Radical Worship: A Portrait of Eve, Part 4
God says be fruitful and multiple in the Bible.
But what if I’m not married? What if I don’t have children? What if I don’t want to get married or have children? Does this mean I’m not living a godly life? Does this mean that I’m not faithful to what God calls us to do? Does this mean I am somehow failing God? And if I am married and have children, what if I’m screwing it up? Am I doing it right?
These are horrible misconceptions – and are not Biblical. Let me let you in on a little secret – Fruitfulness is not merely a physical command; it is a spiritual and intellectual command also!
This is NOT a series on why you should or shouldn’t be married or should or shouldn’t have children. This is a look at Biblical fruitfulness and how this applies to today’s Christian woman.
As we discovered last week, Dictionary.com defines fruitfulness (n.) 1. producing good results; beneficial; productiveness, 2) abounding in fruit, as in trees or plants, bearing fruit abundantly, and 3) producing abundant growth. We learned that to be fruitful requires radical obedience. For more background, read Fruitfulness – Radical Obedience.
Let’s review – Deuteronomy 10:12-14 says,
“ And now, Israel, what does the LORD your God ask of you but to fear the LORD your God, to walk in obedience to him, to love him, to serve the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul, and to observe the LORD’s commands and decrees that I am giving you today for your own good? To the LORD your God belong the heavens, even the highest heavens, the earth and everything in it.”
Point 1: God calls us to fear the Lord. See last week’s post, part 4.
TO BE FRUITFUL REQUIRES A HEART OF LOVE AND SERVICE
Point 2: Obedience is closely associated with love and service.
Because God loves us, we are enabled to love Him, love others, and love ourselves. Tell me something. When you love someone, is it easier to listen to them, to take their guidance to heart, and to follow their lead? The answer is absolutely! We obey God, not out of terror of the consequences, but out of love for His ways, His principles, and His truth. We obey God, not out of shame or guilt, but out of service to His will.
When Adam and Eve took of the forbidden fruit, their initial reaction was to be ashamed and to hide from God. I’m sure Eve knew in her heart, in the depths of her soul, that she had wronged God and wronged Adam. But instead of taking responsibility for her part in the Fall, she reacts out of fear, scorn, and selfishness. Was she serving Adam when she gave the fruit to him? Was she loving God when she blamed the serpent? No!
As daughters of Eve, we are prone to respond to our sinfulness in self-preservation. We will respond with contempt of God’s commands; we will respond out of fear of the consequences; we don’t think about loving others or serving others when we are caught in sin. We will respond in shame and hide in the shadows. But as a redeemed Eve, we have been given an incredible gift – the gift of God’s love. Because of God’s love, we have this new desire planted in us – the desire to love and serve God – to respond obediently when faced with temptation. And through this radical love and service – serving an unseen God – giving Him our everything – we will produce fruit through our obedience to Him.
King David, a man with a history of screw-ups, writes in Psalm 119:174 “I long for your salvation, LORD, and your law gives me delight.” The Apostle Paul, once a murderer of Christians, writes in Romans 7:22, “For in my inner being I delight in God’s law…”
Is it always easy? No! In fact, it’s very hard. Paul continues onto tell us in Romans 7 that there’s an war waging within him that keeps him a prisoner of sin – a war against his own sinful desires, but also against the spiritual dark forces of evil. This causes him to do what he does not want to do and what he does want to do he doesn’t do.
But there’s hope – we have been redeemed! Ephesians 4:22-24 says, “You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.”
Do I really have to let go?
As a woman, I think it’s particularly hard to let things go. We have a tendency to hold on for dear life – to the things that are important to us, to our principles and beliefs, to our husbands, to our children, to our families, our friends, our relationships, our money, etc. Why? Because the need for security is built in as one of our unique design principles. We want to feel safe. We want to feel secure. We want things to be under our control. And we are constantly doing things to make us feel safe, secure, and in control!
But this is how Eve fell into sin. She desired to have more control, the control Satan promised her when he told her she would be like God; she took the reigns of control out of Adam’s hands and stepped out in a willful act of disobedience against God.
Did Adam fail her?
Yes, he was standing right beside her and said nothing and did nothing to stop or correct her.
Does that mean she’s exempt?
No, God still uniquely cursed Eve and all womankind; Eve still had to face the consequences.
As a daughter of Eve, that sinful human nature is with us, that desire to have control is with us. But the desire to feel safe and to be secure is not sinful. It is perfectly healthy and normal! However, when we hold onto things for dear life without letting them go and trusting everything in the hands of our Lord Jesus Christ, we are sinning against God. Nothing can be placed above God, not even our husbands, our most precious relationship, our most precious possession, our dream job or house! The Bible calls this idolatry (Exodus 20:3; Deuteronomy 30:16-18; Matthew 6:21).
Idolatry is the fruit of flesh (Galatians 5:19-21). Our hearts were programmed for worship [Psalm 86:9] (paraphrased from Peacemaker Ministries), but when we worship the wrong things – anything but God – this is idolatry.
Radical worship of God…
…focuses on bringing God all glory, praise, and honor,
…causes us to long for righteousness,
….responds to God out of truth,
…responds to God out of the Spirit’s prompting,
…produces the fruit of righteousness,
…requires radical sacrifice – a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God,
…requires not being conformed to the world,
…requires being transformed and the renewing of one’s mind,
…calls us to progressive love – growing more and more in the knowledge and insight of God’s love,
…and allows us to discern how we ought to live.
Trusting God with everything is essential to true worship.
We need to let go of our former lives. We need to just let go – let go. Are those hard words for you to say? When I was a baby I was thoroughly attached to my pacifier. Oh, I loved that thing! I DID NOT want to let it go. My mother finally had me attach my pacifier to a balloon and we, sadly, with me shedding tears, let it go in the Rite Aid parking lot near our home. But you want to know something? I was freed from babyhood in that moment and could fully embrace toddlerhood. I was growing up.
When we accept Christ into our hearts, we let go of our former lives and our sin. But it doesn’t end there. We grow up in the Lord. We don’t just stop after letting go of our baby pacifiers and say, “okay, Lord, I’m in.” We have been justified and so now we go through the lifelong process of being sanctified – continually working out our salvation and growing in the Lord. Sometimes it’s hard to let go of that old woman – we want to hang onto her for dear life. Just because we accept Christ doesn’t mean our bad habits, our sinful nature just magically disappears. Poof! Sorry to disappoint you, but nope!
Maybe you still struggle with selfishness. Maybe you still struggle with pride. Maybe you struggle with telling the truth. Maybe you still like to gossip. Whatever it is that you struggle with – you need to get right with God! God gives us the wonderful gift of the Holy Spirit – our holy conscience – who guides us into becoming more like Christ, who helps us through the process of sanctification. Tie your sin no matter how huge to that spiritual balloon called God and let it go, trusting in God’s mercy and forgiveness. Trusting God means letting go of your control over your heart, life, and eternity – now that’s a tall order!
3 design principles to remember:
You have been made new in Christ Jesus – and being continually sanctified means moving toward righteousness and holiness in Him! You are a new creation in Christ, and God designed you in a unique way, but there are three design principles that all women share.
1. God designed a beautiful lush garden for Eve to live in, a world where she could be safe and secure, knowing God would provide everything she needed to survive and live a good life. God designed a world for you to enjoy, to flourish, to thrive, and to serve, and even though our world has fallen, this is still the desire of God’s heart for us women! And within the world of God, within relationship with God, we have a unique, intimate place of ultimate security.
2. God designed Eve with a beautiful purpose – to bear and nourish life, to cherish life in a way that Adam couldn’t. And I don’t specifically mean having children, although this was part of it. Eve was designed for relationship. You were designed for relationship. Women are talkers. Women are doers. We like being around other people (for the most part). We thrive when we can work and live in an environment that involves community. This design and desire hasn’t changed because of the Fall; it is merely flawed. God designed you with a unique purpose in mind – for you to engage in personal relationships with those around you and with Him, to nourish the lives of those around you with your unique gifts and talents and ministry, and to cherish, protect, and prize life above all else – life in and with Him!
3. God designed a comparable partner for Eve to uniquely meet her womanly needs and desires for love, comfort, companionship, and safety.
If you are married, first and foremost, remember that Jesus Christ is the perfect Partner for life. Hosea 10:12 says, “Sow righteousness for yourselves, reap the fruit of unfailing love, and break up your unplowed ground; for it is time to seek the LORD, until He comes and showers His righteousness on you.” Christ, your Bridegroom, is coming again one day and will give you the robe of righteousness. Jesus calls us as His bride to live righteously, love unfailingly, and seek the Lord faithfully.
Second, God calls us to be fruitful wives and to bless our husbands (and children, if we have them). Psalm 128:1, 3 says, “How blessed is everyone who fears the LORD, who walks in His ways… Your wife shall be like a fruitful vine within your house…” Proverbs 31:10-31 talks about what a Biblically fruitful wife looks like… she has excellent and noble character, is rare and priceless, is committed to her husband, is committed to excellence, is committed to the best for her household, is consecrated to the Lord and fears the Lord, is confident and faithful, is praised by her husband, children, society, works with integrity and is not idle, takes initiative, is concerned with others (i.e. the poor, her husband, her household), provides the best for her family, makes her home beautiful and desires to have nice things, enhances her husband’s reputation, has strength and dignity, and has lasting beauty in the Lord. God calls us as wives and women to be committed to excellence and to be a blessing to our husbands.
How many of these things do you say you do or have? How many of these things do you aspire to?
Well, that’s all well and good, but I’m not married… I’m not dating… I don’t want to be married, you might be saying. It’s okay to be single. It’s even Biblical to be single. In the Foreword to Barry Danylak‘s book Redeeming Singleness: How the Storyline of Scripture Affirms the Single Life, John Piper writes,
“The greatest, wisest, most fully human person who has ever lived, never married. Jesus Christ. His greatest apostle never married, and was thankful for his singleness. Jesus himself said, that in the age to come we do not marry. And he added that the age to come had already broken into this world.
Therefore, the presence of single people in the church not only “attests the sufficiency of Christ for the reception of God’s covenantal blessings in the new covenant,” but also reminds us “that the spiritual age has already been inaugurated in Christ and awaits imminent consummation.”
Being single can be a beautiful thing. If you are single, embrace your singleness. If you are single and are unhappy with your relationship status, remember this: Jesus came to redeem you, to heal your brokenness, to give you salvation and hope, purpose and worth in Him, regardless of your relationship status. He loves you with an everlasting love and finds you so worthy that He came and died for you so that you may live.
What did Jesus do while He was single? What did many of the single apostles do? They followed God’s will – and guess what? Some of the Bible’s most prominent single people had incredible adventures! Sure, life was hard, but it wasn’t hard because they were single, but because they believed in the Lord Jesus Christ and the power of the Gospel and they shared this with others.
Use your time as a single woman of a radical God to pursue a radical relationship with Jesus Christ – a life-changing, intimate relationship with Christ. Pursue God with your whole heart because He is your King and He loves you so astoundingly.
Use your time as a single woman of a radical God to do something radical, something counter-cultural, something crazy – go tell others about His love no matter the cost. When you’re single, you don’t have a husband to hold you back (not that this is a burden; it is a blessing), but your obligations and responsibilities are a little different. Use this time to go tell the world, get involved with ministries, go out on missions trips, etc.
Use your time as a single woman of a radical God to pursue radical friendships. Find godly single women and rally around them, support them, encourage them, love on them. God calls us first to love Him with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength and then to love our neighbors as ourselves. Find single women who are nonbelievers and be a light to them in their darkness. They may not even know what it truly means to be unsaved. They may think that “good works” alone will get them into heaven or that they are a “good” person. Truth is, none of us is good or righteous without God, no matter what lies Satan feeds us and we believe. Be a testimony of radical love to these women.
Reclaim your singleness as a redeemed gift from God. Live passionately for the Lord as a redeemed Eve. Serve the Lord with gladness in your heart that everything is in His timing and His hands and your future is secure.
You have an incredible opportunity to bear righteous fruit during a unique time of your life. You have an incredible opportunity to form an intimate relationship with Jesus Christ, and to build the foundation of God-comes-first-always before you might marry. You have the incredible opportunity to be a light to the world as a single woman of God with a unique perspective on life and the world. You have an incredible opportunity to minister to other single women around you and to be a testimony to those who are not in the Lord.
1) We obey God because we love Him and desire to serve Him, not because we fear consequences. 2) True worship requires God to be first in our lives and hearts always. 3) As daughters of Eve, it isn’t in our nature to want to let go, but we must bring our sins and our struggles before the Lord and trust in God’s mercy and forgiveness. 4) We have been made a new creation in Jesus Christ, a redeemed Eve, and through this process, we are continually sanctified – striving toward righteous and holy living. 5) God deigned a world for us to enjoy, to thrive in, and to serve others. 6) We have total security in our relationship with God. 7) We were created for relationship – with God and with others, and were given unique gifts and abilities to contribute and bless those relationships. 8) We were designed for partnership – with God (and with a husband if this is the calling of the Lord in your life). 9) As a married woman, you are called to place God first, and to serve and bless your husband and family. 9) As a single woman, you are at a unique place in your life to wholeheartedly love God, tell the Good News, and minister to others – there is beauty and redemption in the single life.
Bottom Line: Following God requires radical worship – it requires you to lay your life on the line for Him and His Word and His truth no matter your relationship status- but radical worship brings about radical hope, purpose, and ministry! Radical worship produces fruitfulness!
Maybe you don’t understand what it means to truly worship God. Maybe you have idols in your heart today that need to be dealt with and done away with. Maybe you have never heard about the wonderful, beautiful, and powerful purpose God has called us women to, and you have never taken a step of faith and trusted in this radical Son of God called Jesus Christ.
If this is you today, please… don’t hesitate to contact me and ask me questions or ask for prayer. I’d be more than happy and honored to share my limited insights with you, to walk you through Scripture, to pray with you, or to help you understand God’s plan for salvation in your life. Please seek out help from an older mature godly woman who can mentor and disciple you, to elaborate on this idea of true worship, to be an accountability partner and a prayer warrior as you battle a particular sin, or to guide you in the baby steps of a brand new faith in Jesus Christ. May the Lord bless you and draw you deeper into Himself wherever you are on this journey of faith!
1. What We Were Designed For A Portrait of Eve introduction – the woman you were created to be.
2. Under the Arm and Near the Heart Part 1 – A position of honor and glory and a look at what it means to be a help-meet
3. The Scary “S” Word Part 2 – Did submission exist prior to the Fall? And what does it mean to be submissive in marriage?
4. Radical Obedience Part 3- A different look at Biblical fruitfulness, what it means, what it requires, and what the Bible says about fearing the Lord.
- Posted in: Beauty ♦ Femininity and Womanhood ♦ Fruits of the Spirit ♦ God's Love ♦ Knowing God ♦ Real Marriage ♦ Worship
- Tagged: Anxiety and Fear and Worry, Creation, Dating & Engaged Women, Faith, Holiness, Idolatry, Obedience, Portrait of Eve, Righteousness, Safety & Security, The Single Life, Trusting God, Worship