What does God say about women?

In Part 1 we talked about how God has asked us to stop molding ourselves to what culture says about us, and instead, believe what God says.

What do the cultures you’re a part of tell you about women?

FIRST OFF: if you want to know the answer to that question, you’ll very rarely find it in the explicits.  We absorb the values of our cultures through (1) the structures – the way we fit in the cultures around us and (2) the relational experiences we have – the way people respond to us and feel about us.  

So, it’s no wonder we have somewhat confused identity struggles as women.  Think about where we fit in the societies around us. What does the wage gap communicate about our value as women.  Think about the % of leaders that are women, the kinds of roles they have in leadership, the kind of women who are promoted to leadership

These things are teaching us what the world thinks is good and acceptable about women.

And think about the relational experiences our cultures offer us.  Think about when women’s emotions are often laughed at; when women are called crazy, when our perspectives are dismissed as hormonal.  Consider the way the medical system is often dismissive of so many women’s concern around their lack of sexual fulfillment.  Think about the way court systems respond to women who say they’ve been raped.  

All these teach us how to evaluate what is good and acceptable and perfect about women; they teach us who we are.

Here’s the thing – our fundamental self is not in question.  It’s not up for grabs. We are who we are. We are well made, by a glorious creator.  All culture has the power to do is teach us to emphasize certain aspects of who He made us to be and neglect others; to imitate or try to be things we aren’t or repress things we are. That’s what it means to conform. And God calls us away from that, to listen to His truth of who we are, and walk in it.

God tells us explicitly who we are, but He also tells us through structures – through where we fit in His world – and relationships – through how he feels about us.

So, think about where you fit in God’s world?  Do you even know that God says that our church body cannot grow – regardless of how many people go to the ends of the earth or how great the preaching is on Sunday – if YOU are not functioning properly?   Do you even know that it’s not arrogance to believe that you are necessary for the purposes of God?  (Or if it is, Paul missed that memo because he says that he is only alive because it is necessary that he exist for other people.)   

And think about the relational experiences God offers us.  He says he’ll never leave us and then He doesn’t. He says He is willing to give nations, peoples, in exchange for you, and then He lets you experience it.  He gave JESUS in exchange for you.

We have some pretty solid positions in God’s world and we have some pretty incredible relational experiences with Him that speak to our value and worth, but in case that’s not enough, He also tells us explicitly who we are in Christ.  He tells us that we are “created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.” And I don’t care how broken we want to say we are because of sin in this world – For as by the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man’s obedience the many will be made righteous.  If Adam’s blood made you a sinner, you better believe the blood of the Son of God has the power to make you a saint.

But here’s the deal – I doubt that anyone reading this doesn’t know these things I’m writing. 

I don’t think I’m the first person to tell you that God loves you and values you and has redeemed you and called you by name and says you’re worthy.  You sing it every Christmas – you sing about how your soul has felt its worth.

We know all this.  We know what God says about who we are.

We just don’t believe Him.

Because we’re conforming to culture.   We’re scared that if we believe what God says – if we truly embrace our value and significance – it might come across as if we’re man centered, or as if we’re stealing glory from God, or as if we’re arrogant.

And  irony is that in trying not to be man centered we put man at the absolute center by saying that we know better than Him who we are.  In trying not to steal glory from God we diminish His glory – because believing Him is what makes him look glorious.  The irony is that in our attempt to not appear arrogant in this culture – we actually stand arrogantly before God and tell him He’s wrong.  

Look, it’s hard.  It is hard to walk in the freedom of what God says about our value and worth, because we’re designed to receive information about who we are from the world around us, and it’s a hard fight not to conform to that.  I’m fine with us saying that it is hard to believe God instead of the cultures we’re surrounded by.  I’m fine with us knowing that it is a process – that it will take time to walk in the full value and significance He says we have.

I’m just not okay with us behaving as if it’s godliness to doubt our worth.  I’m just not okay with calling it humility when we stand before the Creator and tell Him he doesn’t know the worth of His own creation.  


  • what kinds of behaviors have you seen rewarded in girls/women around you in the different cultures you are a part of?  And how has that shaped you?

  • how are relational experiences you’ve had impacting your ability to experience how God feels about you?

  • do you view yourself as a necessary and valuable contributor to the world? why or why not? how has culture shaped your answer?  

  • how have your experiences in relationships and social structures shaped what you like or don’t like about yourself

Women & Culture

If we’re Christians, we are in one sense always living cross culturally.  We have our church cultures, and our work cultures, our friend cultures, our family cultures, and – unless you live and work and socialize all within the walls of the same exact cultural grid (which isn’t super healthy) – you’re probably experiencing some real tension right now.

Because all the different spaces we’re a part of are saying a lot of different things, especially when it comes to women.  

If you’re a Christian – you move in spaces that remind you of the truth that you don’t take your lead from the world.  You know that the world doesn’t tell you what it means to be a woman.  And, at the same time – it’s hard to deny that some of what the world is saying right now resonates.

You may not believe that you’ve experienced any kind of sexism and you may feel totally loved and valued and safe as a woman in your cultures –  but every woman reading this knows that you can’t walk home alone at night if you’re a woman, and you know that you have to watch your tone when you talk passionately to make sure you aren’t considered bitchy, and you know you can’t be emotional in meetings if you want to be respected, and – if you’re anything like me – you’ve watched as women you have done life with forever typed #metoo into their feeds and you suddenly realized – you can count on one hand (and have fingers left over) the number of women you know who haven’t experienced some kind of harassment or assault.

And, honestly, shouldn’t time be up on all that?

We had the women’s thing to talk about how God wants us to respond to this mess around us.  I had pages and pages of things I wanted to share and unpack, but ultimately, God won (as He does), and focused me in on His word, and this verse specifically: 

Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

So, God wants us to:

  1. Not be conformed to what the world says is good and acceptable and perfect

  2. Instead – listen to what God says is good and acceptable and perfect and believe it

  3. And then test what God says – put weight into it- walk in it.

FIRST OF ALL: who are we supposed to stop conforming to?  

We do this thing a lot, where we use the words ‘culture’ or ‘world’ to refer to spaces that are actually NOT our cultures or worlds.  When we use the phrase ‘what culture is saying’ we generally mean – “what people who aren’t in the room are saying”.  It’s like accents.  We use the word to describe someone else’s accent.  It never occurs to us to think that we are anything but the neutral default of humanity. 

But the culture that is shaping us the most is the one we don’t even call culture – it’s what we think of as normal.  The cultures we are most likely to conform to are the ones we don’t even see.  The way our family operates – the way our church operates – the way our friends operate.

The truth is – no no matter how great our culture is – it is not safe to confirm to.  It’s not God.  Every culture has some values that are healthy and in line with God’s will, it has some values are neutral, (just neat ways for us to reflect diversity of His complicated personality), and – every culture (even ones that love Jesus) – has some values that are counter to God’s will.

It doesn’t matter how much you love God or how much the leaders of your culture love God – we all have cultural blind spots.  Don’t believe me?  Go listen to Jonathan Edwards defend slavery.  

The command to stop conforming to the world is a command God wants us to obey regardless of the values of the cultures we are a part of.  If you want to let His word show you what is in your heart, you have to start with this question: which cultures are you most likely to conform to around you?   


  1. name some environments/structures/groups you have you been a part of that might have shaped (or are shaping) your unique culture?

  2. what (if any) tensions have you felt between the ways different cultures you are a part of are engaging with women?

  3. what are some processes you can think of that might have subconsciously shaped your thoughts around women?