We have been hearing from some very wise women about how true bravery is necessary in our culture. We have learned that we need to stand boldly on biblical truths, and that we are brave with a purpose – to share the unchanging, life-giving gospel with a watching and waiting world. We have learned that true, God-glorifying bravery is difficult in our society.
As we are learning to be bold and brave ourselves, we also need to recognize that our influence in our churches gives us a platform to pass along this same bravery to other women, but we must be intentional in doing so. The world is constantly sending messages that go against God’s truth, and we must be ready to stand with a defense of the gospel, even to the women (and men) in our churches.
“Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates” (Deuteronomy 6:4-9, NIV).
This passage speaks to us about teaching God’s truth to our children, but I believe the same principles can be applied to teaching those we influence in our churches about true bravery:
1. Know it.
Know what it means to be brave in a culture that is increasingly hostile to the gospel. Many people want to talk about love, acceptance and peace, but they don’t want to hear about those concepts in God’s terms. They don’t want to hear about sin, absolute truth and God’s judgement. We need to know how the Bible addresses these issues. We do that by making sure that we are diligently studying the Word daily.
2. Teach it.
As we are continuously exploring and learning God’s truth revealed in His Word, we must be intentional to teach that truth to those whom we influence. Whether you are a pastor’s wife, church planter, public school teacher, stay at home mom, dentist, CEO or blogger, God has given you an audience. We must be faithful to weave truth into our lives and use whatever platform God gives us to teach others and to boldly share the truth of the gospel.
3. Model it.
The women around you will be inspired to engage with the culture as they see you model how to do so. Just as our children learn from watching what we do, so do others whom we influence. If women see you actively sharing the gospel, standing firm on truth even when it is unpopular and loving and ministering in a God-honoring way, they will be inspired to do so.
4. Provide opportunities to do it.
Help lead your church or women’s group in scheduled opportunities to practice what they have learned. Give them tools to share their testimony and the gospel. Plan events and Bible studies that push back at the modern notion of truth. Stand against school policies that do not line up with biblical definitions of gender or sexuality. Push back against corruption and evil. Work for justice, and demonstrate mercy. Give to the least.
5. Applaud, and encourage it.
The women you influence need you to be their cheerleaders when they take a stand against the prevailing culture. The world certainly will not applaud them for standing for life, or for God’s definition of marriage or for the least in society. They need you to come alongside and encourage and uplift them – even (and especially) when it might mean that their influence grows greater than yours.
Taking back the word “brave” is a full-on battle against the evil that has pervaded our culture. We will make strides only as we train and equip more women to join us in the battle. How can you begin to influence the women around you today to bravely engage our culture for Christ?
Published January 30, 2017