Don't Be a Wimp: Kicking the Habits That Make Women Weak

Oct. 10, 2014 Mary Kassian

Session Transcript

Good morning, ladies. I have a confession to make. I was once in a fight. It was an all-out, fist-swinging, face-punching, hair-pulling brawl. Woo.

And I remember it well. It was on a Thursday night, and the reason I remember that it was on a Thursday night was because the rhythm of my life as a child in my household of origin was always the same.

If it was Sunday, we went to church twice. Monday night, deacons meeting. Tuesday night, Pioneer Girls/Boys Club. Wednesday night, prayer meeting. Thursday night, my mom and dad went out grocery shopping [laughter] or so they said. [laughter]

They left me and my five brothers (Hi, Mom and Dad-incidentally, they're watching). They left me and my five brothers at home to fend for ourselves. And on that particular Thursday night, my brother that was just older than me, Gordon, and myself, were assigned dish duty. So he was washing; I was drying.

And as we were doing the dishes, we got into this spat. You know, kids do that. I don't even remember what it was about, but I know that it escalated, and we started badgering back and forth. And at one point he said, "What would you know? You're just a weak girl."

Ooh. Them's fighting words. [laughter]

I was a tomboy. Five brothers, I could climb a tree, swing a hammer, do anything as good as they could do it. So down went the towel, up went the fists, and I challenged him to a duel. [laughter]

We went into the living room and had it out. And I'll tell you the rest of the story later. [laughter]

Imagine my surprise when, as I grew older and I was reading Scripture, I came across a passage in 2 Timothy 3:6-7 that said this:

For among them are those who creep into households and capture weak women, burdened with sins and led astray by various passions, always learning and never able to arrive at a knowledge of the truth.

There was the game. My brother had called me a weak girl. There is no way anyone was ever going to call me weak. And here was Scripture talking about weak women.

You can turn there to 2 Timothy 3:6-7. That's the passage we're going to park on this morning, and I'm going to unpack it for you.

Now, the background to 2 Timothy is that it was written by Paul, and it was written near the end of his life. He was in prison, and he was writing it to one of his protégés in Ephesus, to Timothy in Ephesus who was working with the church there.

And in the letter, the letter is a bold and a clear call for perseverance in times of difficulty, in times of hardship. It was encouraging the church, but he was also correcting some problems that were in the church in Ephesus.

And one of the problems that was facing the church there was that false teachers were impacting the church, influencing the church from the inside. And they were finding a disproportionate amount of success amongst the women, because the women were weak.

When I did my fancy Greek word study on this word "weak" in my Logos program, I found out that this word is translated different ways in different translations. So in your Bible, if you're looking at the passage right now, it may say weak or it may say weak-willed or gullible or idle or silly.

Ooh. Silly women.

The Greek word actually literally means little women.

Now, nobody has ever called me little; I'm just about six feet tall. But little women, and it contains the idea of smallness, and these women were less. They were small. They were little. They were less than they should have been.

And this weakness was not a positive thing. It wasn't a 2 Corinthians 12:10, "I delight in weakness, for when I am weak then I am strong."

That's not the kind of weakness this was talking about here. This weakness was bad. These women were weak in a way that diminished them. It was a negative and contemptuous term.

These women were childish and frivolous and silly and immature and wimpy. They deserved the triple W label: weak, wimpy woman. [laughter]

The point is, they ought not to have been. They ought not to have been that.

In the Proverbs 31 description of the godly woman, verse 25 says she is clothed with "strength and dignity."

And verse 17: "She dresses herself with strength and makes her arms strong."

God doesn't want His girls to be wimps. A daughter of the King is not wimpy and weak. She is a daughter of dignity. She is a woman of strength. She is a woman who dresses herself with strength and makes her arms strong.

The Lord wants steel magnolias. He wants us to be soft, feminine women with fire in our bellies and courage in our hearts and backbones of steel so that we can say "yes" to truth and "no" to unrighteousness.

I've entitled this message "Don't Be a Wimp: Kicking the Habits that Make Women Weak." Becauseif we break down this passage, 2 Timothy 3:6-7, into clauses, we can discover seven habits that characterize those wimpy women in Ephesus. "For among them are those who creep into households and capture weak women, burdened with sins and led astray by various passions, always learning and never able to arrive at a knowledge of the truth."

So the seven clauses are: 1) Creep into households, 2) capture weak women, 3) burdened with sins, 4) led astray, 5) various passions, 6) always learning, 7) never able to arrive. And we're going to take a look at each one of those.

Seven clauses, seven characteristics of a wimpy, weak woman. Seven habits that you will want to kick if you don't want to be one and if you want to become a woman of strength.

And the first habit of a wimpy woman is that she tolerates creeps. [laughter]

She allows things to creep in. And the wimpy women in Ephesus were allowing the false teachers and the false teachings to creep in. Some translations use the phrase worm their way in.

So many women let the wrong kind of guy creep into their lives. Have you seen it? Have you seen it in the lives of your girlfriends? [laughter]

But a false teacher or a controlling, obnoxious creep is not the only type of creep that we need to be alert to as women.

When I use the word creep, I'm talking about any negative influence that worms its way into our lives. To creep is to advance slowly. It's to move forward slowly. When something creeps in, it advances and it pushes in, but it's so subtle and almost imperceptible. And it's persistent, but it keeps coming in, and it comes in at just a teeny little bit at a time.

There is something sinister about creeps. They come in, and they infringe, and they supplant, and they take over. And they do it so gradually and so slowly and incrementally that a woman is often left scratching her head and wondering, How on earth did that happen? How on earth did I get into this situation? How did it happen? I was over there, and now I'm over here, and I don't even know how that all came down.

Well, here is the answer, girls. Sin does not advance by leaps; it advances by creeps-one tiny compromise at a time.

I met Judy at a women's retreat. And she and her husband, John, had met in Bible school. He was studying theology. She was studying Christian education.

And when they graduated, they moved and started work at a church, both on staff, at a church in the Midwest. And their hearts were filled with love for God, and they were full of excitement and passion for Him and for reaching people.

After a few years, though, daily grind of church life and church politics, it was hard. And they felt it. And they felt like they needed a break. So they both resigned, found secular jobs, and moved out to the East Coast.

They couldn't seem to find a church that quite fit, so they just eventually stopped going. Their Bible reading and their spiritual disciplines also fell by the wayside.

They were lonely. They didn't have friends in the area. And one Friday night their neighbors invited them over to play cards and have some drinks. Judy was a little bit hesitant about it. She didn't quite feel good about it, didn't feel right about it, but they went.

Well, they made good friends with their neighbors, and their Friday night card games became a regular highlight of the week. Every Friday night they went over to play cards.

Judy couldn't remember exactly how it happened, but at some point in time, Hearts and Crib turned into Poker and then Poker turned into strip poker, and then after they had gotten accustomed to shedding their clothes, the stakes got even higher.

Sexual favors and sexual dares became the bets that they placed on the table. And by the time Judy sought me out to pray for her, their Friday night poker games had escalated into increasingly depraved sexual behavior, and she had become an addict. She was in severe bondage to pornography, to sexual perversion, and she was so entangled and messed up.

Now if I had said to Judy when she was in Bible school, "Guess what, Judy? In five years you are going to be a sexual addict and a mess." What do you think she would have said to me?

"There is no way."

How did it happen? A little bit at a time. It was a creep, a little bit at a time.

Satan is a creep. He's the ultimate creep, and he will constantly and persistently try to gain ground in your life and worm his way in.

Can you identify an area in which you've been a wimp and have tolerated the creep? Maybe it's a website you shouldn't be surfing. Or maybe it's a book you shouldn't be reading. Or a show you shouldn't be watching. Maybe it's that secret text or email exchange you shouldn't be pursuing. The lunch with the married guy that you shouldn't be having. The daydream or the scenario you shouldn't be envisioning. The place you shouldn't be going.

Or maybe it's the excuse to skip church that you shouldn't be making. Or the bitter resentment you shouldn't be nursing. Or the marital affection you shouldn't be withholding.

Through Christ's death and resurrection, He has given us the power to say "no" to the creep. And He wants us to be strong and not to be wimpy women.

So don't rationalize and justify those creeps by saying, "Oh, it won't affect me. I'm strong enough to handle it. I'm not going to get off track. It's really not a big deal."

No, it's not a big deal, you're right. It's probably not a big deal because it's a creep. And it's all those little deals that take us off course.

The wise woman knows that it's not the big compromise that poses the biggest threat to her well-being. It's all of those little ones.

And there's something else I want you to notice here. It's the phrase into households. "They creep into households of weak women."

You see, as a woman, I'm not just responsible to keep bad stuff from creeping into my life. As a woman, I also have a unique responsibility in my home to make sure it doesn't creep into my household.

And by design, God has designed women to be different than men. Do I hear an "amen"? Amen.

And women's intuition is not a myth. Women are nurturers. We've been given this amazing internal barometer of: "How is everyone doing? How's it going? What are the relationships like? What's happening here?" Yida yida, yada yada.

And we see things in terms of people, relationships. We notice things that the guys don't notice. Mama Bear is the perceiver, and the watcher, and the snoop, and the detective, and the "let's break onto the computer and find out what's going on"-er, and the cheerleader, and the weeper, and the burden carrier, and the prayer, and the checker-outer of girlfriends and boyfriends and best friends. And that's the way we're wired.

And we can't afford to be lackadaisical or inattentive and foolishly allow things to creep into our loved one's lives.

I can't even begin to tell you the number of times that I have intervened to prevent creeps from encroaching on my children, my marriage, my household, my family. Or the number of times I've sat down with my husband and said, "You know what? There is something not quite right in one of our kid's lives."

Or the number of times I've prayed, "God, reveal sin. If there is sin in my household, reveal it. Help me be sensitive to it. Help me see it so that we can deal with it."

Incidentally, I believe that God gives every woman a household, a sphere of people to look after. Psalm 113:9 says, "He gives the childless woman a household, making her the joyful mother of children."

So you don't have to have a husband and kids to be the mama of a household. Your household might be your volleyball team. It might be your coworkers, the women in your recovery group, the women in your nursing home. It may be your nieces and nephews or your neighbors.

And God wants you to take up your mantel of Mama Bear and start looking after your household. Watch out for the creeps in their lives. Do everything you can to protect them and warn them and persuade those cubs of yours.

Proverbs 31:27 says the wise woman "looks well to the ways of her household."

Proverbs 14:1: "Every wise woman builds her house, but a foolish one tears it down with her own hands." How does it happen? One brick at a time.

Don't be a wimp. A weak woman entertains bad influences. A woman of strength shuts them down.

Okay, the second clause, the second habit of a wimpy woman, is that she fails to guard her mind.

The next part of 2 Timothy 3 says, "False teachers capture weak women." Your Bible may say gain control over or make captives of or captivate.

It's actually a military term. It indicates that these women were taken captive like prisoners of war, but there's more here. There's another underlying thought or element that isn't readily apparent.

Some translations actually use the word captivate, and the reason why is because there's an element of psychological dominance that is woven into this idea. It means to gain influence or control over the mind. You're not just taken as a prisoner of war. Your mind is starting to be messed with.

And these women were captivated. They were brainwashed to accept their captivity and to cooperate and to work with their captor and even to grow fond of him, and they were unaware that they had been taken hostage.

And Paul uses the same word and imagery in the previous chapter, 2 Timothy 2:26. He says that people need to "come to their senses"-the mind, get rid of the brainwashing-"and escape from the snare of the devil after being captured by him to do his will."

In 1973, there were two escaped convicts. They carried machine guns and went into a bank to rob it. It was in Stockholm, Sweden. And their attempt to rob the bank kind of went sideways, and they ended up in a standoff with police, and they took hostages. They took three women and a man hostage. They strapped dynamite to the chests of these hostages and entrapped them, kept them in the bank vault.

Well, oddly enough, at the end of the captivity, six days later, they were in the bank vault with those criminals. Six days later the hostages actively resisted being rescued. They didn't want to be rescued by the police, and they all refused to testify against their captors.

And not only that, they worked to raise money for the criminals' legal defense. And according to some reports, one of the hostages even got engaged to one of the criminals after he had been sent to jail.

And this phenomenon of victims coming to identify and sympathize with their captors and displaying compassion and loyalty for people who are mistreating them and actually have them under their control is known as the Stockholm Syndrome after Stockholm, Sweden, after where that bank robbery took place.

And another famous case that some of you people who are as old as me might remember is Patty Hearst, the rich young heiress who was kidnapped by a terrorist group but then joined their cause and then she started robbing banks with them.

So this Stockholm Syndrome is similar to what was happening to these weak women in the church in Ephesus. Second Timothy depicts them as victims. They were victims, but they were party to their own imprisonment. They had been captivated. They'd been captured. They'd been brainwashed and confused. They weren't thinking straight. The creeps had messed with their minds, and they had fallen for the lies.

Have you ever seen that happen to a girlfriend?

Girlfriends, in your struggle against sin, the victory will be won or lost on the battlefield of your mind.

Nancy has written a whole book about the lies women believe, and many of you in this room are here and you are believing lies.

Lies about God, like "God's ways are too restrictive."

Lies about yourself, like "I shouldn't have to live with unfulfilled longings."

Lies about sin, like "This sin really isn't all that bad."

Lies about your circumstances, like "It's not my fault. My circumstances are responsible for my bad attitude. If my husband wouldn't be so mean, I wouldn't be so crabby."

Lies about your priorities, about marriage, about children, about who you are as a woman, about who you are and how you ought to behave.

Lies, lies, lies. Satan is the father of lies. He is a good liar.

And our foremother Eve fell for a lie, and the propensity to fall for them has plagued women ever since.

Do you know how the FBI trains secret service agents to identify counterfeit money? They put them in a room with real money. And for hours and hours and hours, they study the details of the real thing, and they feel it, and they smell it. And they become so familiar with real money that when they come across counterfeit money, they just know, "Hmm, something's off, not quite right. It's not quite the right texture." And they can pick it out, what's wrong. They don't pick out what's wrong by studying the bad stuff. They pick it out by becoming familiar with the good stuff.

And it's the same way with us; it's the same way with us. In order to combat falsehood, we need to become intimately familiar with truth. We need the Word.

This is truth. This is truth, and if we aren't getting it into our systems, if we aren't feeling it and handling it and reading it and studying it and becoming a familiar with the texture and the feel of it, we're not going to know when something else is kind of off.

But if we're familiar with truth, when Satan comes along with a lie . . . and those lies always have some truth to them, otherwise we wouldn't fall for them. They're just off a little bit. And when Satan comes along with a lie, we'll be able to know, "Hmm, something's not quite right here. Something's not quite right."

So a woman of strength equips her mind, and she also protects it.

Truth will set you free, ladies, but you will have a tough time discerning what's true if you spend all your time being exposed to garbage. Garbage in; garbage out.

God's Word tells you that sex outside of marriage is a shameful violation of the true meaning of covenant faithfulness. That TV show glorifies sex, and it tells you that sex outside of marriage is your ticket to happiness and fulfillment.

Be honest. Which message do you spend more time stuffing into your head? Are you giving truth or are you giving lies more access?

Second Corinthians 10:5: "We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ"-every thought.

Don't be a wimp, ladies. Don't be a wimp. A weak woman is captivated by lies. A woman of strength takes her thoughts captive to truth.

Third habit of a wimp: She lets things pile up.

The passage says she is burdened with sins, and the verb is used here to describe like a wagon or heaping or accumulating one on top of another. So there is, like, baggage. More and more baggage. More and more baggage. One on top of the other. A weak woman has lots of baggage because she lets things pile up.

Unresolved issues, hurts, resentments. Someone has wounded you, and you just can't let go of it. Unconfessed sins.

Here's the thing: Old, unresolved sins make you susceptible to new sins.

I always tell my kids, "Sin makes you stupid." Because if you let it fester in your life, you just get stupid, and you sin more, and you sin more, and you pile it on and pile it on and pile it on, and then you go, "How could I be so stupid?" Well, sin makes you stupid; it just does.

Maybe it was curiosity that started it off for you. Maybe it was an Internet site you got drawn to, and you were just curious. And you got drawn into sin, but then it started piling up one on top of the other.

The sin and then the guilt and more sin, and then the weight of it gets so heavy and heavy until you can barely move, and it cripples you.

Earlier this year in South Korea there was a passenger ferry that was overloaded with cargo, and you remember the story in the news. It was a tragedy. They piled up in the dark cargo hold; there were three times the authorized amount of cargo in the cargo bay. So that ferry was riding low in the water.

And then when the captain turned the boat to navigate the water to make a regular turn, the weight in the cargo hold shifted, and the whole thing capsized. There were hundreds and hundreds of teenage schoolchildren on a field trip that were killed, died, drowned in that disaster.

Ladies, there are burdens we are meant to bear and that God strengthens us to bear, but then there are burdens we are not meant to bear. And sin and guilt falls into that latter category.

Sin and guilt. We are not meant to bear those. Christ is meant to bear those. He bore everything on the cross when He died. And He says to you, "Don't let it pile up in your life. Bring it to Me, and let it go."

If you let sin pile up, you're going to be like that ferry, and it's going to become impossible to navigate the waters of life. If you have to do a turn or a corner, and you have to navigate, all of a sudden you are going to capsize. It will be too heavy for you.

And the amazing message of grace is that you do not need to bear that sin and that guilt. You do not need to be weighed down by it. You can bring it to the cross, and let it go.

Here's the thing: Sins pile up when we keep them hidden.

I always tell my kids, "When it's in the darkness, when that sin is hidden, and you cover it up, and you keep it, and you don't share, and you don't tell anybody about it, and you're not honest about it, and you're not forthright about it, and you're not humble enough to confess it, that's when it has power. That's when the darkness has power over you.

"And if you bring that sin out into the light and expose it to the light, and just tell someone about it and have them struggle and wrestle and pray with you and confess that sin, then all of a sudden its grip is loosened over you."

So many of you women in this room are dealing with sins that you have not . . . that are just piling up. You haven't confessed them. You haven't repented. You think, Well, it's not a big deal. We'll just leave it there.

Critical spirit, bitterness, resentments, unforgiveness, slander, envy, pride.

There is a verse that I love in James 5:16, and I often quote it. It says, "Therefore, confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective."

So here is my counsel to you with regard to your sin: Speak it. Identify it. Say what it is. And if you can, tell someone else.

I have seen over my many years of ministry that when someone comes, and they speak their sins and confess . . . it says confess your sins to one another. Well, if someone confesses their sins to me, do I have power to forgive sin? No. But there's power in the Body, and there's power in the community of Jesus Christ. And as we do that for one another, it's like bringing it into the light and letting it go.

So I would encourage you this weekend to do that.

I'll give you a chance to do that this morning. You go out to the prayer room and do that. You grab your girlfriend in the hotel room and say, "I've never told anyone this, and I'm scared to death of telling you, but I need it off. I need to be free. I need that burden gone, and I need someone to pray with me and fight with me and hold me accountable."

So I encourage you to do that. And you will experience God's amazing grace, because there is not a sin big enough that will take over the cross. Not one. [applause]

That abortion you never told anyone about. That affair. Just even the little lies. Any sin is too much. We are not meant to bear it. So get rid of it. Bring it into the light and leave it at the cross, and Jesus will deal with it.

"Therefore, confess your sins to one another, pray for one another so that you may be healed."

Don't be a wimp. A weak woman hides sin in the dark. A woman of strength brings it to the light. And the Lord knows there are so many sins in my heart that I need to bring to light continually in order to be unencumbered by them.

Number four: She makes bad choices. She is led astray. She is swayed. Now, this is a passive verb, and it's like being led like a sheep to the slaughter.

So the woman takes missteps. She starts making bad decisions. And I said it before-sin makes us stupid. We just get stupid when we let sin pile up in our lives, and we begin to shun wise counsel. So we don't listen to good advice. We elevate our own opinion above that of our Christian friends, or we think that our parents are just so out of touch, so yesterday. And we listen to ungodly people, and we turn to popular wisdom for advice.

How many times have you seen it? I've seen it more times than I can count.

The scenario of a girl falling for a guy or getting entrapped in a relationship and not listening to the people who warn her and say, "This is not a good thing. There are some red flags here. I'm worried about you."

I think of my girlfriend Sarah. She started going out with this guy, and it's like, "Don't marry him. He has anger issues. I don't see that self-control. I see arrogance. He doesn't cherish you. He runs you down. He isn't growing in Christ-like character. He has issues with impulsivity. He has issues with money. He has a sexual history."

Did she listen? No. Five years, and she's in an emotionally abusive relationship, and she has become a shell of herself, diminished, insecure, in a terrible predicament.

And what is she saying now? "I should have listened. I should have listened."

"The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, but a wise man is he who listens to counsel" (Prov. 12:15).

And not just any counsel. It needs to be the right counsel. It needs to be godly counsel because Psalm 1:1 says, "Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked."

God gives us good counsel. This is good counsel. Someone who is walking with Christ can look and say, "You know, these are some issues I'm worried about." You need to listen to good counsel.

"I, wisdom dwell with prudence, and I find knowledge in discretion. . . . I have counsel and sound wisdom; I have insight; [and listen to this] I have strength" (Prov. 8:12, 14).

Don't be a wimp. A weak woman wanders off course. A woman of strength carefully considers her steps.

Point number five: She is governed by her emotions. And this is the phrase, various passions.

Okay, she is like PMS days always.

Various passions. Passions: deep desire and cravings and lusts and impulses.

Now there are sexual undertones to this, but it is bigger than just sexuality. But there are those undertones there.

So there's the desires of neediness and wanting attention and wanting to be loved. We all have desires, and we all have legitimate desires and passions. But in the case of a weak woman, her longings are just off a bit. They're discolored.

And the word various means they're diverse and they're many-colored, but the colors are just a bit off. They clash with the true color.

Jesus will satisfy your every longing. "For he satisfies the longing soul, and the hungry soul he fills with good things" (Ps. 107:9).

But there are sometimes when our longings are off. And we're going to illegitimate means, or we're trying to fulfill those longings in ways that we ought not to, and they will just get us more and more off course.

A weak woman is governed by her emotions. She puts her brain in park [ach]; puts her emotions in drive [ach]; rationalizes her behavior, excuses, and justifications-we've all done it. I've done it. It's the "I know, but . . ." syndrome.

I know, but . . .

I know I shouldn't be daydreaming about that guy, but my husband is so unaffectionate.

I know I shouldn't be watching that movie, but I feel starved for romance.

I know. I know I shouldn't be having another drink, but it helps dull the disappointment.

I know I shouldn't flirt with my boss, but it feels good to be noticed.

I know I shouldn't surf those porn sites, but I need an outlet. I'm single. I need an outlet for those desires.

I know I shouldn't date this non-Christian, but you know what? He treats me better than most Christian guys do.

I know I shouldn't gossip or stretch the truth, but I want people to value me and affirm me.

I know I shouldn't go further into debt, but those fabulous shoes are calling my name. [laughter]

So it's the "I know, but . . ." and fill in the blank.

I know, da-da-da-da-da, but da-da-da-da-da my emotions are going take me this way because I just feel like it.

Don't be a wimp, ladies. Don't be a wimp. A weak woman lets her emotions drive her mind. A woman of strength makes her mind drive her emotions.

You can choose joy. You can choose peace. You can choose to believe things that are good and right and true and beautiful and excellent and trustworthy. You can choose those things, and if you choose to walk in joy, your emotions are going to follow along behind.

Number six: She hides behind a religious mask.

So here is the scenario: These women were always learning, and that can be translated always being taught. So they were at all the True Woman Conferences. [laughter]

These women are book smart. They know Christian stuff. They went to Sunday school. They went to youth group. They've studied the Word. And maybe they even see themselves as part of the religious intelligentsia.

They know the difference between Arminianism and Calvinism. And they know if they are a three or four or five pointer and Egalitarianism and Complementarianism. And they know all the names of the Christian Who's Who. They follow John Piper and Tim Keller and Al Mohler and Matt Chandler and Mary Kassian, and they read all the blogs. [laughter] And Gospel Coalition, Justin Taylor, Tim Challies [hi, Tim], CBMW. They throw in some alternate opinions-I want be well read; I better read some Rachel Held Evans-throw that in there. . . Let's get it all.

They can tell you the difference between Christology, Eschatology, Soteriology, and Ecclesiology, and they've done every single Bible study that has ever been published, and Jennifer can't publish them fast enough.

They read every popular Christian book. They've listened to all the latest, greatest Christian speakers . . . learning, learning, learning, learning, learning, learning, learning.

And in Ephesus, the problem was these women had even gotten into Gnosticism, which was basically they felt like they were sort of the privileged few that had this special knowledge. They were brain smart.

But you know what? Brain smart doesn't always translate into life smart.

She is a hearer of the word but doesn't allow it to transform her life.

That's the problem with the women in Ephesus, and that's the problem. When you see that happening, that's a weak woman. And Paul argues that knowledge and behavior belong together in the Christian life.

Is knowledge good? Yes, it is. But it's no good without behavior. Saying and doing, belief and discipleship, they can't be separated.

Don't be a wimp. A weak woman wants to take more in. A woman of strength wants to work it out.

Jesus transform me. Make me different. Help me change.

Your prayer, as a woman of strength at this conference here, is, "May I be rocked to the core, and may Christ take His light of inspection into my heart and examine it. And here it is. What is it that You want me to change?" [applause]

The final thing we see in the life of a weak woman is that she spins her tires.

Now I live in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. North. It's up there. Which way is north? Help me. That way? Waaaaay up there.

We have a lot of snow. Do you know what snow is? Do you all know what snow is? And in the winter, you do a lot of tire spinning. You can't get traction. The snow comes, and you get stuck and it's like "zrzrzrzrz" and you are like "whrrrrr." All the neighbors are coming out of the houses and giving each other pushes and then you get three houses down it's "zrzrzrzr."

And that's characteristic of the life of a weak woman. These women are never able to acknowledge the truth. They spin the tires. There's no progress. There's no change. There's no victory. Dealing with the same issues year after year after year, not substantially different. They can look back five, ten years and say, "Hmm, things haven't changed that much." There's no spiritual growth. You're the same as you were last time you came to a conference.

Don't be a wimp. A weak woman stagnates. A woman of strength grows, and she bears fruit.

I need to tell you the end of the story, my fighting story with my brother.

Well, we went into the living room, pushed the furniture aside-because we knew we'd be in trouble if we broke it. And I think my brother was quite amused by this-he's three and a half years older than I was, and I was just feisty. I was going to take him on.

I started swinging and hitting and punching and kicking. And I think he was amused. He pushed me off a little bit, but then I must have smacked him in the face, and he got angry. And he started hitting me for real, and it didn't feel so good. And I started crying, and I was getting hit, and I was losing the fight, and he was pinning me down.

And it must have been this massive commotion, because my older brother heard it from downstairs and he came up. He pulled us apart, took my brother to the floor, pinned him down, and told him off and said, "How dare you! How dare you do that! How dare you hit her!"

And I was kind of watching, and as he finished dealing with him, and then he came brushing past me, and I kind of snuffled and said, "He called me a weak girl."

My older brother looked at me, and he said, "You are a girl. And if you get into fights with him, you're going to get beat up. And next time you have an issue, you come call me, and I'll deal with it."

I like that brother. That was a good brother. [laughter]

Like, "Yeah, I can get into trouble. He'll come deal with it."

But here's the point. Perhaps, as you've been listening to this, you've identified areas in which you're weak-and the truth is, all of us are. We all are. You are. That's what you are. We all need someone stronger.

But here is the irony: A weak woman tries to act strong, and culture tells us to act all strong and in control and in charge and bossy as women. But a woman of strength recognizes that she is weak, and that she needs a Savior-that she's in a lifelong wrestling match with sin, and she's not going to win unless that Savior comes in and takes care of it for her.

Our own strength is inadequate. I loved listening to Joni last night and listening to her talk about her weakness, because that's what we are.

And in order to become a woman who clothes myself in strength, I need to identify my weakness and press into the strength of Jesus.

Ephesians 6:10: "Be strong"-what? "in the Lord and in the strength of His might."

It's His might. It's His strength. It's Him. And if you don't hold onto that, you can act as big and tough and mean as you want, but you are just going to get beat up because we're weak. We are weak, and without Christ as our strength, we're going to take the hits.

Seek the Lord and His strength. Seek His presence. Seek His strength continually.

Ladies, I want you to do just a little bit of business here as we close up.

As we've been talking, I'm sure that you are kind of going. . .we started off, and you went, "Huh," (like me). "I'm not a weak woman."

And we go through the points and let the truth of the Word shine its light on our hearts, and we go, "Ouch. Ouch. Oh, boy. Oh, no."

And we realize that we are; we are.

And yet women of strength realize that and push into Christ and deal with the sin and let it go and watch for those creeps and start identifying them and doing something about them.

So I want you to leave this place having been spoken to by God's Spirit. So would you please stand and bow your heads in prayer? And I'm going to give you just a few moments to reflect on this message and chew it over and ask the Lord these questions:

"In what area am I being weak and You want to make me strong? What do I need to repent of? What do I need to let go? What do I need to begin working out in my life?"

Heavenly Father, I pray for this army of women. Oh, that we would be strong women. Not strong-willed women, but women who clothe ourselves in the strength of Christ. Women with fire in the belly and courage in the heart and steel in the spine to say "no" to what is wrong and "yes" to what's right.

Oh, Jesus, thank You that we can leave it at the cross, that tomorrow is a different day than today was and than yesterday was, and we can start writing a new story with Your help. Thank You for that.

I pray for those women who need to confess the critical spirit and who need to go home and who need to become nice to their husbands by the power of Jesus. Those women who are entrapped in pornography and need to shut down that website and put a lock on it so they can't go there, through the power of Jesus.

Those women who need to walk away from that affair that is kind of starting and it's getting underway, or that one that has been going on for a while, and to be strong and not to be a wimp in the name and the power of Jesus.

Those women who are dealing with addictions. Those women who are so weighed down with past sins that they can't let go of, the resentments, the unforgiveness, the bitterness. Oh, Lord, You've made a way. You've made a way for freedom.

So heavenly Father, I pray that through Your sweet spirit, Your sweet, gentle spirit, You may speak to each woman here.

The creeps that she needs to stop letting into her life, those little things that are pushing their way in and getting her off course and off base. Heavenly Father, I just pray that she will stop it in the tracks and not through her own strength, but through the strength of Jesus.

And so, Father, I thank You for the good work that You are doing, and may we not be women who are always learning but never able to acknowledge. I pray, Lord, that we will work it out, and that we will see freedom, and that we will see fullness, and we will see fruitfulness in Christ Jesus. Amen.

You may be seated.