GOD’S WILL FOR YOUNG WOMEN
“What is God’s will for my life?” is a question that every Christian, young or old, man or woman, should be pondering over, studying, and living out as well as they know how. Like all of life’s great questions, the answer is found in the Bible. Young woman have been blessed in that God has given them the practical guidance they need and made His plan obvious. God’s will for young ladies is for them to marry, and for them to spend their single years wholeheartedly and purely doing His work.
The Bible says in I Timothy 5:14, “I will therefore that the younger women marry, bear children, guide the house, give none occasion to the adversary to speak reproachfully.” There you have in black and white God’s plan for young women - to marry. In today’s society, even among Christians, the open acknowledgement of marriage as a goal is not considered a worthy ambition, yet the Bible doesn’t portray that attitude.
A careful study of the Scriptures will reveal an absence of the “old maid” species. In the Bible there are daughters in their youth at home, wives, and widows or the divorced. Women didn’t just “move out” or decide that they no longer qualified as their father’s daughter, but always had, if not a husband, then a father or brother to watch over them. To be single would be similar to being barren, or widowed - referred to in Isaiah as the desolate and ashamed.# When Jephthah’s daughter was to be killed, she and her friends mourned, not the fact of her death, but the fact that she would never be married.
On the other hand, we read that woman was made specifically to be the perfect helper for man. God made Eve and every other woman to be truly fulfilled and happy when she is a “homemaker.”# He made women and so He has the knowledge and the right to decide her occupation. Marriage, motherhood, and homemaking aren’t just wastes of time that ladies do because technology has not yet invented a substitute, they are the most noble things a woman can spend her time on. The Botkin sisters define marriage as being about dominion, “It’s about filling the earth and subduing it. Marriage is about two people of different abilities and roles becoming one flesh, sharing one life and one vision, so that the two will…complete each other.”#
So if marriage is to be the life work of most, preparation must be a priority. One of the most obvious and most effective ways to prepare to be a good wife is by striving to be a good daughter and sister. The premier command to wives is to submit to their husbands - a lifestyle that doesn’t come naturally! Parents, like husbands, make mistakes, but Who gave each girl the parents she has? One who never makes mistakes#
Submission is obedience, but it is also an attitude. It is the opposite of an independent spirit, which is the spirit of pride and self-dependence and selfishness.# The attitude a young lady wants is the “meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price.”# This is the spirit of the woman who has learned self-control and has learned to trust in God for all aspects of her life. The meek and quiet person has the strength that only God can give to resist her flesh.# A girl who has trouble submitting to her father will have trouble submitting to her husband. Surely learning this humbleness is part of God’s plan for a young lady.
There are more ways to learn to be a “help meet” at home. A book for girls says, “One should never go out of the way to look for duties, but should start with what lies nearest.”# If a woman really wants to help her future husband’s ministry, she should help her father with his ministry, or help him with whatever work he needs done. In the Bible was find both Rachel and Zipporah caring for their father’s sheep. Many daughters today would revolt if given such a task, yet they would be willing to go to work for some other person for money to support themselves.
In addition to a girl’s attitude, there are numerous practical ways she must prepare for her calling. Keeping a house would be one of them. Anyone who has ran a household knows that it’s a full time, complicated task. Managing a home is similar to running a business. It takes organization, method, accuracy, diligence, thriftiness, and ability to use what is around to do what needs to be done.#
The Proverbs 31 woman is described with some of the specific skills she had. She knew how to handle money, how to earn extra money without neglecting her home and family, how to be resourceful, how to feed her household, how to clothe them, and how to garden. These are all things that young ladies should learn.
Every girl should know how to care for a child’s health and physical will being. She should effectively learn how to communicate with children and how to discipline them. She should know how to teach them and if she is to teach them, she must be learning. Young ladies should be well educated, knowing how to learn and think so that they can pass on knowledge and principles to the next generation.
Hospitality is one of the greatest ministries of the home and every woman should know how to make guests feel comfortable. “Every wise woman buildeth her house…”# A woman should learn how to edify and build up members of whatever family she is in. She is also to be a “keeper at home” - being in the habit of spending free time anywhere but home is naturally a poor way to train for that characteristic. Many are the things to learn about the home and the best place to learn them is a home.
All of the skills in the world won’t make up for a lack of character. Several places in the Scriptures give characteristics of a godly woman, and acquiring these should also be a priority for any girl trying to please God. Her character is built by the little choices, whether good or bad, that she makes every day.# Let’s look at some of these traits.
The first, which will help acquire the others, is diligence. If you read Proverbs 31, you would think that the woman described never slept. She rose up early - a good habit for building character - and sometimes worked into the night. She was always up on what was happening and was never idle. It would be impossible to be a good wife and mother without diligence.
Another trait that is mentioned several times is soberness. People think of sober as a word to describe someone who is serious and sad - that person would be somber. Sober, according to Romans 12:3, is the opposite of vain pride. It is having a realistic outlook on life. Too many young ladies never let themselves think about anything more serious than clothes and boys. In order to be a godly young woman, it is necessary to constantly keep in mind that words and actions have consequences and that we are in a war against evil, even when one is laughing and having fun.
Discretion is found in both the Old and New Testaments to be a desirable quality in a woman. Have you ever met a woman that fit the description of Proverbs 11:22? “As a jewel of gold in a swine’s snout, so is a fair woman which is without discretion.” Discreet means appropriate, tactful, tasteful, polite, not trying to attract attention, and thinking before speaking. Along with this is prudence, seeing where a matter will lead, and wisdom, knowing God is watching you.
Titus 2 says the older women should teach the younger women to love their husbands and children. Proverbs 31 says her tongue is kind. Loving others and speaking kindly can be very hard, but if lives lack love, they are nothing. Other marks of a godly woman are trustworthiness, graveness, graciousness, faithfulness, and purity.
If a girl would be qualified to be a deacon’s wife, she must not be a slanderer. Whatever her opinion may be, she should never talk badly about someone to someone, particularly avoiding guessing at people’s motives. Three other traits to avoid are brawling, anger, and contentiousness. No one likes women who argue and are hard to get along with.
While all young women should be prepared for marriage, they will also all spend at least some time unmarried. Some will never be able to marry. Well, God describes the single girl too. “The unmarried woman careth for the things of the Lord, that she may be holy both in body and in spirit.”# No person could ask for a higher calling than caring for the things of the Lord, but what does that mean?
Before a girl can care for the things of the Lord, she must first care for the Lord. Often ladies who aren’t married tend to think of themselves as unloved and unattached, but that is not the case. God’s love for her is greater than any man’s could be and He wants to fill the place of a husband to her. That may sound odd, but it says in Isaiah 54:5, “For thy Maker is thine husband.” In Hosea 2:19 it says, “I will betroth thee unto me in…loving kindness.” And in the New Testament Paul tells the church, “I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ.”# And tells husbands to love their wives, “Even as Christ loved the church and gave Himself for it.”# God wants this time when she is without an earthly husband to be spent learning to love God with her whole heart and learning to rest in His love for her.
When Jesus went to Bethany, a lady named Mary sat at His feet and listened to Him. Every young lady needs to learn to sit at Jesus’ feet. This is the season in her life that she can spend the most time there. When one is married, God gives her other duties that use much of her time and energy, but when single, she can seek Him without distraction. She should spend time with the Bible, reading it so that she knows it like a friend, studying it so that she can confidently pattern her life after it, and memorizing, so that it will be in her heart forever. Through God’s Word she can learn of Him and through prayer she can tell Him of herself. Prayer is a discipline and ministry that takes time and concentration. Meditation on God’s Word would also go in the category of “caring for the things of the Lord.”
When a young lady is walking with the Lord, she will naturally want to be about His work and as a daughter, rather than a mother, she will probably have time to serve in many ways without neglecting her family. Having a ministry can be a key to staying happy and content while single.# Christ taught that the greatest person is the servant of all and the greatest woman is the one that like Mary of Nazareth, is the Handmaid of the Lord.
Ministry will wear out and discourage anyone, if it is not done for Christ alone. Mary of Bethany poured ointment on Jesus’ feet. There were women who physically followed Jesus doing whatever they could for Him - that’s how every lady should picture herself. Being single can be discouraging, “But if your days are spent serving the Lord, each day will only get sweeter as you abide in His presence, more joyous as you see His plans for you unfold, and more fulfilling as you learn that it is more blessed to give than to receive.”# Martha was rebuked, not for what she was doing, but for being worried and burdened about it. She forgot Who she was serving.
How can a girl really minister to Jesus Himself when He is at the right hand of God? Matthew 25:40 says, “…Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.” Matthew 10:41 says, “And whosoever shall give to drink unto one of these little ones a cup of cold water, only in the name of a disciple…he shall in no wise loose his reward.” And John 13:30 says, “…He that receiveth whomsoever I send receiveth me.” There are many ways that a girl can serve Christ here on earth.
The Proverbs 31 woman, Dorcas, and other early church women were highly commended for their, what many would call, “menial work”. They made clothes for the poor, lodged strangers, nursed the sick, and other good deeds. Women today can imitate them by cooking meals for people, showing hospitality, and meeting needs however she can. Of course, a girl should remember that her own family is no less important than someone else’s family!
Here in America, there are some physical needs to be met, but the majority of people have more clothes than they know what to do with. Many of the needs that a young womed will find today are spiritual and emotional. One of the best ways she can help meet those is simply by being cheerful, having a smile to greet others, listening to them talk, and sharing God’s Word. Many people are lonely, and just stopping in to chat with them is an encouragement. Many people are lost in their sin and the greatest thing that can be dome for them is to show them God’s plan of salvation. Another simple way to encourage people is through notes, letters, and cards - to let them know that they are not alone, to pray for them and to tell them so.
Children are one of the biggest opportunities for service given to a young lady. She can teach them of God and lead them to Christ and she can help them memorize verses and learn lessons that they’ll remember their whole life. She also has the chance to set a good example for those younger than she and can influence them through her love.
Usually, when we think of “caring for the things of the Lord,” we think of church work in the more official sense. Certainly there are many ways for the unmarried woman to serve in her local church - cleaning, organizing ladies and children’s events, and helping her father with his duties are a few examples.
Miriam and Philip’s daughters were prophetesses, certainly a good way to serve, but what exactly did a prophetess do? Many people would think they were preachers, but it’s never mentioned that any of them spoke to public congregations.# Instead, they were ones who spoke God’s words with the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. A modern day “prophetess” would be a woman to whom people can come with problems and questions and she with wisdom from the Holy Spirit, shows them what God has said.
Music is also associated with prophecy. Miriam led the women in singing and instruments and there are many ways that a lady can minister in this area. Singing for the glory of God, playing piano or another instrument, and leading women in music are Biblical ministries for a single girl.
Another area of the Lord’s work is missions. Single women going as missionaries have been greatly used of God, but as the Botkin sisters observed, “Never in Scripture do we see an example of women being called or commissioned or sent out as missionaries…women of the early church…weren’t going to the far ends of the earth on their own. They were serving in their local churches.”# The world needs people to bring the gospel to every Creature, but women leading in this area is contrary to normal Bible principles. Women should be willing to tell others of the gospel of Christ in another land with their fathers, their husbands, or another family just as they should be telling the ignorant and unbelieving within their own land and with a local church.
The reason the unmarried woman is caring for the Lord’s affairs instead of her own is so that she “may be holy both in body and in spirit.” Holy is not a word that is often used to describe a young lady. It means to be sacred, set apart, pure, blameless, and consecrated. She isn’t to be like everyone else, but to be like Christ. The Bible says, “The woman that feareth the Lord, she shall be praised.”# She should love God and fear Him so much that her spirit, the atmosphere she radiates, is holy. She knows that her body is not her own and so she guards it from impurity.
No person can surround themselves with the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life and still be holy. Being pure is hard for a Christian because of the sin that lies within, and allowing the world in makes it even harder. Every young woman should make sure that the books she reads, the music she listens to, the people she has for good friends, the movies she watches, and the places she goes are going to help her think on things that are pure and virtuous.
The Bible even tells how a young lady is supposed to look. It describes the king’s daughter as having clothing of gold and the Proverbs 31 woman as being clothed in silk and purple, but it gives a warning against fancy clothes and hair and jewelry as well. The explanation may be in Ezekiel 16 which describes the appearance of a woman, then says this about her, “Thou didst trust in thine own beauty.” Everyone has seen a pretty girl that doesn’t act pretty and a not-so-pretty girl that acts in a beautiful way. Truly the outside is temporal, but the inside is eternal. It’s great to be dressed nicely, but it needs to be kept in perspective.
It does list a few things that a girl should be honored to be adorned with - one is a meek and quiet spirit, and another is modest apparel. They go together. The outward appearance should testify what the Lord has done inside.# If a girl’s spirit is impure, it will be seen in her appearance, but if a girl is at peace with God, it will also be seen in her looks.
Modesty is also a matter of behavior.# Another important part of holiness is the way a woman acts around and relates to men. Shamefacedness is a word that God uses to describe a godly woman and it is and attitude of modesty. The opposite of someone who is shamefaced would be someone who is bold toward young men, flirtations, who tries to catch their eye across the room, and who acts in a way she would be ashamed of if her future husband were watching her. Instead, a girl should follow the reverse of Paul’s admonition to Timothy to treat the young women as sisters with purity.# She should save her heart for one person and keep her friendships with all other boys at a casual level.#
Every young woman should also be very careful to have safeguards to protect her purity. Where were Dinah’s protectors when she went to visit the daughters of Canaan? It is her responsibility to not give away something that belongs to her future husband and so she should be cautions about being alone with guys or touching them. Not only must she guard her body, her spirit is to be pure as well. She should fight against the temptation to think too much about any young man, and discipline her thoughts to be holy.
Living a life that is according to God’s will is a life that will not be understood by many people, but it is a life that will bring eternal rewards. As young ladies serve God, remain pure, and prepare to serve their husband, with God’s grace, they will be a testimony that God’s ways really are best.