For you have been called for this purpose, since Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example for you to follow in His steps. . . In the same way, you wives, be submissive to your own husbands . . .(I Peter 2:21; 3:1)
In some ways, one aspect of life that is easier for women than for men is in knowing their calling. As a married woman, my calling is to be a good wife. Peter and Paul both instruct wives to be submissive to their husbands (I Pet. 3:1; Eph. 5:22). God has blessed me with children and my calling extends to nurturing them. This is my first and highest duty.
This does not mean that God may not call married women or mothers to tasks that are to be fulfilled in addition to wifely obedience and mothering. Many young women know that they have the gift of teaching, for example, and may be able to use their gift in service to their church by teaching Sunday School. Others have extraordinary gifts of hospitality and giving and open their homes to needy friends or relatives or visiting strangers. As long as her husband’s and children’s needs are being met, women with any energy left over may be able to do any number of things. But their primary calling – family – is definitely made known in Scripture.
Many single women stay unmarried because they have had a special call. Our daughter, for example, is on the mission field. She has had a definite call since she was five years old to dedicate her life to spreading the Gospel. It was easy for her to know God’s will for her life, but many women do not get this definite call. How do they know what God wants them to do?
And, what about women who are widows or empty nesters? They have faithfully fulfilled their Biblical calling; now what?
I believe that our gracious God has given us the way to know His will for us in the Bible. It is always right to follow this recipe for godly living; this is everyone’s call (IIPet. 1:5-7). In these verses, God has told us what we need to know for a life of faith and service to Him. This is always His will for us. We should be faithful in practicing these virtues until or unless we get a more specific call.
First, we must be careful that we have real faith, not just belief in doctrines (IIPet. 1:5). Are we simply and entirely depending on Christ and Christ alone as women, whether single or married? Are we studying God’s Word, praying, and meditating on His goodness?
Next, we must be courageous in our daily living. The entire purpose of this blog site is to encourage women during the difficult times in which we find ourselves. It’s not easy to stand up for Christ in a world that hates Him. We must be willing to go forth boldly into every activity with a consciousness of right. If we are unafraid in our service to God now, He will trust us with more responsibility in the future.
If we are studying the Scriptures well, we will add knowledge to moral excellence. While we are doing this we must be careful to maintain self-control. We should be temperate on the outside – taking care of our bodies. Eat well, exercise, and get plenty of rest. We should also be temperate on the inside, guarding our hearts, letting no malicious or unkind words out of our mouths, keeping our thoughts pure, and living a life that we know would be pleasing to the Lord Jesus.
Add to this perseverance or patience. We can pray that the Holy Spirit will help us through all difficult times. Often as women, we have routine, daily tasks. But no problem is too small to take to the Father. If we are suffering affliction, we can be assured that if we come through, patiently waiting on God and what He has to teach us, we will come forth as gold. Pray for the strength to keep from murmuring or being depressed. The woman who can endure without complaining is the one who matures during trials.
As God gives us this grace, we can look forward to godliness. By this, is not meant more “religious” or more “spiritual”. True godliness is living in God’s sight, enjoying fellowship with Him, seeking to please Him and give Him the glory in all that we do.
Reflecting our Lord Jesus’ command to love God and our neighbor, Peter tells us that next we must add brotherly kindness and brotherly love (IIPet. 1:7). We must have a care for the souls of those around us. If we are living in a godly fashion, encouraging others to come to Christ will be easy because our very lives will be an example of faith. If we practice genuine religion, others will be attracted to us, wanting the peace and joy that we have.
We must also love all of our Christian brothers and sisters. We must be ever ready to help any who are in need if we are able. The apostle John tells us that if we don’t love our Christian brothers and sisters, it may be a sign that we are not even one of God’s chosen (I John 2:11). There are “difficult” brethren in our lives; we must be diligent to love them anyway. Loving even those who are unlovely is a sign of the maturity that we are striving after.
If we do all of these things, we will have the assurance of being in God’s will. The more we practice these virtues, the closer we abide in fellowship with the Father. He will lead us into lives of useful service to Him.
Along the way, the gifts that the Holy Spirit has given you will become evident. Have you been diligent in opening your home to those who need a helping hand? You probably have the experience you need to open a Bed & Breakfast or enter some other hospitality occupation. Have you been volunteering at your local hospital? Perhaps you are being called to work in a Hospice. Have you been teaching Sunday School classes all the while your children were growing up? Perhaps you are now being called to a leadership position in your church in the education department. What about going back to school to finish getting a teaching degree? Thousands of women are going back to college after the age of forty. Do you enjoy reading and meditating? Try writing down the things that the Lord has taught you over the years. Send your thoughts to the publisher of your church’s newsletter, or if you’re braver, to the publisher of your denomination’s magazine. You may be called to be a writer. Why not try your hand at some much needed children’s stories that are fun and imaginative, yet contain the Christian virtues for children? As a mature Christian woman with a Biblical worldview, wherever God leads you, you will be able to glorify Him.
If you have been diligent in practicing your faith with moral excellence, knowledge, self-control, patience, godliness, kindness, and love, you will succeed in knowing God’s calling for you. You will have already practiced all of the things that are necessary to fit you for the purpose for which God made you. The things that you enjoy doing will be the same as the things that you are gifted for and do well. Your service to God will be fruitful, and your life will be full. You will have joy and peace as you know with assurance that you are in God’s will and you give God the glory for His many blessings to you.