Revive Our Hearts Podcast

Are You a Wall or a Door?

Leslie Basham: Nancy Leigh DeMoss asks an important question.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: Am I dressing in a way to draw attention to my physical body, or am I dressing in a way that will draw attention to the life of Christ and His life within me?

Leslie: This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss for Tuesday, February 22. Nancy is continuing in the series Becoming a Woman of Virtue.

Nancy: We’re considering what it means to be a wise woman and what it means to be a foolish woman. Of course, we want to be wise women. We don’t want to be foolish women.

We have to admit that sometimes we are foolish women. The Scripture teaches us that a foolish woman brings about devastating consequences, not only in her own life but in her home and in the lives of those around her.

Proverbs tells us that the foolish woman tears her house down, but the wise woman builds her house up. So in these sessions we’re asking ourselves some pretty direct questions to let the Holy Spirit examine our hearts and say, “Are we really building up our homes, or are we tearing them down?”

In the last session we asked questions that particularly applied to married women. Today we’re asking some further questions that all of us, married or single, need to consider. Here’s a question, for example: Am I fueling sensual thoughts and desires—through books, magazines, television programs, music, movies—things that are not morally pure?

If you want to be a pure woman, if you want to have a pure heart—and a wise woman does have a pure heart—if you want to have that kind of heart, then you’ve got to make sure that the intake into your mind is pure.

In its early days, the computer industry had a little phrase, you’ve perhaps heard it: Garbage in, garbage out. Know that if you’re fueling your mind, what you think about, with magazines, books, stories, romance novels—even Christian ones—can fuel emotional and mental thoughts that are not pure, that are sensual.

I find so many women today who are not content with the husband God gave them. So many single women are not content to wait until God brings His choice of a husband along. In many cases they’re fueling their discontent or fueling immoral relationships because of the kind of input that they’re allowing into their minds—the kinds of things they’re watching and listening to. We need to be careful that the input into our minds is pure and wholesome and will stimulate us to think pure and wholesome thoughts.

Here’s another question, whether you’re married or single, as to whether you’re building up or tearing down the people around you: Is it possible that you have become a refuge or a safe place for a man who may be struggling in his marriage?

Another man, not your own husband, a man who may be struggling in his marriage, perhaps a man at work, perhaps a man at church, perhaps a counselor. You find that he has begun to unburden his heart to you, and you’ve become a refuge, a safe place, someone he can talk to about some of the issues in his life.

They may be a godly man and woman, but there are some struggles in their marriage at that moment, and he has begun to confide in you.

If you have, let me say that’s a very foolish thing. God did not intend for you to bear the burden of that man and his marriage. Make sure that you’re not the kind of woman that men feel they can come to and unburden their souls about issues in their marriage.

Here’s another question: Am I looking to a man other than my husband? If you’re married, are you looking to someone other than your husband? If you’re single, are you looking to another man to be a primary source of counsel or to fill an emotional vacuum in your life?

That man may be a friend, a trusted friend, a counselor, a colleague, a pastor even. Are you looking to some man other than your husband to be the primary source of teaching and instruction and counsel in your life or to fill an emotional vacuum in your life?

Ladies, the Scripture says that if a woman has a question about a theological matter, a spiritual matter, she should first ask her husband at home. Immediately, some women think, and understandably, “My husband wouldn’t have a clue about the answer to that question. That’s what we pay our pastor for, to answer those questions.”

Listen, your husband may not have a seminary degree; he may not be a spiritual giant, but do you want him to grow spiritually? Start to ask him some of those questions.

Now, be careful how you ask.

  • Don’t ask in a way that, as soon as he gives the answer you’ve got a better answer.
  • Don’t ask in such a way that, as soon as he answers you’re contradicting his answer and you’re disagreeing with his answer.
  • Don’t ask in such a way that he feels dumb if he doesn’t know the answer.

That can be intimidating, especially from some of us women who’ve been able to sit through all kinds of Bible studies and classes and perhaps been able to have some more input than some husbands have had. But ask him.

When a woman comes to me and asks counsel about an issue, one of the things I want to know is, “What does your husband think? Have you asked your husband?” Your husband may not even be a believer, but God will use your husband, if you’ll let Him, to be an instrument of wisdom and counsel and protection in your life.

That doesn’t mean that your husband has all the answers. Neither, by the way, does your pastor. That doesn’t mean that your husband will always be right. But you can build up that marriage, build up that relationship, by asking your husband questions.

Ask him for counsel. Ask him what he thinks is the best way to handle this situation. Then be willing to listen and seriously consider his input. In that way you will be stimulating and encouraging him to grow. If your husband is a Christian, and if you’re asking in a humble way, that will be a means of motivating him to want to search out more of the ways and heart of God.

Proverbs says that counsel in the heart of a man is like deep waters, but a man or woman of understanding will draw it out (see 20:5).

Some women express to me, “My husband just won’t share with me what he is thinking.” Some men just are more naturally quiet, less verbal, less expressive—and aren’t we glad that all men aren’t as verbal and expressive as some of us women are?

But the sense in that verse is that the counsel in his heart may be like deep waters. You’ve got to go deep and ask questions and draw that counsel out of his heart.

Let me say that if you’re always doing the talking, you’re not giving him the chance to draw out that counsel. If you always are quick to answer when someone asks a question in the presence of you and your husband, then you’ll find that he probably won’t try to jump in and answer.

Be willing to step back, to listen, and to let your husband bring to the surface the counsel that God may have put in his heart. It may have been there all along, and you just haven’t drawn it out yet.

Don’t make the foolish mistake of looking to another man as the primary source of counsel in your life or to fill an emotional vacuum in your life that your husband may not be filling. Marriage is not about receiving. It’s not about getting. It’s not about being loved. It’s about being a lover, being a giver.

Whether you’re married or single, when you find yourself with those places of emotional emptiness and unfulfillment in your heart, don’t try to find another man to meet that emptiness. Lift your heart upward and say, “Lord, I really need You to fill the part of my heart that I’m tempted to look to another man to fill. But I’m trusting that You can fill the innermost parts of my heart.”

Here is another question. Do I have a more intimate relationship with any man than I do with my husband? That’s for married women. And for all of us women, Do I have a more intimate relationship with any man than he does with his wife?

You may be a single woman in the workplace or a divorced woman or a widowed woman. You don’t have a husband, so you’re not threatening your own marriage. But could you be threatening his marriage by having a more intimate relationship with him than he has with his wife, or having a more intimate relationship with another man than you do with your husband?

You say, “Well, I’ve not been physically intimate with any man.” Intimacy is not just a matter of a physical relationship. We need to guard ourselves, as women, not only in matters of physical intimacy but also in those less obvious matters of emotional intimacy or even spiritual intimacy.

One of the guardrails that I have felt led to establish in my own life—I work with a lot of men in ministry. . . One of the things I’ve really tried to be cautious about is not to have a closer spiritual interaction and relationship with any man than what I believe he has with his wife.

His most intimate physical, emotional, and spiritual relationship should be with his wife. If theirs is not a marriage where they’re sharing intimate spiritual matters, then I should not be in a position of being intimately involved in spiritual discussion with that man.

When we say “intimate,” we tend to just relate it to the physical or the sexual. But I believe that adultery can be not just physical adultery but emotional adultery or even spiritual adultery. The foolish woman will not heed these matters and will be careless in these areas.

Here’s another question for us as women: Does my demeanor, my way of carrying myself and handling myself, tend to be loud and defiant? As we read about in Proverbs 7, the foolish woman is loud and stubborn. Or do I communicate a meek, quiet, and submissive spirit?

How do I affect others when I walk into a room? Does my manner communicate meekness, gentleness, and sweetness, a softness? What I’m saying is not politically correct, and I recognize that.

But God’s way is that we should be different as women—that when we walk into a room it should not be to take over, to be loud and stubborn and controlling, but to relinquish control, to be so filled with the Holy Spirit that the fruit of the Spirit, which is gentleness, will come through us and will create a fragrance and a beauty that will attract those around us to want to know the Jesus who builds us.

Leslie: Nancy Leigh DeMoss will be right back with the second half of today's program. She's leading us through important questions in the series Becoming a Woman of Virtue. We won't have time to bring you the complete series this week.

When you order on CD, you'll receive additional content not on the broadcast. Just order Becoming a Woman of Virtue at ReviveOurHearts.com, or call 1-800-569-5959.

Nancy's continuing in her series of important questions for women who want to grow in virtue.

Nancy: As I travel and talk with women around the country, I find that there are basically two kinds of women. Women in our churches fall into these two different categories. Some are wise women, and unfortunately today, many have become foolish women.

The book of Proverbs in the Old Testament talks about those two kinds of women and the effect that we have on the people around us. Proverbs 14:1 tells us that the wise woman builds up her house. She builds up the people around her. She has a constructive, edifying influence. The foolish woman is tearing down her home. She is tearing down her sphere of influence.

Over these last few days we've been asking some heart-searching questions to help us identify ways in which we may be wise or foolish in our own lives. So we pick up with some more of those questions.

I want to enter into this next one by giving a word picture from the Old Testament book of the Song of Solomon. The question is: "Am I a wall or a door?" That may sound like a strange question to you. But as we go back to the Song of Solomon, in chapter 8, verse 9, we find a picture here of two kinds of women—the kind of woman who is like a wall and the kind of woman who is more like a door.

When you think of a wall, you think of something that is firm and unyielding. That's a picture of a woman who has built her life based on godly convictions. She is not a loose woman. She is a woman who is firm in her relationship with God. Therefore, when she ends up in relationships with men, she is not going to easily yield to improper or immoral advances from men.

Now there's another kind of woman. She is not a wall, but she is a door. Think of a door that swings on its hinges. This is a picture of a woman who gives in easily. She is very influenced by the people around her. As a result, she is going to be more morally vulnerable.

I think it's important that we ask ourselves as women, In my character, in my relationship with God and in my dealings with men, am I more like a wall or more like a door?

Here are some ways of expanding on that question. Am I a loose woman? The problem is that a woman who is a loose woman often doesn't know that she is. That's why, as we've said before, it's so important to have around you women in your life who are older, godly women. Women who will be honest with you and help you see areas in your life where you may not be under the control of the Holy Spirit but may be a loose woman.

In fact, if you're a married woman and your husband is a believer, you may want to go to him and ask him, "Are there any ways that I am relating to people outside of our family that you think are loose or inappropriate?"

  • Women, we can do it with our eyes.
  • We can do it with our face, our countenance.
  • We can do it with our words.
  • We can do it with the way that we walk, the way that we sit, the way that we stand.
  • We can do it with the way that we dress.

In so many ways we can say to men, "You can have part of me—a part of me that doesn't really belong to you, but I'm willing to give it to you." Are you the kind of woman who communicates to men around you that you are available?

Now, you don't have to be a prostitute to be that kind of woman. I'm saying that these kinds of women exist in the church.

It's easy in our culture to just get careless about these matters. If other people are going to be crude or loose, we can sink to that lowest common level and think it's not so bad. Everyone else talks this way. Watch for this in your daughters and remind them that everyone else should not talk that way.

Ask yourself this question. Teach your daughters to think this way. Does my demeanor invite men to partake of intimate parts of my body, my soul, or my spirit? Here is a related question: Do I engage in flirtatious speech, flirtatious looks, flirtatious behavior? We see it so often in women around us that perhaps we've come to the place where we don't recognize it in ourselves.

Women, that's where I would also encourage you to be careful about what womens' magazines you read, what kind of entertainment you enjoy. If you pick up a womens' magazine today, even some of the most conservative ones, you will find advertisements and articles and pictures that portray women just offering themselves to men in ways that don't seem to be immoral. It's so much a part of the air we breathe, the way people are today.

Don't let your own heart sink to that low standard. If you do, you will be a foolish woman. You will not only hurt yourself, but you will end up tearing down the ones that you love the most.

You say, "I'm not married. Who does this affect?" Think ahead. Think to the fact that you may one day be married. You may one day have children. Think ahead to the implications of the choices that you make now, the patterns that you develop now. Think how those down the road (years down the road in your children or your grandchildren) may have negative consequences.

Here's another question, and we're touching on some similar areas, but ask God to search our hearts in different ways. Is there anything about my speech, my actions, my dress, my attitudes—anything about me—that could defraud the men around me? Now that's an old-fashioned word, but we need to bring it back into our vocabulary.

Is there anything about the way I am, the way I handle myself that could defraud the men around me? What does that word defraud mean? To defraud someone is “to create expectations that you cannot righteously fulfill.” This is what flirting does. It creates a hope, a possibility, a thought in a man's mind of you offering something to him that is not yours to offer. You're stirring up his thoughts, his hopes, his desires in a way that you cannot righteously fulfill.

Is there anything about the way that I dress, the way that I talk, the way that I respond to men, my actions around them, my behavior around them that if carried to its full course I would have to sin to fulfill the desires I have created?

Another question: Am I discreet and restrained in the way I talk with men at work or at church, outside of my own home? Am I discreet, restrained, careful in the way I talk with men? The Scripture says in the book of Ephesians that "among us as believers there should not be in our speech or in our behavior even a hint of immorality" (5:3, NIV).

I'm so grieved today over some of the things that Christians laugh about. Oh, they wouldn't really go out and live that way perhaps, but they've let down the standard—the appropriate barriers between men and women. Let me say that if you'll keep the barriers where they ought to be, then you'll be able to have the most godly, wholesome, right relationships with men. You'll be building up the house, and that's where you can have the kind of relationships that God created you to have.

If you let down the barriers, if you let down the restraints, you'll find that you won't be really free. You'll be in bondage to selfishness and lust and immorality and finding that men will respond in like manner in so many cases.

If I were the kind of woman that men felt they could be crude around, that would make me wonder about me. That's not to say we do live in a wicked and corrupt and fallen world and some men and women will be crude no matter who or what they're around. But I think we need to ask ourselves, "Have I created a climate that makes it easier for others to be this way?"

Here is another question about the tongue and our words. Am I expressing admiration for a man that should more appropriately come from his wife? Am I expressing things verbally to a man that should more appropriately come from his wife? For those of you who are married, you need to ask the question, "Am I adequately expressing my reverence and my admiration for my husband?"

Ephesians 5 says that a wife is to “reverence her husband” (verse 33, KJV). Your heart attitude of reverence toward your husband will come out in the way that you talk to your husband, in the way that you express yourself verbally to him.

One more question we'd like to ask in this session today. It's a question relating to our dress as women. Does my dress help men to keep their thoughts pure and Christ-centered?

Now you may be wondering, "Does Nancy think that I should just always walk around dressed in a bag or a sack, that we should not be attractively dressed, that we shouldn't be dressed in ways that can be stylish?" Well, it depends what the style is. But we need to ask ourselves, "Am I dressing in a way to draw attention to my physical body, or am I dressing in a way that will draw attention to the life of Christ and His life within me?"

Leslie: Nancy Leigh DeMoss has been offering important questions in the series Becoming a Woman of Virtue. If you missed any of those messages today or yesterday, you can hear them at ReviveOurHearts.com. And, you'll get quite a bit of additional content when you order the series on CD.

At Revive Our Hearts, we're thinking ahead for Easter. We invite you to think ahead with us. We want to prepare our hearts together by focusing on Christ during the weeks leading up to Resurrection Sunday. The Revive Our Hearts listening community is reading the classic book, The Incomparable Christ, beginning March 9. At the same time, Nancy will be teaching on the life of Christ following the outline in this book.

Why this book? Well, it's deeply affected Nancy, and she's watched it affect other women as well.

Nancy: I've actually had the privilege of studying through parts of this book with a handful of other women who are close friends of mine. Some of these chapters we've studied together and it's been so neat to hear different ones of them saying, “Wow, this has opened my eyes. This has increased my love for Christ. This has increased my joy in who He is and why He came. This has made me think about aspects of the story of Christ that I hadn't thought about so deeply before.”

This study has given us back some of the wonder of who Christ is. It's not just reading a book like this. It's reading and thinking about it. Not hurrying through it, but taking one short chapter each day over a 40-day period and letting it sink in and meditating on it.

A number of these friends have expressed to me that he has helped them to fall more deeply in love with Jesus.

Leslie: I hope you'll study The Incomparable Christ with Nancy beginning March 9. We'll send you the Revive Our Hearts version of the book when you make a donation of any amount. Just call 1-800-569-5959, or donate at ReviveOurHearts.com.

Believers in Christ should know how to cultivate intimacy, according to Linda Dillow.

Linda Dillow: We know the lover of our souls. Because we know Him, we should be the best lovers to our husbands.

Leslie: We'll discuss it tomorrow on Revive Our Hearts.

Revive Our Hearts is an outreach of Life Action Ministries.

*Offers available only during the broadcast of the podcast season.

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