A while ago, I went to a women’s conference in another state with some of my relatives. We heard two different Bible teachers speak. Both of these women had written books. Both were well-known. That is where the similarities ended. One woman was older. In fact, she was in her eighties. She spoke first. She shared her heart for us younger women. She shared from the Word. She spoke of women to whom she had ministered in countries where believers are being persecuted. Her voice broke as she spoke of her sisters in Christ living under the constant threat of imprisonment and death. You could see the love she carried for them.
She spoke of Christ and the gospel. Her knowledge of the Word was so evident, and her talk was so full of Scripture that she just seemed to breathe it out. I left her session with a heart yearning for Christ. I left with a clear picture of what I want to look like if the Lord should give me the gift of old age. Decades of walking with Jesus had made her one of the wisest and most gentle-spirited women I have ever seen.
The next speaker was a young woman. She stood up and immediately launched into funny stories about herself. She talked about trips she’d taken. She dropped names of famous people she’d shared a stage with. She told more stories about herself. At one point, she decided to work in a little bit of the Bible, so she wedged in a story about Noah and the ark and “how he must have felt as he saw everything he had known floating by. There goes the house. There goes the tabernacle…” She let that hang in the air as if giving it time to really make an impact.
I sat there in my seat wondering how the tabernacle could have been floating by when it wouldn’t be built for over a thousand years after the flood. I tried to hang in there and give her the benefit of the doubt, but I gave up after the lunch session. After her talk, a couple of us had tickets to go to a more personal luncheon with her and sit in on her Q and A. During that session, we got to hear even more about all of the famous people she knows. She shared about different shows that she has been or will be featured on. She told us that, often, women come up to her and say, “I loved your book!” To which she replies, “Girl, which one? I’ve written eleven!” I so deeply wish that I was making this up. It got harder and harder for me to swallow the food I was picking at on my plate the longer she spoke. The final straw was when she told us that she wanted to have her own network someday and be bigger than Oprah.
As we left that event, there were two tables set up. The older woman was at one table waiting to talk and pray with the women as they came out of their sessions. The younger woman was at a table loaded down with her books, signing autographs and taking selfies with women who had purchased a book. She was standing in front of a giant banner with a blown-up picture of her own face on it. Here is the part that grieved me the most. The line at her table was 3 or four people wide and out the door onto the sidewalk outside. There was no line at the older woman’s table.
As I took in that scene, I had the thought that this is the problem. This is why we as women in the church are living on starvation rations of the Word. This is why we are spiritually weak and we cannot discern when a pretty face is lying to us while holding a Bible. It is because we love the wrong things.
We elevate youth and beauty. We want funny more than we want wise. We want our teachers to tell us a joke that we can laugh at. We don’t want to weep over our sin. “The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning, but the heart of fools is in the house of pleasure” (Ecc.7:4, NIV).
We want empowerment more than we want humility. “He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?” (Micah 6:8, ESV).
We don’t want truth. We want to be lied to. We would never admit that out loud, but at the core, it feels better to be lied to than to be told the truth. “For a time is coming when people will no longer listen to sound and wholesome teaching. They will follow their own desires and will look for teachers who will tell them whatever their itching ears want to hear. They will reject the truth and chase after myths” (2 Tim. 4:3-4, NLT).
The truth is that, apart from Jesus, we have no good thing (Ps. 16:2). We are not the hope of the world. Jesus is. Outside of Him, we are “dark-hearted, futile minded, enemies of God.” Contrary to what the pep rally, girl power, life-coach “Bible” teachers tell us now, we are not the ones who will change the world. Jesus will. “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from Me, you can do nothing” (John 15:5, NIV).
In other words, God asks us to remain in Him. He asks us to chase His heart. He asks us to know His Word deeply and to abide in that. Out of that union, that closeness, real fruit will grow, real impact will occur, but even then, it’s all Him. It’s still not about us. There is never a point at which it is ok to raise our own name. We raise His name like a banner. We are to be after His glory, not our own. We call people to follow Christ, not ourselves.
The book of Hosea describes a time when the priests refused to teach people the truth. It reminds me so much of our current culture. God rebuked the priests and said, “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge” (v. 4:6, NKJV). Are we being destroyed? Other versions use the word “perishing.” Are we perishing for lack of knowledge of the truth? I think that we are. We have exchanged the humbling truth of God for a self-exalting lie. Does that sound familiar?
Read Romans, chapter 2. Women of God, I plead with you to pursue wisdom. I plead with you to put down the girl power self-help book and pick up your Bible. Your life depends on it. Your children don’t need an empowered mom. They need a humble, God-fearing mom. Our world needs women who look, not like our “truest selves” but like Jesus Christ.
This will not happen outside of making a decision to dig in our heels, draw a line in the sand, and declare that we are going after God. We are going to consume His Word like the spiritual food that it is, and we are going to let Him conform us to His own image, no matter how hard, no matter how long it takes. And if that requires taking a stand against the tidal wave of narcissistic teachings sweeping through Christian culture, then we stand and take it full-on because the Rock under our feet will not move.
*My blogs are written with the assumption that they are being read primarily by Christians. If you want to know more about what it means to be a Christian or about the gospel of Jesus Christ, click the link here: The Gospel
Written by Amber Lee
This is an updated edition of a post originally published on willnotbetaken.com
Featured Image by Alexander Dummer