor those. The same God that says do not lust, do not commit adultery and do not steal says:
The women should keep quiet in these church meetings. They are not allowed to speak out but should be under authority, as the Law says. If there is something they want to know, they should ask their own husbands at home. It is shameful for a woman to speak up like that in the church meeting. 1 Cor. 14:34-35
A woman should learn while listening quietly and being completely willing to obey. I don’t allow a woman to teach a man or tell him what to do. She must listen quietly, because Adam was made first. Eve was made later. Also, Adam was not the one who was tricked. It was the woman who was tricked and became a sinner. 1 Tim. 2:11-14
In one of her sermons, Joyce referred to the restriction on women preaching saying, “It’s all a bunch of nonsense anyway.” (Watch a clip here.)
Yes, Mary Magdalene announced Jesus’ resurrection. Yes, Jesus valued women and gave them a place at his table and in his ministry (Luke 8:1-3). But the message to infant church was for women to be quiet in the assembly.
How do I know this message wasn’t for a certain era or culture? Because Paul goes all they way back to the Garden of Eden. Creation and the Fall is an all time/ all people sort of thing.
But it feels good and seems good. Yes, it might seem good. It might feel good. But God says, “Don’t.” Any reasoning against it is simply rebellion. Remember Satan himself masquerades himself in things that seem good and feel good. He “disguises himself as an angel of light” (2 Cor. 11:14) and as doctrines of light.
I love God more.
This is not an easy teaching for me. And it was not an easy decision for me. Whether it is taking the floor or subtly teaching from my seat, I have had made the choice to bridle my strength because I love God more than I love myself.
I do think that I could preach better than some men. I do think I have a better understanding than a lot of men. I do I think I have a more spiritual outlook than many men in leadership. But my thoughts, no matter what they are, don’t give me license to teach over my brothers. My Lord asked me to restrain myself, so even when I don’t want to or understand it, I will because I love him.
Submission isn’t degrading.
As a devoted Christ-follower, I have accepted the charge to follow his example.
“Father, if you are willing, please don’t make me drink from this cup. But do what you want, not what I want.” Luke 22:42
Jesus, in act of courage and sacrifice, gave up his life for the Father’s cause. I can give up my voice if he asks me to.
The one who made the world made the rules. The planets obey in orbit. The seas obey in tides. I choose to obey by honoring my created purpose found in Genesis 2:18.
The Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.”
I was created to be the sustainer, the life-giver and the suitable helper. I choose to honor my Creator by fulfilling the role he intended me for.
The Essence of God
God chose us to bear his image, his essence, as women. I guess because of a our “boys rule” culture, the male attributes of God are more valued. But the truth is that God displays himself in gentleness and quietness as well. If God can display his essence in quiet ways, it is my privilege to imitate him.
Elijah stood there, the Lord passed by, and a mighty windstorm hit the mountain. It was such a terrible blast that the rocks were torn loose, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. And after the earthquake there was a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire there was the sound of a gentle whisper. 1 Kings 19:11-12
I want to be beautiful. I am nearing 40 years old. My hair is gray. I am riddled with stretch marks. Wrinkles and extra layers of skin under my chin are forming. But I still crave to be beautiful. I yearn for beauty. God tells me there is a beauty that time cannot fade. I want that beauty.
The LORD does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart. 1 Sam. 16:7
Your beauty… should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight. 1 Pet. 3:3-4
God says my gentleness is valuable to him. He says that my quiet spirit is beautiful to him. And I want to be beautiful for him.