Sunday, October 2, 2011

We had great teaching at church today. We learned, again .. that God looks on the heart. And often, our actions are just a reflection of what is going on in the heart. Our clothing for instance. God seems to have put it into the heart of most women to have a desire to look nice. God loves beauty. You can see it in all of His creation and I would venture to say He likes His woman to be beautiful too. Looking at the Old Testament and how He adorned things I'd say He likes nice things. 
But His eternal perspective helps us keep centered on the ultimate goal .. our most Perfect God explains to us how to manage adornment in our lives. 

We women have been created by Him and He understands our need  .. 

likewise also that women should adorn themselves ...

and He tells us how to approach that need, or how to set our heart on it. 

with what is proper for women who profess godliness — with good works

And there is the point .. with what is proper for you as a woman who professes Christ. 

With good works. 

He made us to love beauty, to have a desire to be attractive and feminine and so with that desire we live out our days in a way pleasing to Him. We choose our apparel to be proper and modest, we do that because He calls our hearts to be set on something greater then this physical appearance ...

With good works. 

I had often wondered what "good works" looked like for a woman of God and I found further in Timothy, Paul explains what the life of a honorable woman looks like. 

 ... and having a reputation for good works: if she has brought up children, has shown hospitality, has washed the feet of the saints, has cared for the afflicted, and has devoted herself to every good work.

What is adorning us? Are we devoting ourselves to every good work? 

There is a great list of good works written by John Piper 

The awesome significance of motherhood

Complementing a man's life as his wife
Ministries to the handicapped
Ministries to the sick
Ministries to the socially estranged
Prison ministries
Ministries to youth
Sports ministries
Therapeutic counseling
Audio visual ministries
Writing ministries
Teaching ministries
Music ministries
Evangelistic ministries
Radio and TV ministries
Theater and drama ministries
Social ministries
Prayer ministries
Support ministries  (a more detailed explanation of the works listed)

That's a long list - 

A common theme in that list of good works is love for one another. Funny, we come back to that again. God is so wise. He knows how this world goes round and how we as people respond. He first loved us. I am glad He chose to adorn Himself with the good work of saving me. 

One last thing ... Today at church David Ball mentioned a story of Abraham Lincoln buying a slave girl. I looked it up to learn more about it. It is a great story that points to a picture of God and His goodness towards us. 

The story is re-counted in Steve Brown’s riveting book, A Scandalous Freedom. 
Abraham Lincoln went to a slave market.  There he noted a young, beautiful African-American woman being auctioned off to the highest offer.  He bid on her and won.  He could see the anger in the young woman’s eyes and could imagine what she was thinking, ’another white man will buy me, use me, and then discard me’. 
As Lincoln walked off with his ‘property’, he turned to the woman and said, ‘You’re free’.  ‘Yeah.  What does that mean?’ she replied.  ‘It  means that you’re free.’  ‘Does it mean I can say whatever I want to say?’  ‘Yes,’ replied Lincoln, smiling, ‘it means you can say whatever you want to say.’  ‘Does it mean,’ she asked incredulously, ‘that I can be whatever I want to be?’  ‘Yes, you can be whatever you want to be.’  ‘Does it mean,’  the young woman said hesitantly, ‘that I can go wherever I want to go?’  ‘Yes, it means you are free and you can go wherever you want to go.’ 
‘Then,’ said the woman with tears welling up in her eyes, ‘I think I’ll go with you.’ 
Brown continues…
That is what God has done for us.  It is what the Christian faith is all about.  We have been bought with a price, the price of God’s own Son.  We now have a new master, one who, once he paid the price, set us free. 

That would be the love of God for us. The needy, the enslaved. We are loved by Jesus and we love as He first loved us. We love in actions and truth. 

That's how we can be adorned .. by His love, by giving His love to others. 
By good works. Not so anyone can boast, not so we can check it off our list but instead so that we can represent the heart of God here and now. We can love others as Christ first loved us. 

1 comment:

  1. Mary, I love this post. I looked up the Piper article on good works, and it was just what I needed at this stage of life. I've been praying about this subject, so thanks so much for including it! May we women (of Antioch) adorn ourselves with His good works!