Revive Our Hearts Podcast

Hope for the Future

Leslie Basham: It used to be that when a woman was expecting, she’d hear, “Congratulations!” Nancy Leigh DeMoss says,

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: More and more, expectant moms will hear, “Didn’t someone tell you how not to get pregnant?" These are the kinds of things you’ll hear people say today. "Oh, I’m so sorry for you!" Now, I just want to tell you, I hope you never talk that way to a woman who’s expecting. Can you imagine what a downer that is?

Leslie: This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss for Monday, May 3. Young women face the future with so many unknowns and choices ahead. Nancy Leigh DeMoss spoke with a group of women in this season of life, college students who needed to hear an older woman cast a vision for what their future could be. And really, all of us need to hear this message. We all need to grow in maturity and make sure our thinking is biblical. Nancy began by talking about her own journey as a young woman.

Nancy DeMoss: Let me just tell you a little bit about my own views of womanhood and how they have changed over the years. When I was in my twenties, I have to tell you that I chafed a little bit at the thought of being a woman. If someone had asked me when I was twenty years old, on a scale of one to five, how much I loved being a woman, I would not have been on the five end. Now, I don’t think I would have been a one, but this was something that I chafed about.

Partially, I had a real heart to serve the Lord. I loved the Lord. I wanted to be in ministry. And I had this mindset that if I’d been a man, I could serve the Lord more, that there would be more options available to me. The other part of the problem was, I just saw the women around, and I didn’t think I wanted to be a lot like a lot of the women I knew.

I don’t mean that in an insulting way. I just thought, “They’re not very interesting, and they talk about things that I’m not that interested in,” and I just didn’t feel like I fit in that well. I don’t know if I thought there was something wrong with me, or what, but I wasn’t enjoying being a woman. I couldn’t have said, “Thank You, Lord, for making me a woman.”

As I got into my twenties and then into my thirties, as I began ministering to women and just growing myself, and getting into the Word of God and asking some tough questions, I began to discover in the Scripture that God had a reason for making me a woman and that God had a distinctive purpose for my life as a woman.

I began to see the wonder and the beauty of what it meant to be a woman and that I had a distinctive mission and purpose and calling in life that was different in some ways than the mission God had for Godly men. I began to embrace, rather than resent or resist, my calling as a woman. I have found in the last ten or fifteen years so much joy in discovering and embracing God’s purpose for me as a woman.

Now, as you go back to the account in Genesis of God making men and women, it says, “Male and female he created them. In the image of God, He created them" (1:27). So we learn from Genesis 1 and 2 that God created both men and women in the image of God. One is not superior to the other. One is not inferior to the other. God made us with equal value and worth in His eyes as women.

Now, you say, “Duh, who doesn’t know that?” But I’ll tell you, many generations of people have not understood that. In fact, in the day when Jesus lived on this earth, even in good, Jewish families, women were considered inferior to men. One of the things that Jesus has done for human history is to elevate the status of women and to show that we have great value and great worth in His eyes.

As we go back to the Scripture account, we find that God esteems them both equally. We also find that God made them different—men and women—obvious physiological differences, but also differences in our created purpose, differences in our created function. The thing I’ve learned about life is that things function well when they function according to their design. Things function poorly or not at all when you try to use them contrary to the way they were designed. We function well when we function according to the purpose for which God made us, but we function poorly or not at all when we try to fit into some other purpose than that for which God designed us.

Now during the past 50 years, there has been a revolution in the way that women view almost everything, in the way they view themselves, in the way they view men and marriage and sex and family. This revolution has radically altered the whole fabric of our society. It has radically altered our whole culture. It’s not only altered the way women think and act; it’s altered the way men think and act about women.

Some of you when I asked, “What would you like to say to men?” you wanted to say (because I already heard it once) is, “Get on the ball. Act like men. Ask us out.” Did you know that the fact that many men are intimidated and passive and don’t really want to step up to the plate and be men, do you know that is the product of this feminist revolution, a whole new way of thinking about men and about women?

It’s affected all of us. Today’s college women have really never known any other way of thinking. It’s in the air we breathe today. Even if you grew up in the church, even if you’ve grown up in the Evangelical world, you have been very affected by this whole revolution in the way we view womanhood.

I said it goes back 50 years or so, but really, this revolution is not anything new at all, because there’s nothing new under the sun, as we read in Ecclesiastes. This revolution goes back to the book of Genesis. It started in the Garden of Eden.

Now, I know you know this story, but I find it’s helpful every once in a while just to go back and review how did God create things? How did He design for them to function, and then what happened to botch it up? How did we get from there to where we are today?

If you’re familiar with the creation account in the book of Genesis, which most of you probably are, you remember that in Genesis 1 and 2 are two really crucial chapters. They’re the only two chapters we have in the whole Bible—1,189 chapters in the Bible—and only two of them tell us what it was like before sin entered into the world. Now, we have a few passages that tell us what it will be like after God has finished redeeming this world from sin, but just those first two chapters that tell us what God intended things to be like on this planet.

We read that God created the world, and as part of that, He made the plants and the animals, then He made a man, and then God made a woman, similar to the man in many respects. She was like the man, created in the image or likeness of God, but in so many ways different from the man and made for a purpose that was distinctly different than that of a man’s.

Then God, having made the man and the woman, brought them together and gave or established an order for how things should work, how they should function, how a man and a woman should function together, how they should relate to the animals, how they should relate to the earth. God gave an instruction manual.

God told Adam, “This is the way it’s supposed to be.” As you read those first two chapters of Genesis, you find words like, “God blessed them. God said it was good.” The way God created things, there was no battle between the sexes. Things were good. They were blessed. They worked. They functioned well because they functioned according to God’s design.

  • There is no pain.
  • There is no sorrow.
  • There is no death.
  • There is no evil.
  • There is no abuse.
  • There is no divorce.
  • There are no broken relationships.
  • There is no conflict.
  • There are no generational conflicts.
  • There is no rape.
  • There is no incest.
  • None of that even existed in the world in that day.

Now, what in the world happened between Genesis chapters 1 and 2 to get us to where we are today in the world? Well, the answer is Genesis chapter 3. What happens in Genesis chapter 3?

Enter God’s enemy whose name is Satan. He had an agenda. The Deceiver knew, Satan knew that if he could attack the man and the woman, then he could attack God. So what did Satan do? He came first—and this is so important to realize—he came first to the woman.

Now in so doing, already he is violating God’s created order because when God gave instructions for His created order, He gave them to the man with the understanding that the man would communicate them to the woman. The woman was under the care and the protection and the leadership and the loving leadership of the man, and that was good. It was a blessing.

The woman was cared for. She was protected. Her needs were met. It wasn’t that she wasn’t equal with the man, but it’s that she was safe and protected in that created order.

Satan goes around that created order. He goes to the woman, and interestingly enough, you find in the Scripture that the man was there, but he kind of disengaged. He wasn’t involved in the conversation. The whole conversation takes place as if the man weren’t there, but Genesis 3 tells us that when the woman gave the fruit to the man, it says she gave it to the man “who was with her” (verse 6).

Where was the man during all this conversation? He was being quiet. He wasn’t saying anything. Who was doing the talking? The woman and the serpent. They were having this conversation.

You never see the woman turning to the man and saying, “What did God say to us? What does God want us to do in this situation?” You see her signing her declaration of independence and saying, “I’ll handle this. I don’t need the man,” and already we’re seeing the reversal of the roles.

From that point to this, we have the consequences of that, so the goodness of God. “Did God say to you, ‘You can’t eat from all the trees in this garden’"? (Genesis 3:1 paraphrase) There’s some trees you can’t eat from.

Now, what had God said? “You can eat from all of the trees in the garden. Enjoy them except for this one” (see Genesis 1:29). But where did Satan put the emphasis? On what God said they couldn’t do instead of all the things God said they could do.

He challenged the wisdom of God. “Yes, that’s His opinion, but God didn’t really know everything. In fact, if you’ll eat from the fruit of this tree, you can be wise like God. In fact, you can be your own god. You can run your own life” (see Genesis 3:5). 

  • He challenged God’s right to be in control.
  • He challenged God’s created order.
  • He convinced the woman that God’s Word was just God’s opinion, that it was one person’s opinion, but you are entitled to your own opinion, Madam Eve.
  • He convinced her that God’s Word was not absolute, that truth was relative.

Does this sound like anything you hear on your campus? He convinced her that God’s way was not the best way for her and that she’d be happier, she’d be better off, she’d be freer if she would throw off the shackles of that repressive rule that God had put them under.

If the woman hadn’t believed that, do you think she would have taken a bite of that fruit? She believed she’d be better off. She believed she’d be happier. So she made a decision based on her own, natural senses, based on her own reasoning.

What does the Scripture say in Genesis chapter 3? “She saw that the tree was pleasant to the eyes. It was a tree to be desired to make one wise” (verse 6, paraphrased). It was attractive to her, and can I just tell you this? Satan’s way will always seem—when he’s trying to tempt you, he’ll make it look attractive just like he did with Eve and that fruit.

“You can have your own way, and here’s what you’ll get for it. Here are the benefits you’ll reap. This is how happy you’ll be. This is how free you’ll be." Just begin to look at the advertising around you. Begin to look at the things you read and the things you see on television and movies and the music you listen to. Begin to listen for this reasoning that tells you if you do it your own way, you’ll be better off.

Eve believed the Deceiver. She believed Satan, but once she made that decision to go her own way, she found out pretty quickly that the fruit that had seemed so attractive on the outside was really rotten. It was crawling with worms.

Now, do you think if it had looked like it was crawling with worms, that she would have taken a bite? You go, “Gross! No! She wouldn’t have taken a bite if it looked like it was spoiled.” It was attractive, and that’s what we need to remember when the enemy puts his deceptive way in front of us today and over the last 50 years as he has done for our whole culture.

It looks so right. It looks so good, but I could point you to scores and hundreds and probably thousands of women that I’ve talked to over the years who took a bite. Some of you in this room, you took a bite. It looks so good. It felt so right, but you ended up with a mouthful of worms.

It looks so right to say that you were sexually free, but now you’re living with shame and guilt and regret. So with the woman’s signing of her declaration of independence, we have the introduction into this world of fear, guilt, shame. We see all of this in Genesis chapter 3.

The man and the woman before the fall were naked, but they weren’t ashamed because, well, it was as God intended that they should be, totally open with each other. Now, all of a sudden they’re guilty. They’re ashamed. They’re hiding, not only from each other, but from God.

Now we end up with isolation, broken relationships with God, with a mate, with children as they come along. Now we have the introduction into this world of death and pain and violence and sorrow and all kinds of unspeakably ugly things that human beings can do to one another.

Some of you have had some people do some of those things to you, and it all started with a woman who said, “I think I’ll have it my way. It seems so right. It feels so good.” The fall affected all of creation, including men and women and how we view our roles, our purposes, our calling.

Since that time, there has been a collision going on, a war between two diametrically opposed world views—God’s way and man’s way, God’s way and the world’s way. These two ways are radically opposite. They are based on two different premises, two different philosophies, and they have two very different outcomes.

The problem is that so many of us in our culture have bought into the world’s way of thinking and living. We don’t even know God’s way; or we know it, and we reject it; or we know it, and we ignore it. It’s true in every area of life.

Let me just contrast for a few moments what I mean by the difference between God’s way and the world’s way of living. For example, God’s way is a culture of life. God values life. That’s why the unborn life in the womb is precious to God, because God values life. But the world’s way is a culture of death. There’s a fixation with death. Death is the result of sin, and it’s a culture that elevates death rather than life.

God’s way, when it comes to marriage, for example, is that marriage is a good thing. Marriage is the rule. Marriage is the norm. That’s what God planned. You grow up; you get married, and to stay single was intended to be the exception to the rule. God, I believe, has called a few people out, by way of exception, to be single for a lifetime for the purpose of serving the Lord in single ministry. But apart from that, I believe that God’s plan was that everyone else grows up and gets married when they become adults.

What has the world done to that? The world has said, “Well, I don’t know about that. Marriage is optional. Marriage is for some, not for others, or we’ll wait.”

I just read a statistic today that said in 1970, 36 percent of women in the age group 20 to 24 were never married. 36 percent of 20- to 24-year-old women had never been married. Today, 35 years later, that number is 75 percent of women in the 20 to 24 age group have never been married, and it’s even higher—I think, 86 percent—of men in that age group.

Why get married? It’s going to fail. There’s a fear about marriage in many young women today or just a desire to be independent on the part of some. On the part of some men, there’s this fear of commitment. For lots of reasons, we’re seeing marriage as not a normal and a good thing today but an optional thing and maybe even a bad thing. That’s the world’s way.

God’s way is that once you do get married, it’s a covenant that’s permanent. “Till death do us part” which, by the way, if you embrace that way of thinking, it means it’s really important who you marry and that you marry in the will of God. God’s way is, once you marry, it’s a lifetime covenant.

God uses that mate to help sanctify you, shape you into the image of Christ. God uses you as a woman to help that man become all God intended Him to be. It’s a permanent arrangement and one that you don’t get out of when things don’t go as you’d hoped.

What’s the world’s way of viewing marriage? “Till divorce do us part,” and some of you are the product of divorce and remarriage. You’ve seen it over and over again, and maybe you don’t even know any different way to think about marriage because that’s the world’s way.

Do they go to the altar? At least 50 percent of the people who go to the altar today and say those vows will one day walk down the isle of a divorce court—at least 50 percent of them. It’s considered something that is not permanent.

What about child-bearing—God’s way versus the world’s way? God’s way is that God made women to be mothers. Did you know that men can’t have babies? That’s one distinctive thing about us, by the way.

When Adam named his wife Eve, do you know what Eve means? The word Eve sounds like, “living, life-giving, life-bearing.” Adam named her Eve because her name sounds like a woman who gives life. He knew that she was designed to be a bearer and a nurturer of life.

You say, “Well, you’re single, so what use is it? You can’t be a mother.” Do you know, I believe God—all of us, even if He never gives you a mate—God made all of us, in one way or another, to be bearers and nurturers of life, to mother.

Some of you have younger sisters. Some of you have younger women in your dorm hall or floor. There are younger women that God brings into our lives, chronologically younger and spiritually younger. God wants us to be nurturers, disciplers, bearers, and nurturers of spiritual and physical life. So the Scripture’s view of children and motherhood is that motherhood is a good thing and that children are a blessing.

What has the world done? What has Satan done to that way of thinking? He’s convinced us that children are a burden. They’re not a blessing. They’re something you won’t want too many of, and part of it is that today, if you get pregnant with your third or fourth child, even in the church, you’re going to have people looking at you like you are really strange.

“Didn’t someone tell you how not to get pregnant?” These are the kinds of things you’ll hear people say today. “Oh, I’m so sorry for you.” Now, I just want to tell you, I hope you never talk that way to a woman who’s expecting. Can you imagine what a downer that is?

Where did contraception come from? It’s an invention of an era that came to decide that women should control their own bodies and that sex was purely for pleasure but not for procreation and that wanted to separate the sex act from the responsibility of parenting.

Can I just tell you that way of thinking is really contrary to God’s way of thinking, and to believe God’s way, you’re going to have to swim upstream? You’re going to have to be counter-cultural, even in the church.

Leslie: We’ve been hearing from Nancy Leigh DeMoss speaking to a group of college-aged women about true womanhood. Nancy challenged those young women at that conference to think about some important counter-cultural principles. You’ll hear more of her honest, courageous presentation tomorrow.

As Nancy has often said, she doesn’t naturally like confrontation. Saying the things God has put on her heart sometimes requires great courage, but it’s making a difference in the lives of women. For example, consider the email we got from a listener in Canada. She wrote:

I praise God for you. You’re willing to teach the things most won’t touch. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. We all need God’s truth. Please keep up the good work, and I will pray for you, as I know most do not want to hear biblical truth. Please know that you are loved and appreciated.

Well, Nancy, what goes through your mind when we receive that kind of encouragement.

Nancy: Well, it is humbling to hear those kinds of words, but it also makes me deeply grateful—especially when listeners like this mention praying for Revive Our Hearts. We need those prayers more than you can image.

I recognize my own weakness and weariness in other ways that people don’t always see. I’m so conscious that I cannot do anything apart from God’s power. The prayers of our listeners mean so much.

I’m also thankful for the financial support that our listeners have provided over the years. Without that kind of support, we wouldn’t be on the air speaking to this listener in Canada, or anywhere else, for that matter. Just as I have to lean on the Lord for strength, stamina, and courage, we also lean on the Lord to provide all that we need financially to undergird this ministry.

Today I want to share with you that as we come to the end of our fiscal year this month, we’re facing a situation that, honestly, is the most difficult one that we’ve faced financially in the nine years that we’ve been on the air.

Our Operations Director as told me that we need to see the Lord provide $350,000 or more during these next weeks in order to meet a budget shortfall that we’ve experienced in recent months. That will enable us to close our fiscal year in the black and then move into the projects, ministry, and outreaches that the Lord has for us in the months ahead.

That’s particularly important in this month of May, as we head into the summer months, when income is typically down a bit as people are out doing other things. So if there’s a way that you could partner with us in giving a special gift in this month, I would be so grateful. I can tell you that it will be an investment in eternity, in the kingdom of Christ. And it will be an investment in people’s lives and homes and marriages. Only eternity will reveal all the fruit that will come about as a result of your investment in this ministry.

So would you ask the Lord if He wants you to help us during this time? When you donate any amount, we’ll say thanks by sending you a brand new book I’m holding in my hands called, Voices of the True Woman Movement.

It’s a compilation of talks from the True Woman ’08 message from friends like: John Piper, Mary Kassian, Joni Eareckson Tada, Janet Parshall, and others. And here’s another important word. If you’ve never donated to Revive Our Hearts before, your gift this month will be doubled. That’s because some friends of the ministry have offered to match the gift of new donors this month up to $105,000. So whether you’ve given before or not, will you help us reach the total goal of $350,000 before this month is through? Thanks so much.

Leslie: Here’s how to help: visit ReviveOurHearts.com, or call 1-800-569-5959.

Are you a helper to the men around you? Nancy will show you why this question matters tomorrow on Revive Our Hearts.

Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss is an outreach of Life Action Ministries.

All Scriptures are from the English Standard Version unless otherwise noted.

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

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