Declarations of the True Woman Manifesto, Part 1You Aren't Alone in Declaring Truth
Leslie Basham: It’s important to affirm truth with your mind, but that’s not where truth ends. Here’s Nancy Leigh DeMoss.
Nancy Leigh DeMoss: Truth always makes a difference in our lives. It’s not just something to be stored in a file cabinet or stored in a notebook or stored in our heads. It’s something that is to penetrate the core of who we are and to impact and change the way that we live.
Leslie: This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss for Monday, August 2.
When you hear truth, what’s the right response? You need to affirm it with your mind, but that’s not all. You’re about to learn how to incorporate truth into every part of life. Here’s Nancy.
Nancy: If you’ve been listening to Revive Our Hearts this year, you know that over the past several months we’ve been working our way through a document that we’ve called the True Woman Manifesto. If you haven’t heard those previous sessions, you can go to our website, ReviveOurHearts.com, and pull up those previous sessions on the Manifesto.
It’s been a while since we were in the Manifesto. I think it was back in June. Today we’re picking up with another section of the Manifesto, but let me just orient you to say that this is a document that encapsulates and summarizes some of the key aspects of the kind of women we’re asking God to raise up in this country and around the world, women we’re calling true women.
We’re asking God to raise up at least 100,000 of these women, hungry-hearted women who say, “Yes. I want to be God’s true woman.” Women who will read this document, who will say, “I embrace this message,” who will sign it. You can go to our website. If you go to ReviveOurHearts.com, it will lead you to where you can sign this document. But more important than signing it is women who will say, “I want to live this message,” and then women who will say, “I want to share this message with others.”
I know some of you are home schooling, you’re training your daughters. Some of you are leading Bible study groups. You’re in discipling relationships. This is some material that you can use to disciple other women in how to be true women of God.
Now, this is not the Bible. These are principles that are drawn from the Bible. So it’s not an inspired document. It’s just a summary of the message we’re trying to get into the hearts of women.
I want to take just a few moments at the beginning today to review the affirmations that we’ve been studying over the past several months because they provide the foundation for where we’re going to pick up in the Manifesto today.
There are 13 of those affirmations. Let me just read them to you as a review of where we have been thus far in this document. We started by saying 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.
So the foundation of God’s Word—we affirmed that about Scripture. Then we affirmed that:
We glorify God and experience His blessing when we accept and joyfully embrace His created design, function, and order for our lives.
Then we affirmed that:
As redeemed sinners, we cannot live out the beauty of biblical
womanhood apart from the sanctifying work of the gospel
and the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit.
This is something we cannot live. We need the power of Christ to do it. Then we saw that:
Men and women are both created in the image of God and are equal in
value and dignity, but they have distinct roles and functions
in the home and in the church.
We took an entire program, at least one or sometimes two, on each of these affirmations. Again, you can go back and review those if you haven’t been with us. The fifth affirmation was that:
We are called as women to affirm and encourage men as they seek to express godly masculinity, and to honor and support God-ordained
male leadership in the home and in the church.
Then we saw in number six that:
Marriage, as created by God, is a sacred, binding, lifelong
covenant between one man and one woman.
The seventh affirmation was:
When we respond humbly to male leadership in our homes and churches,
we demonstrate a noble submission to authority that reflects
Christ’s submission to God His Father.
And then we looked at this whole issue of personal rights. We said that:
Selfish insistence on personal rights is contrary to the spirit of
Christ who humbled Himself, took on the form of a servant,
and laid down His life for us.
Then we took a couple days and looked at the whole issue of human life, the sanctity of human life. We said that:
Human life is precious to God and is to be valued and protected,
from the point of conception until rightful death.
Then we looked at this whole issue of children, and we affirmed that:
Children are a blessing from God; and that women are uniquely designed
to be bearers and nurturers of life, whether it be their own biological
or adopted children, or other children in their sphere of influence.
Then affirmation number eleven: God's plan for gender is wider than marriage. Sometimes I think, if you listen to Revive Our Hearts, and if we’re on topics that relate to marriage, you can think, “Well, if I’m a single woman, what does this have to do with me?” It has everything to do with all of us whether married or single because we’re all to model femininity in our various relationships, by exhibiting a distinctive modesty, responsiveness, and gentleness of spirit.
Then we looked at an affirmation in relation to suffering—not something that we all want to go find a book on, “Tell me all about suffering.” But the fact is, it’s a broken world. We saw that:
Suffering is an inevitable reality in a fallen world, and that at times we will be called to suffer for doing what is good—looking to heavenly reward
rather than earthly comfort—for the sake of the gospel
and the advancement of Christ's Kingdom.
Then the final affirmation: We saw that:
Mature Christian women have a responsibility to leave a legacy of faith,
by discipling younger women in the Word and ways of God and
modeling for the next generation lives of fruitful femininity.
So those are the affirmations. I just read them in two or three minutes, but we’ve spent months looking at these affirmations, fleshing them out, explaining what they mean from a biblical standpoint.
Now, in light of what we have affirmed to be true, in light of all these things that we’ve said we believe, the question is: So what? So we believe those things; what difference does it make?
Well, the next statement in the Manifesto is a bridge between these thirteen affirmations and the final section of the Manifesto, which is a section called “We will.” We affirm that these things are true; therefore, we will. It’s a making of a commitment to God that this is our intent to live in a certain way based on what we have said we believe to be true.
So we have this bridge statement. I want to read it to you, and then I want to unpack it for our session today.
Believing the above [the Manifesto says, believe all these affirmations], we declare our desire and intent to be “true women” of God. We consecrate ourselves to fulfill His calling and purposes for our lives. By His grace
and in humble dependence on His power, we will . . .
And then there follow 15 statements that express the implications of all these things we’ve just affirmed. In the next program, we’ll start looking at those 15 statements, these “We will” statements, but first I want to take time just to focus on this transition statement: Believing the above, we declare our desire and intent to be “true women” of God. We consecrate ourselves to fulfill His calling and purposes for our lives. By His grace and in humble dependence on His power, we will.
Let’s just take that apart because I think, just even as a transition statement, it has some insights for what it means for us to be part of this true woman movement that we’re believing God for in our generation.
The statement starts by saying, “Believing the above”—all these affirmations, all those things I just read. Now, I read through them pretty quickly, but the question for our hearts is: Do you believe what we just affirmed? These things we’ve been talking about all these months, do you really believe these things? See, this is not supposed to be just a written document. This is supposed to be a document of truths we really believe, and, therefore, we will live them out in our lives.
I find that I need to be reminded often of these basic, fundamental truths. Some of them are like Christianity 101, biblical womanhood 101. If you’ve been walking with the Lord for an extended period of time, you may say, “This is so basic.”
But don’t you find, as I do, that it’s easy to slip away from the basics? We need to be reminded. This is God’s Word. It is foundational for my life. It is fundamental for all of life—the Word of God, what it means to be a woman of God. It’s helpful to go back and review these basic affirmations, which is why we’ve tried to collect them, to combine them in this one, simple, short document.
The problem for many of us is that there’s such a disconnect between what we say we believe and the way we live, but the truth is that belief always affects action. The way we live reveals what we really believe. Truth always makes a difference in our lives. It’s not just something to be stored in a file cabinet or stored in a notebook or stored in our heads. It’s something that is to penetrate the core of who we are and to impact and change the way that we live.
So believing the above—and there again I’d ask the question: Do you? Go back and say, “Do I really believe these things?” If you’re not sure, if some of these things you say, “I don’t know if I believe that,” then let me encourage you to go back to the archives of Revive Our Hearts, pull up the sessions on these different points, and listen to the teaching from God’s Word, and evaluate it through the grid of God’s Word.
Don’t say you believe it just because it’s written on this document. Believe it because it’s something that is drawn out of the Word of God, and it reflects His heart and His truth.
Believing the above, the Manifesto says, we declare. Let me just stop there. We—it’s a neat thing to know as you’re pursuing true womanhood that you’re not alone. I think sometimes we can start to feel like we’re alone because you look around and see the world does not embrace true womanhood. It is not the going thing.
If you’re going to go with the flow, you’re not going to be a true woman, and if you’re going to be a true woman, you’re going to be going counter to the flow. You’re going to be swimming upstream most of the time, and that can get exhausting.
Even within the church, do you sometimes find that so many women really don’t care or know about what it means to be a true woman of God? It’s encouraging to know that you’re not alone. Aren’t you glad there’s a "we" involved in pursuing Christ in this true woman movement, that you are not alone in this pursuit? You may feel at times as if you’re alone, but you really aren’t. There’s an impact that comes in our culture as, together, corporately, we reflect the gospel and the beauty of Christ as women.
So the Manifesto says: Believing the above, we declare. Now, I think that word declare is important. It’s important that we publically declare what we believe. That we not just affirm it in our heads, but we say, “You know what? I’m going on record. I’m drawing a line in the sand. This is what I believe even if the whole rest of the world believes something different. I’m going to take my stand on what God’s Word says is the truth.”
When we declare these affirmations, we’re really expressing faith, and we’re saying, “I’m committing myself to this way of thinking and living.” By the way, when you do that, you’re going to find you’re a little more accountable. I find that because of so many of the things I have said publically about what it means to be a true woman of God, when I’m acting like a shrew, there are people around me who will love me enough to get in my face, get in my life, and say, “I don’t know if you realize how harsh you’re being, how unkind with your tongue, how dogmatic, opinionated. You’re not living like a true woman of God.”
You say, “I don’t want somebody telling me that.” Well, I don’t either, but I need it. And you need it. We need it. That’s why it helps to declare: “This is what we believe” so that we can be held accountable for that.
One way of declaring that is to go online at ReviveOurHearts.com, pull up the True Woman Manifesto, and be one of thousands of women from around the world—90-some countries now—who have signed this document and said, “I want to be a part of this movement.”
But you need to do more than sign the document because, after all, it is just a document. What is even more important is that you declare these truths to others, that you share them within your sphere of influence, and multiply the impact of this message.
Now, believing the above, we declare our desire and our intent to be true women of God. We desire to be a true woman of God. Is that what you desire? I think that’s why you’re here. Now we don’t always fulfill that, but that is our heart’s desire. An evidence of true salvation is a desire to live out your true womanhood—or manhood, by the way, if there are any men listening—is to live out who God made us to be, who He fashioned and created us to be.
Yet, do you sometimes find that you’re lacking in desire? Some days, if the truth were known, some days you want to just say, “Being a true woman is really hard. I’m not even sure I really want to do that right now. I don’t want to hold my tongue. I want to just speak my mind.”
That’s why we need to cultivate desire and to ask God to keep giving us fresh desire to be true women of God.
We declare our desire to be true women of God, but we also declare our intent to be true women of God. It’s not enough to desire it and to want it. We have to be intentional, or it’s not going to happen. Becoming a true woman of God does not happen by osmosis.
Don’t you wish you could just put this Manifesto or your Bible under your pillow at night, and you wake up in the morning and viola! You are a spiritually, mature godly woman. Right? It does not happen that way. You have to be intentional.
As we say that, we’re recognizing we’re not there. I’m not there. You’re not there, but we have set our eyes on the goal. And by God’s grace, by the time we see Jesus, we will be there. We’re saying, “I haven’t arrived.” I’ve heard women say, or heard of women saying, “I could never sign this Manifesto. I couldn’t sign this document. You have to be perfect to sign this.”
No. This document is not for perfect people because there is no such thing. This document is for failures. It’s for people like me who say, “I’m not a true woman, but by God’s grace, I want to be. That’s my intent. That’s my desire. I want to be a true woman of God.”
Now, let me just remind us that true women are not some special, elite, superior, exclusive class of women. Every Christian woman should aspire to be a true woman of God.
What’s a true woman? It’s true, it’s authentic, genuine, the real thing. It’s the kind of woman that what we say we believe lines up with our practice. There’s no gap between what we claim we believe and the way we actually live.
- A true woman is one whose life is in accord with the unchanging truth of God’s Word. Her life is based on Christ who is the Truth.
- A true woman is a woman whose life is not driven by changing whims and norms of culture. Her choices are not determined based on what is popular or will gain acceptance from friends or others.
- She’s a woman who has staked her life on the Word of God, the truth of God’s Word.
That’s a true woman.
So, believing the above, we declare our desire and our intent to be true women of God, and we consecrate ourselves to fulfill His calling and His purposes in our lives.
That word consecrate is a word you don’t hear so often today, but it’s a great word. It means "to set apart, or to dedicate to the service of God or to the service of some overarching purpose, to set apart our lives."
When we consecrate ourselves, we’re saying, “In light of all that we have affirmed and believe to be true, we have set ourselves apart for God and for His kingdom purposes, for His agenda.” It’s not about us. It’s not about our purposes. It’s all about Him.
So we ask ourselves: Why was I created? By God’s grace, whatever the answer is to that question, that’s the purpose I want to fulfill.
Then we come to the last part of this transition sentence: By God’s grace and in humble dependence on His power, we will.
In the next session we’ll start looking at those “We will” statements, but I want to just remind us that you cannot do this on your own. You cannot be a true woman on your own. I cannot be a true woman on my own. If you try apart from the grace of God and dependence on His power, you will either fail miserably and live in constant guilt, or maybe worse, you will succeed outwardly and become proud and self-righteous inwardly. Either way, we’re going to do a lot of damage to the people around us, do a lot of damage to our own souls.
All of this, living out true womanhood, is by the grace of God. He’s the one who gives the desire and the power to obey Him. As Philippians 2 tells us: “For it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure” (verse 13). He gives the desire and the ability to please Him.
So we live out these commitments in humble dependence on the power of God.
We naturally resist being dependent. We don’t want to be weak or needy. We innately value being independent, strong, self-sufficient, but God uses our failure, our brokenness, our neediness, our weakness to teach us greater dependence on Him. It’s the humble heart that God revives. It’s humility that causes God to pour His grace into our lives.
So by His grace and in humble dependence on His power, we will. Those are two important words. We want to be women who say, “We will,” and then go out and do it, go out and live what we have said we believe.
Let me just read to you a statement that a woman sent to us at the end of the True Woman conference we had this past spring. It illustrates this desire to be a true woman of God. She said:
I’ve been a pastor’s wife for 31 years. For over 14 years I have been living the life of a hypocrite. [What she was saying she affirmed wasn’t matching up with the way she actually was living.]
I have completely shut down spiritually. I’ve been angry and bitter with God. I don’t pray, read my Bible, or share Christ with others. I lift my hands and sing songs of worship in church, but with a cold, dry heart.
Now, that’s where God found her when she came to the True Woman conference in Chattanooga, but here’s what God did in her heart:
Truly, truly, I repent. I repent. I’m not going to keep living that way. By God’s grace and in dependence on the power of His Spirit, I will begin to live in accord with what I say I believe.
Thank God for forgiveness and grace.
And don’t you agree with that? Thank God for forgiveness and grace.
Lord, I do thank You for mercy, for grace to repent, and I pray that You would give us hearts of repentance, that we would not only be affirming these truths, but by Your grace saying, “I declare my desire and intent to live out this true woman lifestyle, and by Your grace and dependence on the power of Your Holy Spirit, I will be Your true woman.”
Thank You, Lord, for Your grace that will enable that to be true in our lives. I pray in Jesus’ name, amen.
Leslie: Nancy Leigh DeMoss has been walking us through the True Woman Manifesto. We’ve been covering this valuable document in several series through the year. Today Nancy began describing the portion of the document that begins, “We declare.”
Nancy mentioned some ways you can follow up this teaching:
- Read the True Woman Manifesto at ReviveOurHearts.com.
- Listen to past series on the Manifesto at our site as well.
- Finally, come make these declarations at one of the True Woman conferences. Stand with other women who affirm these truths with their minds and are learning how to live these declarations out.
Nancy: We seek to glorify God by cultivating such virtues as purity, modesty, submission, meekness, and love. (Audience responds: “Yes, Lord.”)
Leslie: At the True Woman Conference, you’ll hear the truth. Speakers like Joni Eareckson Tada, Kay Arthur, James MacDonald, and Mary Kassian will help you understand the Bible more fully. You’ll also learn how to live as a true woman through breakout sessions geared to women in all seasons of life.
Get more information on True Woman coming to Indianapolis next month, or come to the conference in Fort Worth in October. For details, just visit ReviveOurHearts.com, or you can call our True Woman number at 1-877-966-2608.
Love God. It sounds like one of the simplest commands possible, yet you can spend a lifetime learning how to fully live it out. Find out more tomorrow on Revive Our Hearts.
Revive Our Hearts is an outreach of Life Action Ministries.
All Scripture is taken from the English Standard Version.
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