Revive Our Hearts Podcast

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Turning the Spotlight Toward God

Leslie Basham: Why should you obey God? Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth says it’s all about His glory.

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth: When you discover and live out what it means to be a true woman of God, in whatever season of life He has placed you—married, single, children, no children, teenager, empty nest—whatever your situation in life . . . when you live out what it means to be a true woman of God, you shine a spotlight on the character, the heart, and the redeeming work of God.

Leslie: You’re listening to Revive Our Hearts with Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth, author of Choosing Gratitude, for Tuesday, April 10, 2018.

This year we’re devoting several series to the True Woman Manifesto.

As Christian women, we desire to honor God by living counter-cultural lives that reflect the beauty of Christ and the gospel to our world.

Leslie: One of our listeners made a comment at ReviveOurHearts.com about Nancy’s teaching on the True Woman Manifesto. She told us she was moved by hearing the Manifesto read at the first True Woman conference.

And to that end, we affirm that Scripture is God’s authoritative means of instructing us in His ways, and it reveals His holy pattern for our womanhood, our character, our priorities, and our various roles, responsibilities, and relationships.

Leslie: This listener said, “The Manifesto reminds me how intentional I must be, by God’s grace, and through His enabling, to live up to the high standard of godly womanhood and show forth His glory to this needy world."

We glorify God and experience His blessing when we accept and joyfully embrace His created design, function, and order for our lives.

Leslie: Let’s continue on this important topic today. Here’s Nancy.

Nancy: Well, as you know, we’re taking a few months through the course of this year to walk point by point through the True Woman Manifesto, the document that was first released at True Woman ’08 in Schaumburg, Illinois, back in the fall of 2008. Now this document is not inspired. In fact, this is one of the first series I’ve ever done on Revive Our Hearts where I’m not actually starting with a Scripture text.

We’re starting with this document which is born out of the Scripture, and we’re using the Scripture to teach it, but this document is not inspired. What it is is an attempt to express what we believe the Bible teaches about some key aspects of living out our faith as women.

The purpose of this series is to expand on the points in the document and to explain what we mean by each of these statements. So I hope that you’re following along. You can download a PDF of this document at ReviveOurHearts.com. You can contact us an order a pack of these or more to distribute to the women in your church, to perhaps start a study group, walking through this True Woman Manifesto.

The True Woman Manifesto says that as Christian women, we desire to honor God by living counter-cultural lives that reflect the beauty of Christ and His gospel to our world. Then is says, "to that end . . ." with that goal in mind "here's what we affirm."

We’re in the process of looking at thirteen affirmations that are found in the True Woman Manifesto. We’ve already looked at the first affirmation, which says that:

Scripture is God’s authoritative means of instructing us in His ways, and it reveals His holy pattern for our womanhood, our character, our priorities, and our various roles, responsibilities, and relationships.

Now, we're taking just one day or two at the most to discuss each of these statements. There is not time to elaborate on them as fully as I would like, but I cannot overstate the importance of that first affirmation—the Word of God, that is the foundation for everything we live and believe and practice.

If we are not committed to the authority of Scripture, then we are going to have a hard time swallowing some of these other affirmations about biblical and true womanhood.

So we talked about the authority of Scripture and the sufficiency of Scripture, to help us know how we are to live as God's true women. The sufficiency of Scripture for every area of our lives. Aren't you grateful for God's Word? Without it we would have no absolute foundation on which to base our lives.

Now, today we’re looking at the second of those thirteen affirmations, and here’s what it says:

We affirm that we glorify God, and we experience His blessing when we accept and joyfully embrace His created design, function, and order for our lives.

Let me read that one more time: We glorify God, and we experience His blessing when we accept and joyfully embrace His created design, function, and order for our lives.

Now, I want to just take that sentence and pull it apart, and then put it back together. So, just one phrase at a time, and, where’s the starting place for this affirmation? “We glorify God.” That is the starting place. We start with the focus on God.

A true woman is a God-centered woman. Her supreme object and purpose and goal in life is what? For God to be glorified—to glorify God. This is the primary motive for our obedience. Every other motive we have is secondary. God will do good things in our lives; He will bless us, and we’re going to talk about that, but the supreme motive is that God would be glorified. How all of this stuff affects us is all secondary. The primary thing is: How does it glorify God?

Now, what does it mean to glorify God? Well, it means to make much of Him, to exalt Him, to make Him preeminent. And, by the way, we don’t make Him preeminent; He is preeminent. But we set Him up, set Him forth as being preeminent. We shine the spotlight on Him.

  • To glorify God is to call attention to His excellence and His worth.
  • To glorify God is to show the world what God is like.
  • To glorify God is to enhance His reputation, to bring Him pleasure, to point others to Him.

And ladies, this is what we were created to do. That’s our chief aim in life, to glorify God. How do we do that? We glorify God when we accept and joyfully embrace His created plan for our lives. When we embrace it rather than resisting it, or grudgingly conforming to it, when we joyfully embrace it, we glorify God. That’s how we fulfill the reason for which we were created.

When you discover and live out what it means to be a true woman of God, in whatever season of life He has placed you—married, single, children, no children, teenager, empty nest—whatever your situation in life; when you live out what it means to be a true woman of God, you shine a spotlight on the character, the heart, and the redeeming work of God.

Now, when we accept and joyfully embrace His created design, function, and order for our lives, we glorify God, but something else happens. We also experience God’s blessing. The call to biblical womanhood, contrary to some thing I read this morning on the Internet, a piece that was really despising this whole true woman movement. To read this piece you would think that the call we’re issuing to women is a call to live a miserable life, an unhappy life, a dull life. I just want to tell you that’s not so. This is a call to a blessed life. Doing and being what God made us to do and to be brings glory to God, supremely, but it also brings blessing and benefit to us. God wants to bless us.

You read Genesis 1 and 2, and all through there you see God blessing His creation; God blessing the man and woman. In fact, if it hadn’t been for Genesis 3 where we have the entrance of sin into the world, there would never have been anything but blessing. There would be no curse, no pain, no suffering, no death. It would all be blessing if it hadn’t been for sin.

Now, we say that if we accept and embrace God’s plan for our lives that we will be blessed, but that raises this question: I can think of some women who are seeking to glorify and obey God, to live in accordance with His plan, His design, but they don’t feel like they’re being blessed.

For example, I think of a faithful wife who’s living with a husband who is an alcoholic, or he’s addicted to pornography; he’s unresponsive to the gospel; he’s an irresponsible dad. Here she is trying to be God’s true woman, to live out biblical womanhood. It may not look to you, and it may not feel to her like she’s being blessed for her obedience.

Or I think of a woman who’s trying to please the Lord, but she’s infertile. She sees other women getting pregnant out of wedlock. It seems like others are being blessed with children, but she can’t get pregnant. Month after month she has this unfulfilled longing. God’s Word says, “Children are a blessing from the Lord.” So she could wonder, Am I not being blessed by God? Am I doing something wrong? Is there some sin in my life?

There may be no particular sin in her life that relates to this issue, we’re all sinners, but there may be no correspondence between some sin and this issue in her life. She could feel, “I’m not being blessed in the way that I would like to be.”

Perhaps you have a child who has been born with major health issues, or your husband loses his job, or you husband is unfaithful, he abandoned you . . . I got an email a few days ago from a woman who has been married for, I think, sixteen years. She has served in ministry for years. And her husband has just served her divorce papers out of the blue. He said, "I've been unhappy for years. Grounds for divorce is all in how you interpret the Bible." There is just pain. This woman who has tried to seek the Lord and has obeyed Him as a wife and mother, now she is dealing with this situation.

Maybe you have waited on the Lord and you have chosen the pathway of purity and modesty and discretion, but God hasn't blessed you with a mate, and you are in your forties or fifties. You are still single. Maybe you are in your twenties and you think you'll never get married. Wait until you are in your forties or fifties and you think, I've chosen to follow the Lord, but He hasn't blessed me with the desire of my heart.

If you look at the circumstances of life, there can be confusion or resentment. “Why have I been faithful to the Lord, and He hasn’t blessed me?”

In fact, many in Scripture had these kinds of thoughts. I think of Psalm chapter 73 where the psalmist sees the prosperity of the wicked. It says,

Their bodies are fat and sleek. They are not in trouble as others are; they are not stricken like the rest of mankind. . . . Behold, these are the wicked; always at ease, they increase in riches (vv. 4–5).

Then the psalmist says, “On the other hand, I’m trying to live right. I’m trying to obey God, but what do I get for it?” He goes on in verse 13:

All in vain have I kept my heart clean and washed my hand in innocence. For all the day long I have been stricken and rebuked every morning.

The psalmist is tempted, as we sometimes are, to give up. “What’s the use? It doesn’t work, this thing of being God’s true woman.”

Then the tendency, or the temptation, is to take matters into our own hands and do it our own way.

Now, the True Woman Manifesto says that when we accept and joyfully embrace God’s design and plan for our lives, God is glorified, and we are blessed. But we need to define blessing. God’s idea of blessing and our idea of blessing are not always the same. We know what we think will bless us, but God knows what will truly bless us.

We think blessing means having what we want when we want it, getting our way, having all our desires satisfied, the absence of pain and problems and pressures. We think blessing means hitting the easy button. Our focus, when we think about blessing, is often on getting what we want.

God’s blessing doesn’t always look that way. What does God’s blessing look like? It doesn’t always mean that everything is going to turn out right in the here and now because, you see, God has the long term in view, not just the here and now. He brings things into our lives that may seem not to be blessings, but things that will result in our ultimate good and blessing.

True blessing is not the absence of hard things, but it’s Christ’s presence in the midst of the hard places.

I think of that passage in Psalm 119, where the psalmist says, “It is good for me that I have been afflicted.” Affliction, a blessing? We don’t think of affliction as a blessing, but the psalmist says, “It is good for me that I have been afflicted.” Why? “So that I might learn Your Law” (v. 71, paraphrased).

We learn the Word of God, the ways of God; we learn to embrace God and cling to Him when we are stripped of other blessings. Our hearts become detached from earth and attached to heaven when we are deprived of things that we consider earthly or temporal blessings.

True blessing is not the absence of hard things, but it’s Christ’s presence in the midst of the hard places, and it’s all the grace that you need to dwell with those things. That’s the blessing.

We need to be careful about having an Americanized view of blessing where we think of blessing as being material and circumstantial and external. True blessing, ultimate blessing, is spiritual and internal. It’s the things you can’t see, internal blessings. It’s things like:

  • having the Holy Spirit in your life
  • having Him at work in your heart
  • being adopted into the family of God
  • being chosen in eternity past to belong to Christ
  • being given a spiritual inheritance, every spiritual blessing in heavenly places in Christ Jesus

Now, that’s a blessing you can count on.

  • It’s knowing God.
  • It’s knowing what He’s given us.
  • It’s justification and sanctification.
  • It's the promise of glorification.
  • It’s being conformed to the image of Christ.
  • It’s having a clear conscience.
  • It's being contented because you know that God has given you everything you need for your present peace and happiness.

Now, that’s blessing.

And let me say this: Anything that makes us need God is a blessing. Anything that makes us need God is a blessing.

Now, you may be thinking, “Well, my life is really full of blessing right now. I wish God would stop blessing me.” No, God wants to bless you, but He’s the One who designs the shape of the gifts, the size, the scope of them, what they look like and what purposes they will accomplish in our lives. Anything that makes me need God is a blessing. It has a purpose; it’s not in vain.

And let me tell you: The ultimate blessing that we receive when we accept and joyfully embrace God’s created design for our lives, the ultimate blessing is not a happy marriage; it’s not "x" number of children; it’s not this kind of health or this kind of job or this kind of relationships and friendships. The ultimate blessing is God Himself.

Ladies, if you have Him, if you have Christ, you have everything you need.

I know we can say that, but then when it gets tested, when we get stripped of some of the things we think we need, some of those little idols that we’ve put up in our hearts, then we whine and gripe and complain and fret. But God takes those things from us not for our harm, but for our good, so He can bless us with the ultimate blessing which is Himself.

Now, you may feel that you have forfeited God’s blessing in your life by sinful choices that you’ve made in the past. So, as we look at this point of the True Woman Manifesto that when we accept and joyfully embrace God’s created design and purpose and function for our lives, we are blessed, you may think, “Well, I didn’t accept and joyfully embrace God’s created plan for my life in the past. I blew it. So does that mean I can’t experience God’s blessing today?”

Let me just say: We’ve all blown it. We’re all born sinners. None of us were born seeking God, pleasing God, wanting to conform our lives to Him. You have blown it. I have blown it. We all have blown it. And you’re saying, “But I’ve blown it worse than most people.”

I get letters and emails from women just pouring out their hearts about wrong and foolish choices that they made, and now they’re living with the consequences of those choices, and there can be this sense of despair. “Can I ever really be blessed?”

Let me just say this: You need the gospel. We all need the gospel. If you have repented and forsaken your sin, He offers grace and forgiveness. That’s what Jesus died for—for sin, for failure, for people who’ve blown it. You can have hope. You don’t have to be trapped in the past. You don’t have to get stuck there. You don’t have to stay there. You can walk into the future from this day on able to receive God’s blessing.

That doesn’t mean there won’t be consequences of your past choices, but even those consequences can be means of blessing in your life if you’ll let God use them. He can bless you even if you’re walking out of a dark past. He can move in your situation. So you married out of the will of God, you disregarded counsel, you disregarded Scripture, you married someone you shouldn’t have, and now you’re in this really messed up marriage. Don’t jump out of the situation. Let God meet you right in that situation.

Your circumstances may not change, but God can change your heart. He can change you, and you can have hope that He will continue working even if you’ve messed up in the past if today you will begin to accept and joyfully embrace God’s created purpose and design for your life.

The Manifesto says, “We glorify God, and we experience His blessing when we accept and joyfully embrace His created design, function, and order for our lives.”

To accept and to joyfully embrace His plan, His will for our lives means we accept it and we embrace it:

  • regardless of what it is
  • regardless of what it means
  • regardless of whether it’s hard or easy
  • regardless of whether it's comfortable or not
  • regardless of whether others understand or agree with it

God’s plan, God’s will for our lives as women is something that the world does not understand. It does not accept. You cannot explain this to people who don’t accept the authority of Scripture and don’t have a relationship with Jesus Christ—regardless of whether it fits your preconceived notions.

This is a call to accept and joyfully embrace what God’s Word teaches about what it means to be women of God, to accept that this is right, to acknowledge that God had a purpose for making us, and that He has ordained a function and an order for all His creatures.

I wish I had time to read Psalm 104, but read through that psalm. It’s a magnificent psalm that talks about how all creation, the animals, the birds, the flowers, the vegetation, all creatures in heaven and on earth understand that God has ordained a purpose and a plan for their existence, and they gladly embrace it and fulfill it. Who are the only rebels? Human beings, created in the image, the likeness of God. We could learn something from the plants and the animals about accepting and joyfully embracing God’s plan for our lives, and joyfully embracing it, not reluctantly, not grudgingly.

Remember that the will of God, whatever it looks like, whatever it means, is good. It’s acceptable; it’s perfect, according to Romans 12. His plan for your life as a woman is good. It’s desirable. It’s beautiful.

We’re called to accept and joyfully embrace His created design, function, and order for our lives. Not my way, my ideas, my plan, my preferences, not how I think marriage should work, not how I think I should be free to express my sexuality. It’s not my way, but a call to embrace His way. A true woman embraces God’s design based on the pattern and the precepts and the principles of God’s Word.

When we go back to the Old Testament, Genesis chapter 3, we see a woman whose name was Eve who rejected God’s order and plan and design and function of her life. She said, “I’ll have it my way.” She signed her Declaration of Independence, refused to accept God’s created design and function for her life.

Thankfully, we have another example in the Scripture—Mary of Nazareth—who said, “I’ll have it Your way, Lord,” who joyfully embraced, who accepted God’s design and function and plan for her life.

That’s why probably my life verse is Luke 1:38 where Mary says when she’s called upon to this challenge, this task, this calling of carrying in her body the Son of God, with all the challenges that involved, what was her response? “I am the handmaiden of the Lord. I am the Lord’s bondservant. May it be to me as you have said” (KJV, NASB). What was she saying? “Yes, Lord, I accept. I joyfully embrace Your plan for my life.”

So when we accept and embrace our God-created design and order and function, we are blessed, and God is glorified. And, by the same token, when we reject His design for our lives, we malign God. We bring reproach to His name and to His ways. That’s why Titus 2 says that women are to love their husbands, love their children, fulfill these responsibilities. Why? So that the Word of God may not be reviled (see vv. 3–5).

In a similar way, 1 Timothy 5 tells us that if we don’t fulfill God’s design and function for our lives as women, that we will give the adversary an occasion for slander, to speak evil against God.

I want to challenge you: Be a Mary who says, “Yes, Lord.” Embrace God’s calling, the gift of true womanhood, and join thousands of other women all across this country who are believing God for a movement of reformation and revival in the hearts of Christian women for the display of God’s glory and for your soul’s eternal satisfaction and joy and blessing.

Leslie: On Revive Our Hearts we talk a lot about true womanhood. Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth has been explaining why. It’s all about God’s glory.

We’re devoting several series this year walking through the True Woman Manifesto. You can read this relevant and helpful document for yourself at Revive Our Hearts.com. Or check out the animated video of the Manifesto. We’ll provide a link on today’s transcript at ReviveOurHearts.com.

The True Woman Manifesto was first introduced to the world at the conference True Woman '08. And now, we are getting ready to mark the ten-year anniversary of that conference at True Woman '18. Mary Kassian has been at every True Woman Conference, and she’ll join us again this year. Same with Keith and Kristyn Getty. Plus, you’ll hear from newer friends like Jackie Hill Perry, Dr. Eric Mason, Betsy Gómez, and the drama group Acts of Renewal. I hope you’ll join us September 27–29 in Indianapolis.

There are two reasons to go ahead and make your plans. First, seating is limited, and I expect it will sell out. And second, when you register by May 1, you’ll get the best discount. Get all the details at ReviveOurHearts.com, or call 1–800–569–5959. 

Does trying to be a true woman leave you exhausted and frustrated? Everyone knows what that’s like. Tomorrow, discover the power you need to embrace biblical womanhood. Nancy will talk about it next time on Revive Our Hearts.

Revive Our Hearts with Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth wants to help women embrace God's beautiful design. The program is an outreach of Life Action Ministries.

All Scripture is taken from the English Standard Version unless otherwise noted.

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About the Teacher

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth has touched the lives of millions of women through Revive Our Hearts and the True Woman movement, calling them to heart revival and biblical womanhood. Her love for Christ and His Word is infectious, and permeates her online outreaches, conference messages, books, and two daily nationally syndicated radio programs—Revive Our Hearts and Seeking Him.

She has authored twenty-two books, including Lies Women Believe and the Truth That Sets Them Free, Seeking Him (coauthored), Adorned: Living Out the Beauty of the Gospel Together, and You Can Trust God to Write Your Story (coauthored with her husband). Her books have sold more than five million copies and are reaching the hearts of women around the world. Nancy and her husband, Robert, live in Michigan.