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February 21, 2007

Agape Love vs. Phileo Love

"Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also love the church, and gave himself for it." The word love used in this verse is 'agape'. The Greek word 'agape' refers to a self-sacrificing love. A love that gives to others even if nothing is given back. But in the Bible when women are instructed to love their husbands a different word is used, 'phileo'. Phileo love is a tender, affectionate, brotherly love. I always thought the love men and women were instructed to have for each other was the same, but obviously not. A man's love is to be a protector, while a woman's a nurturer. In our society today we have lost much of the protection and respect of men. Much of it, I am sure, because women have pushed to be of equal status. But in the 'old'in days' it was not uncommon for men to tip their hats at a woman walking down the street, or to open a door, or give up their seat, or refrain from using crude language around a lady. The other day I came up to the checkout in a store and a man came up the same time as me. I was going to let him go first, and he said 'No, that's alright, ladies first.' I complimented him on how we don't hear that phrase much anymore. It felt nice to be treated like a lady. Where has it gone? It should be the norm. So a side note to those who have young men in your home, teach them to be a gentleman and just in that simple act they will be a light to the world. I have had a hard time with this, mostly because I am an 'I can do it myself' type of person. I have a hard time letting others do things for me. But in a way this is feminism. Not wanting to be the 'weaker' vessel that God has created me to be. And in saying weak, I don't mean a push-over, wimpy type person, but a person who knows that in my weakness, Christ is strong. I can be protected, I need to be protected. What would marriages be like if the men were the protectors that they were called to be. I don't think the divorce rate would be so high because women would not be viewed as objects to be used and then discarded. What if women felt honored to be protected and respected, instead of seeing it as a threat. What if they had 'phileo' love for their husbands. So what do we do? First of all, repent for any feminist beliefs we have had toward God's design of marriage and being a woman. And then ask God to help us in the fight against our flesh. Then we need to know what God expects of us in His word. What/who are we called to be as daughters and wives? For me, this means looking at the Word differently than I have before. Not through the clouded lense of society, and even the church, but through God's eyes and the original intent of His words to me. And thirdly we have to encourage our men to be men by being godly, biblical women. Start with your family. Start with your relationship with your husband, modeling the true character of God to your daughters. Pray for repentance among men, sons, wives & daughters. One person at a time, one family at a time. "Lord change our hearts, renew our minds, restore families to be who you created them to be, so that we may be a generation that will be a shining light for You, and help the world find You."

February 6, 2007

Created to be a Helpmate

A woman was created to be a helpmate. This statement alone makes many women put up their defenses. So much that we almost don't dare talk about it. When is the last time you have heard a sermon or message about being your husband's help meet? Me, a help meet. What about my life, what about my wishes, what about my dreams? Remember in Genesis when God said about Adam, "I will make a help meet suitable for him. The Hebrew word for help meet is ezer (aid; help) which is derived from the root ezar whcich means to 'surround'. When I looked this up I thought, "What a beautiful picture. I want to surround my husband with help." We were created to help man. Man and woman together reflect the image of God. God didn't have to take Adam's rib to make Eve. He had created someone out of dust once, He could have done it again! So why did He do this? Was it for the word picture, that because we were created from man, we would have an inner desire to be restored to the side of man? To be dependant on him? We were created to be a helper for man, it's part of our natures. The relationship between man and woman is a picture of Christ and the Church. (Eph. 5:23) Women need men, wives need husbands, daughters need fathers, the way that the Church needs Christ. So then the infamous question. So does that mean in God's eyes, women are inferior to men? No, we are equal in God's eyes (see Galatians 3:28) But this doesn't mean that our roles are the same. Just as a pastor is just as important in God's eyes as a mother who changes diapers all day. But the roles are different. So why do most women strive so hard to be the same as man, and have the same roles? Adam was created to be the leader, Eve his helper. Eve let herself be deceived by the serpent. Adam didn't protect Eve. They both stepped out of their roles. And interstingly, "in Adam all die" (1Cor.15:22), not in Eve. Because Adam couldn't escape his responsibility as leader nor Eve in her role as a helper. Trying to be independent of man goes against the very thing that God created us for. Some women spend all their lives trying to attract men, there are feminists who convince themselves they don't need men (but even Betty Friedan, one of America's first feminists spent her whole professional life advancing the agenda of Karl Marx) and there are other women who understand that submitting to God means submitting to the authority God has placed over them. Where do you come in? Do you (and your daughters) understand why God created you? Are you more influenced by the image the world offers on a woman's role or the role that God gives us in the Bible? I challenge you today to search your heart, and the scriptures to find out!