by Pastor Andrew Morgridge
You would wonder at the topic of this message, but yes, we want to focus on the outstanding sisters – those who stand out in the crowd – because they are the mothers that uphold the church. Many sisters don’t know their work and that is why we want to examine what the Scriptures say concerning them. More so, as Mothers’ day was celebrated on March 22, it is timely, so that mothers, sisters can know who they are and be able to fit into their roles, to be effective in the body of Christ. So the question is: Where Are The Beautiful Sisters?
The carnal person concentrates on looking beautiful, while the spiritual person acts beautifully. You need to see women when they are preparing for an outing; if only they would put even half of the effort they put in their physical enhancement into enhancing themselves in the inner man, things would have changed in God’s kingdom. Again, the carnal person concentrates on looking beautiful but the spiritual person acts beautifully. It is this acting beautifully that tells everybody in the physical or spiritual that you are beautiful.
There is a sect or group of people in Christendom who feel that when you dress well, make-up and look radiant then you are carnal. To tell the truth, many of them are drab, many of them don’t look beautiful and if I am looking for a wife, I won’t go near them. This is not because they are not born again, but because they simply chose not to look pretty. The question now is does God recognize beauty?
The answer is yes! God is not carnal but He uses the word ‘beautiful’. He even used it before human beings began to use the word. When I was studying English Language in the University, we were taught the history of certain words. We were taught that words evolve. For instance, the word ‘handsome’, was once used to describe women; words like ‘ghetto’ were not in the dictionary some time ago. God had been using the word ‘beautiful’ from the time of Isaiah, and each time He used the word, it tells us in which context it is used.
How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace; that bringeth good tidings of good, that publisheth salvation; that saith unto Zion, Thy God reigneth! Isaiah 52:7
Every single thing that has to do with beautiful as far as God is concerned, has to do with good tidings, publishing peace, salvation, proclamation of God’s supremacy.
The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me; because the LORD hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound; To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn; To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he might be glorified. Isaiah 61:1-3
Ashes are a symbol of mourning, fasting or deprivation, in the Bible days. So when God says He will give you beauty for ashes, He is saying that instead of deprivation, mourning or fasting; He would give you joy, food and all the opposites of deprivation. The person that makes all these things possible is who the Bible calls a beautiful person. So while this is the general calling, I’ve also seen in the Scriptures that the role of women in the church points to these things. The actualization of this “… beauty for ashes …” is from inside. So, as we have identified with Mothers’ day, it is the time to reflect on whether you are really a mother that is fulfilling the role God has given you or not.
What effect is the word of God that has been sown in your life through church, books having in your life? Is your heart stony that it cannot have a place to receive the word of God? If so then you are on the fast lane to hell! If you are also one who exposes herself to demonic activities, they will pick the word of God from your life. If you are someone that focuses on the cares of this life, those cares will choke the life of God out of you. The cares of this life is a serious issue, because God mentions it in the Scriptures, and He mentioned it concerning women. This message is coming forth, so that our women will not be driven out by Satan. March 22 was Mothers’ day, and this message is to encourage mothers and sisters to align into the category that God has given them from the beginning. This is because the cares of this life run parallel to the woman of beauty that God recognizes.
We have seen that God recognizes beauty, as confirmed in Isaiah 52:7 and Isaiah 61:3; so beauty is defined as something God sees and likes. In other words, being the person God designed is the beauty that draws God to you. It has nothing to do how heavily made-up you are, or how beautifully the make-up artist has made you. It is in being the person God has made you to be, that God says you are beautiful.
In the beginning, God made everything and said they were good. What made them good is the fact that they remained what God says they were. As far as I am concerned, there is nothing beautiful about a paw-paw tree: it doesn’t even provide any shade, and it does not look pretty. But the leaves are medicinal, and the fruit itself is sweet. So long as it is fulfilling these purposes, God says it is good; it is beautiful, regardless of how it looks. So beauty is defined as being who God says you are. Having this background we would now look at 1 Peter 3:1-3, because it directly relates to the womenfolk. “Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel”( 1 Peter 3:3). If your pursuit of money is for adorning of self, you will run after it; it will occupy you to the point where you lose security, balance, and you will be confused all the time, and unable to fulfill the role that God has given you. Sisters, mothers, you need to understand that possessions are a defective measure of your worth. It is not how much or how many things you have that show you are pretty, beautiful or important. Our lives are of a much greater worth than possessions, because God would have ransomed us from Satan with all the beautiful things in heaven if it’s so important that our worth is based on gold. God recognizes that it is the worth of a life (what that life has done) that is important. So, God had to use His own life to ransom us. He used His blood, indicating that it is our life that is important to Him, not our externals.
Life, according to the Bible, speaks of conversation, mannerism, a way of living. Isaiah 52:7 and 1 Peter 3:1 says that our communication of living should draw people to God. If all you have is wealth for the purpose of beautifying the external, you will be hiding or barring your inner man that God recognizes from growing. Certainly a drive for things or wealth would not allow your inner beauty to shine forth. What is the inner man all about?
But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price (1 Peter 3:4). This Scripture does not mean that you should not wear jewelry, what God is saying is that even as you wear jewelry, don’t put your attention on them and the external, focus on developing and shinning forth your inner man, and let it be seen just as the ornament is seen. Your character is what beautifies you. The Bible says that when you have a meek and quiet spirit, you will be at peace. In the Amplified Version, it extends it to say that this meek and quiet spirit is not anxious or wrathful, but it is very precious in the sight of God. But if you concentrate on the external, you will have an anxious and wrathful spirit. This is because one gives up for the other. If you spend all your time seeking for money, you will have less time for your family; but God recognizes your family as your primary assignment on earth. This is revealed in 1 Corinthians 7, where Paul says that a single lady should use her time for God, but a married woman should use her time for her husband, and God would not condemn her for that. Right from the beginning (Genesis 2), God made the woman to be a helpmeet for the man. Also, in Genesis 3, God says that the woman is bound to follow her husband’s desires.
As far back as the time of Numbers, Moses said that if a girl makes a vow and her father does not agree with it, God will not hold her responsible (Numbers 30). If the girl gets married and makes a vow which her husband does not accept, God will not still hold her responsible. This shows that the responsibilities of her father have been placed on the husband. In the same way as the girl served in the house of her father, so also she served her husband. Howbeit, she is not a slave to the man, but she is a helpmeet. What people don’t understand is that God made the original woman to be equal with the man. He made them male and female, and when it pleased Him, He separated their authority and told the woman to submit to the man.
Apart from this, God also made other things that are only common to the woman. First of all God made them and put everything inside Adam. Then He caused Adam to sleep and brought forth the woman. This is confirmed from the original translations of the Bible. When Adam said of Eve, “this is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh,” the word bone in the Hebrew simply means same of the same. In other words, Adam said, “she’s just like me!” ‘Flesh of my flesh’ implies personality, emotions. It is believed that God took the emotions out of Adam and put them in the woman. That is why women are emotionally different from men; men are hard while women are soft. So, women should recognize who they are, that they are helpers of men. The man himself should also understand that “this woman is serving me; I have to love and respect her.” That is why the man is commanded to love the woman.
Sisters, mothers, where are you in the scheme of things? God says you are beautiful, but that beauty is not in the external. You are beautiful only when you perform your purpose in life. And that purpose is not to seek to be beautiful outwardly, which is the cares of this life that will choke the beauty of God out of you. God wants you to be a helpmeet to your husband, He wants you to take care of your home. When you do these, by extension, you are being a blessing to the church. This is because once there is peace in your home, there will be growth, peace and stability in the church; since the home is the smallest unit of the church. It is the peace in the home that is translated to the church. 1 Peter 3:1 says let there be peace in your home by submitting to your husband, so that other people can see God in your home. This is a beautiful calling you cannot trifle with.
God is the intelligent designer who has a purpose for us, even before we were conceived. He told Jeremiah, “before you were born, I made you a prophet. You can’t run away from your calling.” Many women are running away from the calling that God has given them. The Beijing Conference called women together and told them that they were equal or even better than men. I have no quarrel over that, but the way God made the woman is that she should be subject to the man, even if she is a professor. And God has given her the ability to do it, though it may not be easy.
If as a woman you are earning more that your husband, you pay the bills and run the home; you may even say that your husband is good for nothing and not worthy of bearing the title ‘husband,’ God still says you should submit to him. You need to know that God is the Master-designer who has made everything to give Him pleasure (Colossians 1:16). God’s pleasure is that you submit to your husband and if you are not giving God pleasure in this, then you are not attractive to Him.
March 22 was Mothers’ day, a universally accepted day to recognize women, appreciate them and admonish them with the word of God. Woman, you need to know that God recognizes that your beauty is from inside, and that you should not measure yourself by what you have – money or property – but that you should rather measure yourself by how much of the word of God you are carrying and fulfilling. That is more important to God than all the money or whatever you have. It is as you live the kind of life described in 1 Peter 3:3, 4; that other people will be drawn to God.
When I said that God has given you the grace to be submissive to your husbands, it means from the original translation, that you “subordinate yourself as secondary and dependent on them; adapt yourselves to them.” When you have a gentle and quiet spirit, you will be able to adapt to the situation at hand.
In Genesis 2:4, the man and the woman were equal, up to the time when God presented the woman to the man as his helpmeet. But it pleased God in Genesis 3:16, to say to the woman, “your desires shall be unto your husband; you will have to subject your desires to him.” So in other words, you are going to have to adapt yourself to the ‘new you’ that God has made. That was how the pious women of old who believed in God lived (1Peter 3:5). This was how they beautified themselves – being subject to their husbands and putting themselves secondary, dependent on their husbands.
1 Peter 3:6 says, Even as Sara obeyed Abraham, calling him lord: whose daughters ye are, as long as ye do well, and are not afraid with any amazement. Let’s go back to Bible in order to understand how Sarah adapted herself to her husband. She followed her husband as servant; in other words, she allowed him to lead her. The Bible says that they went to Egypt in the time of famine, and there Abraham told everyone that Sarah was his sister, because he was trying to preserve his life. Can that be called love – selling his wife to protect himself? Abraham is the father of faith as we all know, yet when it came to loving his wife, he failed.
Jesus said, “Greater love has no man than this, than for a man to lay down his life for his friends.” You give your life for the one you love. Abraham quietly hid his identity, allowing the king to take his wife, so that he could live. It took the intervention of God who had promised that his seed shall come from Sarah, to prevent the king from having her. When the woman was restored to Abraham, she did not complain. She did not rain abusive words on him for leaving her to the king, she simply continued to follow. If that was the only time, it would have been said to be a mistake. But when after many years the same situation occurred and he told Abimelech that she was his sister, it showed that he had not learnt from the first experience. He was afraid that they would kill him and take his wife, because she was very pretty, so he told her to say that she was his sister. That woman was lying consistently because her husband said so. But now if it is the modern Christian woman she would say, “God forbid!”, “the blood of Jesus!”, “I cannot lie because of you!” It is not right to tell lies, but Sarah did it again and again because her husband said so. It is because of her meek and gentle spirit that God talked so much about her. Of all the women in the Bible, she was the one used to describe submission.
As days went on, Abraham and Sarah became very rich, they had all manner of wealth and could live comfortably, but Abraham said he lived in tents. They lived on the rock, with snakes all over the place, while there were fine houses in Sodom and Gomorrah; yet the woman stayed where her husband stayed. She did not consider the comfort of houses in other places. She followed him, recognizing his authority. She called him ‘lord’, trusted him, and did not fear or worry. This was not the life of a pampered queen; this was just a woman who followed her husband. She loved Abraham even though he had denied her twice.
So, it is all a matter of being who God says you are. You are the helpmeet; you live a constant life of attachment to your husband. It is when you do this that you are the woman that God loves. Your husband is at peace, and when he is at peace, your home is growing. The virtuous woman in Proverbs 31 was family-centric; everything she did was for her family. This is unlike the woman who is out there, labouring and running up and down the whole place, so that she could buy a fine car, new clothes or fine gold. This is not what God is looking for.
1 Peter 3:7 “Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered” .God also admonished the men to dwell with their wives, with an intelligent recognition of the role of a woman; giving her honour, so that their prayers will not be hindered. As we remember Mothers’ day, let the woman recognize her worth, that it is based on her being the woman God has made her. The man should also recognize that the woman deserves love for doing this. She also deserves to be honoured, appreciated and loved, so their prayers will not be hindered. God is glorified when we live like this.