We women are bombarded by many contrary philosophies on how we should live. We are told that we need to be CEOs and not be subdued at home. We are told we need to stand up to men and not let what they think influence our actions and what we wear. We are told that we have always gotten the short end of the stick and that we need to fight for what is ours.
A lot of that is toxic.
Yes, God has called us to thrive. Yes, He gives us a voice and a purpose. Yes, God created us to be honoured, respected and loved. However, it doesn't look the way the world tells us it should look.
So how does Biblical femininity look? What is God's design for women? What does it mean to be a virtuous woman?
Here are five characteristics to develop as you pursue Jesus and choose to live in God's design. When you're done reading, make sure to join our Five-Day Faith Building Challenge app where we have the Virtuous Woman 5-Day Challenge to help you grow into the woman God called you to be...
ONE: A Virtuous Woman Has a Strong Desire to Help and Serve Others
In Genesis 2:18 we read:
'The Lord God also said, "It is not good for man to be alone. I will make for him a suitable helper."'
The Hebrew word used for helper in this verse is ezer, which means rescuer, refuge or saviour. Women were created to be a refuge for others, to be someone they could rely on, who would help build them up, keep their eyes on God, lead them away from sin and be a safe place for them to be vulnerable.
This ability to rescue and provide refuge makes us excellent mothers as our children grow up knowing they are secure and learn to take risks and step out because they are coming from a place of security.
A woman of virtue would not be self-centered or interested only in her appearance and building her own perfect empire of a career, family, wealth and status.
A woman of virtue will be outwardly-focussed and always ready to be a fortress for others.
If this is something you want to grow more in, check out our Live, Love and Serve Better Journals -- a 12-week journal to help you build the habits of a virtuous woman.
TWO: a Virtuous Woman is an Example to Others of Obedience and Wisdom
In 1 Peter 3:1 we read:
'Wives, in the same way submit yourselves to your own husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behaviour of their wives.'
Here we see that God calls us to live out the Gospel through our actions, because they are far more powerful than our words. The way we do this in a marriage is to honour God's design for our husbands to be heads of our households. We are called to intelligently submit to them, honouring their decisions and being patient and full of grace for their failings, building them up and exemplifying respect for them so that others may hold them up in the same regard.
This often means biting our tongue, not complaining about everything we don't like, not always having things our way, and choosing to let go of bitterness.
This obedience to God's call to bring peace to our households and uphold our husbands with respect, is what will lead them to grow into the men God called them to be.
For those who are unmarried, obedience to God's Word and ways, and following Jesus wholeheartedly, not just in words but in actions, is what will win souls for Christ.
A virtuous woman would not be one who constantly argues with her husband and battles with him for power and respect.
A virtuous woman will put her husband and others first, holding and building them up even if it sometimes means they gain more respect and status than she.
I spoke about the way women carry themselves as a way to be virtuous and honour men in my podcast Why I Choose to Cover My Curves.
THREE: A Virtuous Woman is Strong in Her Identity and Lives Fearlessly
In Proverbs 31: 25 we read:
'She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come...'
We so far discovered that as women we are called to be a refuge for others, to put others first and to exemplify obedience, even if our husbands, the heads of our households, aren't doing it. Living this way takes a lot of strength and faithfulness. Most of all it takes a deep intimacy with Christ and a real knowledge of how much He loves us.
To be a fortress for others and set an example of obedience to God in a time of liberalism is very hard. This is why we women must ensure that our identity is rooted in Christ's love for us and not in our career, family, wealth, status or achievements.
A virtuous woman would not follow the crowd in order to be liked, get jealous easily, encourage others in sin or live in fear or anxiety.
A virtuous woman will be fearless as she will trust that God is in control, that He loves her deeply and that His ways are higher and better than her ways. She will follow Him wholeheartedly and be a shining example of love and faithfulness.
If you don't yet know how loved you are by Christ and struggle to persevere and be faithful in your walk with Jesus, join the our 3-Week Foundations of a Gritty Faith course where we cover all the tools you need to really deepen your intimacy with Jesus.