John Piper's goal in the first chapter is to clarify the ultimate meaning of true womanhood, and to motivate us to embrace it as our highest calling.
What shapes you?We are constantly bombarded by various messages on womanhood each day. Who or what shapes you, your values, and the way you understand the world? What voices do you listen to? TV? The internet? Magazines? Friends and family? Are you, like Eve, being seduced by lies? Are you being led astray from what is good and wise? Or do you look to God for truth and bend your ear toward His voice of Wisdom? Do you believe that He is full of grace and truth and that His ways are truly best even when they don't make sense to us? Are you God-centered or self-centered?
The most important thing about a person is what they believe about God. We should look to God's truth to shape our beliefs and values. We should not do the opposite and look to our culture to shape our view of God! As John Piper says in the first chapter, "Wimpy theology makes wimpy women. Wimpy theology simply does not give a woman a God that is big enough, strong enough, wise enough, and good enough to handle the realities of life in a way that magnifies the infinite worth of Jesus Christ." (p. 21)
When God created the universe and everything in it, His design was intentional, deliberate, purposeful, and beautiful. Everything was made according to His plan, His idea, and His purposes. Masculinity and femininity were not created as an afterthought. They were created to teach us more about God.
Consider how marriage portrays a beautiful picture of Christ's sacrificial love:
"Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her... that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish." (Ephesians 5:25-27)
Again, we get a glimpse of Christ's relationship to the church, His bride.
"Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh. This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church." (Ephesians 5:31)
Piper says that marriage is "meant to display the covenant-keeping love between Christ and His church... Marriage will display, as in a mirror dimly, something of the glory of the sacrificial love of Christ for His bride and the lavish reverence and admiration of the bride for her husband.
Intentional DesignPiper concludes that God made us male and female to more fully display the glory of Jesus. If we were just genderless people, there would be aspects of Christ's nature that would not be known. The very reason why males and females exist, why we're given in marriage at all, is because it points to something much bigger than gender and marital status. If you thought your marriage was about you and your husband, it's not. It actually points to Christ, the cross, and His relationship to the church! Piper doesn't believe that God simply looked around and decided that marriage would be a good analogy to describe Jesus' relationship to the church. It was all preplanned from the beginning of time.
Finding FulfillmentIf God was so intentional about manhood and womanhood, and if He uses it to describe something about Jesus, it's definitely a very important topic. As we go through the rest of the series, I believe we will be most satisfied and most fulfilled in our roles as women when we trust the One who designed us this way.
Is your theology wimpy or do you believe He is all knowing, completely wise, and thoroughly intentional about the way He created us? Believing the truth about God and who He is will help you see the beauty in His plan for you as a woman.
My next post will be on Chapter 2: From Him, through Him, to Him by Nancy Leigh DeMoss.