Fulfilling the Great Commission by raising Christ-centred disciples to plant vibrant, biblical churches in our cities and countries all over the world

THE MEASURE OF A WOMAN By Ps Lai Ling Lim

How would you measure a woman? What is her worth, her true beauty, her total being? Society today measures a woman highly on physical appearance. Movies, magazines, television, all bear witness to this external obsession.(Prov 31:10 NIV) “A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies.”

God’s perspective
God’s perspective of women is far more comprehensive. God is not opposed to beauty for He created “woman for man” (1 Cor 11:9). Any normal man bears witness to this reality in that he responds to what he sees. God’s intended perspective on women has been marred by sin. Sin, entering the world, caused man to focus on external beauty and to abuse it, pervert it and to use it for all kinds of selfish reasons. However, God’s perspective still prevails till this day and forever. And men and women who seek to do the will of God can discover what that perspective is. It neither eliminates physical beauty nor excludes inner qualities. God’s perspective includes both but puts the emphasis where it ought to be – on what is real, lasting and ultimately satisfying- and all within His moral laws.

Paul and Peter, the two great apostles of the New Testament specified some qualities that are uniquely directed at women. These virtues in turn serve as criteria for measuring Christian maturity and true and lasting beauty.

(1 Tim 3:11 NIV) “In the same way, their wives are to be women worthy of respect, not malicious talkers but temperate and trustworthy in everything.”

(Titus 2:3-5 NIV) “Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good. {4} Then they can train the younger women to love their husbands and children, {5} to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God.”

(1 Pet 3:1-4 NIV) “Wives, in the same way be submissive to your husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives, {2} when they see the purity and reverence of your lives. {3} Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. {4} Instead, it 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.”

These scriptures passages form the basis for this class. Each scripture yields significant aspects that reflect inner beauty. Deep down, they represent what all human beings (men particularly) desire to see in a woman. In fact, without them, physical beauty is merely temporary and superficial. With these qualities, even what some considered to be physical inadequacies are overshadowed by what is ultimately meaningful and endearing.

1st quality – to be worthy of respect

(1 Tim 3:11 NIV) “In the same way, their wives are to be women worthy of respect, not malicious talkers but temperate and trustworthy in everything.”

This scripture does not just refer to those who are married but to all women. Paul is discussing the marks of maturity for a Christian woman; married, single, with or without an official position in church.

Greek word is “semnos” which means august, venerable, reverent, honorable. A woman who lives in such a way that she can be venerated for her character. A respectful life-style particularly for older women so that they can teach the younger women how to live the Christian life in their various relationships. For a respectable, reverent, and dignified life-style will form a backdrop against which the non-believers may be ashamed because they have nothing bad to say about us.(Titus 2:8)

In developing the quality of respect and dignity in our lives, it starts with our thinking pattern…. world of ideas and things.

(Phil 4:8 NIV) “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things.”

We cannot expect others to respect us if we think about things that are dishonorable or disrespectful. For we cannot even develop self-respect this way, and without self respect, we cannot win the respect of others.

(Prov 23:7 NIV) “for he is the kind of man who is always thinking about the cost. “Eat and drink,” he says to you, but his heart is not with you.”

What are the things a woman can think about and do that could cause her to lose self respect and consequently the respect of others?

Literature, television shows, movies – anything that stimulates carnal appetites and that focuses on non-Christian behavior will eventually affect our self respect. For some of these things cater to the flesh and focus on lying, cheating, illegitimate sex, backbiting, gossiping, foul language etc. Any Christian woman who takes seriously God’s standards for living, yet allows her mind to dwell on these things, will sooner or later lose self respect and be in danger of losing the respect of others.

Personal project designed to help you as a Christian woman develop self-respect as well as respect from others:

Step 1

Ask yourself honestly: what about me indicates that I have self respect?

1. Do I feel good about myself?

Self respect is not pride. Lev 19:18 talks about loving our neighbors as ourselves. There is a self-love that is biblically and psychologically proper. Without it we neither win the respect of others nor ourselves.

2. What evidence do I have that other people respect me?

How you feel about yourself is not necessarily an indication of how people feel about you. You may look into the mirror and feel bad about yourself. But others may view you as a good person. Do you have a healthy perspective about yourself?

Step 2

To determine whether or not your view of yourself is related to an inferiority complex or valid feelings of personal disrespect, ask yourself : Are there any attitudes and actions in my life that are in direct violation of Scripture? Do I have a moral problem? Am I a bitter person? Am I proud and arrogant? Am I gossiping about others?

If your answer is yes, this may be why you do not respect yourself. However if you are doing all you know how to live a good Christian life and still feels like an inferior person, then your problem is no doubt more psychological than spiritual.

Step 3

Once you have isolated the root of your problem, take action. If you lack self respect and respect for others because of sin, confess it to God and claim His forgiveness (1 John 1:9). Begin to conform your lifestyle to that of Jesus (2 Cor 3:18). If your negative inner feelings are based on your self without any valid reasons, share these inner most anxieties with someone you really trust, accepts you and pray through.

Step 4

If the problem is basically spiritual, these are some Scriptures to memorize to help us overcome sin in our lives.

Ps 119:11, Rom 12:1-2, Rom 8:11, 1 Cor 10:13, Phil 4:13, Ps 139:13-14, Rom 8:38-39.

Play the game of strength.

2nd quality – Be not malicious talkers

(1 Tim 3:11 NIV) “In the same way, their wives are to be women worthy of respect, not malicious talkers but temperate and trustworthy in everything.”

The ability to control our tongues is definitely difficult for any man or woman. Nevertheless, how we use our tongue serves as a precise measurement of our Christian maturity as women. And if we can successfully control our tongues, we can usually control every other part of our personality. How we use our tongues reflects on everything we do and every person we come into contact with. Satan is at the root of all gossip, malicious talk and slander. John 8:44

As Christian women, we have a source to help us control our tongues and we also have a responsibility to help each other mature in this area of our lives. We are to desire for godly wisdom.

(James 3:15-18 NIV) “Such “wisdom” does not come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, of the devil. {16} For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice. {17} But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. {18} Peacemakers who sow in peace raise a harvest of righteousness.”

Three categories of gossip:

a. malicious gossip is consciously and deliberately hurtful. It is based in envy and rooted in flagrant selfishness. It is designed to breakup relationships and destroy friendships.

b. rationalization. Often results from self-deception. The person who rationalizes has convinced herself that she is doing it for the good of the other person. It may be disguised as prayer interest and personal concern.

c. innocent gossip. This involves a person who is truly concerned, but who is to a certain extent, unwise and insensitive to other people’s feelings. It is sometimes motivated by a desire to be helpful, but in reality the gossiper may be trying to prove to others how helpful she really is.

The following questions and suggestions are designed to help you evaluate your conversations and communication with others:

Step 1

In the range from never, little, sometimes and frequently, are you involved in malicious gossip, rationalization, innocent gossip.

The goal is to eliminate it from your lifestyle. (James 3:2 NIV) “We all stumble in many ways. If anyone is never at fault in what he says, he is a perfect man, able to keep his whole body in check.”

Step 2
Before sharing information about anyone, ask yourself the following questions from a positive perspective:

a. is this information pure? Will it build up someone else?
b. will it create harmony and peace in the Body of Christ?
c. is it the most merciful thing to do?
d. will it produce good fruit?
e. does it reflect a submissive attitude on my part?
f. am I truly sincere and unselfish in wanting to share this information?
g. am I being impartial and objective? Do I have the facts?
h. am a being considerate of this person in sharing the information?
From a negative perspective:
a. do I feel envy towards this person? Do I want to hurt someone?
b. will this create disorder and lack of unity in the Body of Christ?
c. am I motivated by selfish ambitions?
d. am I practicing evil or good?

Step 3

Consider the following Scriptures as guidance in how we communicate information:
Matt 18:15-17, 1 Tim 5:1-2, 1 Tim 5:19, Prov 18:21, Prov 21:23, Prov 25:11, Prov 25:18

Let your tongue be used to bring wholesome words, healing words, gracious words to build up others.

3rd quality – to be temperate
(1 Tim 3:11 NIV) “In the same way, their wives are to be women worthy of respect, not malicious talkers but temperate and trustworthy in everything.”

A lack of control and temperance is a mark of spiritual immaturity. A woman who had this problem certainly could not be a spiritual leader and an example to other Christians. The variety of indulgences we face in today’s society are:

Addictive type beverages made delightfully attractive by multi color advertisements in magazines, billboards, on television. Drugs both acceptable and unacceptable, tobacco, delicious and exotic food, beautiful clothing etc. Over eating. A Christian woman must be consistent. Temperance applies to many things in life. It also applies to the way a woman spends money on herself, on her family, on her home. A woman must be temperate in all the means she uses to ease her frustration and stress and to satisfy her basic needs and desires.

(1 Cor 10:23-33 NIV) “”Everything is permissible”–but not everything is beneficial. “Everything is permissible”–but not everything is constructive. {24} Nobody should seek his own good, but the good of others.

(1 Cor 11:1 NIV) “Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ.”

Personal project Step 1

Realize that there is an element of relativity in determining what is excessive. This varies with individuals. For eg, some people have a greater source of income by which they can do a lot more things. Relatively speaking they are not indulgent nor are they obsessed with things. They just have more of everything. And if they are mature Christians, they also have more to share and to give to others. And if they are truly mature in god, they will be good stewards of God’s gifts.

Step 2

Realize also that almost everything, in itself, is not wrong or evil. It is how these things are used and the degree to which they control us. Food is good and necessary, but when we are obsessed with eating to the point that it affects our spiritual, physical and psychological well being, we are sinning against ourselves and God. Or even under eating to stay slim, the obsession to have the perfect body.

Step 3


Questions to help you evaluate your personal lifestyles:

a. am I controlled by any habits that were part of my non-Christian lifestyle? Intemperance usually involves a lack of self-control – over eating, over spending, over sleeping, over working, over indulging.

b. what are my motives for doing what I do? Stressed, hence overeat, overanxious, hence over drink, inferior and insecure, hence overspend on clothes or other items. Over busy to run away from having to think and resolve issues.

c. are my problems psychological or purely habitual?
A person who has psychological causes for intemperance operates at an obsessive level which does not make sense to her. The very thought of change is threatening and causes even more anxiety. This is habitual.

Step 4

Talk to mature Christians who can help listen and help you, pray with you, work out with you a plan to overcome the problem. Oversensitive conscience can affect a person in that they are guilty about almost everything they do. Share on ways to de- stress. Mind overworking??? Safe place therapy.

4th quality – to be trustworthy in everything

(1 Tim 3:11 NIV) “In the same way, their wives are to be women worthy of respect, not malicious talkers but temperate and trustworthy in everything.”

A woman’s constant faithfulness can be a consistent source of encouragement and motivation. Paul included this quality in every area of life. In other words , a woman who can be trusted to faithfully, transact business, to faithfully carry out instructions and to faithfully discharge official duties. (Prov 18:22 NIV) “He who finds a wife finds what is good and receives favor from the LORD.”

(Prov 31:10-11 NIV) “A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies. {11} Her husband has full confidence in her and lacks nothing of value.”

Some eg in the Bible; Pricilla (Rom 16:3), Mary, Tryphena and Tryphosa ( Romans 16:6,12) , Lydia (Acts 16:14) and Eunice (2 Tim 1:5, 3:14-15).

Being faithful and trustworthy, is a quality in life that demonstrates Christian maturity in both men and women; maturity that particularly enables the person to pass on information without omitting important details, without misrepresenting and without creating confusion.

Personal project:

1. For Christian wives and mothers:

I can be trusted to prepare meals adequately and on time.
I can be trusted to keep the house reasonably clean and neat.
I can be trusted to keep clothes washed and in order.
I can be trusted to do the shopping regularly and in an orderly manner, planning ahead and taking advantage of specials.
I can be trusted to keep confidential information truly confidential.
I can be trusted to remain loyal and true to my husband spiritually, morally and in every other way.
I can be trusted to spend money carefully – watching for special sales, planning ahead and buying cautiously.

2. For Christian secretaries, administrative assistants and any other administrative roles:

I am always discreet.
I keep my desk well ordered and my office neat and clean.
I keep my superior’s desk in good order, regularly organizing his working materials, notes and correspondence.
I keep his office furniture dusted and in good order.
I keep him constantly abreast of all communiques.
I make notes of all important instructions and report back when all items are cared for.
I handle all incoming calls courteously and tactfully.
I welcome visitors, make them feel at home.
When it is impossible for callers to get through to see my supervisor, I tactfully communicate “why”.
I always follow through on instructions, giving careful attention to details.
I proof read every correspondence carefully, never sending out letters that are carelessly done.
I handle all information confidentially.
I do all I can to compensate for my superior’s weaknesses.
I do all I can to facilitate his work.
I can be trusted to correctly represent his viewpoint in all communication.

3. For Christian women in other vocations:

I always follow through on instructions.
I do my work cheerfully.
I do my work conscientiously and carefully.
I communicate adequately to everyone concerned.
I am always honest, ethical and a person of integrity
I am tactful and sensitive in my working relationships with other employees.
I do all I can to properly interpret my superiors to others.
I defend my superiors, but without being dishonest.
I am conscious how I mix my Christian witness with my business, never taking company time to talk about spiritual issues, unless prompted to do so by superiors.
I am always teachable.

Several steps to improve trustworthiness.

  • Openly acknowledge your mistakes and indicate your desire to improve yourself. Never hesitate to ask for a second chance. Credibility once lost can be rebuilt. But it takes double effort. Don’t be discouraged.
  • If you are misinterpreted, or constantly fail because of poor communication, then learn to communicate clearly. Be sure to be careful, tactful.
  • Seek for advice from mature Christians. Do not blame others for your mistakes. Don’t lose your temper. It is better to say nothing than to say it emotionally.
  • Ask for suggestions to improve your trustworthiness. Don’t be afraid to ask for feedback.

Remember the following scriptures:

1 Cor 10:13, 1 Thess 5:23-24, 2 Thess 3:3, 2 Tim 2:13, Heb 10:23, 1 John 1:9

5th quality – to teach what is good

(Titus 2:3-4 NIV) “Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good. {4} Then they can train the younger women to love their husbands and children,”

Though specific age levels vary, those who are older always bear the responsibility for setting a positive example for the younger.

How can we effectively communicate to others what is involved in a Christian lifestyle? (1 Cor 11:1 NIV) “Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ.”

(1 Th 2:10 NIV) “You are witnesses, and so is God, of how holy, righteous and blameless we were among you who believed.”

Foundational to his instructions was his Christian lifestyle.

In other words demonstrating goodness in a Christian lifestyle. Demonstrate with your life what you are trying to communicate. Walk the talk. If you don’t what you say will be thrown right back to your face.

(Titus 2:7-8 NIV) “In everything set them an example by doing what is good. In your teaching show integrity, seriousness {8} and soundness of speech that cannot be condemned, so that those who oppose you may be ashamed because they have nothing bad to say about us.”

To teach what is good, means communicating what is true, what is from God, what is God’s will, teaching the Word in a balance and wise manner, not false doctrine based on myths and old wives tale.

(1 Tim 4:11-12 NIV) “Command and teach these things. {12} Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity.”

Younger women to demonstrate with their lives their maturity in Christ in order to build a bridge for more direct teaching.

A mature woman of God knows her Bible, what it says, what it means. And most important, she applied it to her life. She is truly in the position to teach what is good.

Personal project:

Step 1:

How much are you living out in your life what you already know about the Bible? List areas you are applying, not applying.

Step 2:
Suggest ways to improve. Be specific.

Step 3:

How well do you know your Bible? Are you familiar with the basic doctrines of Christianity? Can you detect false doctrine when you are listening to a speaker , reading an article or a book and talking to a friend? To teach what is good means that we should do all we can to have a good grasp of God’s Word.

Step 4:

Keep following Jesus! As you follow Him, you can encourage others to do likewise!

References

Gene E Getz : The measure of a woman
Jill Briscoe : Queen of Hearts
Joyce Meyer :The confident woman